Live Inspired

A Mad Dash

by Jennifer · 03.20.2012

For St. Patrick's Day, many of us decided to don some green apparel or accessories, and all of us were decidedly ready to do some celebrating, Compendium-style!

Our festivities included the usual drinks and snacks, of course. But the best part was the St. Patty's Day Dash, planned by Michael, the VP of Sales and Marketing. This was not your usual St. Patty's Day Dash, though. There was no spandex or running shoes or jogging around in the rain (this is Seattle, after all). No. We gathered together, divided into teams, and participated in a mad dash around the office--complete with skill stations and high heels...Yes, heels.

The laughter started even before the race did, as we all learned the rules of the game. For this relay, each team member would hurry to don the requisite team shirt, hat and yes, high heels before making their way from station to station as fast as they could speed walk. We jumped rope, did the limbo, sculpted masterpieces out of Play-doh, and showed off our Irish trivia smarts. The enthusiasm and spirit grew as we cheered each other on and enjoyed the merriment of the moment. Seeing Kobi, our CEO, strut his stuff in a pair of chunky white heels was definitely a hilarious highlight.

As a company, we value fun--shared laughter, play, celebration, and just having a good time. Our company events are a way we get to embrace and live out this value together. And this one did just that.

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Do you still believe?

by Dan Z. · 03.16.2012

It was Saint Patrick’s day. Another cold, gray, blustery Monday morning in Seattle. I was behind on a project and should’ve been at work, and my seven-year-old daughter, Rosie, should’ve been in school. Instead, the two of us were all bundled up and on our way to a grassy meadow behind a neighbor’s house—an enchanted-looking cluster of knolls where (according to my neighbor, at least) real leprechauns had recently been sighted.

Quietly, so as not to frighten the leprechauns, Rosie and I crept to the top of a knoll that day and settled down, side by side, with our backs against a big maple tree. For two or three hours, it was just Rosie and me. Sipping hot chocolate from a thermos to ward off the cold, we held our vigil, keeping our eyes peeled for the slightest movement in the long grass down by the willows.

“Rosie, did you see that?!” I would whisper. “Look over there where the path ends—can you see anything?” Her eyes grew wide. By now, we were both catching glimpses of little green hats and boots flitting all around us. “Now, do you believe?” I asked her in a hushed tone, because, as everyone knows, leprechauns only appear to those who believe. Of course, by then she certainly did believe, and I guess I did too.

Then came the most magical moment of all. Late in the morning we wandered along the edge of the meadow, pushing gently at the grass with our shoe tips, hoping for one last sign of a leprechaun burrow. And then—wonder of wonders—Rosie suddenly stumbled upon a cache of real Irish pennies and some chocolate coins covered in gold foil! Someone (a genuine leprechaun, perhaps?) had apparently dropped those coins in the grass the night before.

It was just another rainy Wednesday in Seattle for most people, but not for me and Rosie. And, despite playing hooky that morning back in 1992, Rosie made it through grade school okay, and today she has a great job. As for me, I’ve long since forgotten whatever project I was supposed to be working on. But Rosie and I will never forget that magical day in March when we lay in wait for the leprechauns together.

Many years later, on Saint Patrick’s Day, Rosie paid a visit to Seattle and surprised me with a card and a present. It was a cupful of gold-covered chocolate coins with a hand-written note tucked inside: “Dad, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. I still believe.”

That little note remains one of my most treasured possessions.

Find today's story along with many other inspiring quotes, questions, and exercises in our 7 book.

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First Thought, Best Thought

by Meredith · 03.14.2012

The moment your alarm clock goes off, you have a choice: you can open your eyes and start thinking about the meeting you're dreading, the chores you left undone, the disagreement you had the day before, and whatever might be disappointing you. Or you can open your eyes and think of something better--something you're looking forward to, someone you can't wait to see, a project you're excited about, something that's going well. Whether you know it or not, the first thought of your day is an important one. It sets your mind going in a direction that it's likely to follow.

