The Power of Thank You

When I was little, people would always compliment my parents on raising such a polite child. I would always say please and thank you. I was taught to share or offer to share, much to my chagrin.  I usually didn’t like to share.
Being such a polite person I was incredibly shocked when my friend and co-worker, Elizabeth, corrected me one day about accepting a compliment. I was wearing something I was really proud of–it looked expensive, made me look good, and it was a bargain (to be honest, this incident was 10 years ago, and I don’t remember what it even was…we will say it’s a dress).  Anyway I was wearing something amazing, and my fashionista friend (Elizabeth) complimented me on my dress.  I quickly said Thank You and then began to recount the excitement of the purchase, how I found it at Target, on sale. I started to ramble on a little bit about the value of the dress and excitement of the find, when she stopped me. She told me just to take the compliment. I felt a bit scolded as I took this in. I was excited that I had made a good choice and I wanted to recount all of the lead up to the marvelous choice. I will not forget what she said to my retort: “Just take the compliment. It demeans the compliment as well as the person complimenting you by saying any more than a thank you. If someone wants to know more, they will ask.”

Wow.

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This one incident put so much perspective on my view of thank you. I listened and watched as others I came in contact couldn’t just accept a thank you. Most women when complimented by others they would go into the epic story of the compliment item’s procurement. Most men seemed taken aback when they were complimented on a wardrobe choice, but just said thank you.

Both men and women when thanked for a task would reply with alternatives to “you’re welcome” like: no problem, any time, sure, of course, and my usual go to: no worries. Sometimes explanations would happen at this point.

Why can’t we just take a simple thank you and reply with a simple you’re welcome? Or why can’t we just accept a thank you, why do we need to give an explanation.

Power. We give you’re welcome so much weight, so formality. But in reality, it’s just a way to accept a transaction of gratitude.


 

Its just a way to accept a transaction of gratitude.


 

And there it is. Many of us cannot accept gratitude. Every time I get on the bus, I thank the driver–it’s sort of silly, but I am thankful: thankful that he or she was there to do their job that day, to pick me up, and to deliver me to my destination safely. I do the same thing with riding in cars, whether it’s a paid ride or not. Again, my parents brought me up to be polite.

I think my confusion in this whole thank you phenomenon is that we don’t use thank you enough. People aren’t used to compliments or gratitude as much. We have become a society so fixed on getting from one place to another, getting information so quickly at our fingertips, and having things just brought to us or arriving when we demand, that it has slipped our mind when we should have gratitude, let alone when we show extra.

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Working steadily as a nanny and babysitter for the last 4 years (and on and off before that) has made me very aware of gratitude. Being an actress in a city of millions of actors has made me grateful when I actually get the chance to audition, and even more grateful when I get to perform. Being a friend in a city where there are thousands of daily diversions make me thankful when I can actually sit down face to face with my friends. Writing this blog has brought to my attention that there are so many things I’m thankful for, but don’t express my gratitude.


 

There are so many things I’m thankful for, but don’t express my gratitude.


 

I realize that it should be second nature, but a good review of when and how to use Thank You is always good!  I’m sure I’m forgetting things, and feel free to comment on the blog or email them to us, but here is a broad guide:

1. If someone is doing something for you, alleviating or lessening your responsibility: say thank you

2. If someone helps you out, whether you’ve asked for it or not: say thank you.

3. If you’re complimented on something: ONLY say thank you. If they want to know more about whatever they complimented you on, they will ask.

4. When someone says thank you, acknowledge that they are thankful by saying you’re welcome. Other responses lessen the gratitude. It will also remind people to thank you and others more often.

5. If someone forgets a thank you, it’s ok to remind them, in a non passive aggressive way. If they haven’t said it, give them a moment or two. If they don’t, you can gently remind them. Do this by giving a simple and honest you’re welcome.

6. Make eye contact. Gratitude is taken more seriously and has more weight when you look someone in the eye, or at least in the general direction of their face when said.

7. Over use the words thank you and you’re welcome for a bit. The more you use them, the more natural it becomes. It’s also a great way to start a pay-it-forward chain. It’s amazing how much you can turn someone’s day around with gratitude.
The great part is, you’ll start to find how far please and thank you and you’re welcome and compliments will take you. Not to give away my secrets, but if you’re trying to get something or someone to help you, start by using a compliment or a thank you for whatever they’re already doing. It’s amazing how much appreciation greases the wheels!

