Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Election Oddity

Today's runoff election put Republican and Democratic voters from our area precincts in a location where Edgar and I have never before voted.  Though we've voted in countless elections in the past many years, the new location was not the oddity that struck me.  The oddity was that for my first time as a voter, Democrats and Republicans were voting in the same room during a primary election, and the party election divider placed Republicans on the left and Democrats on the right.

Though I have no idea if the placements were intentional or random, it was interesting that Republican voters, typically identified as right-leaning had to go left to cast ballots and Democratic voters usually tagged as left-leaning voters had to veer right.  Perhaps this was a subtle message that we all need to be a little less partisan.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ask and You May Receive

Recently I entered a large department store and read the sign detailing additional savings on sale items.  As I was paying for my items I asked the sales clerk about the additional discount on my purchases, and was told that the sale ended the previous day.  She was surprised when I showed her that the sale sign was still displayed at the entrance I'd used.  She agreed to my request to ask her manager to honor the previous day's sale price.  Before completing my special purchase, she followed her manager's order and removed the outdated sign from this little used entrance.  I smiled and thanked her for granting me the additional discount.  As she handed me my bag, she let me know that no one else would be receiving the additional discounts. 

This incident reminded me that by reasonably asking for what we want, we may receive what others don't.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Everyone's Insecure About Something

Watching the Olympics reminds me that even the most accomplished people have some insecurity.  No one is 100% confident in every situation.  Insecurities include the possibility that someone is:
  • better
  • faster
  • stronger
  • smarter
  • prettier or more handsome
  • better prepared
  • more well-rounded
  • more stylish
  • better connected
  • more popular
Or that we will say, do or wear something inappropriate.
Or that we will be too early, too late or not welcome.

The list of insecurities is endless.  Knowing that everyone has at least one insecurity makes being human less stressful.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Multi-tasking Perils

I'm fine!  However, that wasn't a foregone conclusion after I missed the last stair and fell this morning, when I was trying to do too many things before a very early meeting.

Looked easy enough to pick up the happy bird-day message for Gar that I'd placed on each step on his birthday eve.  However, my hands were filled with my morning Diet Coke, evening water glass, newspaper and cell phone.  And I was backing down the stairs in heels. After picking up the last letter, my brain thought "finished" and I missed the last stair.

Though I'd tried to save time by combining tasks, my departure was delayed, rather than accelerated when I had to change my Diet Coke-stained clothes.

It's easy to think we're immune from the multi-tasking perils until we experience a multi-tasking fall (literal or figurative).  Fortunately, my fall was only inches. 

No doubt this cautionary tale was to remind you and me to focus on one important task at a time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Highlighting Impact

Last week we sent simple personalized notes to our 2012 blood donors with a Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center highlighter pen, thanking them for their donations and highlighting  their impact.  There are so many quick, easy and inexpensive ways to say thank you - you make a difference.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Full is Your Glass?

One of the classic differentiators between optimists and pessimists is whether they see the glass as half-full or half-empty. I was born and raised as an optimist and see the glass as full and overflowing.  However, I know several folks whose glass is half-empty, cracked and leaking.  This week I learned of the ultimate pessimist who asks, "What glass?".

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lucky Penny Experiment is Working

With three weeks to go, the last lucky penny in the experiment was shared today and the first lucky penny made it back from a friend unmet in Portland, OR.  It traveled from Houston to Austin to Denver to Portland, hopefully spreading happy cheer across the country.

Many thanks for the positive, encouraging feedback and for enthusiastically sharing good luck and great cheer with others.

We all need encouragement and my hopes are that this little experiment will touch several lives as the luck is passed from friend to friend.

Monday, July 23, 2012

175 Miles Stronger

My joke before becoming a runner at the end of February was that I might run the equivalent of a marathon in a lifetime, but couldn't imagine anyone doing it in one day.  It's still hard to imagine anyone running 26.2 consecutive miles, and I'm as surprised as anyone that I've now run over 175 miles (the equivalent of 6.75 marathons).

