Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Care is Care

It's easy for most of us to care for others.  In fact it's often a part of our DNA.  The concept of self-care isn't as readily embraced.  However, care for an individual is meaningful whether the individual is another or ourselves.  When individuals are adequately cared for by another or self (hopefully both) the best emerges!

Care is Care!  And Care is essential! When we are acknowledging, addressing and responding to our own needs and wants we become our best selves.   Self-care is far from selfish -  it equips us to offer more care for others

Thursday, January 24, 2013

No is a Gift

An interesting discussion last night prompted me to provide another way of thinking about saying "no".  Life has taught me that "no" is distasteful to many.  I've coined and oft used the phrase, "I know a thousand nice ways to say no".

Though I had not thought about it as concretely as I shared last night, I do believe that the ability to deliver a deliberative "no" is a gift to the sender and the receiver.

A decision is helpful to set expectations and boundaries for those who are asking for time, talent or treasures.
A decision allows us to move on to other priorities, issues and requests with closure.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Foolproof Instructions

As I've mentioned previously, I've been thankfully surrounded by accomplished, inspired and intuitive chefs since birth.  Though I can cook (via recipe) it is awesome to be continually nourished by those who love me and create dishes from their inspiration and ability!

Since I am no chef, it is interesting to note that seemingly foolproof instructions also demand good common sense:

  • what is low heat?
  • when, in the process, does one stir once?  
Whether in the kitchen, workplace or volunteer assignment, it is important to verify instructions that are delivered by those accomplished in the area, if it's one that is new to us.  

Foolproof instructions generally aren't.  Most require additional info.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Many Heroes are Nameless

Edgar and I have always loved movies.  In recent years, life has gotten in the way of us being able to evaluate which Oscar nominated best movies should win.  We've resumed our pursuit and among our recent viewings have been two great films inspired by actual events, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty.  

We often aren't aware, until many years later (if ever) of the disasters avoided by talented men and women who apply their talents, risk their lives and can't say anything about their missions.

I'm so very thankful for the men and women who are nameless heroes.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Great Communication

We rate communication on many variables including content, delivery, style, impact, credibility, importance, interest, timeliness and speaker.  These are all important elements and the mix will vary by situation.

I've had tremendous communications without words and challenging communications with well chosen words.   Regardless of the format, mechanism or venue, great communication occurs only when there is a connection between parties that allows each to be appreciated and understood.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Even Good Change is Stressful

I recently took my car to my favorite tire place with the expectation of a 2 hour fix. It turned into a 24 hour fix when they discovered that I had two nails in my tire and they didn't have a low profile replacement tire in stock.  Their late night revelation that I'd be without my vehicle until after lunch caused Gar to offer his Suburban as my work day transportation.  A seemingly perfect solution, since the tire store is less than a mile from home and my office is six miles away - and I had meetings scheduled starting early morning and his waking hours are much later.

This was a yucky, rainy day, with forecasts of high water and rampant street flooding.  Driving a sports utility vehicle rather than a sporty convertible would seem to be the perfect safe option for me, with another SUV available for my guys at home.

Though I've been driving forever, driving a vehicle twice the size of mine is challenging, especially in the parking garage. Parking the Suburban in my normal small reserved space between a garage pillar and another large SUV wasn't an option.  Trekking through the garages in contiguous buildings finally yielded 4 unclaimed spaces, providing the opportunity to park this tank in a designated space without concern that I might hit another vehicle. (One of my friends who normally drives an SUV that is quite a bit smaller than Gar's recently ran into her assistant's car in a parking lot, so I was hyper-sensitive to the possibility. )

This experience reminded me that it's easy to forget that changing an element of a familiar process can cause great discomfort, stress and angst.   I've been driving forever and am quite adept at maneuvering my small car. However, when the vehicle size changed, so did everything else about the experience.

At work, we sometimes forget that changing programs is equivalent to asking an adept small car driver to parallel park an RV.  Proficiency at a task is often severely challenged even when we provide better equipment.

Patience, training and practice are necessary to reap the expected rewards when we change equipment, processes or programs.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Coined words have impact.  Automatically, when you read the title, "Voluntold", you realize the implications. After chairing a productive meeting for one of my nonprofit organizations, the staff liaison and I were debriefing.  She asked another staff member (one of her direct reports) to join us as we recounted the opportunity to construct a survey  for the group.  He quickly shared the term "voluntold" when we explained his role in the survey.

Though he was eager to assist, it reminded me that many of us love to volunteer for causes that match our passions. However, when we feel that the option is not ours; rather there is an expectation to participate it feels like we are being voluntold.

We all like options and volunteering creates far more options than voluntold.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers is filled with fascinating examples of lucky breaks, timing and background that are common to success in many fields.  Though the combinations vary by field;  passion, opportunity and persistence are common across fields.  And, a great truth was confirmed that "good enough is good enough".  Brightest does not necessarily equate to most successful.  Regardless of the pursuit, ten thousand hours of practice yields an expert.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Yellow Toothbrush

This week, I opened a new package of toothbrushes and chose my favorite color, yellow.  Instantly, I was so impressed that I asked my husband and son if they, too, needed a new toothbrush.  Toothbrushes, like most other things have become high tech.  This particular purchase incorporated pleasing design features with soft bristles, but was a drugstore brand, not a widely recognized, broadly marketed product.  Of the hundreds of toothbrushes I've had, this one is the first I've ever thought much about and actually tried to share a similar one with family members.  My fascination is multi-faceted:

  • I've consciously chosen my favorite color for something that I use twice per day.
  • Though most toothbrushes accomplish the task, this one is gentle and effective.
  • I love bargains that are actually, in my perception, the best available product.
  • It's a daily, happy reminder that simple pleasures have high, positive impact.
  • It makes me smile each time a brush my teeth.
2013 is my year of yellow toothbrushes and their cousins.