Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Introducing our Five... with YA author Kay Cassidy

This is so exciting! Not just because it's been months in the making and we've finally launched, but because I get to launch this fun adventure with Tera, Alyson, and Becca. Friends really do make the world go 'round.

I mentioned yesterday that I created my Five as a way to help me remember what matters most when life gets chaotic. But it's also a way for me to remember what to focus on when life isn't crazy. When I've got a bit of free time, how should I spend it? A quick run-down of my Five is a great place to start!

As you'll see this week, the four of us have a lot in common. Some of our Fives will even overlap a bit, and that's awesome! Your Five doesn't have to be different than everyone else's. There are lots of people who share the same passions about how to make a difference. In fact, when those like-minds get together, amazing things can happen!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens
can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

~ Margaret Mead

So without further ado, here are my Five. Those of you who read my author blog (You 2.0) will recognize the first three of my Five because those three--along with "making a difference in the world" (as we're doing here!)--are the foundations of my You 2.0 blog.

1. Commit to a life of gratitude

Just like most everyone I know, there have been times I've taken things for granted in my life. But those things I've taken for granted aren't guaranteed. And life passes so quickly! The things we take for granted today, even as simple as the flowers in bloom in a garden we've tended, won't be there forever. The same goes for the people we love, our neighborhoods that grow and change... life is in constant motion. Blink and you'll miss it. Take it for granted and you'll never get a chance to enjoy it real-time again.

There are so many things I'm grateful for. And I do thank my lucky stars every day. But gratitude is about more than being grateful on the inside. It's about being grateful on the outside. Those people you love? Tell them how you feel. That garden you adore? Spend time in it. The health you enjoy? Nurture it and use the energy it gives you for doing great things. Don't just think about gratitude, live it!

2. Pay it forward in ways that are meaningful to me

Paying it forward is the next step beyond gratitude. It's about sending good things out into the world. Paying it forward can be as simple as holding the door open for someone with an armful of boxes or paying for the person behind you at the toll booth. Or it can be something ongoing, like mentoring a younger person or teaching others a hobby you've mastered so they can enjoy its pleasures too.

For me, paying it forward is all about good karma. I'm a firm believer that what you put out into the world has a ripple effect, for better or worse. The world could sure use more good karma, don't you think?

3. Encourage people to pursue their dreams with passion and a powerful plan for achieving them

I've been passionate about this since my corporate days almost a decade ago. I was the only corporate manager I knew who, when sitting down with my team for their annual reviews, asked them "If you could have any job in the company, what job would you choose?" To me, a happy employee is a productive employee. Just because someone hired into a job ten years earlier doesn't mean they're still a best fit for that job now. If there was something else in the company that they were interested in and had an aptitude for, I did everything I could to help them develop into that job even if it was outside my own department.

I took my own advice too. When I was no longer enjoying my job, I sat down and figured out what I really wanted to do. Unfortunately, what I really wanted to do didn't exist within the company even though there was a clear need for it. So I wrote a business plan for the position and sent it up through the chain of command. What did I have to lose, right? Not only did it get approved, they hired me for the job! If I hadn't gone after what I really wanted... with a solid plan to back up my dreams (there's the key!)... I never would've seen my dream job become a reality. Nor would I have fulfilled my dream later of becoming a YA author. If you don't go for it, you'll never know what could've been!

As a motivational speaker and as a blogger, my passion for this comes through. It even shines through in my books! If I can do something that inspires one person to pursue their dreams and achieve them, that's a huge win.

4. Help people of all ages embrace their full potential

In addition to pursuing their dreams, I'm passionate about people embracing their full potential. There are far too many people, particularly young people, who honestly can't see how amazing they really are! They're too busy comparing themselves to others, trying to reach impossibly high standards (set by themselves or other people), and just generally believing the negative chatter that goes on inside their heads. (If you've read The Cinderella Society, you'll recognize this as Wicked chatter!)

Embracing our full potential comes in two parts: recognizing our potential and fulfilling it. Which sounds deceptively simple. The truth is, for most of us? Neither one is easy. And there are steps forward and steps back on the path to achieving both. I believe chronically low self-esteem is both widespread and devastating to the world around us. We need to break that cycle if we want to lift our world to a higher place.

5. Live a greener life

Living a greener life, for me, is about being more aware of how my actions affect the environment. It's paying attention to the small things--like turning off the faucet while I'm putting a pan into the dishwasher--and the big things--like having an energy audit done on our house. I love learning about new technology that's more energy efficient and enjoy trying out new earth-friendly cleaning products (though my standards for them are pretty high).

When it comes to the Earth, a little goes a long way. A little bit of conservation, a little bit of education, a little bit of paying attention to how we treat the world around us. As the HGTV slogan says, "Change starts at home."