Some lessons learned from becoming a runner include:
  • we can do and enjoy things we never thought possible, practical or palatable
  • it's only possible, practical and palatable when we're not injured (when we accept our limitations we set the stage for new milestones)
  • disconnecting electronically allows us to clear our minds and in so doing create new ideas
  • opportunities to connect with others expand with new these new venues

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What's on Your Mind?

Challenge yourself to quickly write down 25 things, not people, then see why these came to mind.

My list contained:
  • celebratory words: birthday cake, ice cream cone, wine glass, pumpkin (Halloween)
  • pampering/comfort words: bathtub, lotion, nail polish, cat, ice maker, potted plant, red mitten (childhood)
  • entertainment/exercise words: airline ticket, fishing rod, movie, book, monopoly game, bicycle, tennis shoe
  • connecting words: telephone, coin (Lucky Penny Experiment) 
  • putting best foot forward words: shoe, bracelet, snowflake (being best unique self)
  • necessary words: umbrella (Houston's 2.5" above average rainfall)
This was simply an exercise that I did to stimulate creativity, and it's interesting to me that every seemingly random word on my list related to things that are meaningful to me.

What's on your mind?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hearts in Nature

Family and friends have provided me with a cherished collection of hearts through the years. During this morning's run I noticed several hearts outdoors - a shrub, numerous caladium leaves, part of a pine cone, a tree leaf and a rut in the pavement.  My Google query yielded 5.81 million results for hearts in nature photos.  The link below has many intriguing images.

Images for hearts in nature photos

Friday, July 20, 2012

Don't Forget

I rarely misplace or forget things, but one day this week I arrived home without my cell phone.  Rather than make the trek back to the office to retrieve it, I left the electronic leash disconnected until the next morning. The biggest angst came from hoping that I'd actually left it in my office rather than in a conference room or the 1st floor building restroom (our company restroom was closed for cleaning as I left for the day). 

Thankfully my cell phone was waiting in my office with all the emails, texts and calls (listed in the volume order of my mobile interactions).

To avoid future angst, I've adopted the 4 P checklist for leaving my office:
  • Purse
  • Phone
  • Photo ID
  • PC
Consciousness counts.  These 4 Ps make me stop and assess before I depart.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Goldilocks Rain

Last week's YTD Houston rainfall was 2.5 inches above normal and 19 inches above last year's severe drought totals. Our reactions to rain vary with conditions.  Last year everyone in Houston was receptive to any and all moisture.  This year, there is a bit of weariness, yet few complaints, since we've recently experienced such a deficit. As with other things we tend to appreciate rain more when it is not readily available. 

In years when rainfall is at normal levels, people tend to focus only on the inconvenient timing of showers that impact their commutes or planned outdoor activities.

One recent morning, I enjoyed simply intently listening to the rain with no assessment of quantity or impact.

It's not unexpected that we all want Goldilocks rain - not too much, not too little, but just right.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

40,000 Smile Check-up

For years, as I've left my long-time dentist's office, after our visit I've quipped that I'm good for another 100,000 miles.  Today, Dr. T retorted that I'm good for 100,000 smiles, which is far better than mere miles.  That intrigued me to do the math.

Readily available statistics revealed the following average smiles per day:
  • babies - 400
  • children - 200
  • women - 62
  • men - 8
My demeanor is cheerful and friendly, smiling often, when I'm with others and when I'm alone. Thus, if I'm just over a child's smile average, my six month check-up is actually a 40,000 smile

What's your smile quotient?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Roll Again

When Edgar and I were playing backgammon yesterday, one of my dice rolled under the sofa. Reaching under the sofa, I scooped up a die, put it in the cup and rolled. Thinking that I'd mixed the dice, I looked quizzically at Edgar when a die of each color landed on the board.  Unbelievably, the only two items under the sofa were this die that we didn't know was missing and mine. 

Had the dice been the same color, we wouldn't have discovered die #2 or this bizarre coincidence.  

