Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Meeting Invites - Demystified


Meetings are a way of life!
Often people send me meeting invitations, and a surprising number of them look like this:

Subject: Meeting with Debbie Lundberg
Location: My Office

Seriously? If I accept this invitation, it goes on my calendar as: Meeting with Debbie Lundberg at My Office. That means absolutely nothing to me!
When sending an invitation, think of the recipient and not just yourself. Instead of the other person's name, please include both names, or the name of the company or group, and the actual location (with address, preferred if inviting people outside your company). The same invitation would read as:

Subject: Meeting: Steve Smith and Debbie Lundberg
Location: XYZ Company (123 W. South Street, Oakland, CA)

Additionally, including an agenda and notes on what is expected from each attendee, are terrific, too! By including minimally all involved, and the actual physical location, you will make a calendar invite that works, and is useful, on everyone's calendar!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Lucky or Prepared?

"Being deeply learned and skilled, being well trained and using well spoken words; this is good luck."
~ Buddha
Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha, or simply the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was an ascetic and sage, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.

While it is tempting to think of others as lucky and you, personally, as unlucky, it really just is not the case. Unless someone was walking down the street and found $50, it is typically insulting to call someone lucky...especially when you do not know the background and efforts that got someone where she or he is today.

When I was in high school, subsequently taking courses at the local campus of the University of Michigan preparing to go "away" to school in Ann Arbor, MI, one of my friends and I made plans for where we were going to live in Ann Arbor, and we imagined how much fun it was going to be living together. We had everything all figured out...or so I thought. One day, my friend came to me and said she was not going "away". She wanted to stay close to home (read as "close to her boyfriend" at the time), and said that I was going to have to either stay home too, or go "away" by myself. At the time, the University of Michigan had about 43,000 students, so I knew I would not be "by myself", and since I had prepared for it, and being on campus would be a wonderful opportunity, I went.

My grandfather died unexpectedly the summer before I was planning to move to Ann Arbor, and since the day of his funeral was the same day I scheduled to meet my prospective new roommate, I left after the funeral to drive, heavy-hearted, in hopes of meeting a new, normal, somewhat-friendly person with whom I would spend day and night sharing a small space. I drove on I-69 to US-23 to 14 crying intermittently over the loss of my grandfather and the disappointment in my friend's decision to bail on me. When I met my future roommate, she couldn't have been nicer, kinder or more willing to show me around campus, and even share a fourth-floor room.

Years later, after growing my education, exposure and friendships in Ann Arbor, I returned to where I grew up and began working. My friend whom had not gone away to school with me was still in school, not with her boyfriend of years past, still living with her mom, and wondering what she wanted to do with her future. She came over to my 650 sq. ft. apartment where I had decorated it with new furniture from my earnings as an intern and my first new "real job".

I was proud of how my work had paid off. She was sitting on my loveseat and she casually looked around for a bit and proclaimed, "you're so lucky!" Almost instantly, I smiled and insisted "I'm a lot of things, but please, if you still want to be friends, do not ever call me lucky again." I shared with her "I did not feel lucky when you backed out on me. I did not feel lucky to leave my grandfather's wake to drive in hopes a stranger would meet me like she said she would, and be a good roommate. I was not feeling lucky when I had surgery at the University without family because something was found that had to be addressed immediately. I did not feel lucky wandering around thinking how much fun we'd have in Ann Arbor. I wasn't lucky to be driving in snow to get to my parents' home to do my laundry. And, definitely getting a job over so many other qualified people wasn't lucky!"

Luck is when you don't know and either don't deserve or care about the outcome. I was prepared...even for the worst with my adventurous, positive attitude, drive and focus. When the opportunity came to capitalize and embrace the timing and the education/experience, I did not rely on luck...I relied on me...me to say yes, me to take the first step, me to take the next step and every step there after to get from point A to point B. I love that I still have a good relationship with my friend from high school when I see her...and I'd confidently lay money on the table to bet anyone that she would never call me lucky again!

