Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quick Tip - ABCs of Aging

The concept of Anti-Aging is all around us, and yet there is only one solution or way to anti-age...that is death! That is not meant to sound morbid, just realistic! Anti-Aging isn't possible, rather aging gracefully is...through the ABCs, which are:
Attitude - Age is a number, and it is real. The way you approach it, with grace, gratitude and anticipation, or with gripe, dread and complaint, will matter in how you are received, perceived, and how you conceive of your age. 
Belief - Believing in yourself, your opportunities and your results will yield you an older and wiser approach to living rather than an old and dated way of living life.
Confidence - Being confident at any age, is the best accessory and age-embracing approach to living, learning and really loving life.

If you want to watch "dating" yourself, check these things:
1.     Eyebrows (Ladies - are they too thin?, or Men, are they too wild?)
2.     Posture (hunching makes us look less spry, and therefore, old)
3.     Double spacing (when writing, double spacing after a period is considered old school - only one is required now)
4.     Email (AOL accounts are nearly a sure sign of someone who isn't advancing with "the times")
5.     Glasses (get a style that suites you, talk little about "having to wear them" or your "old eyes", and  keep them off the top of your head)
6.     Age (do not talk about how old you are/feel in a negative tone or verbiage)
7.     Dress (trendy and/or too tight does not make you look younger, rather older attempting to look young)
8.     Shoes (be comfortable and stylish)
9.     Exercise and Diet (dieting and exercising only when attempting to lose weight shows your age, instead, make it a way of life)
10.  Technology (saying "I'm not good with technology", or "I'll give this phone to a young person" sounds like you have given up - and you have not!)

Similarly, the ABCs stand for Action, Boundaries, and Consistency. Take actions that work for you. Set boundaries on being negative about aging. And, be consistent in your approach to aging with grace and style.

The key is allowing ourselves to age gracefully while owning who we are...and not wanting to be who we used to be!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gone...Not Forgotten

"If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten." 
~ Rudyard Kipling
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist.
He wrote tales and poems of British soldiers in India and stories for children.
(1865 - 1936)  

Regularly people rhetorically ask things like "Where did the time go?", and say things such as "This year just flew by!", and almost as quickly we nod in agreement or chime in with our own experiences that echo or mirror the sentiments.
In those comments, and in such hasty acceptance, we run the risk of keeping the pace, and the response to the speed of life in a position of impossibility...in a position of "gone too fast".

It is important, whether in a meeting, at a school dance, on a date, or while reading a book, that we allow ourselves to be present...engaged, and enjoying what we have to experience. Not that all meetings, dances, dates or books are enjoyable, and yet with keeping ourselves in the moment or experience, we can at least appreciate what is here and now.

And yes, time passes, and things end. If you'll remember that things need not be lost, people need not be forgotten, feelings need not be gone, and events need not be over, because we have the ability to keep them relevant, present and appreciated in our fond memories that we gratefully share with others.

So, the next time someone exclaims "Where did the time go?", or says "This year just flew by!", perhaps instead of complying, you may want to respond with something like "To great memories.", or "Wasn't it a great year?" in order to keep our past gone...not forgotten!    

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quick Tip - Invitation Etiquette

There are many events and opportunities this time of year, and that is the reason this quick tip is about hosting and being invited to "happenings".