Oddly enough, this oddity reminded me that in life (not dice), we often quit searching when we find what we expect, rather than continue to see if other, better options exist.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Personalized Payment

It's been years since I've received U.S. currency with a note written on it.  Imagine my surprise, when I made an infrequent trip to the ATM today and received a $20 bill with Pam written on it.  So many things had to fall into place at exactly the right time.  This is yet another weird way in which everything's connected.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Anything But Manila

Several comments were made about my bright animal print file folder at a meeting last week.  Not only do non-traditional folders provide a festive touch, they are easy to find when you've put them aside to shake hands at a meeting.  My insistence on anything but manila folders for meetings began after I arrived at a podium to deliver remarks and discovered my colleague's photo release forms rather than my notes.  Fortunately, I'd studied the material and no one knew that I was winging it until my post-event confession to the team.

Fitting in has its advantages, but so does standing out.  Knowing when to apply each adds to success.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ann/Anne x 4

Five women and three men were in a strategy session this week.  I continue to find interesting connections and surprisingly, two women were named Anne and two others had Ann as a middle name.  This struck me as extremely unusual, so I searched and discovered that Ann is the 48th most common female name in America and Anne is the 85th most common.  First names of the other 3 female participants ranked 37, 101 and 568.

As extraordinary as the odds of this name frequency are, it's also amazing that we even discovered the commonality.

Everything's connected in more ways than we assume.  Curiosity helps us connect.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tell Others What They Mean to You

Too few people know the difference they make to others.  We all have the opportunity each day to tell loved ones, friends and acquaintances how they've positively impacted our lives.  We're sometimes hesitant to share compliments because we don't know how they'll be received or true feelings because they may not be returned. 

When we say what we mean, with our only objective being encouraging another, it will generally be well received.  Usually, it's only when it's manipulative, false or self-serving do we get a negative reaction.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Antidote for Idonwanna

I recently had a rare case of  "I Don't Want To" - better known as Idonwanna.  The generally persuasive triplets, Should, Could and Must, weren't effective.  However Itty Bitty cured me.  By allowing myself to tackle some big tasks in 15 minute chunks, I started some and finished other nagging projects.

Itty Bitty is a terrific Idonwanna antidote.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pennies are Lucky

Early "Lucky Penny Experiment" feedback indicates that found coins are indeed lucky.  One recipient shared that each time she's found a coin, she's made a sale.  Another recipient shared that she routinely passed along her grandfather's habit of leaving discovered "heads up" pennies to share the luck with the next finder. And one special recipient is exploring medical treatment options and appreciated yet another display of good wishes.

Thanks to all who are sharing good luck and supporting friends and strangers.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Life Speaks

Today I attended a lovely memorial service for a dear friend's husband.  His well-lived life was evident through every aspect of the service:
  • the full house during a holiday weekend
  • beautiful music
  • articulate, adoring grown children beautifully eulogizing their father
  • many instances of his servant leadership
  • giving of his talents to numerous nonprofits
  • a minister who knew well and respected this special man
It was obvious, as the minister mentioned, that his life consistently spoke the terrific man he was.

How awesome to live a life that speaks amazingly for you when you are present and when you are departed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lucky Penny Experiment

Since childhood, I've been fascinated with lucky pennies - "Find a penny, pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck."  And it's fun to pass the luck along to a friend.  One morning this week during a run, the idea for the Lucky Penny Experiment was born.  Finding a lucky penny near the conclusion of the run spurred me to action. Finding the perfect card this morning to present the lucky pennies was another exciting motivator.

The concept is simple.  The recipient of a lucky penny card is asked to sign his/her first name, city and state, then pass it on to another lucky and willing person.  Whoever has a card on August 15 is asked to drop the card in the stamped, addressed envelope in the mail.

I plan to be share penny adventures as feedback is received and when cards are ultimately returned in mid-August.  Blog comments are encouraged!

Looking forward to sharing:
  • how many cards make it back home
  • stories of days brightened
  • the luckiest penny - based upon how many people shared the luck and signed the card
  • the most traveled pennies - how far from home and how many destinations
  • the most interesting story 
  • if any penny became famous by association
Wishing everyone great luck!