The same is true for you...respect where people are, ask if they like how they got there, and appreciate their efforts. No matter how lucky someone may appear, there was preparation and opportunity mixed in at different percentages, but it is highly unlikely that it was just luck!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ABCs of Your Style


People often ask about style, image and how they are presenting on a daily basis, and if you are thinking about that, or you know someone who is, please consider the ABCs of your style before buying anything to wear, and when purging your closet to donate:

A - Appearance - what does the initial look of an item say, does it appear to be good quality and a texture that works for the event/your skin type, and more? If so, it's a yes, and if not, it's a no! (This "A" can also be about your attitude when you have it on - does your attitude seem confident and happy?)
B - Brand - what is your brand? Does the item fit your brand? It is not that you have to be repetitive or predictable, and yet there is an intent to being consistent with what you want people to see and think about you. Does the item fit your brand? If yes, it's a yes, and if no, it is a no-go!
C - Color - what is the color, and does the color work well on you? You may love the color, and yet it may not be complementary to your skin, hair or undertones. If it is a pop of color that livens you, then it's good to go, and if not, it is either a no, or a not-on-it's-own, meaning a scarf or something to make it look different is needed with it.

With the ABCs in mind, shopping, and buying become much more direct and fun...leading to more things to confidently wear and less things that make you ponder "what was I thinking when I bought this?"!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Being Civil & Encouraging Civility


"Civility costs nothing, and buys everything." 
~ Mary Wortley Montagu
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was an English aristocrat, letter writer and poet. Lady Mary is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from travels to the Ottoman Empire.
 (1690 - 1782)

The word "civility" is not used often, and yet civility isn't dated. Civility isn't lost. Civility is within us. Civility is an opportunity to enhance communication, behaviors, and relationships. Civility isn't just manners.
Civility is about respect...for others and for yourself.

What is "civility"? Civility is often defined as something similar to "polite, reasonable, honest, and respectful behavior". How is that challenging to embrace, inspire and implement?

Being civil is as simple as the use of "please", "thank you", "you are welcome", and "please forgive me". Civility means being sincere, vulnerable, and able to assess people and situations for the people and the situations instead of your own perspective solely. Civility is considering other's points of view, responding instead of reacting, honoring and appreciating time, and even the simplicity of using names and greetings in person, on the phone, and in emails. Civil actions lead to civility in relationships.

Be civil to yourself. How we treat others is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Civility starts within, and is executed without concern for positioning or personal outcomes. Encouraging civility means recognizing and appreciating it in others, speaking about those actions, and sharing the benefits of civil engagements. Leading by example consistently, with kindness and direction, thoughtfulness and consideration, is the way to remind yourself, and others, that civility is not lost, it is found in our choices each and every day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Common Sense Isn't So Common


Be mindful of using that familiar expression "It's just common sense" personally and professionally, as this comment is usually said, or exclaimed, after someone does something incorrectly. When that action is incorrect to him or her, letting that person know "It's common sense" does not endear the person to you, comfort that person, or enhance your relationship.

We typically use the exasperation "It's common sense" when we get it.

Common sense is neither common, nor sensible, to the person who doesn't get it.

While you may think it, wish it, or hope things were both common and sensible to others, refraining from speaking it will assist you in getting to common ground rather than attempting to force sense!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Being an Effective COACH

"A life of frustration is inevitable for any coach whose main enjoyment is winning." 
~ Chuck Noll
Charles Henry "Chuck" Noll was a professional American football player, assistant coach and head coach. His sole head coaching position was for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League from 1969 to 1991. 
 (1932 - 2014)

Coaching is not just something that takes place on a field, or in a partnership like I have with my valued clients, rather being a coach is a skill that is demonstrated best with a process and approach that is consistent...whether coaching to change behavior, to ensure repeat performance, or even for an accolade.

A guideline I have developed and share in workshops and one-on-one, is that of COACH.  Quite directly, COACH stands for:

Connect
Ownership
Assessment
Collaboration
Have a plan

In the Connect portion, strive to make a personal interaction with a sincere energy and genuine question, if you chose to ask one.  Ownership comes from accountability on both parts...yours and the other person's.  Assessment is that of the situation or result for reviewing and focusing forward.  Collaboration means what part you will handle (if any) and what agreement you are in with the other person.  Have a plan comes from the one being coached...not you...allow and even insist on the coachee devising a plan.