When you are hosting:
  • Get the invitations out as soon as possible, minimally a month in advance
    • Have the date, time and theme clearly stated
    • Consider a 15-30 minute window for a start time so that people have some flexibility for arriving
  • Request a YES or NO RSVP by a certain date (consider 7-10 days prior to the event so you have time to make purchases and arrangements for activities)
  • Send a reminder a couple of days prior to the RSVP deadline
  • Let people who say "maybe" know that you will put them down as a "no, and to please not give it another thought
  • At the RSVP deadline:
    • Message people who said "no" and "maybe" that they will be missed and that you are not planning on seeing them there, rather you will look forward to some other opportunity
    • Message people who said "yes" to share you are planning on seeing them at the time, at the location, where to park, and if there are any special plans (being outside or potluck, etc.)
  • On the event day, get yourself ready prior to the start time so that you are ready to welcome and enjoy your guests!
  • Within a week, send thank you notes to each person who brought you a host/hostess gift
When you are invited: 
  • RSVP as soon as possible
    • If you are sure, reply "yes" at that time
    • If you are unsure, reply "no" at the time
    • If something changes, contact the host prior to the RSVP deadline to ask if there is still space for you to change your reply to "yes"
  • Arrive on time (not early or late), and if you are early, wait in your car or run an errand, as the host(s) may not be quite ready
  • Be positive on arrival, and show gratitude for being included
  • Bring a host/hostess gift that has your name on it (with wine or champagne, put your return label on the back)
  • Offer to assist the host with something for the engagement (and do it, if someone has something for you, and back off if there is nothing mentioned)
  • Be participatory and engaged
  • Have a ball
  • Stay minimally an hour or half the time planned, and leave within the end time, or as a lot of people are going home
  • Resist talking about going somewhere else while at the event
  • Say good-bye and thanks to the host(s)
  • Within a week, send a sign of appreciation to the host/hostess (see the tip above for ideas)

Whether you are hosting or attending, be happy, ready, willing and able to truly enjoy the experience!  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanking Others - Appreciation Ideas

"Appreciation can make a day, even change a life.
Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary."
~ Margaret Cousins
Margaret Elizabeth Cousins, also known as Gretta Cousins was an Irish-Indian educationist, suffragist and Theosophist, who established All India Women's Conference in 1927. 
(1878 - 1954)  

There are many opportunities to say thanks, give thanks, and express thanks, and yet sometimes we don't make the time to do make it personal...or even to say it at all!

So, first, while below is a list of ways to consider thanking others with a personal touch, if you are verbally thanking people for thoughtfulness, actions, a great attitude, ideas and more, you are far ahead of many, so give yourself some kudos. And if you want to amp it up, you may like some of these, which are 10 favorites:
1.   Send a hand-written thank you note (without starting the message with "I"), or a photo of the two of you or a group of you with a note on the back of the photo
2.   Send a text or email about what s/he did, and copy others who were impacted or included so that it is a little more "public" among key players
3.   Get a stylish frame that suits the person's office or home, and print a special photo of that person and his or her significant other or family
4.   Tweet or post on other social media what the person means to you (briefly)
5.   Find a positive quote and share it with that person with the reason it made you think of him or her
6.   Donate to the person's favorite charity in his or her name
7.   Offer to drive or pick up the Lyft, Uber or Taxi fare the next time you go somewhere
8.   Send flowers with a card before arriving at their office or home for a visit
9.   Arrive with the person's favorite candy (whether it is Twizzlers or Godiva), and don't "give" it to the person, rather discretely leave it behind where it will be discovered later
10.               Make personal "gift cards" or coupons to do something for the person within a set amount of time (babysit, cook dinner, print a report), and then schedule them fairly quickly so it's clear you are happy to do them

Whatever you do, make it count, be sincere, and share your gratitude with an attitude of appreciation...and an amped up thank you that is about the others more than you! 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Quick Tip - Tricks to Compelling Tradition

It's a tricky time of year, as the holiday season is upon us, and with that, there are many traditions...desired or expected...from interest to obligation.The trick to compelling tradition is to in fact, compel traditions...to really want them for you, those you experience them with, and for the result!

How do you get there? Decide what you want to feel, and with whom you want to experience those feelings. Look at what you have done in the past, and look to what you want in your future.

Release those things, experiences, people, activities that do not compel you. Those that make you feel anxious in the way you dislike or in a "have to" state of mind, are not traditions, they are simply obligations. Resist criticizing the tradition in general or for others, rather just let people know ahead that the experience isn't a fit for your holidays and wish them well. If others attempt to guilt you into do it, stay positive, thank that person for their including you, and move on.

