Next time your boss gives you a ‘well done’ on the Zoom meeting, it might feel a little flat after this man’s extraordinary random act of kindness.
Having made a whopping £1.3million ($1.6m) on the stock market, Larry Connor decided to gift it ALL to his employees.
The businessman says “doing the right thing” is at the core of how his company operates, which is what led to the giveaway.
Chatting about his generosity, Larry explained: “These are challenging times, but the way our people have responded has been nothing short of heroic.
“Our number one core value is ‘do the right thing’. So, when I think about how I made the money compared to what our associates do every day, it was the right thing to do.”
Larry, owner and founder of Ohio-based real estate investment firm The Connor Group, dropped the bonuses bombshell via a video announcement to staff.
In order to make sure the right people received the pay-outs it was calculated on a tiered-system, whereby associates who made more than £122,000 ($150k) were not eligible and the average salary of those who did benefit are on £34,000 ($42k) salaries.
Larry added: “We believe in leading from the front. And in trying times, that means more than just talking about the problem. It means taking action.”
The company, which employs 400 associates, will now pay bonuses ranging from £1.6k ($2k) to £7.3k ($9k) to all “non-highly compensated associates”.
Meanwhile, senior maintenance technician Memo Alba – who is using his £4.9k ($6k) bonus to remodel his house and buy a holiday to Florida – revealed his gratitude.
He said: “Family comes first. I love that about this company. That’s what keeps me here.
“They’ve always made me feel that they care not only about me, but about my family’s health and wellbeing. They’re always there to help.”
Forget handing over your cash to Amazon for little pick-me-ups through the post during lockdown, the real key to happiness is flooding the streets of Florida.
A local man has taken to hammering small colourful signs to trees in St Petersburg, with ‘happiness’ simply emblazoned across them.
Gary King is on a mission to spread joy during current social distancing measures and believes the power of “just a word can change the way people feel”.
More than anyone, the 74-year-old understands the struggles of loneliness and mental health issues, having suffered emotional abuse as a child leaving him with PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] before going on to lose his son who died by suicide.
Speaking about his efforts, Gary revealed on Facebook: “Fear is the exact opposite of happiness. If there was ever a time to internally feel some happiness, it is now.
“Yes, it is difficult with all the issues surrounding the virus.
“Happiness makes the immune system really strong and resistant to sickness.
“Almost all the stores I enter, people acknowledge that the signs make them feel better or happy, if just for a brief moment, which is much better than not at all.”
Gary, who says the campaign is “great therapy” for him, has so far installed 81 signs.
The positive guru, and author of The Happiness Formula: The Ultimate Life Makeover, believes the power of his signs can improve mood.
He added: “Everything you take in creates an emotion. The whole idea is to create emotions that make you healthy physically and healthy emotionally.”
Gary, whose hope is to help others struggling and find a way for them to heal, says he’s constantly observing the human psyche and response system.
Now affectionately known as ‘The Happiness Man’, Gary concluded: “Every word we use has energy. Because of their energy, words can make us feel better or worse.”
It’s been a devastating few months learning to live with COVID-19 and we’re not out of the woods yet, though there does seem to be a little light at the end of the tunnel.
As markets and non-essential retail shops are set to reopen and primary schools will reinstate classes on June 1, airlines are looking at when they can resume business too.
As part of the plans to gradually ease lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that socially distanced gatherings of up to six people will be allowed in gardens and outdoor spaces in England from Monday 1 June.
Those from different households must stay two metres apart from each other, in line with social distancing rules.
While pubs remain closed for the foreseeable future even if socialising resumes, we might be able to go further afield as international travel will kickstart in just a fortnight.
EasyJet will be open for business from June 15, with flights resumed from 22 European airports including London Gatwick, Birmingham, and Glasgow.
The only international route from the UK will be between Gatwick and Nice, France.
The airline will introduce new measures to help ensure safety, including enhanced cleaning, essential face masks for passengers and crew, and no food to be sold onboard.
Meanwhile, Ryanair plans to restore 40% of its flights from July 1 and Brits will be able to fly to countries such as Berlin, Prague, and Malta.
