Monday, May 31, 2010

Nicely Networking or Really Relating

There are abundant networking opportunities every day.  Most of us don't utilize these forums as effectively as we might. 

Natural curiosity and an interest in people are the underlying keys to effective networking.  We can get unnecessarily caught up in trying to appear interesting.  Being genuinely interested in another generally makes us plenty interesting to them. Listening to and learning about others will allow a relationship to develop.  When we focus on the other person's wants and needs, we're able to assess whether we have value to add, which might lead to a meaningful relationship.   Meaningful relationships require a mutually beneficial long-term versus short-term focus.

When making introductions, I like, when possible to be able to give a 20-second elevator speech about each of the two parties I'm introducing rather than merely giving their names and company affiliations.  Though my version won't be as eloquent as their own, it may spark a connection, and will allow each of the individuals to enhance their introduction from the launch pad I've provided.  Being an effective connector is a great way to add value to our daily networking opportunities.

We can choose to network nicely at every event or really relate.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Sterling Bank once again partnered with Houston Business Journal to present the fourth annual Celebrate!Enterprise, seven events during four days in May which provide educational, recognition and structured networking opportunities.  Dr. Jessica Tyler, Practice Manager, Employee Engagement and Wellbeing from Gallup Inc., the Healthcare Heroes event keynote speaker, addressed wellbeing, drawing from her colleagues' newly released book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter

The five essential elements of how we think about and experience our lives are:
  • Career Wellbeing - Liking what we do every day
  • Social Wellbeing - Relationships and love in our lives
  • Financial Wellbeing - Managing economic matters to reduce stress and increase security
  • Physical Wellbeing - Good health and enough energy to do the things we need to do
  • Community Wellbeing - Sense of engagement and involvement in the area where we live
While 66% of people are doing well in at least one of these areas, just 7% are thriving in all five. As our individual wellbeing improves, we positively impact the wellbeing of those around us, yet another indication that everything's connected.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Electronic Leashes

Our electronic leashes (mobile devices), can provide 24x7x365 access if we allow it.  Used appropriately, this anywhere, anytime connectivity provides peace of mind and increased productivity.  Checking in, making requests, providing direction, giving and receiving timely responses, sharing information, accessing data and getting directions are some of the functions my Blackberry has enhanced as I'm scurrying from place to place.

Physical leashes provide safety and security for pets.  Electronic leashes do the same for us.

Friday, May 28, 2010


This is another exciting season at the Alley Theatre with three world premieres: Intelligence-Slave, Gruesome Playground Injuries and Wonderland.  Intelligence-Slave opened on Wednesday and runs through June 20.  Kenneth Lin is the playwright whose inspiration for this work came from reading an article about the concentration camp prisoner who invented the world's first hand-held four function calculator, the Curta calculator.

The inventor is being kept alive in order to complete this extraordinary break-through.  He clearly understands that he must show progress, but realizes that his value diminishes the moment the invention is complete.  There are life and death consequences to his actions. 

Though the consequences in our daily lives are not as dramatic, we are often held hostage by intelligence- slaves.  Our intelligence-slaves are our colleague experts who think that knowledge creates finite rather than infinite power.  They are afraid to reveal too much for fear of diluting their usefulness, or worse yet becoming obsolete.  As a result, we must make decisions and take action based upon incomplete information. 

Only in safe environments do creativity and innovation flourish.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Leadership for a Lifetime

Dr. Harriett Romo, a Sociology Professor and Director of the Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute at the University of Texas at San Antonio, was our terrific keynote speaker at Sterling Bank's Women's Business Initiative luncheon yesterday.  This warm, charming, intelligent and successful woman presented "Leadership for a Lifetime".

She vividly contrasted very different effective leadership styles of several female leaders:
  • Mother Theresa - an unassuming leader who passionately and compassionately fought poverty
  • Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton - charismatic leaders who've effectively used media exposure
  • Nancy Pelosi and Condoleezza Rice - academic strategists
  • Dolores Huerta - unassuming co-founder with Cesar Chavez, of United Farm Workers
She vividly described one of her own early leadership experiences.  As a 10-year old child she organized a variety show engaging her neighborhood's younger and older children.   Though she was clearly the leader, she was quick to highlight that followers and colleagues are crucial parts of the leadership equation.

Leaders learn their skills through mentoring, observing, reading and experiencing.

One of Dr. Romo's huge community collaborative successes, building a child development center at Navarro High School, required vision, action, persistence, passion, partnerships and funding. 

She closed with a proverb from Dr. Eugene Washington:  "If you have a vision without action, it's a daydream. If you have action without vision, it's a nightmare."

