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We are making Volunteering easy, fun, and COOL! We're putting a freaking dent in the Universe by increasing Volunteerism throughout the world by ten-fold (NOT a typo, yo).

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Never Mind All of This...I just Want to Be a Joe!

Learned Compassion from Down Syndrome

I'm at lunch right now, and I just saw a somewhat "disabled," person being led in through the restaurant. It looks like her sister is helping her, taking her hand and keeping a shepherding hand on her back as they sit down.

I see it, and take it ALL in. I see the obvious care and love of the sister. I see that it's a little more difficult to get around. I see the stares of the other people in the restaurant. And I see the sister's SMILE. She's happy to be here, and happy to help her sister.

I think about the time they must've spent at therapy together. I think of the conversations the family must have had about her well-being, about how she is supposed to be cared for each day. I deeply feel all of this just with a quick look and a shared understanding.

...and I'm nearly overcome with compassion.

I want to hug them both, and let them know that I UNDERSTAND and appreciate their struggles. I want to help them in some way. I resist the urge to ask for a hug (as that's a little weird, I get it).

And, it then hits me: I haven't always possessed this kind of compassionand care. I mean, I've always been a "nice," guy. I want the best for most everyone--but I don't know that this flood of emotions over seeing this would be possible if it hadn't been for the Little Man pictured right here.

He is such a HUGE blessing! It's almost beyond my ability to express how much he has changed the heart of our entire family--and probably many more people that know him and his story.

We didn't wish for a child with Down Syndrome. We didn't know about these super powers that were granted with his entrance into the world.

The Source of Some Learned Compassion, The Amazing Alec...

The Source of Some Learned Compassion, The Amazing Alec...

We just didn't know--because if we did know, we'd want this blessing not just for us, but for every human on the planet.

 

The LIGHTS versus the DIMS.

"This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine." 

It's US versus THEM.

I've come to realize that there are two types of people in life, and we'll call them the LIGHTS and the DIMS. I woke up thinking about those terms exactly, so I'm hoping it's an original thought and not a repressed memory that's coming to mind. Anyways, I digress.

I think the terms explain the people very well.

The "Lights," are the people that you enjoy when they walk into the room. They radiate happiness. They're funny. They're kind. They have a certain twinkle in their eye, and you just feel good around them. In a metaphysical sense, they GIVE energy. You, and most other people feel better in their presence than without them near. I think you know what I mean, but we'll talk a little more about these people in a bit.

The "Dims,"--I bet you already know intuitively what I'm going to say...they drain you. They tend to complain, and tell you how something can't be done. They're quick to point out the bad things in life. They'll explain in painful detail how they were unable to sleep well last night, and how the government is screwing us all over (well, they might be right about that one...but you don't need to go around telling everyone about it). They tend to be moochers. Asking for more than they give on a regular basis. I just came up with the term, and there's no clinical definition for a Dim...but I'm sure that you get the idea.

The terms are nouns that describe what each of the two are. But they're also verbs. Light and dim, to explain what they DO.

You're either one or the other. 

Now, a Light can have bad days and get down, maybe say some wrong things or have a bad attitude occasionally--but they return to their glorious selves soon.

The dims can also have good days. But we all know that they'll get back to themselves...the cranky, pessimistic, somewhat cynical nature they exude, as well.

THE DAILY STRUGGLE

Here's the thing: there is a daily battle over who wins the day. The "good" guys or the "bad." We may not know that there's a battle, and that's the purpose of what I'm writing here--oh, but it IS there. It's always happening whether we choose to admit it, or not.

When your coworker gossips about someone (a clear sign of being a, "Dim"), a shot is fired. The entire energy and the light of a situation is under siege at that very moment, and it is up to the Lights among us to say a kind word, diffuse the situation, or at least leave the temporary darkness caused by the action...or they too can be sucked into the negativity, and allow the Dim to take the battle.

Sometimes, unless consciously caught, very good people can unknowingly become a Dim. It can be the default when you're surrounded by a world of negativity.

But, then there are the LIGHTS.

