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My Two Cents

ENC Naturalist Valerie Bain complimenting a camper’s art.

Someone recently asked me what was the one, best piece of advice I ever got and why?  My response was, “Why do I have to pick just one?”  TWO amazing pieces of advice come to mind.

  1. Do what you can with what you have where you are.   Apparently this is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, but this ADVICE came to me via a college professor, Bill Tidwell.  The class was on ecological restoration and the tone was pragmatic.  What it comes down to is, you’ll never be in a perfect situation.  There will always be problems, so make the most of it.  I use this advice nearly every day as an employee at a non-profit where there aren’t always funds to buy what we’d really like to have, or staff time to accomplish everything we’d really like to do.
  2. Say something nice to someone every day, and mean it.  This advice came from my dad.  One day, long ago when I worked in Corporate America, I was having a beer with my father after work.  I was having trouble adjusting to office life, and his advice was simply to say something nice to at least one person every day – but it has to be an honest compliment!   Even if it’s just to tell a co-worker that you like her shoes.  People love hearing compliments.  It makes them happy and it makes them like you more for having given the honest compliment.

OK, so I guess there’s one more great piece of advice I’ve received, and that is to LISTEN.  Listen with all of your attention when people are talking to you.  Make eye contact and genuinely care about what is being said.  Being a good listener is almost as great as giving someone an honest compliment  – it may even be better.  It’s acknowledging that that person – and what they have to say – matters to you.

Being attentive, giving compliments, smiling, being positive – these are things that anyone can do to improve the day of those around them, AND in return improve their own day.  When you have a good day you enjoy your work more.  When you enjoy your work you do a better job.  And in our line of work, when you do a better job, you make the world a better place.

– Lori Whalen

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