DO IT WELL. MAKE IT FUN ~ a still-reading book review

Mea culpa – this post is not accepting paragraph breaks.  CONFUSING.  Tried to fix, failed.  Each new paragraph starts in bold.  My heartfelt apologies.  ~deev~
It is great FUN being 65, seeing how things unfolded over my past, giving me confidence in this Now that the the future will do the same.  Consider how Ron Culberson’s DO IT WELL.  MAKE IT FUN came into my life.
Was super psyched last week, discovering that JOLENE BRACKEY is making a rare East Coast appearance next month, giving the keynote presentation at the Northern Virginia Dementia Care Consortium’s Creating Moments of Joy Caregiver’s Conference.  Almost bounced off the walls – an author I admire beyond words, giving a talk on the very thing that’s presented itself as my true life work, partnered with John.  Infusing as many moments as possible, whatever the age or circumstance, with joy glee fun.
 
The schedule showed Jolene opening the conference & a fellow named RON CULBERSON closing it with If Not Now, When?  Immediately caught my eye, because it happens to be the title of a beloved Reb Zalman video.  So, checked out Ron, who turned out to be  NOTHING like what I expected.
According to the conference brochure, “Ron Culberson, MSW, CSP, CPAE, spent the first part of his career working in a large hospice organization as a clinical social worker, middle manager, and senior leader. As a speaker, humorist, and author of Do it Well. Make it Fun. The Key to Success in Life, Death, and Almost Everything in Between, he has delivered more than 1,000 presentations to associations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporations.”  A lot of words that left me without a clear sense of the person, whether his presentation would be worth sticking around after watching Paula Kyle (Dance for Parkinson’s) at 1:00 p.m.  Looked him up.
 
wow.  Wow.   WOW!  Ron is no less than a FUN!sultant & deeper I get into his book, the more he is my newest super hero.
 
Ron’s opening certainly caught my interest, as well as a tremendous amount of skepticism.  He totally trashes personal development books, proclaiming that HIS book is the only one anyone needs.  As someone writing a BOOK thanking the very “earnest psychologists, new age gurus, and overexposed Oprahs” he brushes aside on Page 2, it would be reasonable to think his opus would be headed for the thrift shop, pages pristine, not a single corner turned down.
Not so – I was over-the-moon to find a book that shouts from the rooftops the author’s belief in the power of FUN to make life work well.  Yes, he’s cocky confident that what he has to offer has more value than my book mentors, but I had an immediate strong sense that the Universe had commissioned Ron to write a book for ME, in this moment.  Am up to Chapter 6 & that feeling just gets stronger with each page.
Ron’s approach, his writing style is different than any of the 29 books that I’m thanking in my own tome.  Its unique cadence is unusually engaging – feels like we are at my favorite cafe, simply talking together over a cafe au lait & chocolate chip scone.
I am just finishing up the chapter on faith & already amazed & delighted by what & how you’re sharing.  It’s not just that you have an engaging writing style – it’s hard to find a unique cadence, which you do – but that it feels like we are simply talking together.
Yes, Ron disparages the very personal growth authors I celebrate, but the fact is that I am the rare bird who actually CHANGED due to reading the scores of books that line my shelves.  Sadly, too many feel energized by doing a deep dive into self-help material, but come up short at implementing what they read.
Maybe those remarkable books worked for me because I stepped out of any normal time expectations, letting it take as long as it took, always believing that better was possible.
 
