Sunday, March 24, 2013

1000 Things to Say? Yes!

When I began this adventure - 1000 posts ago, with the encouragement of Christine and Janet, I wouldn't have done it if they'd told me I had to post 1000 times. Thankfully, they both assured me that only one post every week would suffice.  And, what an inspiring project it has been!

Things I've realized:
  • starting is often the hardest step and encouragement is crucial
  • we all have more to share than we know
  • attempting something contemporary and new to us is another way to continuously learn and relate to younger friends and associates
  • expecting to share information makes us more observant and communicative
  • no one has 1000 things to spontaneously share
  • setting an achievable goal is motivating (it's exciting to realize that I've exceeded the once per week objective nearly five times!)
  • we never know who might be touched by the things we share
  • reconnecting with old friends is a joy
  • stuff that happens to us might encourage another
  • creative outlets take different forms at various stages of our lives

Do You Hear and See What I Do?

My eyes have begun to play tricks on me.  Having been the poster child for contacts since 7th grade, it has been frustrating to realize that I no longer have the sharp vision I've always enjoyed for reading.  (I still vividly remember when my precious Mother, who had always enjoyed 20/20 vision asked me to thread a needle for her.)  And a similarly aged friend was recently diagnosed with significant hearing loss. Shes just been fitted for hearing aids and is amazed at what she has been missing.

When we don't get the reaction we're expecting, it may be that the other person doesn't see or hear what we do.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Encourage One

Sometimes goals that are too lofty discourage well intended progress.  Three times this week I've had the opportunity to remember that encouraging one person can have positive ripple impacts.

One of my friends is an amazing golfer.  When we were visiting at the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013, I shared my 400 mile running goal for the year and we talked about a golf game per week goal for him.  Not only did he adopt it; he motivated another golfer friend to embrace it.

And, at a Comerica Bank and Greater Houston Women's Chamber of Commerce event this week, one of the inspiring comments was, every attendee could, at a minimum, encourage one more person to help reduce negative portrayals of women in the media..

Then, a blown glass starfish was the party favor at an event this week, and included the story of the child who is walking the beach throwing each starfish she finds back into the ocean.  When challenged by an adult about the impact she was having, given the enormous number of beached starfish, she continued her quest with the assurance that she was making a difference to each starfish she assisted.

These three vivid examples made me realize that when I make a difference for anyone, it is a difference that matters.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Keep Looking

Last evening, Dr. Robert Ballard, best known for his 1985 discovery of the TITANTIC, fascinated Chevron's guests at a special dinner lecture as he shared information about that and many other significant undersea discoveries.  Though most of us are captivated by his many shipwreck discoveries, he believes his most important discoveries were of hydrothermal vents and "black smokers".  It strikes me that his most enduring impact will be his JASON Project, which allows hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to accompany him from afar on undersea explorations around the globe.  His passion, experience and enthusiasm are captivating and can motivate budding young scientists to pursue technical educations.

Dr. Ballard shared that most of his greatest discoveries occurred while he was looking for something else.  What motivation that provides for all of us to persistently follow our curiosity.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Life's a Buffet

All you can eat buffets have great appeal for some, and aren't attractive to others of us.  Though, I don't like them, I've learned to love the analogy.  With an enormous buffet, options are beautifully presented.  Choices are left to the diner (life architect).  Theoretically, a diner could choose a portion from every offered option.  However, the realities of capacity, appetite and interest cause most of us to make choices that are realistic for us.

In life's buffet, we would all be well served to choose people, experiences, foods and things that fully nourish and energize us.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Real or Figurative Dinosaur?

There are two broad dinosaur definitions:

  1. extinct reptile, many gigantic, from the Mesozoic Era (real)
  2. outmoded or outdated person or thing (figurative)

Unclaimed print documents accumulate in our corporate community copier, printer, scanner and mail area.  Helpful colleagues often attempt to ensure that they are united with the intended party.  A colleague who wanted to be helpful asked me about a dinosaur report.   Though I'd not heard of a dinosaur report, I first assumed that a clever colleague had renamed a report deemed important only by the report originator.  However, it was actually the class schedule for kindergarten class reports on dinosaurs.

This was a vivid reminder that we all attach different meanings to words, terms, references, experiences and things.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cold Water is Only for Drinking

I'm a water baby and love swimming pools, lakes, ponds, creeks, bays, oceans, seas and bath tubs. I even like seeing evening rain through the windows from the dry comfort of the terrace. However, the only way that I enjoy cold water is as my favorite iced beverage during a meal.

We often broadly accept many categories of things.  However, when we know specifically what we like, we are able to embrace, experience and recommend enjoyable opportunities.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Being in a Snow Globe

Fishing in the Laguna Madre in South Texas provides a 360 degree panoramic view with no tall buildings in any direction.  On a boat in open water, with beautiful big clouds in a sky that meets the water, it's as if we're  momentarily contained in a perfect, giant snow globe.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In

One of my young friends who works for Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, gave me an autographed copy of Sheryl's new book, Lean In, when it was released last Monday.  The well-researched book builds on her 2010 TED address which encouraged women to take charge of our careers (Lean In).   She shares data, provides humorous and candid anecdotes, labels biases and challenges many of us to subtly or dramatically change our approach.