They speak highly of other people. They talk about the things that make them and others happy. They find the GOOD in nearly every situation. They're able to lift everyone with a few well chosen words, or the easy smile on their faces.

The light of God (or the Universe, if you're particular about that) shines through these people. It's an inner light that's ALLOWED to shine, and the mundane and worldly things are inadequate to stop that blessed brightness. Honestly, the light isn't OF us, it's THROUGH us, if that makes any sense. We're a conduit from a higher power when we are Lights.

In our highest and best forms, God is shown through our actions. That is what it means to be a Light.

HOW TO WIN

Be Vigilant: The knowledge that there is a war is the first step in actually winning this daily struggle. I hope the words on this glowing screen help with that. So, be vigilant. KNOW that you are one or the other, and allow your light to show. Stand guard at the door of your mind, and keep the negative thoughts from affecting how you act, and how you treat yourself and others (we often beat ourselves up, even as Lights--you wouldn't stand for someone doing that to your friend, so don't put up with it from yourself). 

Know When to Retreat: There is a natural tendency for the dark to pull down the light. Especially if the Dims outnumber you. Sometimes it's best to leave a situation than to let them suck you into the negative realm of complaints and cynicism. Retreat to fight again elsewhere. Sometimes people can be helped, and it's actually our DUTY, as a Light to try and help them. However, we need to know when they are sapping our power and winning the match. You're not going to be able to help others if you're in a bad mood and in a poor state of mind. It's the ole' oxygen mask thing: make sure your oxygen mask is on before you try to help someone else with their oxygen mask...otherwise you both die. In this case, you'll both be a Dim that day. So, know when it happens.

Recruit Help: Be encouraging to other people. Show kindness in everyday situations. Whenever you interact with ANYONE else, you have a chance to be kind, and to score another victory for the Lights. When you're kind to someone, they will feel that, and it makes them more likely to go out and be a Light themselves. So, smile. And maybe more importantly, give that smile to someone else, and get help in winning the day. THIS is where the battle is fought and won. It's during your everyday interactions with others...and actually, in the way you interact with yourself. Be uplifting. If you have a chance to say something that will make someone feel good, why would you keep that to yourself?

Find a way to Serve: Get out of your own head and sometimes self-sabotaging thoughts, and instead focus on others. It's our highest calling as a human being. You can ALWAYS help someone else. Sometimes, it's as simple as a caring look to someone else. A hug. A text letting someone know that you're grateful for them. How much time and effort does that take? But, when you do that, it's a strike against the Dims of the world. It helps others, and makes the world a better place...and fundamentally, isn't that why we're HERE, why we EXIST in the first place?

I hope this helps. Today, if you can--look around you. Really observe these human souls and see which side each is playing for by their actions. Then, fully knowing and conscious in the moment, choose to be a Light.

 

 

It's Actually Happening...

Here is an excerpt from an email sent to our App Development Team this morning. It's a little bit, "Behind the scenes," but we want you to see and feel what is actually happening with this little idea that's about to change the world!



Howdy!

I'm sorry that it's been a while since we've spoken, but it's been a little crazy! I'm happy to report that we were successful in our crowd funding efforts, and raised quite a bit of money to help make JoeVolunteer a real, living, breathing movement!

I need to set up a time to talk with you about how we do all of this, officially. 

I think we discussed this before, but we're looking at doing a "minimum viable product," at first for testing in the Austin, Texas area. It needs to have all of the basic functionality to get done, but won't be the final "product," until we see how it's working, what our Joes and Organizations want in the app, and the best way to iterate (I love using those big words).

As you know, this is the first app I've ever commissioned, so I may have a few people helping me with the process. I want to figure out the best way to do this, but I'll be putting a lot of trust in you.

Guys--I think you know this, but this APP that you'll be helping with can LITERALLY change the world. We are going to blow this up and help millions of people HELP millions of people. I can't believe this is our life, as what we are doing here together will mean that the lonely people in the nursing homes will have regular companionship, animals won't be destroyed as they'll have adoptive families, children in the hospitals will have visits from super heroes, get this--we're already teaming up with an organization in Austin called, "no one dies alone," and our Joes will be on call to be at the side of people as they pass away, comforting them. That is one of the highest honors that we can do for someone...and THIS app will be making it possible to serve mankind through acts like this!