Again, passengers and crew will be required to wear face masks and pass temperature checks before being allowed to travel.
Following in their footsteps is British Airways, who also plan the return of service in July.
However, if you’re a frequent flyer hoping to travel-hop around the world, bosses have warned that the airline does not expect to return to full capacity until 2023.
If you can’t wait that long, take a peek at what TUI is offering.
They are hopeful to resume trips on June 12, albeit while being “continuously reviewed”.
And if you’re deciding where to go, then Greece or Bulgaria might just be for you.
Greece is now welcoming tourists and has lifted many of its rules on the population, while Bulgaria is opening restaurants, bars and cafés at full capacity from Monday.
There’s nothing better than a Sunday roast, whether you’re a carnivore or vegan, it’s the trimmings that make it so divine.
Only turns out, there is one thing better.
It’s a Sunday roast that also donates cash to the NHS.
And following the coronavirus lockdown, an eatery in Buckinghamshire who was forced to close its doors is doing just this.
Reinventing themselves alongside social distancing rules, Café Globe turned their attentions online and began delivering a quintessentially British Sunday roast to the door.
Created by chef ‘Jack at the Globe’, the mouth-watering dishes come with the tagline “stay home, feed the family and help the heroes” as 20% of profits are being donated to the Meals For The NHS charity for heroes working during this pandemic.
The roasts have now raised a staggering £1,600,000, enabling the charity to provide an impressive 161,105 meals to our frontline workers.
Writing on the Sunday Roast by Jack Facebook page, the team wrote: “We are proud to support this brilliant charity and 20% of all profits go straight to @mealsforthenhs.
“Help put food on the tables of our frontline heroes by putting a Sunday Roast on yours.”
The taste-buds tickling menu boasts something for everyone; with options including free range pork belly with apple sauce, lemon and thyme roasted chicken, 12-hour slow roasted British beef, and aromatic mushroom and Marmite wellington for vegans.
We may be living in 2020, though the mind-body connection is still a relatively new concept.
And while the majority of us view our mental and physical health as two separate entities, it is understood that our thoughts can influence our biological functioning.
Now, an online event aims to delve into why resilience begins in the heart not the brain.
Hosted by international guru Gregg Braden, who describes himself as ‘a pioneer bridging modern science, spirituality, and human potential’, the event – entitled Live Hearts Lovestream – will broadcast on Saturday at 7pm on Facebook.
A group of famous faces from the science and music worlds will share their wisdom to help you tap into your resiliency during these challenging times and guide participants towards the new world that is emerging, all while supporting the work of All Hands And Hearts – a volunteer-powered disaster relief organisation.
Scientists Bruce Lipton and Lynne McTaggart will provide insights into global coherence and celebrate the themes of community, imagination and freedom, alongside the Heart Math Institute who research how emotions affect the heart-brain-body connection.
Special guests include the legendary Quincy Jones, Kelly Slater (aka 11 times World Champion of surf), and Grammy Award-winner Sheryl Crow.
Pussycat Doll and former X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger will also be performing her new song No Place Like Home with Bo Napoleon.
Host Gregg is a five-time New York Times best-selling author who argues that human emotions affect DNA and that collective prayer may have healing physical effects on us.
He kickstarted his career as a problem-solver during times of crisis for Fortune 500 companies. Today, he continues problem-solving by exploring the origin of humanity.
His aim is to unlock our potential and understanding of why who we are as individuals informs the choices we make in everyday life and how that affects the emerging world.
It’s not always easy being a celebrity. No matter what they do, they’re often criticised for it and sometimes they just can’t win. So, at Uspire we’ve decided to shine a light on some of our fave VIPs and remind you that many of them are down-to-earth and real, just like us.
In the first of our #PositivePeeps series, we want to give a massive shout out to the one and only Stacey Solomon – who first found fame on The X Factor back in 2009.
Stacey, 30, is an avid user of Instagram stories and boy are we pleased about this! As well as offering up some fab ideas for jazzing up your kid’s lunches, the mum-of-three loves to show off her hacks from keeping the house organised.
