Saturday, December 1, 2012

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Sheena Iyengar, Columbia Business School professor and author of The Art of Choosing, conducted the famous “Jam Study." Grocery-store shoppers who were offered a coupon for one of six different jams were more likely to buy a jar than if they were offered a coupon good for one of 17 jams. "People are more attracted to a lot of choice," Iyengar said, "but when it comes to making a choice, they are more likely to [actually] if they have fewer options [rather] than more." Her research seems to offer evidence, more is less! Her research put talk radio’s Rush Limbaugh on a tirade that this was un-American, anti-freedom! Even though we may not care to hear it, truth is reality. It took the Catholic church until 1993 to accept Galileo's work!

With the holiday season coming, the gadget catalogs have been filling my mailbox. They are filled with “James Bondesk” items for daily living. Toys for boys! Comfort for girls! iPhone add-ons! Time suckers! Healthier health choices going way beyond Obamacare!

What caught my attention were the wrist watch time pieces! They go way beyond the mainstream Timex and Rolex watches! Are we bored with time and the way we track time! There was a watch made of sandalwood. Scented time! The Circular LED watch tracks time with light. HighLIGHTED time! The Triarch LED watch displays time in geometry. Time with a new angle! Want your watch to truly tell you the time? A male voice distinctly tells you the time when its inconvenient for you to look. Time has a voice. The Verticular watch reminds one of the elevator tracker panel on the first floor of a high rise. Time going up or time coming down? How about a genuine Navy Seal watch! (Reminder of the time the Seals got Bin Laden.) Got a case of OCD? The “Always Accurate Watch” continuously calibrates its time with the U.S. Atomic Clock, at Ft. Collins, CO. Serious time. The world’s thinnest calendar watch merges German engineering with Swiss watchmaking. Time meets diversity! The faceless watch has hidden LED’s in the watch band. Time to be discreet?

What I find interesting and perhaps troubling in these catalogs is that none of these watches are shown on the wrist of a human being. Where is the human touch, the human contact, the human interaction? Another observation, all of these watches are for men! Is time keeping a man-thing? Is keeping time masculine or macho? What is the message the wearer is sending to others? Are these watches cryptic symbols for the need for better time management? 

What time piece would you choose or could you choose?! Why? Where are you spending your time these days? Are you spending too much time trying to make up your mind?

    Does anybody really know what time it is?
    Does anybody really care?
    If so I can't imagine why.
    We've all got time enough to die.

                      Robert Lamm,

                      Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dear Brett,


Dear Brett,

I did not sleep well last night after your news that Marines denied you to join them. You did nothing wrong. They came to a “moment-of-truth” and asked for a complete confession of past transgressions. You were honest and forthright, the highest quality of character and of which this world is short on. You shared that you had taken a friend's prescription pain-killer a couple of years ago for a headache when visiting because he had no over-the-counter pain reliever. Unfortunately, policy trumped common-sense and wisdom and the Marines denied you the ability to serve.

Unfortunately, the Marines taught you a bad lesson. Don’t tell the truth, because you will be punished. They put a kink in trust not only in being a Marine but in serving this country.

I wish I could have taken this “bullet” for you. I wish that I could have spared you the pain. I have felt your pain and know how gut wrenching it is. I remember being told by a woman I loved that she no longer loved me. It turned my world upside down. I felt all my hopes and dreams were broken into a million pieces. I felt unworthy. I felt embarrassed. I felt shame.

Fortunately, there were people who believed in me, who loved me, who assured me that a new day would come. It took time. It took patience. It took work. The wound healed. I believed I was good enough to love and be loved. You are an outcome of that healing.

I know you. I know your heart. I know when you believe, you make things happen. I saw that back when you were in the grade school when you decided you wanted to be the lead in the 5th grade musical. You persevered and succeeded. I saw it on the soccer field when you wanted to be the starting goal keeper. You persevered and not only got the starting position but became captain of the team. I saw it when you wanted to go to a division I college to play soccer and realized it did not meet your expectations and chose a different course. You persevered and graduated from college.

As low as you are, you have a history of overcoming adversity. Your expectations have been altered by someone else, but it does not mean you cannot pursue your goal.

I believe in you. You are one of my role-models. You are an inspiration to me and others. You are loved and you have a gift to share to make this world a better place. Do not let someone deter you from making that difference.

I love you.

Now go Carrpe Diem!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm Blue...

Today it all comes to a screeching halt. Our nation will try to select a president. It does not look good. No matter who wins, a large number of people will not be happy.