HOLY CRAP. There are so many uses and ways that this platform can be used that we haven't even begun to conceptualize.

Are you excited? I am. 

The JoeVolunteer CHALLENGE...

“…That’s why I’m so passionate about families making volunteering together a regular part of their lives. I dream of a day when families look at their weekend plans and say, What are we going to do this weekend—are we going to shop, see a movie, volunteer? A day when volunteering is just a natural thing—not something exceptional or something that makes us feel particularly noble. Just something that we do. Something that connects us with one another. It is the only way we, as individuals, will ultimately make a real difference in the lives of millions of children who are homeless, hungry, or living in inner cities where random violence is a daily occurrence.”  —Arianna Huffington

Do you need more volunteers?"

I asked that question three separate times today—and got three vigorous head nods…the answer was always an emphatic, “Yes."

Today, my 11-year old daughter Aly and I took the JoeVol Challenge—and it was one of the coolest, most profound things we’ve ever done. Actually, it was one of the weirdest, wildest, most memorable days of my entire 43 years of life…filled with realization, some tears, and even a car wreck (author’s note: I don’t recommend that part! But everyone’s fine, btw). We hope, after learning a little more about this, that you’ll decide to take the challenge, too.

First, to understand what the JoeVol Challenge is, you need to understand what JoeVolunteer.com is—and the best way to explain what it will be is to call it an Uber for Volunteers. What it is right now is a mind-set and a sincere desire to help others. Here’s a quick video to give you an idea of what we’re doing--it takes about 3 and half minutes, but it’s well worth your time if you’re the type of person that’s already reading this article.

https://youtu.be/DREK0G5tfKM

You see, here’s the thing. We think a LOT of people really want to volunteer. We all want to make a difference by serving others…but it’s sometimes difficult to do it.

Where do I get started? Do I need training? Where would be the best place to volunteer? How much time is it really going to take—and do I have that time? Would it be awkward to stop if I couldn’t do it anymore? 

We think a LOT more people would volunteer—and literally millions of people would be helped--if some of those questions could be answered. The other thing is just being able to act immediately when the urge to serve is on our mind. Let’s say you have a Saturday free, and you want to help someone. It’s a little bit daunting to know where and when to get started…and that keeps most everyone from actually GETTING STARTED.

Well, that’s what JoeVolunteer is wanting to do. We’ve got a B.H.A.G. (um…that’s a Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal) to increase Volunteerism by ten fold across the whole flippin’world. 

We’re going to do it by starting a movement that shows folks how they can make a difference, and pretty soon—we’ll have a kick-buttocks tool, The JoeVol App, that will make it simpler than ever to be of service to your fellow human beings (and our furry friends, too).

Okay. You’re still reading this—and that generally means that you’re a cool person with a heart of gold. YAAAAY, you. We already dig you. If you’re interested in getting involved, it’s an easy thing to do to take the JoeVolunteer Challenge:

1. First, become a Joe! Go to http://www.joevolunteer.com/beajoe/ and put in your info. It says it there, but we’ll never sell your info, SPAM you, or otherwise use it for any scummy purposes. We’re a Volunteer group, for crying out loud…that would be rotten, but our Moms raised us right…so give us the info, please.

2. When you do that, you’ll start to get some of our info—and one of the first things you’ll see is the JoeVolunteer Challenge. Here’s what it is: you’re going to find worthwhile places in your area that need volunteer help…and you’re going to get them signed up on JoeVolunteer as an organization. We need the standard stuff…name of the place, the physical address, the website, what they do to help others—and the REAL important one, the name and actual phone number of the person to contact to help (this helps get them ready for the volunteers, too).

3. Use this opportunity to see what goes on in each of the places. Ask questions. See how our Joes can best be of service…and help them get that info onto the website (and, as soon as it’s finished, the App). What organization really speaks to you? Where do you think you’d want to spend your time? This is a GREAT way to see if any of the places you visit or learn about really pulls at your heart strings…if it does, well now you know how to volunteer at this place.

