I am often compared to different people, but Thomas Edison is usually not one of them. Yet here I was yesterday, enjoying a delicious slice of pumpkin pie when this little nugget appeared in my inbox. The Vice article - This App is like Uber but for 'Happy Givers' - makes clear that Edison and I are indeed kindred spirits ... at least in theory.
That's right ladies and gentlemen, apparently the James Andrews you've come to know and love is on the cutting edge of a burgeoning movement to capture your hearts and minds.
The Vice article discusses the recently debuted Happy app, which connects people needing emotional comfort to listeners who will offer them support. If it sounds familiar, that's because it is. Think 7cups marrying Uber.
People are seeking new and innovative ways to deal with their emotional frustrations. Business is seeing this and responding - as shown in this CBS News story - What to Know Before you Try Online Therapy.
This is where I come in. Admittedly, i'm a niche participant in this space, but i'm also a very important one. I don't possess the technological heft the others do, but I don't need to. Where the others promote a relatively generic service offering that seeks to commoditize the user/listener experience, I pursue relationships that are much more unique and personal.
In short, none of the others offer what I do. They do not have my charisma, my intuition or my energy. They don't have someone who will be accountable to you. Someone who can guide you. Someone who truly cares about your emotional well being. Their desire for scale will always limit what they can do for you.
Take a leap of faith - skip over the new normal, mass mediated online help, and call me. I will be the same person each time you call. I will remember you and your issues. I will help you craft a personalized plan to achieve emotional well-being. I can help you stop burning the oil and turn on the switch for your brighter future.
Thanksgiving is just about the greatest holiday ever invented. I'm sure you will agree.
It's classic Americana (unless you're celebrating in Canada then it's something else). An enduring tradition of giant Woody Woodpecker balloons, Detroit Lions futility, the absence of any dietary inhibition, and assuming there is enough booze on hand, lots of warm and fuzzy family togetherness.
Everyone celebrates in their own unique way, but the idealized nature of the overall template is universally awesome.
Or is it?
Actually, it's often not like that at all. The Turkey Day reality for many people is very different.
Maybe you heard on the news, or read in your Reader's Digest how stressful this time of year is for lots of people. Instead of looking forward to participating in their annual rituals, many people would simply rather be doing something else.
The cause for this feeling of dread varies, but my experience has taught me it usually boils down to one of three scenarios.
1.) Outside pressure. Spending time with family members we don't regularly associate with imposes a burden on us. Think, being forced to answer for the perception of unmet expectations. Not measuring up to some arbitrary standard. And the questions, ohh the questions. Why are you still single? When are you having a baby? Why is this stuffing so dry?
2.) Obligatory fakery. Being anything less than our true selves causes emotional stress and unhappiness. The Holidays are loaded with this. A lot of people at your party won't know you very well, it forces you to make nice and act a certain way. You pretend you're happy to see these people, you hold back an opinion, you tell your host her candied yams are delicious.
3.) Thanksgiving itself is nostalgic. We often associate it with extremely positive memories. Different people, special people, better times, etc. It's easy to get caught up thinking how great life used to be. How far we are from where we want to be. Where we thought we'd be.
My personal view is Thanksgiving is a wonderful and sentimental time to enjoy interactions with people I need to see more often. However, I am completely aware that not everyone shares this perspective, maybe not even the person I'll be sitting next to at dinner. I won't ask him about the stuffing.
We've had thousands of visitors to TalktoJamesAndrews.com. Hundreds of people have clicked on the call button. Yet, very few actually wait for me to pick up the phone - even when it's FREE for first-time callers.
I'm asking hypothetically, and actually asking... What's stopping you from calling?
For those who do dial - what's preventing you from staying on the line?
You called for a reason. Let's discuss it. You'll feel better I promise!
Maybe you don't trust that I'm real. I am.
Maybe you don't think that I can help. I can.
Maybe you don't think the first call for 20 minutes is free. It is.
Maybe you don't think that you matter. YOU DO!
If you want to make sure of all of these things, feel free to use my new chat feature at the bottom of the about and blog pages.
I look forward to hearing from you. - JA
This past Tuesday there was an election in the United States. The aftermath is nearly impossible to escape.
Months of empty rhetoric, disingenuous outrage and insincere concern is finally going to give way to all the broken promises of an office seeker turning office holder.
We fully expect our political bettors to disappoint us. We are at all times wary of a hidden agenda. We are cynical of every word being read from their teleprompters ... and for good reason.
But unfortunately, it seems that much of this skeptical cynicism, or cynical skepticism that was once the bastion of politics, has bled into virtually every corner of modern culture. If you're not thinking about the underlying motivation behind a particular cause you're interested in, you probably should be.
Wherever you look something claiming to be one thing is really just serving the interests of another. It's sad, really.
Why is it so hard for politicians, agencies, corporations, religions, unions, charities, etc to do the right thing? To be honest and upfront and not bamboozle us with stealth motivations or backroom deals.
Aren't all the institutions I mentioned run by people? Where is the integrity?
When my partners and I set out to do this project several months back I told them I had two criteria. I want to help people, because i'm really good at it... and I wanted everything we did to be real. As in authentic and genuine.
My motivation is to be available for you. When it's tough and you need someone to talk to and listen to your issues. No false promises, no fake bluster. Only real bluster here.
You'll love me -- until then, Be well.
Sometimes we forget really easy lessons. Whether you're familiar with Daniel Tiger or his real life predecessor - Mr. Rogers - the lessons we learned in pre-school (or before school for those old enough to remember a world before pre-school) still hold true as you grow older.
Saying I'm sorry is the first step. It's a step that is extremely difficult for many people. It is also one that comes too easy for other people - those looking to avoid conflict.
How can you have the correct level of sorry where it is sincere and meaningful?
The answer is simple, add the second part of the Tiger's example - "And how can I help." If you are not willing to do this second part, then your apology was more an apology of convenience.
If you're a person who can not muster the first part, then you most likely owe quite a few people an apology. Try it, I guarantee you'll feel better and your friend approval ratings will soar.
You're welcome. - James ;)