For new traditions, make a commitment to the experience and yourself. Expect nobody else to want to do it or to join in with you. Invite only those you want to include and resist apologizing to anyone not included. Traditions that compel evoke feelings of love, comfort and joy. Make the tradition your own, and allow yourself to be compelled by the newness!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Treating Yourself & Others Well

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
- Wayne Dyer  
American self-help author and inspirational speaker. His first book, Your Erroneous Zones, is one of the best-selling books of all time, with an estimated 35 million copies sold.
(b. 1940)  

There is a lot of talk of treats this time of year, so let's look at how we treat ourselves and how we treat others.

We can be our best friend or our worst enemy...and sometimes those two "beings" can present nearly simultaneously. So, to be fair to yourself, please remember to:
1) Set goals for yourself based on your interest, passion, and purpose
2) Share your goals with those you respect and trust
3) Measure yourself against yourself for your plan and progress
4) Give yourself credit for what you do well, specifically, before you look at what to improve (and avoid the concept of "can't", weaknesses, and "should haves")
5) Wake up with anticipation
6) Go to bed with gratitude and appreciation 

We can encourage others or stifle them with the way we treat them. Often, how we treat others is a reflection of we feel about ourselves. So, to ensure we are treating others well, first, get out of your own way and ensure you are all about the other person, and not how you are being perceived, or how you feel. That is likely the most challenging part of treating others well. Once you do that, and you sincerely are focused on the other person, please:
1) Look at the other person (or picture that person if you are on the phone or writing a note/email)
2) Ask what the other person thinks or feels before sharing your ideas/input
3) Listen
4) Measure the person against his/her capabilities (not your unspoken expectations) and goals
5) Give him/her credit for what was specifically done well before you look at what to improve (and avoid the concept of "couldn't", weaknesses, and "should haves")
6) Be appreciative of the time together and grateful for what you learn through the positive and less-than-positive experiences with others

It can seem tricky sometimes, and that interacting with others (and even ourselves) is no treat. And yet, we have the opportunity to treat ourselves and others well each day in many instances, so imagine what a treat it will be to feel good about the interactions!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Quick Tip - Get Sharp!

Thank you to the Project Management Institute, and especially PMI Tampa Bay, for continuing to include me in your symposiums since 2007! One of the things I shared on September 12th during my keynote on The Four Questions Many Leaders Overlook was this:

Each of us has a dream, or many dreams, and imagine there was a guy who had the dream to be a lumberjack.  So, instead of just dreaming, he set out to make it his reality. So, he bought a few flannel shirts and an axe, and he moved to Minnesota to live, practice, and eventually pursue a position as a tree cutting lumberjack. With some practice, he found he could cut down 14 trees a day consistently. Off to a tree farm/ranch for a position he went! He got the job, and sure enough, he got 14 trees cut and the manager was pleased, and so was he. Weeks later, he was struggling to get to 14. Days following, he only got 12 trees, and then 10, and eventually, he only got 5 trees per day...even though he was arriving early, staying late and skipping lunch. Finally, deflated, he went to the manager, and said he had a few questions for him including "What could he do?", "How do people do it?", "Were there supplements he could take?", and more. Instead of answering the questions, the manager replied that he only had one question for him, and that question was "When was the last time you sharpened your axe?". The new lumberjack said "Sharpened my axe? But I was far too busy cutting down trees all day every day!!".

So, I ask you: When was the last time YOU sharpened your axe?  And, are you busy cutting down trees?  Get sharp, and sharpen your axe by:
  • Surrounding yourself with successful people
  • Knowing how you define success
  • Investing in yourself and others
  • Keeping an open mind to change (sound familiar?)
  • Be willing to work for results
  • Ask others for input
  • Share ideas for the advancement of others
  • Be happy for those who are doing well
And, stay open to what will serve you, and your dreams well as you spend time and energy to fuel those dreams into reality! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

CHANGE-ing Change

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
-  George Bernard Shaw 
Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics.
(1856 - 1950)
Sayings such as "Change is the new constant", and "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation that the results will change", have become commonplace. Reflecting on these, it's clear that change is all around us, and that change is not something new, or temporary, rather it is something that exists, and our responses to change are what can be changed, and/or are CHANGE-ing, meaning:

C - Check in with people regarding what they are hearing, expecting, concerned about currently 
H - Have an open mind to people's ideas and interests, gossip and concerns 
A - Answer things honestly with straight talk and direct information 
N - Note what themes there are and consider sharing them all with everyone involved 
G - Give options for ways to address things 
E - Encourage communication over speculation
C - Check in with what you and your emotions and thoughts on what may happen  
H - Have an open mind to other people's ideas and interests 
A - Answer questions or statements presented honestly with straight talk and direct inquiry  
N - Note what themes seem to be and gain confirmation or clarification of your perceptions  
G - Give yourself time to process the news 
E - Embrace what is coming with the approach of what you can do to make the most of it 

In either situation, change is coming whether there is a consideration for yourself and others or not.  To change how change is welcomed and shared, make the approach to it CHANGE to get changed results...for the positive!  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Quick Tip - Voicemail and E-mail Follow-Up

Since not everyone is on the same schedule, and emails and voicemails do seem to "disappear" at times, when you follow up with someone, please consider saying something like "You may or may not have gotten my message (voicemail or email), and in it..." instead of putting someone on the spot with "Did you get my email?" or "Did you get my voicemail?", and then waiting for them to say "yes" or "no", and likely following it with an explanation that, no matter how it comes out, sounds like an excuse to you.

Allow someone to save face with your grace by following-up with them in a non-questioning, kind way to keep the message positive, and positioned from professionalism and thoughtfulness versus something that may feel attacking and/or confrontational!

Friday, August 15, 2014

From Reason to Results-Knowing the Purpose Driving Outcomes!

"For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth."
-  Bo Bennett
Former U.S. Senator
(b. 1933)
Sometimes the truth isn't hard to face, or difficult to share, it is sometimes simply something we haven't thought intentionally about, put in order, or even put in words!  And yet, if we are straightforward, and transparent with others, as well as ourselves, the truth, our own truth, is the reason, the purpose for what we say, to, and desire to convey.  It works like this: 

When you start with the purpose, the reason for what you believe, support, sell, promote, and more, for the things you choose to do, you can then create an approach, that leads to an option or offering, and then know the way you got to your results.  This is true in personal and business situations. 

In business, you must know the reason/purpose you are in existence, and that reason is not "To make money", or "To be the best XYZ", rather it is your passion, your direction, and it is something more personal and purposeful than just hopeful.  From there, your passion leads/guides your approach.  If you ultimately produce something, this approach  includes quality, styling and more.  The offering, in that case, is the product, and the results include how the product impacts the customer's life.

Individually,  it is important to know you, your purpose.  The reason you get up in the morning is your base.  When you have your inspiration, you have your grounding...your foundation.  That purpose serves to fuel your approach - a positive, pragmatic, or other attitude.  That approach is the sense for your actions, which, in effect, are your offerings.  People respond, and your get results with and through how people either connect or don't connect to you.

In either case, personally or professionally, it is the reason you are, the purpose that drives you, that ultimately leads to the results you yield..and hopefully those you want and deserve! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quick Tip - Calendar Invite Courtesies

While not everyone uses calendar invites, if you do please consider the following for a courteous approach:

1) Confirm with someone your plans before sending the invite, in other words, please do not send an invite as your only form of emailing regarding a meeting.  When calendar invites just show up for me, I find that odd, and typically that time is booked, and now I have a "to do" to follow up with the inviting party.

2) Name the invitation something other than "Meeting with Debbie".  If I accept this and it goes on my calendar, it looks like I am meeting with myself.  Additionally, give a clue to the topic in the invitation title.  Instead, consider something like "Sue and Debbie Meeting Re: Teamwork".

3)  Include an agenda of two to four topics to cover in the notes or messaging portion of the invitation.

The three courtesies will allow for consistency, respect, and positioning prior to the meeting that sets your meeting up for success!  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Think So? Think, So? 4 Ways to Encourage Critical Thinking

"Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another."
-  Napoleon Hill 
American author in the area of the new thought movement who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal-success literature. He is widely considered to be one of the great writers on success. 
(1882 - 1970)
Critical people are often avoided or disliked.  Critical thinking is rarely discussed, and often appreciated.  Imagine the difference in asking "You think...so?" and "You think so?"!