Let's imaging a coaching with a child, student or team member where there is a problem with the result:

Connect with a meeting and an agenda (even if it is just verbal) and ask how the person thought the report/meeting/interaction went...then, listen fully.  Ownership follows when each party becomes accountable by stating what s/he did to get the result.  Assessment is the exploration of how things could have gone more smoothly.  Collaboration is reaching agreement after sharing ideas on what to do differently.  Have a plan is the child, student or team member relaying what s/he specifically learned and will do moving forward.

Now, let's move to the desire to have behaviors/performance/results repeated:

Connect with a meeting and an agenda (even if it is just verbal) and ask how the person thought the report/meeting/interaction went...then, listen fully.  Ownership follows when each party becomes accountable by stating what s/he did to get the result.  Assessment is the exploration of how things did not go wrong and what kept them on track.  Collaboration is reaching agreement after sharing ideas on what to do in similar and different situations to yield the same results.  Have a plan is the child, student or team member relaying what s/he specifically was recognized for doing correctly and assuring that a similar fashion will be habit to yield the appropriate results.

Finally, it is imperative we coach when providing praise and recognition!  Please picture and engage in the COACH approach when sharing an accolade:

Connect with a meeting and an agenda (even if it is just verbal) and ask how the person thought the report/meeting/interaction went.  Then, listen fully.
Ownership follows when each party becomes accountable by stating what s/he did to get the result.  Assessment is the exploration of how things went well and giving credit to that person for his/her ideas/efforts/results.  Collaboration is reaching agreement after sharing ideas on what to do to maintain that level of effort and even ask for ideas on how to do it yourself. Have a plan is the child, student or team member relaying what s/he specifically heard from you and any other ideas based on the sincere praise.

While we would all like to be in the latter of the situations often, the more we recognize those times to offer appreciation, the less likely we will be in the first category with the same people over and over.

So, please remember that while you may not have a clipboard in your hand and/or hat on your head, you have the tools to be a great COACH!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Aspire to What You Desire-Don't Fake It 'til You Make It!


It's not uncommon for someone to cheer another on with "fake it 'til you make it" when attempting to grow, change or seek an advancement in life or work.  From that, we typically laugh, nod and move forward.  Seems innocent, right?

Yet faking it in life and business is anything but innocent.  It is, in fact, insincere and deceptive.  It's highly doubted that people strive to be insincere and deceptive, so what's the fix?

Consider the idea of "aspire to what you desire".  This is a take on dress to impress, and present in the role for which you want to be considered.  This is a recognition of something that is currently out of your reach followed by action and ownership to earn the right to be at that level.  This is both a sincere and true approach to growth.

So, skip the faking it, and work toward making it on aspiration, action and getting what you desire!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Taking Charge of Change

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
~ Andy Warhol
1928 - 1987
American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. 

Change can happen by chance, or change can happen by charge. Chance change is not known, and comes as a surprise when not paying attention or when someone is in denial. Charge change is shared and delivered with enthusiasm, and therefore, it is clear in the path and direction.

It's up to each of us whether we end up in chance change or charge change. When we pursue charge change, we are more likely to find the outcomes and experiences likable, rather than when we find ourselves in chance change, and feel as though the experience, and even the person delivering the message is "like a bull"!

Four tips for for embracing change positively include:
1. Consider perspective by asking and learning:
From where does it come?
For what reason?
What lead to it?
Where is it going?
In what way can I?
2. RACE for successful change by using the following words when asking and answering questions, as these words will lessen defensiveness and encourage conversation:
R - Respecting
A - Appreciating
C - Considering
E - Expecting
3. Ask rather than Assume, and implement a new rule
Ask people how they like to engage
Ask people the best format for communication
Ask people how they like to be treated, and then, instead of "The Golden Rule" of treating people the way you want to be treated, implement the rule of treating people the way THEY want to be treated.
4. Resist saying, feeling &/or believing “change is hard”, and in place of letting people continue to believe/say “this is tough”, remind them that they are tough!