I’ve long believed there was a Ron Culberson out there, with the book that would help me make sense of it all.  That would clue in this unrepentant Pollyanna to something I couldn’t identify but knew existed.
That we are meant to do life well by making it fun. That we get there by focusing on excellence AND joy.   “It’s about the value with which we live rather than the amount of time we have left.  When we focus on VALUE, we achieve a higher level of richness & success in our lives.
Thanks, Ron – I needed that.  And it was just on page 3  – wasn’t even out of his intro yet!
At first read, I thought Ron had it wrong – surely he meant that making things fun helps us do it well.  Nope, he had his order right.  We need to start out with the intent to do something more than okay;  we need to set out to do it well, to aim for excellence rather than okay.  Do it well, make it fun.  The order matters.
Right now, at this very moment, I am proof that life can be broken down into series of steps that lead to or away from success.  For the past week, I’ve drifted away from the very steps that have created an environment where excellence could thrive.  I’ve gone backward, toward old familiar patterns that left me getting by but not soaring, away from the steps I know work best for me, when I put out the effort to follow them.  Am back on track – getting up early, greeting the day, doing my series of Namastes, going out on a pre-dawn walking meditation, taking my blood pressure meds with a full glass of water, journaling, playing my Song of the Month (currently Lady Gaga’s La Vie En Rose), reviewing my calendar.  Moving on with the day, aiming for excellence rather than the comfortable mediocrity that never pushed but never pleased, always remembering that “every step in every experience has the potential of being improved and being more fun.”  Sing to me, Ron!
“The past is gone.  It won’t be back.”  When I read those few words, my life shifted.  The books I celebrate in You Come Too are my past, form my foundation.  They’re the solid ground on which I stand.  Do It Well.  Make It Fun. shows how to get those feet dancing, keeping it simple, doing it with unique style, striving for excellence rather than settling for comfy okay.
Each chapter –  infused with Ron’s humor, which is I guess what makes it so singularly HIS & so easy to slip into – ends with the Well-Fun-Now Process, steps for integrating the chapter’s topic into our life.
Ron had me hooked by the end of the second chapter, but it was his third – Have Character, Don’t Be One – that won me over completely.  It is not easy for anyone to talk about their personal values without sounding preachy;  it’s much more difficult to do in static writing – the words extolling values can so easily be read as pompous, even sanctimonious.  Not Ron’s.  He comes through as a man who values the principled life, who openly shares his personal values & work principles, but does so as a prompt for us to look inward & consider our own.  As he says, “Done well, our life & work have more integrity.  And on some level, that’s more fun.”
If sharing values is challenging, talking about faith without coming across as holier-than-thou is almost impossible.  Ron pulls it off.
It seems to me that so much of the confusion we see in today’s society is because so many people seem to lack faith in something Bigger, More Important than themselves.  True faith in something Higher – whatever that faith may be – liberates rather than restricts, empowers rather than demands, enlightens rather than dictates.  Ron gets that across.
Where I fell at Ron’s feet in gratitude was reading Developing the Skill of Skill Development.  Reading that subheading, was certain sure the Universe commissioned Ron to write this book for me, to be read in this Now.
For decades, it’s bothered, perplexed me that I’d missed the core skill of skill development.  Plagues me to this day.  And there it was, in bold print near the top of page 43.  And then he brings in the squirrels, which totally rang all my bells.  I do well with visuals & what better one than a squirrel keeping at something & at something & at something until they ace it.  “Squirrels are skilled.  And they don’t usually give up until they improve their skills enough to get them what they want.  We humans, on the other hand, tend to give up too quickly, often settling for less than we want.  I hate to say it, but we should  learn from the squirrels.  If you had a squirrel’s determination, what would you work on?”  JUST what I needed to hear, a reminder & shove toward completion rather than Great idea!
That brings me to page 49 – It’s All In Your Head… Sort Of.  129 pages to go.  Should I have waited until I’d finished the book to do my review?  Couldn’t wait with Life Is Good & for the same reason – impatient to let others in one a great thing.  I’m 65 years old & life’s taught me not to dawdle, to go with my gut, to share what’s great in my life as soon as I can.  And I  know in my bones that Do It Well. Make It Fun. will be as big a life-shifter as the Jacobs brothers’ guide to living life to the fullest.
Thanks, Universe, for introducing me to Ron & his remarkable book.  I appreciate your bounty & welcome more.  Keep it coming, ’cause this is beyond wonderful.

Author: auntdeev

playfulness coach, life enthusiast & general instigator, ENTJ, cat lover

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