Our thinking is associative--meaning that, for better or for worse, one thought leads to another. If you start your morning thinking negative thoughts, the rest of your day will follow suit. But just imagine what would happen if you used the snooze button on your alarm to provide you with a few minutes of positive framework for your day. Those few minutes of positivity, excitement, gratitude, and stability will breed more. And you'll enter your day feeling happier, more resilient, and more ready for what the world has to throw at you. Give it a try tomorrow morning, and see the effect for yourself!

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Books Change Lives

by Meredith · 03.07.2012

We might be a little partial, since books are what we do, but all of us at Compendium really do believe that books change lives. We've each had the experience of pulling a book down from a shelf and feeling spoken to directly. As though the author knew exactly what we needed to hear.

Today, we received an email from a customer saying "Yesterday my best friend gave me the book 'Celebrating You' and it has really changed my world...thank you for bringing that magic into existence, life is better for having been gifted with it."

All of us who had a chance to read this email were touched to be reminded of the power a few words can have to bring joy, wisdom, magic, and motivation into our lives. And we were reminded of how fortunate we are to have access to books in public libraries, gift shops, and shelves of our own.

Recently, people around the Compendium offices have been talking about making personal donations to organizations like Room to Read--an organization that creates school libraries in countries like Tanzania, Zimbabwe, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam. According to the Room to Read website, 793 million people around the world lack the ability to read and write.

(photo courtesy of Room to Read)

If you're like us, and a book has touched your life in profound and lasting ways, why not find a way to pass on that gift? It can be as simple as giving a gift to a friend, donating a few books to a school library or retirement home, or making a donation to an organization that promotes world literacy. Any gift that shares the joy of words is a powerful gift indeed.

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The Benefits of Gratitude

by Meredith · 02.24.2012

"Look on the bright side," we say. "Count your blessings." "Be thankful." Reminders to be grateful are all around us. And most of us really do try to accentuate the positive things in our lives because we know that focusing on the good is a way to feel happier. But did you know that new research is demonstrating that there are lasting physical and social benefits to gratitude?

A study at the University of California at Davis split participants into one of three groups. Participants in the first group journaled every week, listing five things they were grateful for. Participants in the second group wrote about hassles or disappointments, and participants in the final group wrote about events that had simply affected them, whether positive or negative. After 10 weeks, those participants who'd written about things they were grateful for were 25% happier than members of the other groups. They also exercised more frequently and reported fewer health problems.

This study isn't the only groundbreaking gratitude study in recent months. Other studies have shown that journaling about the things you feel grateful for can help you sleep better, connect better with others, and strengthen your relationships. All this from just a few moments spent remembering and appreciating the good in your life.

A daily journal, whether at night or in the morning, is something researchers suggest for those of us interested in seeing the benefits for ourselves. Why not try making a list each day, and see what happens? Post a comment below (or on our Facebook page) listing 5 things you're grateful for. Make your statement by February 29, 2012 at 11:59 pm PST, and we'll send 5 lucky participants a copy of our Gratitude Every Day journal--a great way to incorporate this practice into every day!

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The Power of Simple Thanks

by Meredith · 02.21.2012

Laura Trice, counselor and life coach, has some incredibly important words on the power of saying 'thanks' to everyone we love and care for. How would you feel if your spouse, friends, and coworkers thanked you and praised you in the ways you needed most? And how would it feel to know that you could thank them in return--in ways that are meaningful, relevant, and maybe even life-changing?

In just a little over three minutes, Laura shares her thoughts with us and gives us a glimpse of what a more grateful world might look like. It's the perfect afternoon pick-up...click here to take a look and see what we mean!

Who will you thank for the difference they make?

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The Things Worth Worrying About

by Meredith · 02.01.2012

In 1933, author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a letter to his 11-year old daughter. It was a list of things to worry about, things not to worry about, and things to think about. This simple letter from a loving parent to a young girl isn't just an interesting historical document; it has me thinking a lot about the things that really are worth worrying about.

Among the things Fitzgerald didn't want 11-year old Scottie to worry about? Popular opinion. Dolls. The past. The future. Growing up. Triumph. Failure, unless it comes through your own fault. Also on the list: parents, boys, disappointments.

He did want her to worry about courage, cleanliness, efficiency, and horsemanship. And among the questions he wanted her to think about was, "What am I really aiming at?"

