Tag Archives: Christmas and holiday season
Woman Living with Incurable Cancer Offers 3 Ways to Get
the Most Out of Every Day
Jane Schwartzberg cringes when she hears someone say that a terrible accident or frightening medical diagnosis made them realize what’s important in life.
“In some ways, I do wish everyone could experience a taste of terminal, if that’s what it takes to make them appreciate the intangible gifts we receive not just during the holidays, but all year,” says Schwartzberg, co-author with Marcy Tolkoff Levy of “Naked Jane Bares All,” www.nakedjanebaresall.com, a new book that shares Jane’s story with candor and humor.
“But I wish they’d known all along, and I hate the thought of goodness coming at the expense of so much suffering.”
Schwartzberg says she was clear about what’s most important before she was diagnosed with stage four incurable breast cancer. As a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, she knew that all that really matters is how much love we give and receive.
The holidays are a wonderful opportunity for people to remember that and to focus on who they love. But, too often, they become a source of anxiety, stress, and tension. Financial concerns, having too much to do, and missing loved ones were among the top causes of holiday stress, according to a recent Mental Health America survey.
“Although I won’t attribute any revelations about what’s most important in life to my illness, I can say that there are a few things that I am trying to do better since getting sick,” Schwartzberg says.
“The holidays are a great time to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and to re-focus on the things that are most meaningful.”
For Schwartzberg, those include:
• Showing up. If you’re worried about yesterday or always planning for tomorrow, you’re missing the present moment and any wonderful experiences it may hold.
“Although my clock ticks louder than others, I know we are all here for a short time,” Schwartzberg says. “I am determined to find joy in every single day. It may come from the simplest of things: a view from my window, a great conversation or a hot cup of coffee. But I know I need to be always present and available, with an open mind and open heart, to experience any of it.”
• Riding her love train. We all have people in our lives who care about us, and it’s important to let them know how much we appreciate them. Schwartzberg’s “love train” is a metaphor for all of the people she chooses to share her life with. “They are rooting me on and giving my family and me love and support,” she says. “I try to be as meticulous and thoughtful as I possibly can be with those on board, and that means making sure they know how much I love and value them.”
• Knowing my place in the world. There is a Jewish teaching that says everyone should carry with them two pieces of paper, each in a separate pocket. One paper should say, “I am but dust and ashes.” The other, “The world was created for me.”
“I constantly remind myself that both statements are true,” Schwartzberg says. “I am capable of incredible things to improve the world, and I am just a tiny speck in the universe. Powerfulness and humility can, and do, exist for me side by side.”
As the holidays approach, keep in mind that the best gift you can give – or receive – is love.
“It’s not a table full of food or gadgets you can’t afford,” she says. “Approach this holiday season as if it could be your last, and you’ll probably find much more to revel in than to stress about.”
About Jane Schwartzberg
Jane Schwartzberg, 45, is the co-author of the newly released book, “Naked Jane Bares All,” the many-layered story – told with humor and candor — of how she learned to embrace life when she was down for the count. Jane is a financial services executive and founder and former CEO of a start-up technology company.
As we progress through the holiday season it is so easy to get caught up in our own personal goals: dinner with the family, grab those presents, make sure we have an office party, have the neighbors over for egg nogg. I find myself literally running over people to get to the store and buy all the things that will make a great time for my friends and family.
How many times in life can we have the goal of making people happy only to plow through everyone else that “gets in our way?”
If there is one lesson I can take from this life, let it be the one where I slow down and smell the roses. Let it be where I stop and talk with people in the store instead of charging through the isles to get in line first. Let it be putting my favorite television show (even if it is the Superbowl) on pause when a neighbor needs to talk. Let it be where I listen to my mate with honest appreciation, even though I was in the middle of something else.
Otherwise, life ends up being what passes you by, when you were too busy making plans!
Business Christmas cards have long been something business owners have turned to during the holiday season to help them show appreciation to their customers and business contacts, all while assisting them in drumming up a little more business. Yet before you buy, sign and stamp your next set of Christmas cards, take some time to consider these important thoughts.
Avoid Being Overly Religious
Even if you are a devoutly religious individual, your customer, client or business contact may not be. This is not the time to be overly religious. Choose a generic greeting, or tailor each card to the recipient. Of course, if your business is religious in nature, this consideration may not apply, but for most businesses a generic card works best. You simply cannot predict the religious preference of every recipient.
Consider Being Cost Effective
At first, holiday cards seem to be a very small expense in your overall business budget. Yet, when you incorporate the time necessary to prepare and send the cards, you may need to stop and consider whether or not you are doing everything as cost effectively as possible.
Etiquette states that it is best for you to personally sign each card. This is not that time consuming for a few hundred cards, but if you have thousands of cards to send it may become so. You may be better off investing in a printed greeting that includes your name, or buying an ink stamp made from your signature. Sometimes, sacrificing etiquette is important when you are trying to run your business efficiently.
Similarly, choosing a card specifically for each recipient, such as a Hanukah card for your Jewish contacts and a religious Christmas card for your Christian contacts, shows your attention to detail and the preferences of your customers. However, this takes time. If time is at a premium in your business, you may want to forgo this in favor of a more generic card that works for everyone.
Benefits to Consider
Sometimes, sending out business Christmas cards seems like an overwhelming task. When you start to feel this way, take the time to consider the benefits of doing so.
When customers and clients receive a Christmas card, it puts your business’s name in their minds. Later, when a customer needs the service that you provide, your name is going to be on the forefront of his or her mind, rather than your competitor that did not send cards. Some customers who have been putting off a call to you may even be prompted to do so when they see their card.
Business Christmas cards also show that your company is financially stable and successful. A struggling business is not going to have the money or time to send cards. Even though it is a commitment of time and resources, sending business Christmas card helps paint your business in a positive light, and this is a tremendous benefit.