The Grace of Gratitude

November 2021

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Update from Eileen!

The Grace of Gratitude

I’ve tried three times to write this piece. Each time, something or someone intrudes. A friend dies unexpectedly. A social media giant prefers profit over protecting people. Hospitals are overwhelmed with non-Covid patients who stayed away and are now even more sick. Bitter words swirl through Congressional halls. My new iMac with an M1 chip has major problems. And I yearn for a reset button on everything and everyone.


While that is not possible, I am acutely aware that I can reset my internal world by focusing instead on so many things to be grateful for:


  • My family is all strong, healthy, and engaged in meaningful work.

  • I have an amazing web master and operations manager who support my efforts.

  • I can walk to a library, a drug store, a grocery store and to church (who needs a car?).

  • I’m blessed with friends with whom I can laugh and cry, learn and love.

  • There’s food in the pantry, clean sheets on the bed, and flowers in the garden.


Listing these few items raises awareness that far too many people don’t have these things. It’s a clarion call for me to find opportunities to give in so many ways and be grateful that I can. From visiting a friend who is in an assisted living home to finding all manner of items to donate to the Assistance League; from speaking for free to non-profit groups to writing Postcards-to-Voters. And so much more.


Now I ask: what are you grateful for? What will you offer in return? The rest of this newsletter might give you some ideas.

The Grace of Gratitude
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Hang Out. Do Good. (An idea from my sister)

This was started by a woman who made a few lunches for homeless people she saw near where she shopped. That led to a conversation with another friend, and they hatched the idea of getting neighbors to make lunch bags on Sundays when there are no services. If these women would make the lunches, The Food Coalition of LA agreed they could get them distributed thru small grassroots groups around LA.  “Hang out. Do Good” got formed, neighborhood groups like ours signed up from Santa Monica to Hollywood and in the last 18 months, 365,000 bagged lunches got made by all these neighbor groups, like ours, and given out every Sunday.

Follow the Tom rule: Use Charity Navigator

Later this month, I’m joining my colleague, Tom, at the J. F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center in San Juan Capistrano. This center is dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities through therapeutic horse-related programs. I’m going to observe their program for veterans with PTSD. Tom wants to make sure he uses his money to support groups that match his interests and rate well on Charity Navigator. This first thing he looks at is how much money goes to administration. Some groups have very powerful names and images but, truth be told, more money sits in executive pockets instead of going into programs.

To tickle your funny bone: Signs from Covid times

  • Due to my isolation, I finished 3 books yesterday. And believe me, that’s a lot of coloring!

  • What did our parents do to kill time before the Internet? I asked my 26 brothers and sisters, and they didn’t know either.

  • On average, a Panda feeds for about 12 hours per day. This is the same as an adult at home under quarantine which is why we call it a “Pandemic”.

  • And so, another week ends without me becoming unexpectedly rich.

  • You're not fat. You are just…easier to see!

Must Read Book!

LEVERAGE CHANGE: 8 ways to Achieve Faster, Easier, Better Results by Jake Jacobs


If you're trying to lift something heavy, it helps to have a lever. In this book, my colleague Jake, provides eight levers that can transform the typical change process into something far smoother and more efficient. He calls the new approach filled with uncommon wisdom Leverage Change.


Jacobs offers proven advice and real-life examples that will accelerate every step of the change process, including designing your own customized change effort, figuring out where the real energy for change is in your organization, making change work as part of people's regular routines, and more. Get more done with fewer hassles, headaches, and problems.

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Must Read Book!

Try a Turkey Trot!

Throughout many cities in the U.S. Thanksgiving is a day to run the race before you stuff your face. Here in Dana Point, California proceeds go to the Boys & Girls Club of Capistrano Valley. This is the 44th year for the race. I think I’ve run it for maybe 35 years. There’s something about being with people of all ages and ethnicities, running a path together to celebrate the holiday and do good.  I’m the 10-K runner and it makes me smile to see all the kiddos who surge far ahead of me. No matter. I am there!

Prevent Employee Burnout … Or Face The Great Resignation

National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins recently decided to step down after serving three presidents over 12 years, the longest tenure of any leader in the agency’s history. In his surprise announcement, Collins reflected that “no single person should serve in the position too long” – a gracious bow to the notion that new leadership can invigorate an organization, but also perhaps an acknowledgment that employee burnout can occur even at the highest levels.

How Strategically Saying ‘No’ Can Help Fight Burnout

I have trouble saying “no,” and I’m changing my ways — because it threatens my entire organization. Sure, business is about taking risks and saying “yes” when opportunities present themselves. And at MAGNET, we certainly do that. We doubled our impact last year by creating or saving 2,400 local manufacturing jobs by saying “yes, we can help". We helped place 500 people in manufacturing careers, despite major labor shortages, by saying “yes, we can do that.” During the pandemic, when no one could get PPE, we said “yes, we can pivot” and spent six months making millions of pieces of life-saving equipment.

About  Eileen

If you are looking for a unique keynote speaker in resiliency, a facilitator for executive retreats, a speech coach or an emcee/moderator, then you want to work with Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE. Eileen has spoken for audiences as large as 15,000 and facilitated groups as small as 18! She is the author of seven books and other products that you can find in her online store. The British Research firm of Global Gurus ranked her #4 among the top 30 communication gurus worldwide. Why not hire Eileen for your next event? 

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Ranked 4th!

GLOBAL GURUS RANKS ME 4rd in the top 30 COMMUNICATION Gurus worldwide for 2022. Thanks to the British Research firm and their survey of some 25,000 business professionals.

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Our Mission is energizing the life of work and the work of your life. We work with and speak for organizations that want people to create meaningful relationships with all their stakeholders and to develop a resilient leadership capacity for living a life of balance, engagement, productivity, and purpose in a changing world. We value laughter, life-long learning, and leadership through service.

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