In order to take charge of change, use "We" and "Let's, and consider the possibilities of positive outcomes as the result of the charge change...and this way, you won't leave it to chance!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Communication in Difficulty


Since difficult conversations are a part of life, and some people are defensive, or suspicious, ensure you don't contribute to the defensiveness or uncertainty by using the following language and skipping the other:


By focusing on the useful words, you just may skip some of the disagreements and difficulty!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Being Your VOICE


"We speak in order to be heard and need to be heard in order to be understood."
~ R. Jakobson and L. Waugh
1979
The Sound Shape of Language

The desire to be heard lives in most of us. The way to be heard is to share. Some of us want our desires or ideas to be known, and yet those wishes may seem unknown, or simply unheard.

It is important we are true to ourselves and share our thoughts in a way that we can feel validated and think we have done our best.

A way to be that is to focus on, and live toward being your VOICE, meaning:
V - Verbalization
O - Ownership
I - Inclusion
C - Communication
E - Execution
VERBALIZING concepts to others and to ourselves is imperative. We must say things in order to have a chance to be heard. Asking questions in "What?" and "How?" format over "Why?" is a start at making a huge difference in the long run. Remaining positive about  your own capabilities, having believe in self talk, is a way to continue that verbalization that empowers.
How you OWN your opportunities and mistakes matters in sharing your voice. Excuses get you distanced from others, where ownership and acknowledgement of missteps shows transparency and vulnerability. We all make mistakes. The way to truly own those mistakes is to face them, learn from them, and not make that same mistake again.
INCLUSION is tricky, in that selecting those with whom you can talk openly can seem inclusive at first, and yet it can be exclusionary in the long run. Cliques don't garder others hearing you, rather the inclusion of people, groups and any others impacted by your message, approach, or decision, means openness and transparency...along with allowing people to know they are being considered. People listen to others who have compassion for them.
Being a COMMUNICATOR in words, body language, attitude and desired outcomes all play into being heard. Your voice is what is said (covered mostly in verbalization) as well as what is not said. People will heard what is spoken and interpret what is unspoken. You communicate all day in may ways. Be worth listening to.
In order to EXECUTE all of the above-mentioned approaches, they cannot be theoretical, rather you will want to combine them not for the sake of completion, but for the sake of having a true voice in mind, spirit and delivery.

When you verbalize, own, include, communicate, and execute your VOICE, then, with confidence, conviction and impact, your VOICE can be heard!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sharing Sympathy & Condolences


People lose jobs, pets, relative and more. Sympathy is compassionate. Sympathy is natural. Condolences can be awkward and uncomfortable. Over the years, many people have expressed to me that while they want to offer condolences, they are not sure how to act, or what to say. Sympathy and condolences are not wrong. They come from the right place. There is no time limit on when to express sorrow. A way to sincerely and thoughtful approach is to:


  • Resist asking "How are you?"
  • Watch the sympathy look of pity or discomfort
  • Send a card that you write a note about the loss, if you know the situation or person personally, and if you do not, and do not start with "I" in order to ensure it is about the other person/people
  • Call, text and/or tell the person know you are available (and be available), and don't push for conversation or time, answers or explanations
  • Know it is okay to say something like "While words escape me, please know you are on my mind and in my heart", as it's okay to not know what to say
  • Resist sharing your stories of similar, or seemingly similar stories, unless the other person wants to hear them
  • Don't say "I understand", as their situation is different
  • Do something for the person without asking "What can I do?"

Be sympathetic and offer condolences. Be there, and not too intrusive. Be available, and not disappointed if there is no response. Be compassionate without being overly communicative. Check in, make a difference, and then treat the person or people with respect and interest.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Being Okay with Being Okay


"I'll lean on you and you lean on me and we'll be okay."
~ Dave Matthews
South African-born American singer-songwriter, musician and actor,[1] best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band. 
(b. 1967)

In a world where we are inundated with people telling us to smile and look happy, and upbeat posts on social media with a constant count on number of likes and shares, it can lead to the perception that we are each supposed to be on top of the world at all times and even perfect...or at least appear to be!