That’s it. That’s the JoeVol Challenge.

The JoeVol Challenge we took today was an incredible experience—and we hope this doesn’t come across as bragging about how noble we are or anything, because that’s not what we’re trying to do, and we don’t really feel that way (well, maybe we feel just a little noble, but we’re still not trying to brag). We went to The Austin Frontsteps.org (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless); the Salvation Army; and the Austin Humane Society.

We were able to see what the organizations did, and we got to ask questions about where they need help. ***As a funny side note: the Humane Society needs help doing, “Cat Socializers,” where you get cats to play nice together. I just found that hilarious. End of side note.***

It was eye-opening to see, up close and personal, how the homeless live, and what’s already being done to help them. My daughter sleeps tonight with a renewed understanding of how blessed we are in our everyday lives. We were also able to meet and actually help a homeless person—the details will remain private—but it’s something that made a big difference in all of our lives, and that’s not hyperbole (exaggeration, for those not wanting to look it up…it’s one of my daughter’s words). We’d recommend doing this to anyone.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to make a difference? If so, we invite you to step right up and take the JoeVol Challenge and help us all put a dent in the freaking universe.

JoeVolunteer Radio...It's Coming.

I'm absolutely thrilled right now--as JoeVolunteer Radio, our podcast featuring GOOD NEWS, of people helping other people, and how YOU can make a difference, is starting TODAY.

This is an absolutely wonderful thing. My guest today is a fellow by the name of Krishnan Narayanan. If you haven't heard of him, you should. This is a man that has dedicated his life to serving the homeless and destitute in his hometown of Madurai, India since 2002--when he saw a man literally starving on the side of the road. He stopped what he was doing, and fed that man. Then fed him again, and then literally quit everything--his whole life of becoming a five-star chef in Switzerland--to feed and help those that can't help themselves.

If you haven't seen it already, here's a video of Krishnan. ***WARNING*** This video will punch you right in your soul, in a good way.

 

 

 

Wait...did you watch the video?! Huh? Huh? It's required watching before reading the rest of this, my friends!

Now, if you're feeling like me when I saw this for the first time, at least a part of you may be thinking: "WOW. That's incredible. I wonder how I can make a difference?"

That's wonderful. I personally think that there is a divine force that pushes us to help others, and that rewards us with some pretty good feelings when we DO help others.

And that's what JoeVolunteer Radio is going to be all about: Making a Difference in the Lives of Others.

We'll talk about JoeVolunteer news, of course:

 What's going on with the movement. Where we are in the development of the app (we have some cool news about that), how the Crowdfunding effort is going (October 27th is when it starts, by the way--more info on that coming up VERY soon), where we're going next, what the plans are, etc. We're finding out that there's a LOT behind starting a movement!

We'll have some guests--like Krishnan--some celebrities that are doing extraordinary things with their foundations and charities, and folks that can help to make YOU a better person for having listened.

We'll also share GOOD news. I've been told, and actually believe, that a lot of the "news," these days is specifically designed to scare you into putting your eyeballs back on the screen. You've heard the phrase, "If it bleeds, it leads." Well--as much as we're bombarded with that, we'll counter it with stories of humans helping other humans (or sometimes animals, I imagine).

You're going to feel good when you finish an episode of JoeVolunteer Radio. You're going to see others making the world a better place. You're going to feel hope for a better future for all of us...and our highest intention is that you'll feel even more inspired and motivated to go out there and do something to serve others.

That's what JoeVolunteer Radio is all about.

We hope you'll enjoy it, and tell others about this good thing you've found.

So...now that you know a little bit about it...but know that it's NOT HERE YET (Sheesh). What do you do now?

FIRST: if you haven't done it, sign up to be a Joe! Click on the Become a Joe right here!

NEXT: Follow us on Social Media...click on the Facebook and Twitter links here and get that done. 

