Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Welcome to Harmony of The Heart

A hike I took at Stevens Trail in Colfax, CA.
I hope that you enjoy your visit to Harmony of the Heart. You will find inspirational articles, stories, poetry, beautiful photos, links, motivational videos and much more. This blog was created to spread life affirming and inspirational messages that enrich people's lives. I hope that you will be a part of that by sharing posts that you like via email, facebook, twitter or other social networks.

Feature Photo
Every once in a while we post the Feature Photo, a striking photo. To view all of the other feature photos we have posted at Harmony of the Heart simply click here.

Follow Us
Also, if you are new to the site and want to learn more about us click here. You can subscribe to Harmony of the Heart at the top right corner of the sidebar on the right. You can also follow us with Google Friend Connect (just scroll down the sidebar on the right and you will eventually find it). You can also subscribe or like Eddie or our Life Enriching Communication page on facebook.

Book on Volunteering
I recently wrote a book on volunteering, Essentials for Cultivating Passionate Volunteers and Leaders, that was inspired by the many volunteers I have worked with. I wrote the book to support volunteers in meeting their goals and to create life affirming environments within organizations that support volunteers and help them reach their full potential. If you are a volunteer or know someone who is or who works with volunteers, I recommend the book. I also appreciate when you get the word out about the book on social media, write a review or volunteer! Let's volunteer and make an impact in our local communities and in the world!

I enjoy hearing feedback and your comments on posts. You can email me or share comments on the posts on the blog. Also if you have ideas for posts or want to contribute a post feel free to email me and I will consider your suggestions.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Cultivating Passionate Volunteers and Leaders

PHOTO CAPTION: "Photo Courtesy of Flickr."
Note: This article was published on
I recall the first time I volunteered in college. I volunteered at my local church. I was so excited to join a cause and be a part of something that I believed in. It meant a lot to me to be around other people who also really cared about making a difference. I made friends and connections that I would never forget. I am still in touch with some of the people I volunteered with, worked with and served. I think what I enjoyed the most about my experience was being a part of a community.
Giving from the Heart
Since then I have worked for nonprofits for over twenty-five years. I have had the privilege to work with many volunteers along the way and have found their joy and enthusiasm has been my fuel that keeps me energized and connected to the larger cause.
I agree with Marshall Rosenberg that we all have a need to contribute to others well-being. Sometimes, I have found that volunteers may be more connected to this desire to give from the heart than employees. They are excited and filled with anticipation, while employees sometimes get bogged down with the work and see their tasks and responsibilities as mundane. Volunteers can, at times, with their enthusiasm and excitement bring a positive spark to the workforce.
Working with volunteers and engaging them with the work and connecting them to others on the team is a process that can be fun to see unfold but, at times, can be tricky to navigate. Collaborating with others to fulfill a mission or goal is a sacred process. Making something sacred means preparing and creating a safe vessel, a container for others to join. This space is where we trust and build with others what is precious to us. It is the formation of community.
Culture of Empathy
It is important for an organization to practice what it wants to demonstrate to the public or it will suffer for it. “Every employee matters and every employee’s needs matter” is the motto of an organization committed to honoring needs. The same holds true with volunteers. By listening with care to the concerns and needs of individuals, the organization discovers ways to work together to better serve the community.
Mr. Gordan Bethune, retired U.S. airline executive and former CEO of Continental Airlines, said, “I like to think that a lot of managers and executives trying to solve problems miss the forest for the trees by forgetting to look at their people – not at how much they can get from their people or how they can more effectively manage their people. I think they need to look a little more closely at what it’s like for their people to work there every day.”
This goes for volunteers, as well. Sometimes managers can be caught up in the single-minded type of thinking that focuses on attaining effective outcomes or results and an attachment to one strategy to attain those results. Sometimes what can occur is that we become “blinded by the prize.” When we open our hearts to what employees and volunteers are experiencing and listen to their feedback, we demonstrate that we care, and we cultivate a culture of caring.
Of course, we desire to find people who are productive, hard-working and have the ability and skills to continually develop their potential. Yet, it is important to also nurture a climate where everyone’s needs matter and are held collectively. A climate where all parties involved have a voice and where feedback is received from all sides. The downside of not nurturing this culture is long-term losses that involve losing star employees and quality volunteers and high turnover. Loss of staff can lead to further costs and later failures.
Connecting Others to Their Passion
People thrive when they feel safe and supported and are growing and leading. When working with volunteers or staff it is essential to try to discover what they are passionate about. For example, I met a kid who loved playing soccer. Every time I saw him, he had a soccer ball. We got to talking and I encouraged him to start a soccer clinic at his apartment complex. He said he wanted me to do it with him. I said okay and we offered a soccer clinic every year in the summer. Many of the kids who participated in the clinic learned basic soccer skills and went on the play youth soccer in leagues.
The youth leader said, “It is meaningful for me to give back because I was once the kid getting the help. This property has helped me with my homework, provided positive role models and assisted us with our housing. I am grateful and want to give back.”
Another volunteer said about why she volunteered, “The reason I help is really a selfish reason. It feels good to volunteer and help others. I like to share what makes me feel good with others so that they can experience it as well.”
These individuals had one thing in common – they shared the passion they had in their hearts with others. When this happens, it is magical to watch. The world needs us to find our gift or talent, and the world waits expectantly for us to not only find it but to use it to contribute to life.
Eddie Zacapa is the author of Essentials for Cultivating Passionate Volunteers and Leaders: Guidelines for Organizations that Value Connection. He is also the co-founder of Life Enriching Communication, a certified trainer with The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), and a collaborative trainer with BayNVC. Eddie’s book is available on Amazon and most online booksellers. He offers leadership and volunteer training, NVC coaching and assistance with conflict resolution.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Being an Agent of Change Presentation - Face in a Book Bookstore

Here is a talk I gave at Face in a Book, a local bookstore in El Dorado Hills, CA. I spoke on Being an Agent of Change during Volunteer Appreciation Month.