And when she’s not getting family dinners prepped for the week, the Loose Women panelist treats us to some super cute videos of her youngest son Rex, who recently turned one.
If you’re a fan of Stacey, then you’ll know her adorable nickname for Rex is ‘Pickle’, and she likes to call her boyfriend Joe Swash, ‘Hoe’. Just one if the many reasons we’re a fan of her!
As well as being funny, bubbly and the owner of an epic cheesy grin, Stacey is not afraid to keep it real and often shares snaps of herself in swimwear – proving that not all celebs feel the need to post perfectly, airbrushed photos.
At the beginning of 2020, Stacey shared a very refreshing picture which showed her swimming with Rex whilst wearing a floral print bikini. The TV star captioned it: “New year, same me. Because why change something that brought me the most happiness I could ever imagine. That brought me the smiley seven month old in the picture and the most amazing 11 year old taking it.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s to another year of loving our bodies no matter how hard society tries to stop us,” she added, and the post was liked almost 500,000 times.
More recently, Stacey took the time out of her day to thank her 3.3 million Instagram followers for being so kind to her by sharing a selfie of her and Joe with little Rex – who appears to have inherited his mum’s huge grin.
Stacey captioned it: “Never let the world change your smile. Instead use your smile to change the world. I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to each and every one of you for always being so bloody lovely. So kind and supportive.
“For sending messages that build people up and make them feel like they have THE best group of friends EVER. You are angels and you have no idea what difference you make to someone who sometimes need to hear your kind words. There will always be someone out there trying to bring you down. Don’t give them the power to take your smile away.
“The only keeper of your happiness is you. So keep it far away from harm, you deserve to be happy,” Stacey added – and we couldn’t agree more!
So thanks to Stacey for being a celeb we can relate to, and for making our timelines that little bit funnier – especially during this strange time. We Stan!
‘Just love yourself’, ‘be epic’, ‘you’re awesome’… sometimes Instagram memes can miss the mark even with the best intentions.
So, if you’re struggling a little and don’t know where to turn, then Jay Shetty might just be the man you’ve been looking for.
The motivational speaker, who was recognised on the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017, has the extraordinary talent of both wisdom and connecting with people.
And now he is on a mission to help the public with his new Love Your Life challenge, a three-day event that boasts six tools for daily happiness and success.
Kickstarting tomorrow, the challenge promises to guide participants to find strategies for growth, as well as discover more energy, empowerment, and excitement in life.
In particular, Jay pledges that people will be able to find a work/life balance; control thoughts and transform energy to find more harmony by moving forward rather than backward; and accomplish more by staying aligned with goals and avoid overthinking.
The challenge will be offered up in various platforms, including daily live videos, a downloadable PDF workbook, discussion prompts to interact and brainstorm with other members, as well as a private community full of encouragement and support.
Jay’s immense popularity online has seen his teachings go global, with a whopping 3.4million subscribers on YouTube and an impressive 6m followers on Instagram.
His knowledge and insight has even caught the eye of Hollywood, with Jay appearing on The Ellen Degeneres Show last year.
During the interview, he revealed just how his personal journey had evolved, from life in the rat race to becoming an international guru.
Jay explained: “When I was growing up in London, I had three choices – to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a failure.
“I ended up at business school, so I guess I was the third.
“Every week, we had CEOs, entrepreneurs, celebrities coming to speak and share their story. I was fascinated by how people could go from nothing to something.
“One week I was told a monk had been invited, I said to my friend we’re only going if we can go to a bar afterwards because I wasn’t interested…
“But the talk changed my life. It was the most captivating presentation I had ever been to.
“He spoke about selflessness, service and kindness and it got me hooked.”
The chance encounter led Jay to spend his summer holidays, age 18 to 22, half working in the finance world wearing suits in London and the other half living as a monk in India.
At 22, he turned down his corporate job offers, and pursued his dream whereby he lived as a monk in India for three years.
On his return to the UK, he saw the stress his friends were under in their high-powered jobs, which led to them inviting him into their offices to talk as a guest speaker.