Because of Dr. Romo's vision with action, she's brought dreams to life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Power Washing

Watching the dust, pollen and mildew magically disappear from our outdoor teak furniture with Edgar's vigilant command of the power washer is the equivalent of a do-over.  My elbow grease merely took a layer away.  His power washing produced sparkling new furniture.  Makes me wish I could power wash my to-do list.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Swimming into Summer

Though the calendar indicates that summer begins in several weeks, my summer began this weekend with my first plunge into the pool.  My assessment is that cold water is only for drinking, so I always wait until we've had several days of warm temperatures before braving the chilly water. 

I love the pool. 
  • It's a magnetic gathering place for fun with family and friends.
  • Swimming is exercise that I can enthusiastically embrace. 
  • The water washes away stress.
  • Everyone's playful side emerges.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Connected and Committed Leader

At a recent Girls Inc. luncheon I had the good fortune to visit with a gracious speaker, author, consultant and former corporate executive, Laura Lopez.  I've just finished her book, The Connected and Committed Leader - Lessons from Home. Results at Work.  Adopting a child changed her leadership focus and effectiveness.   She reminds us that respect leads to trust; effective leadership permeates our lives; and leadership is relationship based - individual to individual, horizontal, vertical and 360 degrees.

Laura's seven essential leadership insights are:
  1. Believe and Let Go
  2. Be Curious and See Everyone
  3. Be Receptive and Yield
  4. Be Real and Serve
  5. Be Humble and Keep Your Ego in Check
  6. Be Consistent and Clear
  7. Be Vulnerable and Give of Yourself
One of Laura's great admonitions is, "When we impose our reality or our will onto others, there isn't enough room for their own. So we rob them of their potential and they can't ever perform to their fullest capability."

I appreciate Laura's insights and believe that when we bring our whole best selves to any endeavor, results improve exponentially.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Dean Lindsay is a best-selling author of The Progress Challenge and Cracking the Networking Code.  This keynote speaker spotlighted as outstanding by the International Association of Speakers Bureaus was our recent Sterling Bank Women's Business Initiative speaker. 

To ensure our continued success, Dean encourages us to deal with inevitable change by embracing progress.  It is as natural to resist change as it is to embrace progress.  He reminds us that all progress is change, but not all change is progress. Though we hear frequently about change management, what people are really seeking is to have their progress led. 

Everything we do has perceived meaning and consequences. Dean categorizes these in his Six Ps of Progress:
  • Peace of Mind
  • Pleasure
  • Profit
  • Prestige
  • Pain Avoidance
  • Power
Dean's three progress action steps are inspired by the work of Dr. Viktor Frankl:
  • Harness the Freedom of Choice
  • Take Responsibility for Actions
  • Drive Actions by Understanding Goals and Strengths
Dean reminds us that "Change is inevitable, progress is a choice."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Seeing the Unexpected!

How often do we see what is expected?  Very frequently!  When we always see what is expected, we miss the art in everyday life.  When our neighbors took their trash to the curb, they probably checked one more item off their to-do list and missed the fact that a dinosaur was roaming the neighborhood.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sight Doesn't Ensure Vision

As my blog, "Everything's Connected" indicates, I embrace 100%, the premise that we are all connected. Though the uniformly accepted premise is that there are 6 degrees of separation, my premise is that in Houston, there are only 3 degrees of separation.

I had the most fortunate privilege of discovering a very "insightful" Houston entrepreneur who has converted his lack of sight (he's been blind since birth) to inspire us all to harness the unimagined.  Vince Morvillo is a highly successful business consultant and entrepreneur.  With no outside financial support, Vince personally built one of the largest sales organizations on the Gulf Coast, taking it to profitability in just two years. 

He has achieved the unimaginable, becoming the first blind person in history to win a national yachting championship. 

Vince has replaced lack of sight with incredible vision.  I hope that we can all learn to use all of our senses to achieve our ultimate potential.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Superb Accommodation!

I have a habit of noting the names of those who I will have the privilege of visiting with at any given event on the back of one of my business cards.  With 8 incredible Sterling Bank sponsored events this week, I added an extra batch of cards to my inventory.  Generally, I am diligent about scouring my cards to ensure that I've not written notes on a card that I might present.  Unfortunately, with the extra inventory of cards this week, I didn't follow my normal process of dispensing cards from the back of my case, and securing cards from others in the front slot.  In dispensing cards from my back-up inventory, I inadvertently presented 2 cards to others that indicated on the reverse side those who I would be able to greet at the next events.

Though I had a back-up plan to account for my table guests, I am thrilled to report that the two gracious Houstonians to whom I presented annotated cards took the extra precious time to share with me the information I'd inadvertently included on the cards they received.