Since reading this post, I've been touched by this simple letter. Fitzgerald's gesture is a simple one and a beautiful one--just a few statements designed to put his young daughter's mind at ease, and to help her focus on the truly important things in life. All of us, whether young or old, spend a great deal of time worrying about things that aren't much more than busy distractions. And even if they aren't as simple as dolls, boys, and growing up, they still occupy a lot of time.

If you were going to write a letter to yourself today, what would you tell yourself to stop worrying about? What would you tell yourself to worry about instead? I'm curious to read your responses, and would love to hear from you about the things that would make your 'things worth worrying about' list. Feel free to post below and get the conversation started!

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Introducing a feel-good experiment!

by Meredith · 01.20.2012

By now you probably know that we're fanatics about spreading inspiration to people through kind words, uplifting statements, and thought-provoking questions. And we love to hear from our worldwide community when they write to us and say that we made a difference in their day, their life, or the lives of people they know.

We're always on the lookout for other people who are inspiring the world through kind actions, no matter how large or small. And as we head into the weekend, we thought you might like to hear about other people creating a web of kindness by giving small amounts of money to perfect strangers. Just a few dollars here and there can create some wonderful momentum.

Here's a beautiful article from the writers of good.is:

http://www.good.is/post/creative-microphilanthropy-good-staff-edition-30daysofgood

and here's a blog from a small-time philanthropist who's paying it forward every day:

http://ifoundmoneytoday.wordpress.com

(Image courtesy of ifoundmoneytoday.wordpress.com)

Have you ever done anything like this? Would you ever? If you have a few extra dollars to spare, this weekend might be a good time to start! Share your stories with us right here, or leave us a comment on our Facebook wall.

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New Year, New Mistakes!

by Meredith · 01.16.2012

Our first Facebook post of the New Year was this quote from Neil Gaiman:

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something."

I typed that statement on our wall, but I paused before I submitted it. It seemed strange to start off the year by talking about making mistakes. I wondered if I should write something 'safer'--something about new beginnings or fresh starts or infinite possibilities. But I took a chance and posted. And then, the responses poured in.

I was stunned to discover that many of you, a LOT of you, wanted to hear these very words. And it makes sense! A new year is a time to make resolutions, to try something different, to make progress. But all that new trying, all those new hopes and new dreams are almost certain to mean we'll have a few setbacks along the way. And that's fine. Actually, that's better than fine. Because, just as Neil Gaiman says, that's how you know you're Doing Something.

So, just a few weeks into 2012, I hope all of us are still making the right kind of mistakes--the kind that show us where there's room to grow, inspire us to try harder, and push us in the right direction. There's still so much opportunity in this year for bigger and more fruitful mistakes than we've ever made! What a reason to celebrate!

Want to add your voice to the conversation, or share a story about a spectacular mistake? Feel free to add your comment below!

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ABC Menagerie

by Meredith · 12.09.2011

"Inspiration is everywhere" is something we say often at Compendium. It's a philosophy we live by. The thought always reminds me of children, for whom inspiration truly is everywhere. Children have a gift for finding opportunities wherever they go and special moments in ordinary days. They savor a single cookie, a bright rock, an unexpected feather. They find beauty wherever it lies.

When Compendium's CEO stumbled across artist Elena Targioni's studio while on vacation in Italy, her sculptures awakened in him a child's sense of wonder and delight. And when the rest of us saw her artwork, we had a similar reaction. Everyone wanted to hold Elena's soft and whimsical sculptures. And everyone was curious to know what was in store for these wonderful creatures.

After some long conversations, lots of writing, countless hours of design, and four days of photo shoots...

we created this:

our latest addition to the Compendium Kids line. ABC Menagerie is one of those books that's sure to enchant any child (and plenty of adults, too). Each animal is introduced with whimsical poetry, and pops off the page with personality and vivid texture thanks to the work of talented photographer Hank Drew and his assistant Genevieve Pierson.

Do you know someone who'd like to meet a new friend or two? Maybe a whole menagerie? Would you like to give someone a cheerful reminder of the sense of wonder we can take in the world around us? This book makes a beautiful gift for any child, or for anyone you know with a childlike heart. Ayo the aardvark, Brunhilde the bear, and Chione the camel tell us they can't wait to meet you!

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