Thank yous are needed and appreciated. Deep breaths and thank yous will take you far in life. Take a look around you. Say a general thank you to the positives in your life. Do this to whatever deity you do or don’t believe in. Even a thank you to yourself is a great thing.  Appreciate that you are who you are and where you have come.

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Thank you, Elizabeth for turning my head all of those years ago. Thank you to my parents for making me use please and thank you.

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Could your next date be at the grocery store?

I may be married, but that doesn’t mean people don’t ask me out. Yep, it’s true. I get hit on and receive phone number requests on the regular. In fact, I think I have had more this year than in the last two years I was single.  Don’t stop reading! I am not trying to brag and fluff my feathers. I know so far it doesn’t sound that way. But, stick with me here. I promise I will get to my point. My help for you my single readers.

I had often heard that my friends who were engaged or married felt they got hit on more when they were off the market then when they were on.  I am not going to tell you to go out and buy a fake engagement ring and walk around in hopes to get a date. I actually don’t think its the rings that are attracting these want-to-be-suitors.  It’s not the ring its the attitude.  Think about it.  A engaged or married person isn’t worrying about how they behave in public.  They don’t shy from a stranger smiling at them.  They have no problems excusing themselves to grab the cereal on the top shelf over someone else’s shoulder. Or making conversation.  They are not nervous about what a stranger might think of them.  They are just being themselves.  Being yourself, having fun and making eye contact are all things that attract someone to you and your personality.


Its not the ring, its the attitude.


I often find myself grocery shopping at the Whole Foods in West Hollywood.  For those of you not in LA, WeHo is not known for straight single men.  I have been asked out every trip I have been their this year.  Different guys (and a couple girls) each time.  It is flattering.  But, I thought to myself: what could be the cause for this?

I ran into a single friend of mine at another grocery store. As many of you know it’s impossible to get all your groceries from one store these days. She didn’t see me at first. But, before I could say hi I took a moment to just totally stalk her in the store. I wasn’t going to do it long but after a few isles I decided that this was an interesting experiment. Here she is a beautiful girl. In a store. With lots of people. Yet, she doesn’t see me someone whom if she was actually paying attention she would probably recognize from behind.

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She was eyeing the shelves, her phone and when people walked past her she gazed away.  Finally, I ended my stalking and just came up and scared the heck out of her. Hugged her and then told her to make eye contact with human beings more often.


Make eye contact with human beings more often.


Now, a couple years ago I heard that bananas in the top shelf of your cart was the universal signal for “I’m single” I do not know if this it true. But, who cares. Put anything in your grocery cart and walk around every isle making eye  contact. Stand tall. Instead of saying “I’m sorry” when you bump into a cart.  Say “Hi,” smile, and then go on about your shopping. There is no reason to apologize for being (see Clare’s I’m Sorry blog). Besides, that cart you bumped into could be Saturday’s coffee date.

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Face it, grocery shopping is a natural and necessary thing we do. Why pay an app, or spend even more time in front of a screen than you need to. It’s doing nothing for your posture. When’s the last time you had a decent date from one of those apps anyways?

Grab your grocery list and try it! Forgot something at the store. Perfect! An excuse to go back to the store this week, or a different store. Happy shopping.

Xx~LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo Credits: Christopher (grocery store), Daat (coffee mugs).  Both photos from Flikr Creative Commons.

How writing a novel made me a better person

A lot of personal growth gurus tell you that when you’re trying to be something you tell yourself you are that something to help you achieve your goals. Mind over matter. Fake it until you make it.  Honestly, that’s how I finished a manuscript for a book.

The path to writing a novel has been an interesting one. I have always been a storyteller: I had friends put on versions of fairy tales in my backyard when we were little; I studied theater in high school and college; I was on the school newspapers as a writer, and loved to take creative writing classes. I could give you many more facts to support that I like to tell stories—but I think you get it. The thing is, I just am a storyteller. It has always come naturally, and I love it. I also don’t understand it, can’t explain it, and am not good at owning it. I’m an actress—a damn good one—but its taken me years to be able to say that with conviction. Part of it is that I’ve not had thousands of glittering fans following me, and praise from teachers and critics. Part of it is that my storytelling talent is just as much a part of me as my arm, or my teeth, or my brain—its just there, I have cultivated and kept up its strength, but I don’t know that its really mine to take credit for because I’ve always had it. A creative outlet also helps my survival, so in a way, its like me taking a compliment on breathing….thank you…?