While we may think we want to be around people who think the same, perhaps we'd do well to be around people who think critically.  What is the difference, if you are both thoughtful?  Similar minds may get different results even though you are compatible if you encourage, use and even expect, critical thinking.  Planning for same thinking means you likely, and even unknowingly, shut down critical thinking.

Here are four questions (with two options for each) to ask to engage in critical thinking...of yourself and others:

1.   What do you think about XYZ? OR What are your thoughts on XYZ? 
2.   What makes you think that OR How do you know this to be true? 
3.   Will you tell me more? OR What else can you tell me about that? 
4.   What questions do you still have? OR What questions can we explore together? 

When we focus on critical thinking, we are open to ideas and options.  When we focus on criticism, we see what is wrong or closed.  In other words, it's the difference in "You think so?" and "You think...so?".  Being a critical thinker allows yourself and others to explore and share thoughts without as much judgement as a right or wrong answer provides.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Quick Tip - Making the Shift

Making the Shift  
There are expressions such as "it's the little things that matter", and "good things come in small packages" that remind me of how some slight "shifts" can make a big difference.  When you are thinking of making a bit of a change, or you are willing to shift your thoughts, and therefore your results, please consider:   
  • Shifting from working hard to working focused.
  • Shifting from thinking how busy you are to realizing how productive you are.
  • Shifting from being tired and frazzled to being full and fulfilled.
  • Shifting from being exhausted by all you "have to do" to being energized by all you "get to do".
  • Shifting from a work-life balance to a life balance, as work is just one part of your life.
  • Shifting from "fake it 'til you make it" to "take it and make it yours now".
Make the shifts in order to see and feel the results!

Friday, June 13, 2014


"All is connected... no one thing can change by itself."
-  Paul Hawken 
American environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author.
(b. 1946)
A lot of people network, or meet people regularly, and yet how many of them, how many of us, are really CONNECTED?  In order to learn from others and from experiences, it is important to make that true connection.

CONNECTED people are, do. and/or have the following:
C - Care 
O - Offer ideas 
N - Notice people 
N - Notice things & situations 
E - Engage others to learn 
C - Create relationships that are mutually beneficial 
T - Tell of wins 
E - Entertain, and even expect feedback 
D - Decide to engage each day in many ways 

To be truly effective, this all has to be, and therefore, you have to be sincere, consistent, and filled with the desire to make a difference...not for the superficial contacts, rather, for the real connection

Friday, May 30, 2014

Quick Tip - 7 Ps - The Playful Steps to Post-able/Printable Photos

Since people consistently ask me about photos and how to look good in them, with the summer nearly upon us, here's a revisit (with revisions) to the ways to enjoy picture taking if you are the subject of the shot:
1.  Pick - Get on your best side, or in the middle
(please just resist announcing that you "have to be on your best side", rather move to that side and let others fall in) 
2.  Plant back foot - back foot gets nearly all your weight
3.  Point front foot - with a straight leg - front foot points out, no bend at knee and little weight on it (not sure who started the knee out look, as most of us were taught that, and yet it often shortens us and/or adds the look of weight to us in photos) 
4.  Place hand - on hip or out to side (rumored to be called "Doing the Lundberg" around Tampa Bay in some circles) if on the end, or place hands/arms at low waist/below someone else' arms, if in the middle, if you are similar height or shorter than those next to you) 
5.  Position shoulder - roll it back to get rid of the press of flesh at armpit
6.  Peer out - jet head forward without moving your shoulders, dip chin, and look up to just above the camera
Pearly White - push tongue to the roof of your mouth, and flash a smile - having fun IS Powerful!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Polite at/to Any Age

"Politeness is a desire to be treated politely, and to be esteemed polite oneself."
-  Francois de La Rochefoucauld 
Prince de Marcillac. A noted French author of maxims & memoirs. His is a clear-eyed, worldly view of human conduct indulged in neither condemnation nor sentimentality.  
(1613 - 1680)

Many of us have likely heard the expression "respect your elders", or heard a child being prodded with "What do you say?" after someone does something for that child or gives the child something.  Perhaps we have even said or done those things ourselves.  What makes us speak of politeness in prose and with our youth, and yet in recent, and continued observance, it appears as though many adults feel as thought they "need not" show respect to children or those younger than themselves...or sadly, to anyone.