Perfect seems ideal. Perfect is personal. And, perfect is fleeting. Perfect is perfectly ridiculous! There are times when the idea of perfect may be desirable, and yet with people, circumstances and timing, things are not, and will not, be perfect. And, that's okay.

Sometimes okay is where you are. And that is okay. Forgiving and not forgetting is okay. Having a not-so-great day is okay. Having a not-so-horrible day is okay. This is not about lowering the bar, or lessening desires, rather being okay with being okay is about knowing that there are moments, hours, and even days in life where things are just alright. We may not post about them, take photos of them, or talk much about them, and yet they are there, and they are okay.

When we admit that things can be okay, and then recognize them, we can be okay with being okay. From there, sure, we can shift to things being better, good, great, and terrific! Let's start with okay, and let go of perfect in order to make being okay with being okay something we embrace rather than something we resist!



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cancellation Etiquette

While most of us would like to not ever have to cancel on plans, it is going to happen that life, other people, timing and priorities may keep you from being able to attend something for which you originally sent a yes RSVP.

In those instances, consider the planner, organizer and/or host, and please do all of the following:
1) Call the person before the event to ask for forgiveness for changing plans, and wish the planner, organizer and/or host the best on the event (without sharing your drama).
2) Email and/or text the person before the event to ask for forgiveness for changing plans, and wish the planner, organizer and/or host the best on the event (without sharing your drama).
3) Call the person after the event to check in and find out how the event went. Thank the planner, organizer and/or host for the invitation to the event (without sharing your drama).
4) Text or email the person after the event to check in and find out how the event went. Thank the planner, organizer and/or host for the invitation to the event (without sharing your drama).

Move on, and ensure the conversation and focus is on appreciation and not complaint. (And then, make every effort not to have to cancel again!)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Letting Go of Familiarity

"It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it."
~ Henry A. Kissinger
American diplomat and political scientist. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as United States Secretary of State in the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. 
(b. 1923)

With the start of a new year, there are a few choices to make about planning for, and anticipating, the next twelve months. Okay, there are often many choices to make as we anticipate hanging a new calendar with hope!

Often a choice we ignore or simply do not consider, is one of deciding what familiar habits, people, processes, and feelings do we want to continue to embrace, and what familiar habits, people, processes, and feelings do we want to exit from our lives, or minimally eliminate the expectations around them.

Some people, some experiences, some things in which we participate, are so familiar to us that we do not even realize the impact they have on us - positively or negatively. By making time now, right now, to do the following, there are ways to assess, address, and let go:
1) Review your last year's calendar and make a list of the people, the events, the organizations, the habits that take the most time and/or energy.
2) Consider a five-point scale for satisfaction (5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, with no partial points) with person, event, organization, habit without regard for others or what you believe you "should" do or what is expected of you.
3) Put all the 1s and 2s on a list. Put all the 4s and 5s on a different list. Put all the 3s on a list.
4) For the 4s and 5s, make time to call, email, or text whomever is affiliated, and thank someone what's transpired, and reiterate your commitment/relationship.
5) For the 1s and 2s, make time to call, email, or text whomever is affiliated, and thank someone what's transpired, and share your time and interests have changed, and that you will not be as engaged moving forward (yes, even with, and especially with, people). This is not about ignoring people or situations, rather addressing them kindly and professionally. An example is: "Hi Tod, this is Debbie. Hope all is going well. Is this a good time to talk for a couple minutes about some things we've been involved in recently?"..."Thanks so much for being a friend for happy hours and the movies last year. We had some enjoyable times, didn't we?"...With my focus on school and fitness this year, please know I will likely attend few happy hours or movies."..."When we see each other out, or on social media, I'll be sending positive energy, and wish you the best!"..."Thanks again! Here's to a great quarter!"
6) For the 3s, make time to determine what would push it to a 4 or 5, and commit to doing that.
7) Schedule time in/on your calendar for 3s, 4s, and 5s, in order to move the 3s to 4s or 5s, and maintain the 4s and 5s.