Anyway… the novel I’ve written started as an outlet, a way to breathe. I had a relationship that was very jagged in the way it ended. I needed to figure out a way to deal with my feelings of it, so I started journaling. After a few weeks of hearing myself only complain both on paper and to anyone who would listen, I got so tired of it. My journaling morphed into my writing letters, which morphed into a fictional version of myself writing letters to someone else at the end of a relationship—I felt very Chekovian at the time. From these letters a plot started to emerge about how this woman felt so deeply, and loved this man so deeply, but his depression got in the way. I just felt compelled to keep writing. I wrote on the subway every time I could get the chance. I would write until I fell asleep each night. I would wake up and write while I was making coffee and a few times while brushing my teeth.  Elizabeth Gilbert talks on her website about her thoughts on writing.  I’ve also heard her quoted to say that she sits down and just slogs though the work. I just wrote whenever the muse called, or whenever I could. Liz says on her page: “Your job is only to write your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest.”  I just kept writing.

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At this point it was all hand written, and I decided to sit down in front of the computer and see what happened… I had over 80 typed pages. WOW. By this time the muse had a hold of me, and I just kept writing. I started telling people that I was writing—and it was interesting, there were two reactions: 1) people were excited and couldn’t wait to read it, 2) people were inspired by me and were either going to start their own, or dust off the one they had already started and were going to work on their own.

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The more I told people, the more it became real. The more I became a writer. I sent pages off to friends who read it and couldn’t wait for more. I even started a Facebook page to keep myself honest and update everyone on the progress—because it became my main talking point.


The more I told people, the more it became real.


Life intervened and distracted me—truth be told, I don’t know if I was ready to complete a story then, I was sad, and the story needed a happy beginning. At some point LL and I sat down and decided to launch LiveClareLesley, first as a book, and then as a blog—and that took my writing down a different lane. I moved three times, and my storyteller was quelled by all of the theater I was performing. Then in June of this year I had a brainwave for a play. I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to start on the play until I had finished the novel.

And I did. I sat down, I slogged through it, and now I have a manuscript. I have done the research on self-publishing. I have a Facebook and a following. And now, I’m trying to get this sucker published with a GoFundMe campaign and donate if you can. Please go check it out and I will adore you if you like the book on Facebook, and post my GoFundMe on your own social media!

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But wait, there’s more! Ok, this blog wasn’t a commercial to help fund my book. Its about owning the talents you have and letting them come to the surface. I did not start out to write a novel, but I arrived at that. I’m proud of myself for continually sitting down to work on it and owning it. Here are some of my suggestions on how to get started:

  • If you feel the need to be creative and don’t know where to start, make a “bucket list” and a separate list of things that inspire you. What of those make you want to take action? Start to follow your inspirations and passions.
  • It sounds silly, but literally take a different route home—I always am happy when I do, because I see something or someone that I wouldn’t have normally.
  • Read. Nothing inspires me more than words and other stories.
  • Go see a play/movie/opera/concert. Get out and get some culture.
  • Just try something. If you feel inspired to write, just start writing. If you want to learn something new, sign up for a class. If you want to dance, go find a place to dance!
  • Remember the beginning is always slow, but you have to just slog through it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there eventually.
  • Tell your friends and family. Maybe they’ll want to join. Maybe they’ll support, or even better they’ll look at you like you’re crazy and ask why you’re doing it—which will reaffirm your desire to do it! They’ll also keep you honest, and remind you to keep doing it by asking you about your activity!

Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. No matter what you’ll try something new and you’ll learn something. I’ve been a reader for as long as I could read. I appreciate books so much more now that I’ve been through the process of writing one. No matter what happens, I’m a better person for having started writing this novel. I’m a better storyteller.

Go visit my Facebook page for The Time Turner,  and visit, donate, and repost my GoFund Me!

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo Credits:  Palo (writing on page), Go to the Eye (typewriter keys), Twentyfour Students (keyboard keys).  All photos are from Flikr Creative Commons.

How to Let It Go

I am lucky to work with people on a daily basis. Actually an hourly basis. I hear their joys, wows, and the dreaded “I can’t…” I don’t mind a good mental download. Sometimes you just have to unload.  But, how many times have you had the dame complaint? How many times have you complained about that today or this week?  Even worse or even how many years have you had the same complaint?

