What If….

It’s hard to believe that just a little over 2 years ago, to ‘walk’ into the grocery store from the parking lot would take me about 45 minutes, and when I entered inside the store doors, I was panting so hard you would think I just ran a marathon.

The reality was, it felt like a marathon and to make that kind of a ‘trek’ took all my effort, my focus, determination and grit to place one foot in front of the other and motor my way in.What If...

See, I have been living with a severe traumatic brain injury for 3o years, only we didn’t know it.

A few years ago, I lost my mobility, speech, many memories, many day to day motor skills and finer functions of my internal organs.  Taking that trek into the grocery store, where the lights, sounds, smells, movements and ever changing positions of placement of things on the shelves, would overwhelm my brain.   To ‘handle’ the sensory input, things didn’t work right.

With the internet, this time around (it was my 3rd time with lack of mobility and motor functions)- I was able to figure out that I had a brain injury. A very bad one.  (How it went so long without knowing it is a different story. In fact, I’m writing a full book about it).

Finally understanding what the cause of my mobility issues was, I then found the right kind of doctors to reprogram my brain. Literally.

Two years ago,  I was slowly regaining use of my ‘parts’ again, but every day took courage. Focus. Determination.

Today, I just walked a 7 mile hike.

The skilled hikers I trekked with this time did not even know I had a brain injury.  There’s still many things I have to prepare for when taking on new adventures, and those things help my brain handle better the things that still can overload my senses.

What really hit me out on the trails was the drastic change of my abilities in these past few years.  To do this kind of a hike was pretty powerful and a testimony to the importance of ‘going for it no matter what.’

I have always loved to walk. When I was young I would always go hike in the hills and forest.  I’ve never actually ‘hiked’ with a group of people though. Last week I decided to just go do it.

These past 30+ years have been filled with opportunities to give up.  But I didn’t.  It really started with a choice.

Even during the first two ‘season’s of my loss of mobility, without a correct diagnosis as to ‘why’ this stuff was happening… My choice was this: either succumb to what the doctors say (they said I had MS  over and over… even though every test came back negative).. or overcome my circumstances by finding a different option.

My options of choice was between:  give up- or do what ever it takes to be ‘normal’.  Or in my case, my choice was to be better than normal.

I wanted to be 100% completely recovered, healthy, vibrant, strong, powerful and able to do what ever I put my mind to. This past year, I’m living that decision and it’s really cool.

Trust me. There were dark days. Many.

Many hours of prayer. Crying, frustration.  Hurt, pain, discomfort.

I am so thankful to God that He put a vision in my head, and in my heart. He kept that vision alive. He revealed to me an image of myself that was at a healthy weight (I was 80 lbs overweight the 2nd time I lost my mobility).  He showed me doing things I had never been able to do.  He lit a flame in my heart that let me know THAT was what life could be. It was my  WHAT IF.

What if you had the life YOU always wanted?

What would it look like?

What would it feel like?

What would you do if money and time we no object?

What is keeping you from living that life NOW?

You DESERVE to live an amazing life.  You can HAVE IT.  BUT…it takes a choice.  YOUR CHOICE.   Making a change to live the life you want can be scary. But, what if… there was someone there who has walked in your shoes to guide you?  What if you had an advocate to cheer for you, champion you, kick you in the butt and hold you accountable to YOUR dreams when you need it.

If you knew that person existed.. and was willing to support you along your journey to a life filled with passion, achieving goals (no matter how big or small). Would you take action and reach out to connect with that person?

I hope so.  For many, I’ve become that person.  The door is open to you too.

What goals do you want to achieve?

What obstacles do you need to triumph over?

Are you ready to take action?

Connect with me. Let’s talk.

You CAN live your What if Dream.  But it starts with you to make a choice to do so.

Here’s to talking with you soon!
Debbra

 

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Lead Yourself, Lead Others, Lead the Leaders: Little Known Factors That Could Affect Your Leadership Results

This is a saying I’ve vocalized for many years.

This is more than just a focused statement for me.  It’s a value based approach I’ve lived for many years now.  “Lead Yourself, Lead Others, Lead the Leaders.”Lead Yourself Debbra Sweet 1

I first introduced this statement in the first version of  “The Power of Leadership in Business Networking”.

