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
What’s most meaningful to me is a combination of laughter and humor. I have a tendency towards seriousness, but have noticed that when I take myself or situations or life too seriously, I move into judgment and that creates separation – me vs. them, or me vs. the world, or me vs. myself. It actually narrows my vision, my perception of what’s true, so that I focus on what’s not working, what I’m doing wrong, or what they’re doing wrong. But when I bring forward humor or laughter, it lifts me. Finding the humor in a situation and being able to laugh at myself lifts me above the situation. I gain a higher perspective.
When I find myself in a serious situation, I use a little trick I learned from watching Cesar Millan’s TV show. When Cesar trains a dog to consider him the alpha dog, he flips the dog onto its back and makes a sound like “Sheee.” The dog quickly learns to stop his crazy behavior whenever he hears Cesar’s “Sheee,” which is a reminder that Cesar is dominant. So I treat my seriousness, my judgment, my separation like a crazy dog. I tell myself “Sheee” and it reminds me that I can take charge over it. And I get a little inner giggle going.
Also, I’m on the lookout for things that spontaneously happen to help me move out of a perspective of seriousness. An example of this is what happened when I had to put my cat Buster to sleep. The vet had come to the house to do it. I sat in a recliner and held Buster to say my final farewell. I was really sad, grieving and crying, but then I needed to sit up more to hold the cat for the vet. As I sat up, I said, “This is really hard.” With great compassion, the vet said to me, “I know it is.” But what I’d meant was that getting the footrest of the recliner to fold down while I was holding the cat was being really hard. In that moment, through my tears, I started laughing. I suddenly saw that there are sometimes such different perspectives or interpretations of a situation. And I saw that even within deep grief, there’s always the potential for a smile and a giggle.
– Leslie Harradine
Explore More Meaning
bestselling writer. comedic caregiver. ambulette driver.
Bestselling author Jane Heller's romantic comedy novels entertain readers around the world. Her latest book is nonfiction. You'd Better Not Die or I'll Kill You: A Caregiver's Survival Guide to Keeping You in Good Health and Good Spirits. [www.janeheller.com]
appreciative son. moment cogitator. lesson learner.
Jeff Semigran is a senior at UC Berkeley studying environmental and civil engineering. He is an alumnus of the Teen Insight Seminars and Leadership series. This piece is part of the Insight University and Life By Me week of giving back. www.givingtuesday.org/insight-university
joy recoverer. conscious coach. relationship aficionado.
Trent Blanchard shares words of encouragement, motivation, and inspiration in corporate America and in high schools around the country via his private coaching practice. He helps remove whatever gets in the way of living a life of JOY. [www.trentblanchard.com]