So there you go. Kay's Five. What do you think? Do any of these resonate with you as well? Are you ready to Live Your Five? Comment below for your chance to win a signed ARC of book one of my upcoming YA series,
The Cinderella Society (coming April 13, 2010 from Egmont). The winner will be announced on Saturday along with the launch week grand prize winner.

And stay tuned for Alyson's Five tomorrow.
Happy world changing!


  1. I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH EVERYTHING! Especially that of commiting to a life of gratitude. I've taken so many things for granted. I want to stop and look at how lucky I am and I will. I won't try, I will. It sounds totally cliche, but it is completely true!

    Reggie :-)

  2. I totally second your five! Especially "Encourage people to pursue their dreams with passion and a powerful plan for achieving them". So, so important!

  3. Those are great ways to to live your five. Kudos and we're here to help!

  4. I am so relating to all of your fives! Number 4 particularly. I suffer from that all too negative 'low self esteem' a fair amount of the time but I'm working on that especially since I want to raise my vibrations and send out more positive thoughts to the world. I'm also trying to live greener and helping our beautiful environment. Reading your gratitude one.. I just went in the next room and told my mum I love her :)

  5. Wow great ideas. I definitely agree with live a greener life! There are so many ways to help our Earth just by doing small things at home. (:

  6. Great fiver, Kay!

    I completely agree with being more grateful of things we take for granted. It's easy to just think these things (or people) will always be there but they won't and we have to make it count. :)

  7. this is so inspiring.
    i just feel so much more confident now than i did before i read this.

    runningforamsterdam @ hotmail . com

  8. I definitely agree with your five! I find being grateful is the thing I have to keep reminding myself of. I'm incredibly blessed, I just have to remember that!

  9. Wonderful ideas Kay! I really like number 4, helping people embrace their full potential. If every person helped one other person, everyone would be so much happier and satisfied with themselves.

    - Alex

  10. Hi, Kay!

    D. D. Scott here!

    Not only do I love your Five but I practice all of them as well!

    I always try to be a positive person and thrive on Paying It Forward every day as many times and in as many ways as I can. Nothing makes me feel better than to earn that unexpected smile from someone after I've helped them in some surprising way.

    I'm also Going Green w/everything from recycling at home to going vegan. I can't believe the crap we feed our bodies! And the harm many of our products do to the beloved animals of our Earth is horrific!

    With my Muse Therapy classes, I'm reaching out to other writers to help them rein in their creative divas. Fun stuff and rewarding too!

    Thanks for your continued inspiration, Kay. From the day I met you at IRWA, I knew you were a gal that could and would feed my soul in the most positive ways.

    Good luck on all your fabulous journeys!

    Sexy, Sassy, Smart Live Your Five Wishes --- D. D. Scott

  11. I especially agree with live a life of gratitude. Especially in those moments when you're feeling really down about something, thinking of the good parts of life always helps!

  12. I think every aspect is really important, but I really like the last one about Living a greener life, because we have to be aware of what we do in the world we´re living in, its our house, the only house we have and we should take care of it.


  13. I like all your five, especially 3 & 4. While I do plan to work with people of all ages - I've actually just started working on a business plan for my enrichment center - my main focus, and the reason I believe God has me here on earth, is children & teens. I've committed my life to helping children & teens realize their full potential.

    Coming up with my five is kinda close to coming up with a personal mission statement, which is what I've been working on. I can clearly intergrate my five into my mission statement. This is awesome!

  14. These are awesome, Kay! Thanks for sharing them with us. Can't wait to see what you do!

  15. Great five, thanks for sharing them. I'm definitely in agreement about living a greener life. In fact, I've been thinking about starting a compost, and encouraging my family to do the same. After all, most of the trash we throw away is compostable (and so are wool socks).


  16. These sure are great piece of advice.
    I'm not as invlove with the community as I could, I guess, but I'm working in an hospital and I like to think I make a difference in many people's lives, even if they don't know it. Because I have this *behind the scene* kind of job =)

  17. Hi Kay,
    Your Five are awesome, because living them creates a world filled with laughter, love, friendship, and respect for all living things. I loved the book Pay It Forward. Thank you for reminding us about the wonderful world we can create by treating each other with unconditional compassion.
    --Elizabeth Fais

  18. Help people of all ages embrace their full potential really hit home with me. I'm a 7th grade english teacher and everyday I see kids that are starting to give up - and even scarier, have given up already. My job is to help them see that they care able to do amazing things - and give them the tools to help get them there.

    Thanks for your list!

  19. What a wonderful five. The second and fifth ones are similar to my own. I believe in doing small, simple things that hopefully make someone's day better.