I have caught myself playing the complaint game, many times. Woe-ing over what is happening with a certain person, place, or thing.  Acting as if it is all happening to me, personally. That I have no control over any of it.  But, then the Universe, or Clare, or my Husband knock some good loving sense into me.  They help me see the big picture, or the other side to the story.  With this new adjusted view, I actually have to let go of said complaint and own my role in the situation.  When I step back I see that I have to then control my control-ables.

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I know, I just made that seem easy-peasy.  Truth… it’s not so easy to let go over the issue that is bothering you.  For example, a friend of mine years ago and I both worked together. He would complain on the daily and sometimes find me a few times in one day to complain about his job.  First, it was too easy, then too boring.  Then his company wanted him to do things he was uncomfortable with or he didn’t feel was in his job description.  Next, he would complain the job was suffocating him.  For months I had to listen to his complaining.  Until, one day I didn’t.

I grabbed his shoulders in a loving way.  Looked him in the eye and said: “This isn’t the only job in the world. If it’s not lighting your fire then go, find a job that does. But for heavens sake, and my ears, do not let another negative thing about your job come out of your mouth. You do not have to do this job.”

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He was shocked.  I was too.  It was the first time I took someone and was so direct; I could have lost our friendship all together.  Or worse, been head butted!Of course after this harsh reality check, I hugged him and told him I loved him no matter what. But, he is the only one who can make himself happy.  No job would.


You are the only one who can make you happy. 


A week later he had made a decision to leave the job.  It’s been 3 years since his decision and, I have to say, he looks happier with every year.  His last day he almost floated out to his car.  Did I miss working with my friend on the daily?  Yes.  But did I really miss the friend he was when he was working with me?  NOPE!  Our friendship is even better now.  He took ownership over his own life. He went on a path truer to him and his goals.

You can too!  I know you think it’s too late, too much money, or you’re too invested in the path you are on.  Go read Clare’s Blog on her feelings about the usage of the word “too.”  But seriously, we are living longer and longer these days.  Don’t you want to?  It’s been proven more times than Google has pages, that happier people live longer and healthier lives.  If you’re unhappy ask yourself why.  Then take changes to turn that frown upside down.

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If you’re job is causing you stress, angst, displeasure:

  • What exactly is the stressor?
  • Can you pinpoint it?  Narrow it down to one or two or three things.
  • If its your commute then you don’t need to change your job.  Change the commute or how you spend time commuting.
  • If it’s your co-deskmate ask you boss to switch your desk, or invest in the top of the line headphones and rock on (or not but let people think you are).
  • Boss…what about your boss? Is it how they talk to you? How they treat you? Or just that you have a boss?  If it’s how they talk to you go to HR. Or have a meeting with them, and politely express how they are making you feel. Bosses can often change too. If you just don’t like working for a boss then take the steps to work for yourself!

If the stress is coming from a relationship with a friend, family member, or significant other, figure out:

  • Is it how they treat you?  Just be straight up.  Tell them: When you say or do this _______ it makes me feel like this______.  If they don’t get it, understand what you’re saying, or refuse to change, then you can remove yourself from the situation for a time period.
  • Is it how they treat themselves.  Tell them!  Seriously, people put themselves down all the time and it can be so hard to stand next to that. What kind of friend are we if we don’t help them see how awesome they are!

Maybe it’s your home, apartment or car:

  • What exactly is it about your abode that you don’t like?  If you really sit down and think about it, maybe a new rug or lamp will fix the inside.  Or a quick search online you might find your perfect haven.  If the problem is larger, work out what you might need to do to fix your frustration with your living situation.   Sitting around complaining about it and doing nothing to change it seems pretty silly don’t you think?  Unless you do something to change your situation, nothing will change.

If something is bothering you, or you hear yourself on repeat, figure out exactly what is the bother. Narrow it down. Then, ask yourself if it’s something you can fix or if you need to make a get away plan.  You are (or should be) the conductor of your train. Take back the control. Stop relinquishing it by blaming another person, place or thing. Go and do!

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I am currently taking steps to rid a complaint from my life. The moment I made my game plan the moment a felt a huge weight off my shoulders and have found excess time in my busy schedule. I want that for each of you. Please feel free to share your experiences with Clare and me, either in the comments, or email us.  We’d love to help you rid that woe.

Xx~LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo Credits: Alan Cleaver (stress eraser), Bernard Goldbach (eggs), !unite (strongman).