Initially, this theme was just a chapter in the book. I was talking about how to really be a leader when you are networking. In that approach to building your business, there really is a flow to how a person builds credibility in order to get referrals.

Over the last few years however, I have really come to understand the depth of this statement. In all aspects of our life, if we are truly going to be our best, walk with integrity of body, mind and self; if we are to live a balanced, fulfilled life, understanding the importance of this ‘flow of leadership’ is important.

I personally believe that the majority of people in our country are living a life that is not in true harmony between their inner self and their outer self. Too many people are living under a shield of ‘survival’ without knowing it.  Their inner self yearns for one type of life, yet their outer self resides in a world, a way of living, based on other people’s beliefs and values.

How do I know this? I lived that way for years too.  I have also learned how to let go of other people’s beliefs for me – and learn to embrace what are really my core beliefs, value systems and vision for my businesses, my life. Now I love to help others make that same transformation.

Mind you, I recognize that not every single person experiences this disconnect. I have met people who are blessed from a very young age to know who they are, know what they were born to do, and have had a support system around them to help make that happen. I love meeting people like this because it gives me a different perspective about life.

However, in my world, the majority of the people I coach, teach, consult with, are not in alignment. They struggle with things like: lack of health, (too much weight, too many meds, and increasing health issues due to their body being out of balance.).  I work with people who had a vision for themselves, but gave it up to the dreams and input of others around them.  Then there are others who are visionary, and always on the go- but are not sure how to create a team around them to make their vision a reality. They are great at doing, but not clear on how to inspire others to do the same.

In all these situations, the mindset (mantra? value system? concept?) of Lead yourself, Lead Others, Lead Leaders comes into play.

Whether your life is out of balance with your physicals (your body), your way of thinking or perceiving things (mind), and in your day to day profession (business)- the way to make a change that is lasting is to first slow down and make the commitment to: Lead Yourself.

What area(s) in your life need to get into a state of balance and vitality first? 

Do you lack health? You know you do if you are overweight, have many health symptoms and are unable to operate at peak performance. All these ‘symptoms’ are  ‘tells’ from your body that it needs attention from you.  To be your best for others, you must be your best for yourself first.

How you think affects all you do. This is a deep subject (One I’ve written about before), and will write about again. Your thinking encompasses more than just your day to day conscious thoughts. It gets into the deep, stored thoughts, beliefs and ideas you may not even recognize are the filters of your thinking.  Your thoughts dictate your actions, words and choices.

To lead yourself, not only might you need to change habits that relate to your physicals, but you might need to change your habits of your thinking.

Yes, this is not always easy or comfortable- but the outcome, the benefit of taking the time to learn to lead yourself so you live a life that is full of vitality, optimal health, resonate with an inner peace that shows in all your actions, words and outcomes- is worth every step of growth and temporary discomfort you may feel when letting go of old habits and beliefs.

To lead yourself takes time. The good news is: for lasting results, if you have the right kind of support in your life, you can experience a transformation wherein the journey is just as rewarding as arriving at the end destination.

When you understand and experience how to make changes in how you live, you then can inspire others. You begin to lead others – often as simple as them watching you.  When your thoughts, words and actions are in alignment; and when your inner and outer you are aligned- the power of you choices and way you present yourself each day- is remarkably motivating for others to do the same.

Finally, you can reach a point of leading leaders if you so choose.

I do my best to live in a state of integrity of the inner and outer me, aligned with my vision and values. I do not claim to be the expert that knows everything, but I do coach, teach and train from a place of experiential compassion, understanding and patience.  Along my journey I’ve discovered tools, systems and resources that can help you thrive in Body, Mind and Business.

What area in your life or profession would benefit by improving your thoughts, actions, words?

  • Do you seek optimal health (without drugs, deprivation, ‘dieting’?) If so, let’s talk. 
  • Do you seek to be a better leader in your life or business? If so, let’s talk.
  • Are you already leading and you want to improve results with your time and efforts in your business so that you are more profitable and have more money? If so, let’s talk.