Feel free to share with others.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Building Resilience in Our Children and Ourselves

PHOTO CAPTION: "Photo Courtesy" 
Here is an article on resilience that was recently published in the Mountain Democrat by the El Dorado County Child Abuse Prevention Council.

Building resilience is vital to our own personal growth and is essential for children. It is easier to run away from problems or not deal with pain. But building resilience and increasing our capacity to navigate stressful situations and trials allows us to grow and be better equipped to handle difficult life situations in the future. Helping our children develop resilience is the best gift we can give them.

Check out the article here.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Tiger Woods Incredible Comeback to Win the 2019 Masters

Tiger Woods comeback to win the 2019 Masters may be the best comeback ever. After having various surgeries on his back and at one point not being able to walk, it is amazing to see him win yet another time. At one point, he did not believe he would be able to play golf again. His celebration brings a tear to the eye as you get a glimpse of the emotion.

Woods, who overcame injuries and personal trials (many self-inflicted) demonstrates determination and persistence that can inspire anyone to not give up and continue to pursue their dreams.

Below you can watch some highlights on the road to his Master's win. Enjoy! For more inspirational videos you can scroll down the right column of this blog to find videos.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Just Published the book Essentials for Cultivating Passionate Volunteers and Leaders!

I am excited to share that I just published the book Essentials for Cultivating Passionate Volunteers and Leaders. It is available at and and

I wrote the book because it is very important to value volunteers and staff and to know how to effectively honor them and the needs of the organization. Creating a culture where individuals can thrive and discover their strengths and purpose is essential. When volunteers and staff find their niche and focus on their strengths the organization is more effective and more good can be done in the world.

I have had a lot of volunteers that I have worked with over the past 20 years and many I am still in touch with today. What they tell me most impacted them from working with me is that their voice was heard and that they were guided to discovering their role to play in the organization.

My book will help:

*Inspire and motivate volunteers and staff
*Listen to others effectively and offer quality feedback
*Reduce turnover and cultivate passion in the workplace
*Improve productivity
*Develop a culture of mentorship and learning
*Individuals and volunteers choose the right organization for them

Here are some reviews:

"Mr. Zacapa provides straight forward, practical ideas for engaging and inspiring employees and volunteers to perform at optimum levels for the good of any organization. His short and very well written book inspired and validated my own principles applied during my own, lengthy career as a CEO of a nationally respected affordable housing developer/operator. Eddie Zacapa understands the importance of finding passion in those we lead and offers excellent tips on how to apply empathy and understanding for the promotion of work excellence."

Rob Pearson, CEO, Santa Barbara Housing Authority

"Eddie powerfully lifts up the concepts of 'love thy neighbor' in this book. He illustrates how volunteering time and skills to our communities teaches teamwork, communication, conflict resolution, critical thinking, project planning and other important life skills. Eddie especially captures how human beings can bring out the best in each other through volunteerism. He also reminds us to preserve and treasure our interconnectedness as global citizens."

Ami Pascual Spear, Founding Director, South of Market Foundation, Community Economic Developer practitioner 

Books ships quicker from and 

Beyond Praise - Expressing Gratitude

There seems to be a widespread assumption that praise is always a good thing. It is not uncommon for teachers to be told to praise a child every day. Some are even evaluated on how close they come to this standard. Many books on parenting encourage praise and don't mention any negative effects of using it. 

Yet there is now research that shows that using praise can be unhealthy. What can be unhealthy about praising kids or others? 

Dependency on Praise for Approval
Well for starters children can become dependent on praise and not be able to self-motivate themselves. Alfie Kohn in his book Punished by Rewards shares a story of a teacher who would say, "Good job! You really helped me out today!" to two boys who she concluded were insecure. Yet their desire to please her grew and they were no closer to achieving the confidence and security she was hoping to build. Their mood depended on whether she approved or did not and they felt better about themselves when she did.

Kohn also writes that children may end up not being as creative and relying more on adults to make decisions for them as a result as well.

Kohn states, "Praising children for the way they behave, meanwhile, gives them no reason to continue acting responsibly when no one is likely to say nice things to them after they do so, and it gives them neither the skills nor the inclination to make their own decisions about what constitutes responsible behavior."

It is true that not all children react the same way to praise. This may have something to do with their background and personality. For instance research shows that girls do not respond favorably to praise and are actually less interested in doing the work that they are praised for doing after being praised. This may have something to do with how often women are complimented for being nice or sweet that they have come to realize that the praise is just an attempt to control them or get them to do something.

Continue reading here