Since the coronavirus chaos spiralled, there’s been a lot of talk of missed holidays, birthdays, and weddings – but not so much about graduations.
And Gabrielle Pierce was left devastated when hearing she wouldn’t be able to receive her diploma after working towards her bachelor’s degree in public health science.
However, it seems not all superheroes wear capes.
For doting dad Torrence Burson decided to go the extra mile and if his daughter couldn’t get to the ceremony then he would bring the ceremony to his daughter.
Creating his own event, Torrence took advantage of their sunny Memphis backdrop in Tennessee and set up a stage, lectern, and ‘congratulations’ decorations outside.
He even managed to get his hands on a Xavier University of Louisiana flag, complete with ‘Class of 2020’ emblazoned across it.
Chatting to CNN, Torrence said: “Gabrielle never saw anything until she came out to walk.
“At that moment, I didn’t have any worries. I was speechless. To see my baby, walk across the stage, and all her friends, family, neighbours and people that we don’t even know stop in the street to witness this, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
The family’s neighbour Delandrion Todd captured the heart-warming moment in a series of Facebook photos which have since been shared hundreds of times.
She wrote: “My next-door neighbour’s daughter couldn’t have her official graduation due to the pandemic so he created one for her.
“Now that’s a great/proud father for you. He made it happen!”
Meanwhile, over in Ohio, the bus drivers of Loveland High School were keen to honour their senior high school students who also missed out on end-of-term celebrations.
In a touching tribute, the schools’ transportation department arranged 22 of their iconic yellow buses to spell out ‘2020’ when seen from a bird’s eye view.
The art and photography teacher, Jim Barrett, used an aerial drone to capture footage of the drivers waving up at the camera from in-between the buses.
Bus driver Jennifer Bloom Bowman said: “Some of us have been around long enough to transport these kids since kindergarten, and some of us have only been working with the district for a few years, but the one thing we all have in common is the love for our students. This is a huge accomplishment and anyway we can show them some love, we will do it. So, here’s to the Class of 2020. Your bus drivers are proud of all of you.”
A man who faced his own mortality after being diagnosed with cancer has created an app to help others going through similar experiences.
Fabian Bolin was just 28 when he was told he had leukaemia in 2015, enduring 900 days of intensive chemotherapy.
Left grappling with the reality that he had a 60% chance of surviving, he resigned himself to thinking that life was over.
Yet in a bid to exorcise his demons, Fabian decided to blog about his experience and, through doing this, realised the positive effects that storytelling had on his own mental health. It was this realisation that led him to create his War On Cancer app, designed specifically for those people who are suffering from cancer.
The app allows people to communicate with each other, share experiences and discuss cancer in a safe space – especially as they find themselves isolated from the rest of society or facing indefinite halts on treatment as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Speaking exclusively to Uspire, Fabian told us how hearing the news of the diagnosis went onto profoundly affect his world – for the better.
Fabian said: “I remember it clearly. There was a short moment of time, in between when the doctor said the infamous ‘you have cancer’ line and before he could say anything else. At that specific moment, I was certain I was going to die.
“Everything I knew about cancer spelled death, and especially blood cancer. There were no feelings of fear, anger, or sadness. Rather, I felt a big relief and a peaceful experience.
“It was like a voice told me, ‘you don’t have to prove yourself anymore, just sit back and relax’. I’ve come back to that moment several times, and I know that I felt that way because I wasn’t happy with the life I was living at the time of my diagnosis. Hence, on a subconscious level, I think embraced the idea of dying.”
Although everyone’s journey through cancer is unique, Fabian believes it is safe to say that being diagnosed, and the subsequent treatment and aftermath, inflicts trauma.
Research suggests that 22% of cancer patients develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and 25% of patients develop clinical depression. However, the healthcare system in most cases only treat the cancer, and often do not have the resources to deal with the trauma, PTSD and depression that can sometimes be caused by treatment.
Fabian explained: “If there was one thing that really saved my mental health during my years of going through cancer, it was the act of writing and sharing my story.
“The blog became my saviour from a mental health point of view, and it made me understand the power of stories for three main reasons.