We've justified who should be president as well as who should not be president. Over Six Billion Dollars has been spent on justification. I have buyers remorse. I'm blue. I threw some money into a campaign and wish I'd thrown it into the Red Cross basket for victims of Sandy.

I'm blue. It has become increasingly evident that policy and ideology have trumped the ability for civil conversation. If someone doesn't believe in our "brand" of religion, our "brand" of politics, our "brand" of sexual orientation, our "brand" of race and heritage we label "them" as sub-human, retards, idiots, neanderthals or any other name that demonstrates superiority over "them." It's as if some have a monopoly on the truth, the facts, the RIGHT WAY and the light. 

You know the facts of life. Life is ambiguous and the longer we live the more it becomes evident. Life is hard and the longer we live, the more evident it becomes for the need to simplify. Life is grace and the longer we live we might recognize how truly blessed we are!

I realize this is a generalization, but I find people tend to fall into three categories:

- The cynics. The cynics tend to be older, wounded, have unfilled expectations, feel cheated, and do not trust people, systems and process. They are see a fresh bouquet of flowers and ask, "Who died?" I'm blue around cynics. It's tough to have a civil conversation with cynics.
- The entitled. The entitled believe they deserve. They give "this" and deserve "that." They payed their dues and expect a return. It's about going up, never sideways or God forbid, downward. Their motto, "You owe me!" I'm blue around the entitled. When I'm around the entitled, I wonder if I'm square with them. Civil conversation might be possible with the entitled until you step on one of their entitlements!
- The humble. The humble are the few. They have no score to settle and no scorecard to keep. Everyday is a gift. They serve where they are needed. They give without expecting anything in return. They take responsibility and step up as needed. They have balance in their lives. They are selfless. They are spiritual. They laugh often. They are a blessing to be around and to work with. Civil conversations are the norm with the humble!

Two key questions that have come up in this campaign that continue to rattle around in my brain:
- Are you better off than you were four years ago?
- Don't you deserve...?

I'm blue. The cynics and entitled, who seem to be the majority, see themselves as not being better off and deserving more. 

I'm looking for more humble! Are you out there? Would you like to have a civil conversation?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

You Are What You Listen To?

Every now and then conversation comes to, “What podcasts do you listen to? Why?” Here are the podcasts I listen to regularly via iTunes. Once a week I plug my iPhone into my computer, click on iTunes and update. I listen to these podcasts at different times throughout the week.

On Being - Krista Tippett

Key descriptors: soul food, spirit, faith, love, hope, inclusive

Overview: From the website...“Krista envisioned a program that would draw out the intellectual and spiritual content of religion that should nourish our common life, but that is often obscured precisely when religion enters the news.”

Why I listen? As a Christian, I believe God calls us to unity, not uniformity. Krista Tippet draws from all things spiritual. She creates space for unity for the listener. The Psalmist wrote, “Be still and know that I am God.” One of my favorite things to do with On Being is to listen to the podcast early in the morning and then be still. What did I hear? Where was the voice of God?

Favorites I’ve not erased:
The Far Shore of Aging (July 26, 2012)
The "Happiest" Man in the World (October 27, 2011) [encore]
The Inward Work of Democracy (June 28, 2012) [encore]
The Body's Grace (May 3, 2012) [encore]
What We Nurture (March 29, 2012) [encore]
Desmond Tutu's God of Surprises (Feb 23, 2012)
Pursuing Happiness with the Dalai Lama (December 29, 2011) [encore]
The Prophetic Imagination of Walter Brueggemann (December 22, 2011)

Ted Radio Hour

Key descriptors: perspectives, fascinating, thoughtful, AHA!

Overview: Host Allison Stewart takes a theme and draws upon several TED presenters and their TED talk to weave an hour of insight.

Why I listen? I love! Presenters have 18 minutes or less to tell their story of passion whether it be the arts, science, education, research or philosophy. TED routinely demonstrates less is more! Stewart connects the dots of several presenters on a particular theme. The listener gets several perspectives to noodle!

Favorites I’ve not erased:
Building A Better Classroom
The Future of Cities
Where Ideas Come From
Fixing Our Broken Systems
The Power of Crowds
Food Matters
The Pursuit of Happiness
Our Buggy Brain


Key descriptors: enlightening, informative, educational, no-limits, challenging

Overview: Economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner partnered to write the best selling Freakonomics. That partnership has lead to SuperFreakonomics, a documentary film and a radio show! The radio show/podcast continues where the books left off!