I believe respect for others is a reflection of self-respect.  This weekend, when Michael and I were walking on the beach, as we went to pass a young boy playing in the sand, we offered "Excuse us, please" because we were entering his space, not because he was our elder or he did something nice for us, and not because anyone was watching or we felt we "should".  We did it because it is courteous, it is polite.  We did it because manners matter.  We did it because we are humane...not just human.  We talked about it later, and both reflected on hearing so many comments about the youth being rude.  And then we chatted about where they were learning that behavior.  Perhaps they were just repeating what was presented to them...yikes!

Regardless of a person's station in life, years on this earth, role at a company, or perspective, wouldn't being polite to that person further our relationships, or minimally not diminish the potential for one.  Could simple acts of politeness create an environment for respect?  Wouldn't the holding of a door for a man, a woman, a "whipper-snapper" or a great grandma feel good...feel right?  And wouldn't that be a reinforcement that each person matters, and that being part of the human race sometimes means slowing down long enough afford one another a little politeness? 

So let's please consider less who the person is, and more that we are engaging with a person.  How about we focus more on manners, and less on mattering? If we focus on what's polite, we need not lose our opinion, our empowerment, or even our influence...I dare say, we'd enhance them all...at any age...and perhaps with all ages! 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Quick Tip - Time Management Through Language Choice

While time is an non-replenish-able resource, and in each day lived, we each get the same amount, we often create challenges to our time ownership, and therefore, our time management, by phrasing things negatively, or in a defeatist fashion.  In order to own, and appreciate, the time we have, please consider the following:
      • Eliminate "I don't have time", "I am so busy" & "I was too busy"
      • Resist saying "You've got too much time on your hands" to others who make activities a priority that are not for you
      • Know that you are not lazy if you choose to relax, rather you are reinvigorating or resetting yourself
      • Strive to have a full calendar, or a full day rather than being "busy"
      • Call before you are late & apologize once
      • Set, use, and request  agendas before attending meetings to avoid "I don't know" as a response to "What are we meeting about?"
      •  "Host" walk-and-talk meetings rather than formal meetings
      • Schedule 15, 20, 30 or 45 minute meetings instead of 60 or 90 minute sessions, and see if you get as much done
      •  Complete "To Do"s immediately, such as passing along cards, or sharing links...not later...time is valuable, so make the most of it!
Time is neither a friend nor a foe, it is not speeding up or slowing down.  Time is relative to our enjoyment in perspective, and yet the same measurable quantity presents each day, so keep language and perspective positioned for success, so that time doesn't feel like it is "getting away from us"!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life."
-  William Arthur Ward  
American Author of Fountains of Faith
(1921 - 1994)

The idea of work-life balance perplexes me, as it implies that work and life are separate, minimally, and possibly in opposition.  For me, and hopefully you, work is a part of life, so the goal of balance is one of Life Balance...period.
Boundaries are not constricting in our lives, rather they are the weights and ways to provide balance. Some of the boundaries I find are well-serving when seeking a life of near balance, while enjoying the challenge of seeking that sense of being well-weighted in our choices, activities, people, and projects are: 