    Your fifth one is the one I really connect with. If you asked my family and friends how green I was, they'd just roll their eyes and go into a story about how I hounded them when they didn't recycle. haha


  20. Great ideas! #1 really resonates with me. I've tried several times to keep a gratitude journal, but I haven't stuck with it. Maybe it's time to give it another go!

  21. Alot of my friends tell me how lucky I am. And only recently have I actually realized exactly what I have. I have everything that Is important in life; a loving family, friends, and the will to make the world better and to serve others. I want to share these things that I have with other people. Everyday I thank God for the things that I do have and ask him to strenghten and better me so I can help the people around me too. I want to help people live their dreams so that they can be happy. Even the tiniest little encouragements or serving in other people's lives can have a huge impact. And someday soon, I plan to go out into the world and help people to find the meaning to life and to help them understand how they can help other people while they are helping themselves.

  22. All of your 5 reasonate with me - especially living a greener life. There's so many little actions in the world people could do, and it would help the environment, but they don't.

  23. Inspiring truly inspiring! Can't wait to see how you five along so many others makes a difference in countless lives :o)


  24. I definitely agree with encouraging people to pursue their dreams and embrace their potential.

  25. I really agree with 3 and 4 and you really have been helping me through the Teen Author Challenge. Great job Kay!

    Mik @ I Am Nonfiction

  26. Your five are awesome, esp #2, it's my favorite! I think that everyone should at least have dreams and try their best to pursue them.

  27. I really Like your five but I feel the same way with #5 taking care of the envirement is important and not many people care

    cant waite to see the other five:)

  28. Awesome five! I definitely agree with #5. I always recycle everything and I never keep the water on while I brush my teeth!


  29. I agree with everyone of your five. I can really connect with number 4. I'm especially negative about myself most of the time but like you said me should be proud of ourselves and focus on the positive the ways we can be even better. Not just focus on the negative.

  30. I think the best one, they are all awesome, is the being greener! It really is an issue and it's one thing that I really do pay attention to in my everyday life.

    I recycle like it's going out of style. I mean like ripping the smallest amounts of cardboard away from plastic and placing each in the appropriate recycling container in my kitchen. I'd say 95% of my recycling is cardboard!

    Anyhow, that's the one thing that I think a lot of people over look and we really need to concentrate on it right now. :)

  31. I completely agree with the 5th Five. I think all of us should lead a greener life.

    In fact, I used to punch my friends whenever they threw litter on the streets, Now they've learned, the hard way, but they learned.

  32. This is a great project! I really have been failing at living a greener life :(

  33. I can relate to all of your five. I especially loved 4 & 5. I am trying to teach my kids about living a greener life. They are the ones who will feel the impact of the choices we make now!

  34. Hi Kay - great five! Your number one is the same as my number one - commit to living a life of gratitude. I've been working on that one since the beginning of the year.

  35. lov ur five!! hope i get better with my five!!

    hope i win your ARC

  36. I love all of you five, but the one that stands out the most with me is the following your dreams. I was in a place where I was not happy and knew it was time for a change. Now I LOVE what I'm doing and am always encouraging people to follow their dreams and do something they're passionate about.

    dreasowers AT gmail DOT com

  37. This is a great blog and I'm glad I found it. Wow, I totally loved your 5. Especially #5. I, myself, am trying to live a greener life. :D


  38. I agree with everything you said!!! It's amazing how a group of people can slowly change the world. You've done your fair share already with you Author Challenges for Teens and now living your five website. It’s amazing how much time and effort you put into inspiring young writers.

    Thank you for encouraging people all over the world to live their dreams...

    I can't wait to be apart of this great movement...

    Hope everyone has a great week :)

  39. Kay,
    You've already reminded me of what I need to do for myself now I'm thinking of waht I need to do for others. A fellow teacher and I are reading 3 Cups of Tea this weekend and trying to figure out how we can bring more service ideas to our school.

    I will also look at how to articulate that in my own life. Part of my personal mission is to inspire, delight and enthuse. How do I translate those into my five? How do I live those ideas? That's what I'll be working on this year! Thanks Kay!

  40. YES! I love Pay It Forward stuff. It's always awesome to do things for others, not matter how small. :)

  41. That's a great five. It's so easy to take things for granted sometimes. It's a great goal to remember all the wonderful things in your life and be thankful for them.

  42. I like to do the stuff on the list. It killed me when I was in a city on vacation without recycling. I was so upset that I was about to cry. It is important to recycle and no city or town in the untied states should not have a recycling program.

  43. Green. It is something I'm trying to do... but badly... I should get a kindle...

  44. I like that you included yourself in helping people grow to reach their potential. If you didn't help yourself to grow, you wouldn't be setting a very good example! I'm trying to grow, myself, but sometimes changes are slow!
    neohippy10 hotmail

  45. I agree with every single thing you say especially encouraging people to pursue their dreams with passion and a powerful plan for achieving them and living a greener life. You know it's great to achieve our dreams but supporting others to get their own must be even better. And I have to admit that I didn't care about the environment all at. Not until a few years ago did I realize how great and essential it was.