As we delve into how to be a leader when networking, the real depth of understanding of “Lead Yourself, Lead Others, Lead Leaders” will be revealed.

 

20 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

As we kick of this year of 2015, I thought I would share a few ‘unknown’ tidbits about myself.   The past couple years as I’ve finished rehabilitating from my severe traumatic brain injury, I’ve not publicly blogged much.  Offline, I have been writing and documenting my journey. (There’s much to share.)

The best leaders are transparent- so the sharing below, simply thought, would be fun to let you know some trivia about 20 thingsmyself.

1. First thing I ever really wanted to do when I ‘grew up’ was to be a dancer. Ended up being a musician instead.

2. First boy I kissed had the last name of Love. I married a man with a last name of Sweet.

3. Fall is my favorite time of the year.

4. I delivered both of my babies all naturally- no drugs at all.

5. I’ve raised both of my boys without drugs (western medicine)– and have been teaching them how to live healthfully off of food and natural herbs for ‘medicine’.

6. The first time I sat on a motorcycle was when I was 8. My mom’s cousin sat me on his bike and I fell in love with them then. Pined for my own for years. Would never dare tell mom & dad because ‘girls don’t do that sort of thing’. Had many guy friends who were totally cool and would give me rides on their bikes. Then I met my hubby – and within a month he was teaching me how to ride his bike. He sold one of his and bought one for me.

7. I’m actually very ‘Martha Stewarty’. I cook from scratch, make my own hair care products, I love to sew (and am actually pretty good at it), love doing arts and crafts and am still learning how to garden organically in CA soil/weather.

8. Starting in1997 I began studying to become a Naturopathic Doctor. Finished my Master of Holistic Healing Program, am certified as an Herb Specialist, Certified Health Coach, along with having certification to be a personal trainer. I’ve studied Iridology and Kinesiology too. I still want to finish some schooling for this subject matter.

9. I was a music performance major in college. However, I started later than all my school friends. When I first started playing Saxophone, the adults would not give me the whole instrument. I only got the mouthpiece. Once I learned how to play that (yes, there is a technique I had to learn) they gave me my whole sax.

10. I love to travel. When I was young (and single) I took many spontaneous road trips. I’ve been to 40 of the 50 United States. Have been to parts of Canada and Mexico. Time to go to the other side of the globe. To many, my move to Cali was one of those ‘spontaneous’ decisions. On the outside it looked like that- took 2 seconds to decide. What people didn’t know is I had decided on 1984 to move here. One day in August of 1989 I jumped in my car with 2 suitcases, my bicycle, sax and a box of personal records and made the road trip by myself to San Diego. Was a fantastic road trip and I would do it again.

11. In high school one of my creative writing teachers failed me. Said I didn’t know how to write. I have been published as an author 9 times. One of the books I am published in is still on the NY Times Best Selling list.

12. I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. I learned to train my brain years ago how to do this.

13. I appreciate technology and use it for business, but personally I still do not have a:, ipad, mp3 player, or other new ‘tech gadgets’.

14.The first time I ever saw Star Wars was when I met my hubby in 1991.

15. I have an eclectic personality and have many traits from my dad’s side of the family. When I was younger I would describe myself as a bit ‘Bohemian’. After researching on Ancestory.com, discovered my great grandmother (from my dads side) was actually born in what we now call Bohemia.

16. I have double jointed pinky fingers, growing up I could not run. Now that we’ve reprogrammed my brain, I can.

17. I was invited to be a founding member of the SoCal Transformational Leadership Counsel. This is a sub group of the International Transformational Leadership Counsel, which is made up of the worlds top thought leaders of today. In my entire career, I have never actively sought a position of management or ‘leadership’. It just always showed up – often quickly. After being frustrated with that for many years, through wise counsel of others, I realize that it happens because I am wired for it and many say I am good at leading. I accept this role with humility and a great sense of dedication to those I lead. It is my heart to always do my best, lead with authenticity, integrity and to do what I can to help others succeed.