  1. Be selfish...ask yourself "What is in this for me?" and ask "What is the opportunity cost?" before responding with a yes or no, thank you, to a request...no maybes, as maybes create a to-do for later by following up.
  2. Do things you want, without guilt or obligation...or explanation.  Watch your desire to explain, as once we explain, we often excuse ourselves from not explaining in the future, therefore creating a pattern that takes time and energy, and yet provides little in return.
  3. Face fears/worries and address them by really exploring what is holding you back, what could propel you forward, and where you want to go with the fear.  Is this really a fear, or is the language of "afraid" and "fear" making it bigger than it needs to be?
  4. Reinforce behaviors you want repeated with others.  Balance does not come from nagging, criticizing and wishing things were different.  Putting a boundary on yourself that focuses you on the positive not only frees your mind, it clears your mouth from lashing out.
  5. Offer only 2-3 choices for others.  Instead of asking "What do you want to do?", consider "Would you like to go for a run or play tennis Saturday?"
  6. Keep work to one area of your home or home office.  By secluding where work is done, the entire area represents your profession or passion
  7. Set expectations for the amount of  time spent doing things such as lunch, dinner, meetings and even social events.  Knowing your start and end times will allow you to plan smoothly, therefore, creating a plan that has balance for you.
  8. Get rid of the TV in your bedroom.  Bedrooms are for sleeping and other things that have nothing to do with sitcoms, news, or shows.  When the TV is out of your bedroom, you set a boundary and expectation on the room that provides focus without distraction.
  9. Have fun.  Laugh.  Giggle.  Smile.  Make the world a great place for you...and it just may bring joy to others.
  10. Hang out with people who appreciate, utilize and respect your boundaries.  Respect and learn from the balance others display.   
Know that you don't have to do things the same to have a similar appreciation for boundaries and balance, and yet putting things in place, reveling in the feelings and clarity that come from them will encourage more of that behavior, and likely, more experiences that are closer to balance than you've previously yielded in life, and therefore, in work, since that is a part of your life!    

Monday, March 17, 2014

It's Less About Opinion, and More About Consideration

While most everyone has an opinion on many things, our opinions are not sought on all things.  And, while expertise and degrees, practices and professions warrant many seeking opinions and input from us, it is important we first think through both the reason for that request, and how the idea will be received.

In a cycle of opinion-sharing, it often entails two steps:  Someone asks something, and we share our opinion.  Done.  Another two-step flow is:  Someone or something is observed, and we share our opinion.  Done (except for the rejection or the disagreement regarding appropriateness).

Instead of either two-step approaches, the following five-step flow allows for less “done”, and more “relating”.

Hear.  Is someone saying something, asking something?  It is important we hear another person, rather than presumptively step-in, or on their approach or conversation.  The words and ideas must physically be heard.  And, if nothing is said, per se, then asking if someone wants to discuss XYZ is a form of hearing, as that person may say “yes” or “no”, and hearing that response is vital.

Listen.  While words are being said, not all of us really listen.  What?  Exactly!  We often think we know where someone is going, or finish a thought for someone else because we listened long enough to know…at least in our minds.  When people are speaking, it is more than just hearing words, it’s listening to that person, in that moment, about that issue or opportunity, that creates trust and exchange.

Comprehend.  While we listen, we are processing.  In that processing, some things seem out of the realm of possibility to us, and others seem “normal”, or feasible.  Comprehension involves engagement beyond the hearing and listening, as it engages potential, resources, and perspective.  Questions of “what?” and “how?” here allow for further investigation.  “Why?” questions often evoke defense, so as we are comprehending what someone else is sharing or asking, it is considerate not to put that person on the defensive…remember, we want to comprehend, no offend!

Decide.  With data, emotion, background and even hope being considered, we decide what we are able, and willing, to use.  As we decide our stance, this is the first time this process is about us, as the previous steps were us doing something for/with the person inquiring.  This is where our opinion is formed internally.  Our decision is something we own, and is not to be reached until we have the information we believe necessary for us to move on.

Share.  Eventually, and believe it or not, often quickly, after hearing, listening, comprehending and deciding, remember, someone wanted our opinion, it is time to share.  How we share is equally as important as the sharing of a view itself.  Starting off with something like “Having heard you are looking to X, and appreciating your shared Y, based on my experience, you may want to consider Z”.  A stronger approach is to offer “Respecting you want to X, and considering Y, it is my opinion that Z.”  In neither of the examples did the statement start with “I” or “You”.  This is intentional, as it is about the view and not vanity or correctness.  An opinion does not have to be accepted or rejected, rather shared.

Having an opinion, and our opinion being sought, are two different things.  Respecting the words, intent and details of the exchange, as mentioned above, will keep the expressing of views less about just the opinion, and more about consideration.