While this may seem like a task, think of the results you will get! By investing time and energy now, you'll look forward to the familiar things you want to keep in your life, and not dread or avoid those familiar things you don't seek more of this year.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Replace Cocky with COOL


With the year of the Rooster upon us, it's a time to be like the rooster, a sign of of fidelity and punctuality. Sadly, when we miss these things, we can be perceived as cocky. Instead of being the cocky rooster, let's go for being the cool bird through:

C - Confidence - Be confident in yourself, and confident in others. Without confidence in others, people can seem cocky. Believing others have abilities can be cool.
O - Offer - Offer a positive comment or compliment to someone you meet. Be sincere. Without sincerity, offers can seem overstated and cocky. With admiration of others, you can be cool.
O - Open - Open your mind, your eyes, and your body language to others. Without staying willing to consider other things, people and ideas, your presence can seem cocky. Cool people are open people.
L - Listen - Listen to others and surroundings. People who talk a lot...too much, can seem cocky, where those who listen to learn are welcoming and cool.

When you are aware of not being cocky, you can be COOL...cool in your demeanor, cool in your approach, cool in your approachability, and cool in your loyalty and timeliness!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year Impact Vs. Intent


"All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination." 
~ Earl Nightingale
American radio personality, writer, speaker, and author, dealing mostly on the subjects of human character development, motivation, excellence and meaningful existence; so named as the "Dean of Personal Development." 
(1921 - 1989)

As the year comes to a close, we often resolve to make changes, start fresh and begin anew! That's exciting and challenging all at the same time, as often these resolutions are well intended and yet have little impact, and go away more quickly than they take to verbalize.

While there are still a few days in 2016 to consider what you intend to do, there is an entire year ahead to make impact.

What will be different this coming year? Nothing, if nothing is different for you, from you, about you, through you. Many things if you decide to be different in your language, plan and measurement!

For your language, consider removing words such as "I should, I need to, I better, I have to" and replace them with "I want, I will, I am, I do". Using this language will show others, and importantly, you, that you are in process due to desire, and not due to obligation or pressure.

For your plan, consider being optimistic with a healthy dose of being realistic. Be aspirational with inspiration. In the plan, ensure you have have expectations, boundaries, and accountability required to keep you on task and moving forward with growth and challenge. Plan to have an impact partner.

For your measurements, consider setting daily efforts, weekly reviews, monthly updates, and quarterly assessments. Measure effort, actions, responses, and results. Look at progress and set backs. Measure what went well and what can be improved. Measure your language, your plan and be as objective as possible with your review of the measurements. Ask your impact partner to hold you to what you commit to do, and what you may not have done. In effect, the impact partner is also a measurement partner.

So, while intent is great, ensure your impact in 2017 is large, lasting, and long on what you want it to be!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

E-RACE the Racing Life


Since it often seems like we are racing through life, through events and work, driving, and even conversations, please look to E-RACE the racing through:

E - Exchanging - Exchange your perspective of racing to one of being engaged.
R - Releasing - Release the desire to be in a state of hurried and "needed"
A - Actualizing - Actualize the thoughts and feelings to a state of being
C - Clarifying - Clarify the change for purpose and positioning - the what and the how
E - Expecting - Expect there to be a different output from you even if at first there is no change of input from others

When you are not racing around, you can E-RACE the distractions, the diversions, and the difficulty in having a lot you want to do in the time you have to do it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Embracing Thanksgiving All Year Long


"I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. " 
~  Henry David Thoreau
American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. 
(1817 - 1862)


Thanksgiving is a day.
Thanksgiving is an attitude.
Thanksgiving is an approach to life.

While we may be celebrating this month, and many eating, drinking, and sharing in thankfulness outwardly and openly this Thursday, there is no need to keep that attitude of gratitude silent for the rest of the year. Thanksgiving is a way to live life, and keeping it going depends on thoughts, words and actions.

To be thankful also means not being hateful. Thinking about how to assist others, and how to encourage, support, and even wish well, whether you are included in that celebration formally or not, is a form of thanksgiving. This includes thinking ahead to how you impact others, and being mindful of what to do, and not do in order to get your intent (thankfulness) aligned with your results (gratitude).