“Firstly, I found sharing therapeutic, as it was a way for me to process my mental challenges in real-time.
“Secondly, sharing helped me to normalise the situation around me, so that my friends and family understood how they could best support me.
“They realised that what I needed wasn’t to be treated like a victim, but rather as Fabian, currently undergoing cancer treatment.
“Thirdly, the notion that sharing my story was helping others had a profoundly positive impact on my mental health. The blog peaked at around 200,000 monthly readers and I can honestly say that I have never in my life felt a bigger sense of purpose and meaning than I did then, and I have never felt happier.
“I even began to develop a form of gratefulness towards being diagnosed.”
He continued: “By sharing my story, I applied several coping mechanisms at the same time, such as expressive writing, self-monitoring, and having a strong social support network. The whole point of the app is to boost our members’ mental health, meaning we study the trauma coping-mechanisms closely when developing the platform.”
While Fabian credits his experience with changing his life, he still believes there is a lot of room for education and that understanding the illness can make it less taboo.
He said: “The more we talk about cancer and other illnesses, the more we help to normalise it which will ultimately increase the mental health of those affected.
“Normalisation is especially important in terms of making sure that people understand cancer is something that many people are living with or living through.
“It is something which becomes a part of cancer patients’ lives and as such tip-toeing around the topic or avoiding it can be harmful and isolating for people going through cancer, as it may be a part of their day-to-day life for years.
“Cancer is a life experience which is difficult, harrowing and entirely unique. Many people that are going or have gone through it, myself included, may find it difficult to explain what they’re going through to others or to find people who really ‘get’ the journey that cancer takes you on and the ways in which it changes your perspective on life.
“This also applies to the loved ones of cancer patients, who will also be going through emotions and challenges that many of their peers and close friends will not.
“Having a wider understanding of this amongst non-cancer patients would be extremely helpful. Knowing that a loved one who is undergoing cancer treatment might be finding it hard to conceptualise what they’re going through, or that they may be going through large amounts of emotional turmoil and change, could help people who are not going through cancer to build a better support network.”
Fabian added that his personal experience is often referred to as post-traumatic growth, whereby a positive change develops through a stressful or frightening event.
A man who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in nothing but shorts, believes his power to achieve feats that are usually deemed unachievable lies in the simple task of breathing.
For context, Mount Kilimanjaro temperatures average at freezing point, while the summit is in the glacial zone of -6°C.
Say hello to extreme athlete, Wim Hof, aka ‘The Iceman’.
Not only has he stripped off for mountain expeditions to prove his point, he has also run a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot and ‘out-Blained’ David Blaine by standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes.
With Mother Nature as his muse, Wim’s training has enabled him to learn to control his breathing, heart rate, and blood circulation to withstand extreme temperatures.
Now, the 61-year-old guru – who holds 21 Guinness World Records – is inviting us to join his mission and practice his breathwork to make the impossible, possible.
The self-titled Wim Hof Method (WHM) events usually combine cold exposure, breathing techniques, and meditation for participants who take part in face-to-face sessions.
However, being in quarantine has rejigged life a little.
Instead, the Dutchman has a free guided breathing exercise available to introduce the public to his methods. There is also a free series of online classes to learn the basics.
In these classes, students are taught how breathing affects physiology, as well as learning new techniques to significantly improve energy levels, detox the body, relieve stress and tension, and strengthen the immune system.
And just because Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t accessible right now, don’t assume you’ll be getting away without a taste of the cold!
People will also be encouraged to try gradual cold exposure, through chilly showers which gives our vascular system a workout by helping to burn fat and increase the ‘feel-good’ chemicals in the brain.
And lastly, the importance of the mind-body connection will also be explored as Wim teaches the power of intention and how to use what you’ve learnt to take back control.
While sceptics might wonder how breathing alone has the power to influence the mind, several studies have taken place to illustrate the Wim Hof Method.
In particular, one study in 2018 showed how WHM activated regions in the brain responsible for pain suppression, suggesting humans are capable of creating their own painkillers.
It has also been proven that the breathwork can wilfully influence the nervous system (relating to the immune response), something that was previously unknown to science.