Why I listen?
I read Freakonomics and realized that there is a hidden side to everything! Istvan Banyai captures this theme in his children’s picture book, The Other Side. One of my favorite bumper stickers is, Critical Thinking - The Other National Deficit. Freakonomics engages critical thinking!

Favorites I’ve not erased:

How American Food Got So Bad
The Truth is Out There...Isn’t It?
The Upside of Quitting
You Say Repugnant, I Say...Let’s Do It!
Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?
What Would the World Look Like If Economists Were in Charge?
The Dangers of Safety

The Moth Podcast

Key descriptors: magnetic, arty, human experiences, unexpected, gripping, inspirational

Overview: Just when you think you’ve heard everything, you realize you haven’t. Started in 1997, The Moth begins with a theme and then storytellers from all walks of life tell their story free style, sans notes, to a hungry standing room only crowd. “Moth stories dissolve socio-economic barriers, expose vulnerabilities, and quietly suggest ways to overcome challenges and see with new eyes.”

Why I listen? Storytelling is at the heart of connecting with and to others. Forget PowerPoint, forget charts and graphs. Tell a story. This is the place to learn why storytelling is so powerful. The Moth is also a great place to learn how to tell stories and reflect on your own stories.

Favorites I’ve not erased:
Adam Gopnik: Rare Romance, Well-Done Marriage
Annie Duke: A House Divided
Terence Mickey: One Family’s Garbage
Elif Shafak: Writing Amidst the Ruins
Tom Bodett: Inside Passage
Martha Manning: What Can’t Be Fixed
June Cross: Secret Daughter

This American Life

Key descriptors: Diverse, the untold/unknown story, quirky, surprise, random, imaginative, stimulating

Overview: Each week host Ira Glass and his team take a theme and then find or create three stories that relate to that theme. The outcome draws from current events, culture and narrative threads yielding a tasty stew! On one of the webpages for This American Life its stated, “We think of the show as journalism.” If this is the case, this show would be found in the Lifestyle section of the paper. Begun in 1995, This American Life has won numerous awards. Nearly 2 million people tune in This American Life each week.

Why I listen? It is good ear candy! Sometimes it nourishes. Sometimes I find it hard to listen to. No matter, it is one of those pieces that reminds the listener there is more to life than the daily news.

Favorites I’ve not erased:
#109 - Notes on Camp - If you ever went to summer camp growing up, this will stir memories
#204 - 81 Words - How the American Psychiatric Association came to the conclusion that homosexuality was not a mental illness
#290 - Godless America - Perspectives on church and state
#462 Own Worst Enemy - Stories of people who are their own worst enemy

What are you listening to? How does what you are listening to transform, enlighten or help you grow?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dear Mr. Mazzuca,

Mr. Robert Mazzuca
Chief Scout Executive
Boy Scouts of America
1325 Walnut Hills Lane
Irving, TX 75015-2079

Dear Mr. Mazzuca,

My purpose in life is to help individuals, groups and organizations to learn, to live and to promote “seize the day” which can reduce suffering and enhance life. Scouting has been an incredible foundation for me discovering my purpose. Scouting runs deep in my family. My mother grew up in Boy Scout camps as my grandfather was a professional scouter. My scoutmaster, Larry Lemser, Troop 516, Centerville, OH, was a scouter’s scout, part of my inspiration for working to achieve Eagle. I earned the rank of Eagle back in 1969. My mother had my Eagle badge and God and Country badge framed in a shadowbox. Until recently, it hung on my office wall. It is now missing.

My Eagle Scout badge is missing because of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) policy of "not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals.” If it makes any difference, I’m straight. While my accomplishment to achieve Eagle has nothing to do with BSA policy, the Eagle rank does represent values I believe in and found in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The BSA policy is contrary, hypocritical and non-affirming to the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. Stated on the BSA website concerning the building of character, “Few will argue with the importance of teaching values...such as fairness, courage, honor and respect for others.” Character is revealed at times of adversity.

Are the BSA doing its best? Are the BSA doing its duty to God (I’m thinking of the two greatest commandments in Christianity) and our country? Other God fearing and patriotic organizations such as the Girl Scouts, 4-H clubs, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and even the U.S. Armed Forces, have put an end to such discrimination.

I was told by my scoutmaster at my Eagle Court of Honor, “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle!” I can no longer claim to be an Eagle Scout nor promote the Boy Scouts of America as a primary start to learning leadership. I hope you and the others who create policy find the wisdom and courage to walk-the-talk of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. It’s okay to be straight, but it’s not okay to be narrow.

