One of the surest indicators of how well we do at anything is who we hang around with.
(Others will find you.)
She introduced herself and asked if I had ever worked with someone like her.
“No,” I replied.
“On the other end of this line is someone hearing-impaired,” she explained. “When she wants to call someone, she contacts me and then types what she wants to say into a device. It then appears on a screen in front of me. I’ll read it to you. You reply to me. I type it back. It’s a slow process but it allows her to ‘talk’ to you. Ready?”
“Yes,” I replied hesitantly.
She then — in a stilted, halting manner — read the words as they traipsed across her screen. Not waiting for full sentences to appear, she pronounced each syllable as it materialized, like someone reading a news crawler on the bottom of the TV screen; with the caveat being that the text was scrolling too slowly. Not only was it a sluggish process, it was eerie, and unnerving.
“My… name… is… Mary…” read the operator. “I’m… sorry… to… tell… you… that… your… father… has… passed… away…”
Over the nine years I’ve been publishing this weekly column, I have written about my wife, mother, children, grandmother, aunts; even my pets. However, there’s a glaring omission: my father.
Obviously, I had one; and yes, I knew him. However, we didn’t get along and my rebellion manifested itself as me growing up to be his polar opposite. Over the years, I invested a great deal in therapy to release myself from the behaviorial bonds that I felt shackled me to a person I did not want to be.
What would the remainder of your day be like if:
Obviously, you’d feel great. It’s because you were appreciated.
We cannot make anyone else appreciate us. Yet, we sure can take the time to appreciate someone else.
Take a moment each day to appreciate a simple act.
We learn to react to events by feeling certain ways. We can learn to react differently if we want to.
However, without diminishing our armed services, it’s importantly to remember that we can also honor the sacrifice of others who make our communities better.
For example, those people who:
Spoiler alert: This seemingly negative rant has an upbeat ending. Don’t think I’ve driven off the grumpy cliff until you reach the conclusion.
Last week, I was speaking in Eastern Washington. One evening, my lovely wife and I walked to a restaurant. You know what? We didn’t have to wear a jacket, and no, we weren’t shivering, not a twitch! Nope, just a nice leisurely stroll; holding hands, wearing shorts and donned in short sleeves no less. The temperature was 75, the sky was postcard blue, a light breeze caressed our skin and in the distance, the setting sun was beginning to cast the most beautiful blood-orange red pattern behind marshmallow clouds.
Where I live, even in the spring, so much of the time you cannot go outside at night (let alone during the day) unless you’re wearing a parka, gloves, wool cap, and scarf. (Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration – but not much.) It would be so wonderfully enjoyable to relax on our deck during the evening and not shiver.
And now that I’ve got my cranky pants yanked snug, I’ve also grown tired of people throwing garbage on my property during the wee hours. Many mornings I come outside for the first time (wearing parka, glove, and wool cap) and find discarded on my lawn is someone else’s trash. It could be a fast-food bag or a soda bottle. Once I found soiled diapers. Are you kidding me? I don’t get such self-centered mentality. Are there herds of self-absorbed oblivious garbage automatons who amble the dark hours randomly tossing crap on other people’s property? I mean, how hard is it to walk the extra five feet and put it in our garbage can? I give you my permission. I want my yard to look nice; this isn’t helping – and I get grumpy about it.
As children, we couldn’t wait for our birthdays. They seemed so far in the future that we thought they’d never get here. Yet they did.
Whether you’re making a commitment to a client, an employee, a family member, or even to yourself, make sure you’re extremely honest and that the promise you make is the “bottom floor” of what you will accomplish.
So, instead of committing to lose 50 pounds or promising to run a mile every day, make the promise that you’ll lose 5 pounds or walk a block every morning.
You can always exceed the promise and no one (including you) will object.
However, being a “political junkie,” I sometimes use elected figures or partisan causes as a launching pad for my broader point. For some reason I cannot fathom, that elicits hate mail.
As example, a few years ago, I wrote about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (and others) who was gunned down in an Arizona shopping center. My piece (or so I thought) was neither an argument for nor against tighter or looser gun controls. Rather, I used the tragedy to illuminate that we have become more concerned with proving our points of view are correct instead of collaborating to discover solutions. My intention was to point out that if we respect and communicate better with each other, we’d all get more of what we need. To me, that seemed a very sensible point. After all, who could argue about being reasonable? Who knew? Yep, there were some.
Ironically, some were more interested in defending their positions than trying to understand the backbone of my piece; the article’s main complaint.
So… with that as preamble, please drop any political pre-dispositions (either positive or negative) when I mention New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whom I shall use as example for a greater point.
Mr. Christie is a high-profile politician. We can differ as to whether he’s a suitable presidential candidate, or even a decent executive for The Garden State. What is without disagreement is that Mr. Christie is obese, morbidly obese. In the interest of full disclosure, I disagree with Christie more than I agree with him. Having said that, I still find it distasteful that — due only to his size — it is considered within the norm to poke fun at him.
I understand that one could argue that the governor – and obese people – has brought it upon himself by lifestyle choices. I would counter, one, we don’t know that; two, that’s might not be accurate. More importantly, it belies the greater question, “Even if someone makes improper health choices, why are so many so comfortable with teasing others about what they weigh or eat?”
Most of the time, fear “lives in the future.” In other words, the vast majority of times, when we get frightened, it’s because we’re thinking about something that might happen, or could happen. Fortunately, it’s usually not happening right now.
If you’re afraid you will not be able to accomplish your goals, that means you’re thinking too far out. Slow yourself down, and go back to the “Think 1st” philosophy:
That will calm you down enough to resolve the problem.
It’s a new dawn; heaven has opened wide; the path is clear; I am complete! Just picturing it makes me so excited I can barely sit still!
But, here’s the thing about the thing. You can’t just jump into it, you know? I mean, after all, something as grandiose as this requires forethought and meticulous planning. That’s why I’ll be successful where others wouldn’t! See, I have a handle on the fact you just don’t launch willy-nilly hither and yon down the boulevard into something as pressing, essential, and life-altering as a thing like this can be. You better be primed, that’s what I have to say.
And I am! Nothing will hold me back! I’m getting my ducks in a row; putting my house in order; stepping one foot in front of the other; yes sirree Bob! I’m figuring out the flawless, exact method to ensure I do it just so. Don’t want to take my shot and blow it. You hear me, don’t ya’ bro?
Now, being wiser, I know first elicit support. It’s slowing me down somewhat because — well, I don’t mean to brag — but I’m a pretty popular guy, you know? I have friends on top of friends; want to make sure they’re all on board. I’ve called several, emailed buckets more; even posted it on Facebook. That’s the way to build consensus though. It’s time-consuming, but when you’re a forward-thinking guy like me, you appreciate that’s the price of success. Slow and steady; tortoise and hare; you know how it goes.
But after that, watch out, boy howdy! After you heed your peeps, you chart your actions. Those of us in the know value that if you write down the objectives, line ‘em out, set ‘em in motion; they’re far more likely to happen. Measure twice, cut once; right? So, I’ll take a few days for a secluded personal retreat where I compile the input, and write, write, write! Read More »