FINALLY: If you're moved with our cause and want to help...please tell others about us. Put up a Facebook post linking back here, and get more people in on the movement. It's small now, but with people like you, we're gaining momentum!

When JoeVolunteer Radio is ready for you to download and/or stream...you're going to be among the very first to know about it.

Thanks again for your time in this. We appreciate you SO very much.

 

10 Things I Learned While Attending Unleash the Power Within with Tony Robbins

I just had the incredible opportunity to EXPERIENCE Unleash the Power Within conference with Tony Robbins. That man is a National Treasure. He's changed so many lives, to include mine--and I'm so grateful for all that he is doing. If you're reading this, and haven't been, please, please make an effort to go to one of these events. It's absolutely life-changing, and that's no exaggeration. The man and his incredible crew are gifted at what they do, which is to help you transform. There's more information about this at

tonyrobbins.com

under the 'events' tab. You'll never regret investing in yourself to do this. *Promise*

With that said, here are the Top 10--out of many hundred I learned while at UPW. This is just the tip of the iceberg in all of the things that you can get from it. Here they are for your reading pleasure and development:

  1. The power of STATE. Of physiology and what you’re focused on at any given time. It’s one thing to read that, and another thing completely when you FEEL it in your bones as you’re happily yelling at the top of your lungs with 8,500+ of your friends while the music is pumping. We can control our states at any time. One of the things Tony pointed out to us is how we look when we're depressed. Shoulders slumped, bad posture, shallow breathing, etc…you can tell someone is depressed just by looking at them. Well, with the power of state, I learned that EMOTION is caused by MOTION. Stand up straight, take deep breaths, smile like a lunatic—and you’ll find that you can consciously change your state in an instant.
  2. There are six human needs according to Tony, 1) The need for Certainty 2) The need for Uncertainty (Variety) 3) The need for Significance 4) The need for Love/Connection—these are the basic needs, and the last two, which are more spiritual, 5) The need for Growth, and 6) The need for Contribution. All of us are driven by varying degrees by some of these needs, and they’re in different orders for most of us. Tony let us in on the fact that the people that had the biggest needs of Certainty and Significance were at risk for having messed up lives—which was concerning for me, as my need of Significance was the main force in my life. Understanding that…REALLY getting it, helped to change that need from Certainty (i.e. Look at me, I  helped someone) to Contribution (Someone was helped). This may sound like a simple shift, but it’s already had a profound impact on my life in just a few short days.
  3. ENERGY is one of the most important factors in having a successful life. It's at the base of everything you say, think and do. If you lack energy (physical or psychological), you're much more likely to: live a mundane life, be out of shape, be depressed, not be as loving and giving as you should, etc. To get more energy, they taught us to breathe, eat, and exercise the right way--and the all-important ability to control our state (see #1). If your energy level is high, you'll have the fuel for an extraordinary life. If not...it's not very likely. One of the ways to increase your energy, curiously enough...is to SPEND it, vigorously and often.
  4. Our EMOTIONS control the quality of our lives, and those emotions can be consciously controlled by, "the Triad." One, our Physiology--how we use our physical body (see #1 again); Two, our Focus--what we choose to focus on, and the meaning that we give to it (wherever focus goes, energy flows--good or bad); Three, our Language--to others, but mainly to ourselves. Ex: Is this an obstacle or a challenge with a chance to grow? All of these can be changed in an instant. Stay mindful, stand guard at the door of your mind and protect it from the bad emotions by controlling the triad. Doing this can have such a profound impact on a person's life!
  5. The Power of Priming! Priming is preparing for a certain result. An SAT test given to Asian females studied the difference between asking for a gender or asking for ethnicity. Asking only about ethnicity improved the scores by 11% over when they were asked only their gender--the same exact test. When doctors tell folks they have ____ months to live, nearly 80% of the patients die on the DAY they were "supposed," to die. This is very real. One of the cool ways to actually use this power of priming is to prime your day for success. Tony spends 10 minutes each morning priming: Breathing exercises followed by 3.5 minutes of profound gratitude (gratefulness and fear can't fit in the same head); 3.5 minutes of Blessing, imagining a pure white light coming from the heavens to course through your entire body, healing everything, curing fears and spreading to bless your loved ones, and eventually to the entire world; then 3.5 minutes of the three things you're creating in the world today, envisioning the result. It fills you with certainty. Imagine starting EVERY day like this (I have the past three mornings, and it's just fantastic).