It's always refreshing when others take the time to superbly accommodate!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waxing or Waning

It's beautiful to spot a full moon in a clear sky.  I've known since childhood that anything less than a full moon is waxing or waning.  Since I don't observe the moon routinely, I often wondered whether the phase I saw was waxing or waning.  I assumed that I needed to know what had been happening during previous evenings to accurately ascertain the phase.  It was terrific to discover that in the northern hemisphere the moon phases we see wax left to right and wane right to left.  Without applying the pattern, a partial moon could appear as either waxing or waning. 

A pattern also applies to our personal growth.  When we're open to new information and experiences we're waxing.  When we cease to be curious, and think we know it all, we're quickly waning.  The distinction is only instantly available to the individual.  To accurately assess the phase of another's receptiveness to growth, we need to know what has been happening in prior days.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Paper Chains

Recalling many paper chain experiences makes me smile.  It's amazing how engaged a group can become when linking strips of brightly colored construction paper together with glue.  During my volunteer years at Texas Children's Hospital, we sometimes saw competitiveness as children raced to construct the longest chain.  Other times, we saw collaboration, as the evening's group of children decided to join forces and see how long the chain could become with everyone working together.  On one of our family's 550 mile road trips to Arkansas years ago, our backseat paper chain construction made the miles more joyful and quick.  And at last year's Sterling Bank family picnic following the March of Dimes walk, an eager group of children and adults quickly assembled a crowd-pleasing length.

Though the paper chain structure is temporary, the paper chain memories remain.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Brain on Vocation or Vacation

As we begin a new job, career or project, we are laser-focused on our vocation.  This intensity of focus serves us well. Over time, our comfort level may allow our attention to wander.  Though we all need periodic down-time, we must occasionally check to see that the time our brain is on vocation and on vacation is proportionate to achieving our goals.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Living Distracted

We are currently inundated with warnings of the dangers of driving distracted. Cell phones and PDAs are the target culprits. I think we have a bigger epidemic - living distracted. Multi-tasking and general busyness can eclipse special moments and experiences.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It Broke!

My dear husband and I had miscommunication of nuclear proportion last evening.  He was busily preparing his world's greatest white chocolate mousse for a luncheon I'm hosting today.  As I was drying the crystal bowls to receive this delicacy, I heard him frantically screaming, "It Broke!".  Assessing the situation from my non-chef view, I automatically assumed that he was referring to the KitchenAid Mix Master.  As he was leaving the room in an enormous huff,  he spotted me pulling out our trusty electric hand mixer to try to salvage his creation in progress.  He was screaming, " What the heck are you doing?!!!... IT BROKE!!! this stuff happens... You can't fix it..."!

As he stormed out of the house, I tried quite unsuccessfully to resurrect the concoction.  Only then did I realize that we had completely different meanings for "broke".  He was referring to the mixture of eggs, cream, sugar and chocolate that "broke" in the 100% humidity.  My unfamiliarity with this cooking term led me to believe that we'd had a mechanical malfunction with a "broken" mixer.  Because we both had our own understanding of "broke", we each thought the other was crazy.   Only when he reappeared from our 24x7 Kroger, with new ingredients, could we reconcile our foreign language interchange - chef language versus mortal speak. When we compared notes in English, we laughed heartily about our miscommunication and made up immediately.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Positive anticipation gives us energy.  Each year may include several of these positively anticipated events:
  • Birthdays, especially a child's
  • Holidays
  • Weddings
  • Births
  • Graduations
  • Vacations
  • New Jobs
  • Promotions
  • New Homes
  • New Cars
  • Visits from loved ones or friends
  • Awards
  • Raises and Bonuses
  • Successfully completing big projects
Optimism each day about the possibilities of new experiences, small victories and time with those we cherish can spread positive anticipation throughout the year.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Blogservations seems to be an ideal term for musings in a blog.  I was surprised that there are no entries in or Wikipedia.  However, when I googled blogservations, 4670 entries were returned.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Feather in your Cap

How often do we use a term without considering the origins? I was complimenting my daughter recently, and as the words, "feather in your cap" rolled off my tongue, I immediately considered how dated this sounded.

According to Wikipedia, "the term a feather in your cap is an English idiomatic phrase believed to have derived from the general custom in some cultures, of a warrior adding a new feather to their head-gear for every enemy slain, or in other cases from the custom of establishing the success of a hunter as being the first to bag a game bird by the plucking of the feathers of that prey and placing them in the hat band. The phrase today has altered to a more peaceful allusion, where it is used to refer to any laudable success or achievement by an individual that may help that person in the future."