Verbalizing your appreciation is a form of thanksgiving. Sharing ideas with others in a way that is inclusive, pleasant, and even humble shows thanksgiving. Offering what others do well, bragging about them on their behalf, and hoping, wishing and wanting what is good for them, are all ways to be thankful.

Doing things for others without their asking, taking an extra step, and even doing those things without others even knowing, allow for thanksgiving...all days of the year. Remembering that when you are thankful in life, you are not doing favors, rather you are doing what's right for your thanksgiving. Your actions are without motive other than to express thanks, and your actions flow freely with a loving heart.

By thinking thank you, saying "thank you", and meaning thank you will move you from Thanksgiving Day to a thanksgiving way (of life)...and those simple thoughts, words and actions, will surely lead to more!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Drive the Diffusion CAR in Disagreements

Arguments drive people to do and say things they often wish they had not. If you want to stop arguing and start collaborating, or at least speaking versus yelling or telling, instead of driving each other batty, or driving yourself to defend things, please consider "driving the CAR of diffusion", where you begin statements in the following way, sincerely, in an effort to communicate rather than overtake:

C - Considering - Let the person know you are considering his or her point of view or perspective. "Considering you have a lot of experience with this, you make many valid points, AND..."
A - Appreciating - Stating that you recognize and acknowledge something that is different without judgement means you can, and likely will, be reasonable. "Appreciating the work you do is important to you, you likely have a lot of ideas to share AND..."
R - Respecting - Anticipating someone may not think you are listening, share that you respect the situation and circumstances. "Respecting you are impacted more than others, and you have spoken with your colleagues, WHAT/HOW..."

Notice "and" is there and not "but", and "what" is there and not "Why". And and What or How keep conversations going without defensiveness from "but" or "why".

When you are driving the CAR, drive it to diffusion and inclusion rather than attack or confusion!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tricky Tips for Time Treats

"Lost time is never found again." 
~  Benjamin Franklin
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath and a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist
(1706 - 1790)

Often at this time of year, people hear, and even say "Where did the time go?". The time goes the same direction each year, and it doesn't fly faster as we age, we often get in habits that don't serve our full engagement and enjoyment. Time is not un-renewable, free, and one of our most precious and desired resources. Make the most of your time with these 21 tips:

1. Turn most productive tasks/results into habits with intent, focus, and consistency
2. Learn to say "No" and "Yes, and...", "What?" and "How?" (not "Why?")
3. Sleep your necessary hours (what works for you) and get an early start
4. Be focused on the results for the task at hand (by not allowing interruptions to take you away)
5. Use the 4 reasons to think through how time is spent (know, know how, have capacity, and want to, and then address them with information, coaching, assessing fairly, and an attitude check - first on you, and then on others)
6. Don't allow unimportant details to get your attention (cannot solve everyone's issues)
7. Complete worst tasks first (eat that frog!)
8. Be conscientious of time-wasters such as social media or TV(not that al is a waste, rather be aware)
9. Set a time limit for task completion (consider time-chunking in 20-minute increments)
10. Leave some time between activities for bio breaks, notes, sending messages (watch schedule overload)
11. Watch to-do list totality overwhelm (put things in priority and put results in the calendar for completion)
12. Give your body exercise, stretches and nourishment that "feeds your body" healthily
13. Do less when there is not a way to do more (instead of getting only so far on everything)
14. Utilize weekends, just a little bit (to plan for the week to give you a plan)
15. Create organizing systems (and use them)
16. Do something during waiting time (this may be down time or productive - simply choose)
17. Lock yourself in (alone to accomplish)
18. Commit to your plan to do something, and share with others that you are doing it (for accountability)
19. Do things that are similar at the same time, and go to places in order of distance
20. Find time for stillness (downtime and aloneness can be reflective and very rewarding from a re-charge perspective)
21. Eliminate the use of "I'm busy", "Are you busy?", "How are you?" (if you are not in a position to sincerely listen), and any versions of busy (consider full, productive, enjoyable and other descriptors in order to keep control and purpose in your perspective of your time)

With these tips in place, and even habits being formed (see number 1), watch how your time comes into focus as a tool and not a challenge!