  6. The importance of PLAYFULNESS! You can train yourself to be AMUSED by things that used to anger you. Just change your focus on it. If someone acts in anger, snapping at you--instead of attacking back and letting things escalate, defuse it by being playful. When Tony's wife is hungry, she gets crazy. It used to anger him and ruin his mood--until he learned to make it a game and be playful. He now just hugs her tightly and says, "There's my crazy little M-F'er!" They both laugh, the pattern is broken, and an unpleasant situation is not only avoided--it's made even better than it was before the incident. It can be used any time someone is rude to great effect. I've used it twice since returning early yesterday...and it's very effective.
  7. The Power of Peers! One of the most important decisions you make is WHO you spend time with. Our lives are often a direct reflection of the expectations of our peer group. If your group doesn't have high standards, then you'll often find yourself slipping. What are peer groups? Any group that you care enough about to truly value, and not lose their respect. You can love your family--but you choose your peers, and your whole life can change when you have a peer group that raises your game. Just this one piece of advice, acted on when leaving UPW can and will improve your whole life. I'm meeting with my group next week, and we'll go over what's going well, what challenges we have, and hold each other accountable to what we're going for in life. We'll pat each other on the back, or kick each other in the ass as needed!
  8. All fears boil down to one of two things: Fear of being inadequate (not enough), and the Fear of not being loved. Think about it. Take your fears to their logical conclusion. You're afraid of failing? Why? Because you don't want to be seen as inadequate. Sometimes writing these fears down, and really examining them in the light of day can cause them to diminish. Visualizing them with you stepping on them, making them smaller (literally) in your mind can all help. Taking the fear to the ultimate logical result will show it to be one of these two base fears. If you work on yourself through self-development, both of the fears can also be minimized. A life without fear can be absolutely SPECTACULAR.
  9. We all have limiting beliefs. It's good to recognize them. We got to write down three of our most limiting beliefs...and examine each of them in detail--feel and internalize them and what our lives would be like in 1, 10, 20 years if we allow those beliefs to continue. Then, we came up with empowering beliefs to replace the limiting ones. In fact, the ANTITHESIS of your limiting belief is often the truth. Personally, my limiting belief was that I don't really deserve ultra-high levels of success. The new, empowering belief that I KNOW to be true is that there is no one in the universe more worthy of God's love and blessings than...me. This was a big, big turning point for me. What's your limiting belief? How can it be turned around? What's your new empowering belief?
  10. I learned the Power of LIVING HEALTH. Wow. Health on a cellular level--it makes so much common sense. Eating with this in mind, a plant-based diet, essential oils, less or no animal products, dairy...all of it makes sense. The alkalinity versus acidity was an eye-opener, and I just received my first pH test strips, got lemon juice for my water, and my Udo's oil yesterday. Just 4 days of eating an alkaline diet has already had a great impact on me. Also, that video of how they process chickens...affected me for a while. I'll have a lot less animal flesh in my nutrition for now. That's important to have all of this energy for the great things I'm doing after finishing Unleash the Power Within!
  11. BONUS! The power of getting everything you want by asking INTELLIGENTLY. This is powerful! 1) Ask SPECIFICALLY. Focus on exactly what you want. Being specific gives you clarity, and clarity is power! 2) Ask from someone who has the ability to say yes. Don't waste your shot on a gatekeeper, or ask for a loan from a destitute person. 3) ***Creat value for THEM first. Your job is to meet their needs. Ex: Guy creates value for a company, can I get 10% of the company if I triple the value of it first? 4) Ask with certainty. Expect to get what it is you ask for...if you're doing the other steps, it's going to happen. 5) Ask UNTIL. Keep asking until you get it! You can't just ask once or twice...you improve, and add value until it's accomplished!