Only when we stop to think about how dated some of our idioms are, do we consider that more fitting alternatives are not easy to construct.  "Jewel in your crown" is one of my favorites.  Most of the following just don't have the oomph of feather in your cap:
  • trophy in your case
  • badge on your sash
  • fish on your stringer
  • link in your chain
  • line on your resume
  • layer on your cake
  • chapter in your book
  • guest spot on Oprah or Leno
  • course in your feast
Would love to hear some contemporary favorites!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jigsaw Puzzle

Life's a jigsaw puzzle without a finished picture on a box.  Once the borders are in place, there's a framework for filling in the hundreds of interesting pieces. The borders establish boundaries for the picture that unfolds within. Each piece is interlocking, so the shape of one piece determines where the next piece fits.  With life's jigsaw puzzle, no two works in progress are exactly alike.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day!

I won the Mother lottery!  Everyone should be so fortunate to have a Mom and children like mine.  They've each taught me what it is to love and be loved. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Meeting new people is always easiest when we look for things we have in common.  There are so many opportunities to share interests, traits, backgrounds, experiences and aspirations.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010


My precious mother-in-law (deceased) used to refer to herself as "the oldest woman alive".  This was not an indication of any age-related disability, but rather a distinction she claimed because of her multi-generational friends.

As children, we all have different perceptions of what's old.  During elementary school, it might well be any child who's in a grade ahead of ours.  By the time we graduate from high school to enter the adult world of college, our perceptions change.  We realize that college graduates are a step ahead.

When I entered the post-college workforce, very few other fresh college grads were dispersed into a seasoned workforce at AT&T in Houston.  This was my first confirmation that skills and abilities trump tenure and age.

Age soon became irrelevant in the workplace.  Skills, talents and successes crossed age boundaries.

Only when my cherished elders each celebrated their 90th birthdays did I acknowledge that age was more than a state-of-mind, but also a state-of-body.  Though many would peg a much earlier age for old - 90 is my threshold. This is because I have been blessed to share many treasured experiences with many incredible octogenarians.

Like my precious mother-in-law, I enjoy multi-generational friends.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lots or Lost

Wow!  What a difference a transposition of letters makes!  When we think of lots of opportunities we are optimistic and future thinking.  When we are lost, we are uncertain, hesitant, fearful and stuck.

What a vivid reminder that the smallest inputs make a huge difference in outcomes.  Here's to lots of possibilities and no lost opportunities!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


It's always heartwarming to see individual's and organizations' charitable gifts and acts that make our community and world richer and better.  We all have many, many examples of acts and impacts, but I want to share a special call to action that motivated our son's lacrosse team to make a big difference.

Teachers and coaches do what they do because they care about kids.  There are multiple opportunities to express gratitude, which I hope happens frequently.

Our varsity lacrosse coach loves what he does and cares about each player.  He's even gotten fouls for demanding that the referees ensure the safety of all players.

He and his wife (who is also a beloved girl's lacrosse coach) gave birth during this season to a precious baby boy.  Despite this forever life-changing event, they continued their commitments to their players. 

Our boys' lacrosse parents chose to make a most special tribute to our cherished, hard-working coach.  We had 100% participation from parents in purchasing savings bonds to establish an education fund for their newborn and any other children they are fortunate enough to parent.

We all have the chance every day to express gratitude in meaningful ways.  What special examples will you share?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


We all have many ideas each day.  Some have the potential for incredible impact.  Some we need to note that we've considered and consciously opted not to pursue. Other ideas provide for incremental improvement to our lives and to the lives of others.  Those ideas that we don't voice, act upon, share or record for future action that have potential for positive change are costly, missed opportunities.

Ideas are one of our continuously renewable sources for personal, community, national and global economic growth.

By productively thinking and acting we do our part to help our (everything's connected) circle thrive.

Monday, May 3, 2010


It's always rewarding when we are able to provide valued advice that those seeking our opinions actually implement or adopt.  I've finally acknowledged that, though unpaid, I am a consultant to some accomplished friends. When I next update my resume, I may add this role.  Each time I have the privilege to consult, I also gain positive feedback from the person or group I'm advising.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Crazy, Best...

It's clear why Jeff Bridges won the Oscar for Crazy Heart.  Regardless of our intentions, our best self sometimes only reveals itself in between crises. Only God and we know how committed we are to doing what is expected and required.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Five Friends - Ura, Ima, Shesa, Hesa, Wera

We're all connected - you (Ura -You are a ...), me (Ima - I am a ...), her (Shesa - She is a ...), him (Hesa - He is a ...) and us (Wera - We are...).

Ideally, we all want to use our connectedness to make a positive difference for our families, friends and selves.  Five friends have enormous capabilty to leverage our relationships and resources to make informed decisions quickly.