18. I’ve been accused of being a racist. To those who know me, know, that in fact, I used to get in a lot of trouble because I had ‘too many friends’ of a variety of ethnicities. Ever since I was in kindergarten, I knew that skin color did not matter. (In my kindergarten we had the first little black boy in school. All of us students were basically white. The little boy was always sitting next to me. The principal told us we were to treat him no different than anyone else. I was intrigued by him and got to know him a bit. One day he had a cold. His nose was drippy. I remember thinking to myself “He has green boogers when he’s sick … just like me.” From that moment on I knew his skin color did not matter- we were all the same on the inside.)

What did and does matter was (is) your heart and attitude. I have many people who have entered my life that come from a wide variety of backgrounds, age, circumstances, ethnicity’s, cultural beliefs and positions in life. What always was, and is, most important to me is: your attitude and your heart. Are you meek and open to growth for betterment of your life and that of others, or… are you arrogant, egocentric and closed off to learning? Personally, I am a mutt. I do not know my true ethnic make up. I do know though that I am always intrigued by human capital and growth potential. I do my best to remain humble in all circumstances so that I can be there to enjoy the lessons in life I can learn by meeting people from all over.

19. I do not get star struck by people of influence or ‘authority’. I’ve met many celebrities and people who have ‘power’ in a variety of ways. We all eat, sleep and poop the same. That there… levels the playing field. We are all just people. What you do for your career is not a ‘nasash’ for me. Having been with celebrities behind the scenes many times over, they all have the same inner struggles and questions as the rest of us. They are often appreciative of the fact I see them for who they are, not for their celebrity.

20. I used to be a bit afraid of guns. The day I had a gun pulled to my head – literally- I realized I did not have to be afraid. That day was one of those life changing moments and I am thankful I was able to remain calm and collected during the circumstances.

Bonus: I get nervous about odd things. When it comes to being on stage, in the public eye, or taking charge in emergency situations, I am very calm, level headed and collected.

There are many more things about me that I have yet to ‘reveal’. That will come with time. My passion is to help others discover who they really are, and give them the support, tools, and training so they can align for maximum abundance in their body, mind and business.

To learn more about me and what I do, visit: www.DebbraSweet.com, www.ThriveRightConsulting.com and www.SweetMarketingSolutions.com

Here’s to the start of a Magnificent New Year!

Debbra Sweet

The Rouse of the Rooster- Insights to Discipline in Leadership

When I get up, which often is in the wee hours of the morning, before the sun rises, I can hear the roosters in my 220px-Rooster_portrait2neighborhood doing their job of crowing.

It is interesting to me to hear them so proudly and fervently sing their rooster songs each morning. They are consistent and passionate about their crowing. It reminds me of how to continue to bring passion, commitment and consistency to everything we do as a leader.

One of the things that always impresses me when I hear them crowing in the mornings that it doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside. Whether it’s sunny and hot or rainy and cold the same roosters, every single morning, do their job and do it with excellence.

As humans we can learn a little bit about discipline from these roosters.

The job of the rooster is to protect the flock, and he takes the lead in doing so each morning by crowing.

The rooster is often portrayed as crowing at the break of dawn (“cock-a-doodle-doo”). He can often be seen sitting on fence posts or other objects, where he crows to proclaim his territory

The role of the rooster in animal husbandry has a long and illustrious history from the guardian of the back yard flock to the fighting cocks center ring.

Aristotle called the rooster alektora and sang its praises along with the likes of Theocritus, Pliny, Varro, and Aldrovandi (Lind1963). The rooster holds a time-honored place in the small flock, protecting the hens, announcing the day, and ensuring the next generation.

As leaders, one of the ways we can learn is by paying attention to some of our surroundings. Nature inherently prepared plants, animals and humans to have an instinct for leadership roles and hierarchy.

The discipline of how these roosters crow in the morning is a great example of how we, as leaders, can be approach our role of serving others and leadership daily.

Do you rise each morning with the mindset to announce the new day, care and protect those you are responsible for, and do things to ensure the succession of your leadership when the time is right?

Leadership takes discipline. It takes commitment to one’s self to improve. It takes courage to rise up each day and take the helm of your leadership role, regardless of the weather or how you feel.

