Making a Difference From Home

We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it. Frank Clark, author

Having the satisfaction of making a difference in the life of another is one way older people find joy in their bonus years. In the age of COVID-19, however, finding ways to reach out may become problematic for those who choose to stay-safe-at-home. 

Here are a few ideas of how to make a difference from home:

—If you previously volunteered at a school, consider becoming a pen pal.

—If you know how to knit or crochet, consider making hats for new borns or other useful projects. Google “Ten charities that need homemade items” for ideas.

—If you want to help healthcare workers taking care of COVID patients, send gift cards from local restaurants to hospitals for distribution. 

—If you loved singing in the choir, ask your pastor how you might record a song to be used in a virtual service. 

—If you are a political activist and your marching shoes are in storage, consider writing post cards to your representatives about what’s important to you or calling people to remind them to vote.

Affirmation: There are many ways I can make a difference.

Coaching question: If making a difference is important to you, how can you adapt your past activities to the current environment? 

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

How Do You Respond to Criticism?

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots. Frank Clark, author

Criticism is frequently presented as something unpleasant, but, in my experience, there can be friendly criticisms, amicably discussed. Some people even find pleasure in criticism. As an author, criticism is part of the equation of excellence. As the saying goes, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” 

Authors are exposed to an inner critic at first, followed by critiques by an editor, critical comments from other authors if they are in a critique group (I highly recommend this), BETA readers (those who read and comment on your book before it’s published), an agent (if you can get one), a publisher (if you get an agent), reviewers, then the world of readers. 

What does all of this have to do with you, a non-writer? Even if writers need to be hard-wired for criticism if they are to succeed, all of us who want to grow must also be open to, and even seeking, critics who nourish our growth without destroying our creativity or self-esteem in the process. 

Affirmation: I accept and welcome gentle criticism.

Coaching questions: How do you respond to criticism? When has criticism helped you grow? How do you approach others with critical comments?