Some of her key messages include:

  • The leadership ambition gap for women is perpetuated by a "stereotype threat" (most leadership positions and well-compensated positions are held by men) and the assumption that a creating a successful personal and professional life is difficult to impossible.
  • Sit at the table - don't let self-doubt or deference banish you to the sidelines in meetings where your voice is needed.
  • Success and likeability are usually negatively correlated for women
  • The proverbial career ladder would better be viewed as a jungle gym, with multiple paths to success rather than a single straight upward trajectory.
  • Mentorship, sponsorship and seized conversations can all offer advantages.
  • Authentic communication requires acknowledging others' truths as well as our own
  • Don't plan with specificity too far ahead - keep options open
  • Make your partner a true partner.
  • We can't do it all, all the time.
  • No one wants her achievements minimized.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Big Dose of Sunshine

One of my colleagues was in an even better mood today than normal.  She attributed her ebullience to the beautiful day and  daylight savings time produced sunlight in the early evening, I joked that she had a sunshine I.V.  We all need to assess the people, places, things, experiences or memories that easily boost our spirits, like my friend's big dose of sunshine, and find ways to frequently harness that natural boost.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Is It Just a Game?

Score keeping is necessary in all levels of competitive sports - from pre-k games through professional athletics. We all keep score in one way or another.  I don't like it when I hear someone say "it's just a game" as it seems to minimize the play.  Games serve many purposes including building skills, teaching teamwork, getting mental and/or physical exercise, reducing stress and providing entertainment for players and spectators.

Let's play!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Friends Live On

Yesterday, a dear friend lost her battle with cancer.  I had the privilege to sit by her bedside and tell her how amazing she was hours before she died.  Today the hole in my heart is being filled with precious memories of countless examples of her character, faith, love, loyalty, friendship, motherhood, leadership, integrity and strength.

We are rarely able to  truly convey how deeply we are  touched by those we consider dear friends.  We realize with death that physical absence cannot steal precious memories.  Thankfully, those we love live forever in our hearts and memories.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Two Ways to Get 100%

I count the number of people ahead of me in line and calculate how long my 6 mile commute home will be based upon traffic flow at the 2 mile mark.  So it's not surprising that I track completion of my run route by percentage completion at various points.  This morning as I was doing my mental math it also occurred to me that any steps I take are 100% better than inactivity.

It helps keep me motivated to have different ways to measure success.

How do you measure progress?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Little Irritants Aren't About Me

One of the hardest things to remember when we're stressed or frustrated, is that things didn't suddenly conspire to increase our angst.  It's often the way I'm viewing the circumstances that make it seem that way.  Some interesting things to rationally consider when we're very calm and controlled:

  • traffic lights don't randomly turn red when a given car appears
  • the trains that block traffic on Westheimer, San Felipe and Richmond travel on their schedule, not ours
  • processing cut-off and pick-up times are uniformly applied
  • expiration dates are set well in advance of our intent to use an item or service
  • the "change password gremlins" have a preset timeline independent of our important deadlines
  • adult proof packaging is intended to protect our children, not preclude us from accessing products
  • airlines don't intentionally delay flights
  • the copier and printer have a preset number of pages a cartridge will produce
  • retail stores have established times for opening and closing
  • many professional service providers tend to keep the same business hours that we do - so that very early or late appointment that would be ideal for us isn't an option
  • Daylight Savings Time isn't optional
  • the change in the postal rate was universal and every conceivable stamp denomination is not available (remember this if you receive snail mail from me with three stamps - 32 cent,  10 cent and 4 cent)
  • the office doesn't have a mother-in-charge, we all are expected to be responsible adults
  • the person declaring urgency or importance doesn't always have sway with the person assessing the situation
  • there is no organizational mandate to have only one cashier
The list, is of course, endless.  Which minor irritants challenge you to remember "it's not all about me"/

Monday, March 4, 2013

Beauty of the Detour

Most often, when challenged by a detour, I fret.  Expected timed appearance is usually the source of my detour stress. This weekend I had the chance to embrace the beauty of a detour.  My run route was altered by a fire truck attending to a gas leak, caused by demolition, so that a home site can be reconstructed for new owners.

Had I been racing to my next meeting, I would have been stressed.  Fortunately, I'd already altered my weekend schedule and readily adjusted my route.  The detour allowed me to drop a layer of clothing along the route, increase the length of my run and see what's happening in a different part of my neighborhood.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Uses for Things We Have

It is always energizing to me to express creativity and/or save time, money and other resources by embracing  things we have.  Some love single purpose tools.  I love things that meet multiple needs or that can be creatively re-purposed   Some of my top of mind favorites include:

  • binder clips as chip clips and money clips for active pursuits
  • Kleenex boxes to contain the endless supply of shopping bags (even when we often take our own reusable bags)
  • contact lens case for travelling with preferred shampoos and conditioner ( can still avoid checked bags)
  • law books or other hardback favorites stacked as a table
  • ring holder as a visible, attractive and accessible hair band holder
  • pine cones as filler around a potted plant
How do you creatively re-purpose things in your life?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes!

It's hard to believe that I've been running for a year!  Little did I know at this time last year that the novel activity I accidentally tried would become an important and positive part of my life.  This one year milestone caused me to think about why something I'd never considered embracing would make such a difference.  There are so many positives including:

  • Open to new activities and ways of thinking
  • Influenced by positive role models
  • Focused on health
  • Balancing active and busy
  • Setting and achieving a fitness goal 
  • Enjoying the outdoors
  • Seeing neighbors
  • Don't have to schedule it, able to just lock the door and start the route on my time frame
  • Time to think and pray without distractions

Friday, March 1, 2013

You are Strong

I recently had the chance to engage with some survivors of the dysfunction caused by a loved one's addiction.  On the surface, there was fragility.  But once they shared their stories, their great strength was evident.

We often see what we expect.  Though I expected fragility, I found their strength.  If we consciously look for  and acknowledge the strength in others, everyone wins.