There are about 5 different roosters in my neighborhood and each has its own call, it’s own ‘voice’. Two of them nearest me have very distinct crows. For the most part, one of them has a very dominant and confident sound. Yet, there are some days where I hear him crow in the morning hours and I think he may be sleepy or a bit under the weather as his sound is not quite as crisp or commanding. However, he still follows through each day.

The other rooster I hear has a bit of a funny, ‘broken’ crow. His song is not as smooth and flowy from start to finish like the first one. He has a stutter in a couple of places. That does not matter to him – or his flock. He too, each morning calls out with his crow and takes his place as the protector of his flock.

Both of these roosters are also there to make sure that the clutch of hens are profitable and successful in producing eggs and future little leaders.  🙂

As we venture into 2013, it is the time for more leaders to take upon their shoulders the ability to be disciplined with the same type of commitment to protect and ensure the success of the people that they serve.

Remember, leadership starts with yourself, then leading your family and then leading others at work and in the community.

In this day and age, many our so-called leaders seem to be practicing more leadership by simply fluffing up their feathers- and thinking that is good enough. It’s not. Vain puffery from the outside is short lived. The true leaders will be willing to be disciplined to rise early, announce the day, declare their protection of their flock- and then do what is needed to ensure the success of those they serve now and for future generations.

When you arise tomorrow, ask yourself, do you lead with vain puffery, or are you sounding your call of leadership with actions that denote confidence, provide security and ensuring opportunities for those you lead to grow?

What action steps can you take today to be a better leader tomorrow?

Debbra Sweet

Author & Speaker of  “The Power of Leadership”

Word of the Year 2013: Discipline

Each year, I seem to identify with a specific word or a specific phrase that becomes my personal mantra Discipline2for the year.

It’s not so much that this is a mantra, it is more like a focal point that ties in with personal, business and spiritual goals I have for the year.

This year’s word is discipline.

When most people hear the word discipline the first thing that they tend to think about or recall is being disciplined or reprimanded by a parent or an authority figure.

Discipline by dictionary definition is:

1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
6. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
7. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
8. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.
Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English < Anglo-French < Latin disciplīna instruction, tuition, equivalent to discipul ( us ) disciple + -ina -ine2

The choice of the word discipline as my word for 2013 has to do with the discipline required to stick to commitment.

Diligence brings about the discipline to be able to focus and to ignore or remove distractions when needing to stay on purpose and on point.

In this case the discipline is not a harsh word.

In fact, discipline is one of the key things you will find that is a personal core value or personal attribute  in most successful people.

And by successful people –I am not talking just about financially successful people. I am referencing people who have often overcome hardships in the life, as well as people who have decided to stick to the commitments they made-whether big or small.

As we kick off 2013-I ask you: What resolutions, commitments or goals have you made?

What do you need to do or change to give yourself the space, time, effort and energy to be disciplined and follow through on those things?

For me, this is a year of Quantum Growth. The foundations have been laid for many years. Now we build and launch. 🙂

Here’s to discipline– and seeing new big growth goals come to pass!

Debbra Sweet 

Life Under the Brim- Part 2: Perspective.

As I continue to experience life from underneath the brim of wearing hats, it is interesting to see the literal change of perspective that occurs by simply placing the hat on. Each hat style, shape, color and even materialhats they are made from effects my field of view.

The hats I had to wear over the summer had to have wide brims that not only cover the front of my view, but also need to have brims that can cover my peripheral vision at times too. The summer sun was very intense and the rays reflected off many things that we are often not even aware hit the eye. (So Cal drivers have very clean cars with lots of chrome. )  Those summer rays of sun would quickly bounce and come up underneath my brim and sun glasses to leave an imprint on my brain.

In fall I changed to wide brim felt and wool hats. The hats provided extra warmth during cool mornings, and good coverage of lights through out the day.

Now that we are into winter, my hats have been more page boy in style. Comfy with a brim. I am indoors more and do not have to have all the full coverage like I did in the summer sun.

My life under the brim the past months has created an interesting observation of how the focal point of our perspective can quickly change as easily as changing a hat.