  46. In Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" he talked about helping others fulfill their dreams and how, especially as you get older, this can be just as rewarding as having your own dreams fulfilled. This, to me, is part of Living Your Five and I know I wasn't able to achieve my greatest professional dream
    (a book deal!) until I took the time in a meaningful way to help people younger than me fulfill their dreams. And Randy was right -- it was and continues to be totally fulfilling. We must always keep giving back and keep giving forward because Karma rules!

  47. Helping others reach their potential!! Love it. I do this with people and animals. ;)

    diane_j_holmes @ Yahoo.com

  48. I agree with like everything you said.
    All these things we should do. But most don't.


  49. How fitting that 3 is my favorite number and it's your "Encourage people to pursue their dreams with passion and a powerful plan for achieving them". My dream is to be a published author but I also really want to be active in the publishing world to be able to understand and flourish in it. I actually just sent an e-mail to your publishers (Egmont USA) to see if they had any internship opportunities. If they don't, I won't let it get me down. I'm going to keep trying until I achieve what I know I'm capable of. Thanks for this!

  50. Love the "live a greener lif" one. I'm trying to do that myself.

  51. I agree with your five and think you should never take anything for granted, life is just too short.

    This really made me think. Great post!

  52. I love your five. I am really trying my best to live a greener life. Me and my husband have recently transferred to only getting organic foods. We also walk and ride our bikes as much as we can. I also really liked your idea on pay it forward. This is an amazing idea.

    Amazing post.

  53. I love your enthusiasm! Yay, you guys!!! If you want to join us as Honorary Fivers, be thinking about what your own personal Five might be. We'll be hosting our first Honorary Fiver feature next Friday, September 4th, and opening up the comments for people to earn their Honorary Fiver badges by sharing their Five!

  54. Kay you rock! This is so great! Thank you for thinking of me!

  55. I'm guilty of taking things (and people) for granted. All your 5's are wonderful, but I love #1 the most!

  56. Living your five is such a great idea! You tell yourself to do all this things you mentioned, but when you write it down and show it to other people, you really have to do it!

  57. Wow, this is such an inspirational post and site to have! Love your five =D


  58. I'm really loving all of your "Living Your Five" posts. They truly are an inspiration to do better in life. :)

  59. Comminting to a life of gratitude is just genius! I'm sure there is so much I take for granted, and showing how grateful I am for things is something I should start doing more of.

    Good luck with your five!

  60. I love your five! Especially #4: "Help people of all ages embrace their full potential" -- very inspirational!

    Thanks for sharing!

  61. Hi Kay :)

    Everyone's fives are amazing! I think I'm going to make my own now. Everyone can start being a better person just by coming up with their five. Good luck with all of yours!!


    PS.. You contacted my this morning and really inspired me to check out your website. The whole idea is great! I even considered making my own blog :D You have been such a great help in pushing me forward. Thank you sooo much!!

  62. Very nice! I'm another who believes that gratitude (and a constant -- or as constant as possible -- awareness of the good and beauty around us make our worlds a better place). The more smiles I can offer (and kind words), the more sunshine others will experience, as well.

  63. Wow, you guys are just AWESOME! I can't wait to see what your Fives are when Honorary Fivers gets rolling. And just wait, we've got so much more in store for you at LYF. This is only the beginning!

  64. Hey Kay!

    Have I told you lately how amazing you are? You're doing so much already with your blog and then you go and do something more stunning. I think you've got 5 great things you're striding for and I know you'll be making a huge difference wherever you go. Thanks for sharing these!

  65. These are terrific fives! So inspiring....

  66. I totally agree with on on paying it forward with good karma!

    These posts are so inspiring!

  67. Oooooo ... committing to a life of gratitude! I am going to commit to this as well.


  68. Awww Kay, I already love all your fabulous ideas from your blog. Your five is so empowering! Even if we all just took up one, we'd be able to make the world a better place.

    mya DOT rooney AT gmail DOT com

  69. I'm also a firm believer in karma ;)

    these five are wonderful, but I especially like the fourth one of helping others to understand (and use!) their full potential. People always get knocked down for being too young (or too) to know what they want. it's a sad thing, because despite age we all feel the same things.

  70. I actually lived one of my fives this summer. I volunteered helping kids at a local school. Teaching kids is hard,but so worth their toothless smiles.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  71. Wow, loved your 5's Kay!

    I'm eager to start too a greener life, and I think Living Your Five is the perfect opportunity for me to start doing it

    juiceb0xx at hotmail dot com