Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]
Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]
Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]
Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]
By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]
Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]
Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]
Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]
Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]
Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]
Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]
Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]
Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]
Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]
Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com
Treating people with respect, really taking the time to listen to what they say, to acknowledge them and be open to their point of view without putting our own thinking on theirs, is really hard. It can be a struggle.
It seems particularly hard to respect children. That’s probably because most of us weren’t respected as children. Over and over in the course of everyday life, if children are treated as though their point of view doesn’t matter, it becomes harder and harder for them to speak up about their opinions.
“Have one more bite of protein.” “But I’m full.” … “Put on a sweater.” “But I’m already warm enough.”
Because my needs weren’t met as a child, I became more aware of when other people’s needs weren’t being met. I’ve always been hyper aware of cues others miss. If I’m at a restaurant and the people at the table next to me want more ketchup, but can’t get the waiter’s attention and don’t feel they can speak up, it drives me crazy. I want to help people who don’t feel they can speak up in a respectful way and get themselves some ketchup.
The other day at a preschool I was talking to a mother who didn’t like the idea they had for the fall festival. I didn’t like it either and said, “Oh, God, that’s awful! We’ve got to do something about that!” She said, “I thought the same thing, but decided I’d just roll with it.” That would not be my response in a situation like that!
In a situation where I don’t feel I’m being as respectful as I could be, what helps me recover is pausing. I try to pause, take a breath, and think about what I’m about to say or do. If I’ve already said something negative, I apologize for it and clear the air.
I’ve become better at letting it go if someone treats me with disrespect. I’m better at not taking it so personally, and being more compassionate about where they may be coming from. In many ways, I’m not easily hurt and I don’t much care what people think of me. If I feel good about myself and what I think, then if my point of view upsets someone, I don’t take it personally.
I encourage people to speak up. Everyone’s opinion is valuable. One person is not more valuable than another.
Talk about what you really think and feel. It’s important.
– Jennifer Lehr