I’ve always known about managing and protecting your input. One of the first things you learn along the journey of self improvement and personal development is to pay attention to what you open yourself up to as far as input goes. This means tv, radio, books, people you work with, people you socialize with. There’s a computer concept known as garbage in, garbage out. If you put garbage into the computer (as far as technology, coding, etc goes)- what it produces is also garbage. There’s the old adage called ‘stinkin thinkin’.
What you focus on is what you get.

Focus on negative – and you will attract negative. Focus on positive, you will attract positive.

The relationship of my insight on how the perspective of our visual input changes with each change of a hat is here: when you manage, limit or protect your daily input- starting with your eyes, you can laser focus on what you want, what you need- and can really start to understand the depth of just how MUCH impact what you SEE really has on your thought patterns.

Day to day, our eyes, minds, and thoughts are bombarded with images that are picked up by the brain both consciously and subconsciously. The filtering our brain does is incredible! When we go out with the hustle and bustle of the day, we are unaware of the magnitude of the volume of input we receive.

This deluge of input actually does desensitize our conscious awareness to all the things around us. It is an interesting thought perspective: when we have complete exposure to al things around us, we actually perceive less.

When we readjust our input –and often narrow our focus and field of vision- we actually perceive more. That is what happens when you don a hat.

Since I’ve had my ‘filters turned off’ since the summer – because of a physical situation related to my eyes – it has been Amazing at just how MUCH information our eyes process. It’s amazing how many things imprint on our mind that were are never really aware of.

During your journey for betterment in your life and business, I encourage you to consider your filters. Is your vision so wide and open to everything that you are not able to see the finer details that could be holding you back from being your best?

If so, try a simple thing: find a hat with a brim and wear it for a while. You may discover too that your attitude is a bit different. Other people’s attitudes towards you will be different. What you focus on may be less- but it will be with clarity. You may slow down just a bit to enjoy more of what you see, feel, do and perceive.

Enjoy your journey and discovering new perspectives!

Debbra Sweet

Life Beneath the Brim- the Tip of Respect

This summer I had to start wearing hats is part of my daily wardrobe. I’ve enjoyed many observations from beneath the Brim. Beneath the Brim  Today’s post is part one of my sharing.

When I was younger I used to wear hats from time to time by choice. I had different styles and most of them were elegant ladies hats that you would wear for special occasions.

I never really looked quite right in a baseball cap when I was younger due to the style and haircut I had. My ears would stick out a bit so I never really wore them. The ladies hats with wider brims tended to look better.

I recall that I always had fun when I wore those hats.  There was something about covering up like that made you walk a little different.  Being one who never really was concerned about ‘fitting in’ it didn’t really bother me that when I wore those hats I often was the only person in town wearing them.  My purpose in adding them to my wardrobe at that time was purely for fun and to add a polished look to the ensemble I was wearing.

My favorite hat was a cobalt blue, wide brimmed, felt hat that had a scarf attached underneath. The scarf would gracefully hang around the face and tie under the chin.  This part of the hat was made at the same cobalt blue material. It was very elegant and every time I donned this hat,  it was almost like a throwback to the 1940s when women would take the time to attentively dress for their daily activities.

Currently my reason for wearing hats is not just fashion related. I am dealing with a slight personal medical condition where my eyes are not excepting light the way they normally would. 

I have not actually owned a real hat collection in many years, but lately I’ve had to develop a small one.  Most of the hats I am wearing are definitely wide brimmed as I need extra coverage to protect the light from hitting my eyes.

My hairstyle has changed since I was younger so I actually own a couple of female style baseball caps. I can wear these from time to time if it’s not too bright out.

What has been interesting about wearing hats every day for the last few months is the observations I have had when other people see me when I am in public.

Here in the San Diego area it’s a pretty big deal for ladies to wear amazing hats – especially in the summer. There is a tradition at the Delmar racetrack where on opening day of the races- it’s hat day. Women adorn themselves with the most outrageous hats in hopes of garnering recognition for the best hat.

We are not too far south of Los Angeles- where many stars are currently sporting a variety of hats. Most of those hats are fedora style – trading a bit more of a ‘boyfriend casual look’ instead of the wide brimmed hats you see at the races. Both females and males can be seen in fedora style hats.  It is rare to see others wearing wide brim hats after the Delmar race season is over.

I however, still am.

The conversations that start because of my hats and the looks I receive and can see from under the brim are very interesting.

Most of the time, what I observe from underneath the Brim, are surprisingly pleasant smiles.  In fact, it is very interesting how many people genuinely will smile and even engage in a conversation when they see somebody wearing a wide brimmed hat.

(I do not believe that their pleasantries are because I’m smiling- because quite often when I’m wearing these hats and I’m out and about- I am experiencing a very uncomfortable physical state so I’m not smiling all the time.)

When I first started wearing these hats in front of people who have known me for years- the reactions were incredible and very intriguing. Since I do not live to receive attention from drama, I have been very private about my situation so most of my colleagues have bee unaware of my physical condition. 

Their reaction was always the same though. There’s quite a wow factor in their voice with many comments about how awesome the hat and the ensemble is.  ( I have chosen to add a few colorful and fun wide brim hats to my wardrobe so that when I am out in public, and in a professional setting, that the hat does appear to be a fashion statement- and not a coping mechanism for my eyes.) 

On top of that many more people approach me to say hello-and it at a the smiles are always very genuine.

In San Diego, the cultures of our locals are not typically like that.  People out here often avoid looking at others straight in the eye during their daily activities. There’s so much hustle and bustle that you take the time to genuinely engage in even a brief conversation while looking at the other person straight in the eye, is not often encountered.

Many locals in San Diego present themselves in a guarded way and they’re very self centric in their thoughts and actions with even the most simple things. They don’t seem to mind being amongst a larger population, but to slow down and engage in social graces – a most people will not take the time to do that.

I know from my travels but in smaller towns around our country, it is still common to have ‘everyone know everyone’ so their mindset and interactions are a little bit different. People in smaller towns will still take the time to say hello.

This consistent observation of how people have been treating me and being on the receiving end of the smiles- made me want to research a bit about how the protocol of hat wearing by ladies and gentlemen of yesteryear came to be. I was curious to find out social mindsets and reactions were the same back then as what I’ve been experiencing now.

I was curious to find out why the wearing of a hat like this would cause more people to smile, approach you and say hello. 

My research didn’t answer that question- but it did give me a lot of insight as to the how, the what, the why or the when of hat wearing.  In today’s more casual world, our recent generations seems to have never been taught the protocols and almost ‘language’ conveyed towards one another when wearing hats amongst peers.

Without going into the whole history here, the one thing I will share, regardless of what style hat you wore and whether you were a male or female- was that wearing a hat – and how you interacted with your hat – clearly communicated your respect (or lack thereof) towards another person.

Part of how this was communicated was tied to an action of tipping the hat. When a hat was tipped,  the style of hat, whether you were indoors or outside, in a public place or a private home, and whether the person you encountered was an established relationship or a stranger- how you tipped your hat, (or if you did not) was a way of delivering  respect (or lack thereof).

Giving respect to others is a core value attribute that many people today have forgotten.

Unfortunately, many people who live in the United States have come to adopt a mindset in an attitude of entitlement.

They have a ‘takers take’ attitude which is delivered with a lack of respect towards others- yet they expect to receive social graces and respect.  This clearly is a breakdown in our system of human interaction.  Teaching core values begins with observing and living by them individually, and then carrying on the tradition of good core values and ethics within the family unit. 

Leaders today and leaders of tomorrow- would see better results in their efforts if they were to start speaking with more respect towards others.   It is time for us as individuals to start walking more transparently- with respect as of the hats we wear.

Respect should be part of our daily wardrobe, and method of communication.  

If you don a hat of respect each and every day because you choose to- and then approach others with a genuine smile, because you choose to, think about the change you might see and experience in your day to day inter actions of others.

To have had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of unexpected genuine smiles – has been refreshing. It lets me know that there is still a human element out there were people do care about others. 

If more of us took the time and made an honest effort of giving out respect to others- without any expectation of return- more people would walk with genuine leadership. They would be the one giving respect, and then inspire others to do the same.

I encourage you today to gracefully cover yourself with the hat of respect, and tip it towards those around you that you interact with and see how what you give out brings back to you.

Debbra Sweet