Carrpe Diem!

David Carr

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Can a NASCAR Pit Crew Teach Us about Team and Leadership?

I am not a follower of NASCAR, but after working with a group at the Michael Waltrip Racing Center, Cornelius, NC, recently, I am more likely to watch a NASCAR race just to see the pit crews in action. Lots of team and leadership lessons to learn and re-learn!
These pit crews of six members are athletes and they train like athletes! Michael Waltrip Racing has an excellent workout facility with a full time trainer. I’d pay to be a member! Pit crew members workout in this facility five days a week. They simulate race-day pit crew routines daily. Practices are video recorded and studied to see what was done right as well as what could be improved. 
Race day, the pit crew members are dressed in fire-proof suits with helmets that can cause them to lose up to 8 pounds of weight race day! Talk about having to focus under incredibly uncomfortable conditions for at least 6 hours is a huge feat.
Each pit crew member has a specific role of jackman, front tire changer, rear tire changer, gas man, front tire carrier and rear tire carrier. The jackman  has to lift a 3400 pound car with driver on each side of the car at a strategic location two times in a pit stop to change up to four 60 pound tires. The gasman has to lift two 90 pound gas cans. All this has to be done in 12.5 seconds or less if possible! They may need to do this process every 15 minutes for four hours. Add to this that these people get up at 3 AM on race day to catch a plane to fly to the race track and do not return home until 11 PM or later that night! 
Little things make a difference for the pit crew. For example, lug nuts are glued onto wheels about three hours before a race. At three hours the glue will be set just right. If there is rain delay, the lug nuts need to be removed and re-glued. 
To be successful at helping to win a race requires knowing your role as well as each member’s role. One of the pit crew members shared he was not good at handling the jackman position. He acknowledged his weakness and focused on his strength as as the front tire changer. (FYI - when not working out or practicing with the pit crew, he is in the marketing department of MWR!) Precision and accuracy come from practice, practice, practice. Endurance and perseverance are essential especially when things go badly. I noticed in the workout facility on the white board the #1 item, “The mind is primary.” There are incredible mind games and challenges at work on this team. Finally, encouragement is like secret sauce! It does make a difference!
How do you and your team measure up to the required behaviors of being on a NASCAR pit crew? What do you and your team need to work on to win your race?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We Have A Policy For That

(CNN) -- The south Florida lifeguard (Tomas Lopez) fired for leaving his post so he could save a swimmer outside his coverage zone said Thursday he has been offered his job back. (More at

What was the Ellis Management Company (Lopez's employer) thinking?
The problem is, The Ellis Management Company was not thinking because it has a policy in place so it does not have to think. Here is the dilemma we have created for ourselves. The more zones, rules, policies and incentives we put in place and emphasize, the less we use common sense, wisdom and critical thinking.
“There are liability issues when you go out of your zone.” Ellis Management Company
What drives us to create zones, rules, policies and incentives is fear. We fear people will not do the greatest good, such as not shooting off fireworks during drought conditions so we create a policy. We fear people will not follow a universal standard such as put litter in it’s place, we create a law for littering. We fear people will not live the Golden Rule, so we enact many other written rules.
The more zones, rules, policies and incentives we create, the more fear we generate and the more we suppress critical thinking. It’s a double edge sword. Our fears are based on:
  • what we believe we deserve - scarcity mentality
  • we are not getting our fair share
  • what we think we need to protect
  • ugly stories we imagine including “phantom rules” of injustice
  • something we believe will be taken from us
  • we will not be respected or accepted
  • promises, pledges and commitments that won’t be kept or honored
  • we are not worthy 
  • trust issues
  • our shame, our pain
  • we are not lovable or deserved to be loved
As a result, we create moral confusion. Fortunately, for the man whose life was saved by Lopez this past Tuesday, there was no moral confusion. Jeff Ellis, Ellis Management who had hired Lopez said, "I know that he has tried to do the right thing." 
Lopez didn’t try to do the right thing, Lopez DID the right thing. As Yoda said to young Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, “Try not. Do, or do not do. There is no try.” For Lopez and the life he saved, moral courage trumped policy. A “hard right was taken at an easy wrong!” (St Paul’s School for Boys, Baltimore, MD, prayer.)
Let’s use the Tomas Lopez/Ellis Management Company issue as a starting place for a conversation with ourselves.
Ask yourself, “Do I live life-affirming principles? What is my evidence?” Principles count for little if they are not practiced. Standing up for principles is the defining feature of moral courage. 

Is my love for others great enough to help me overcome my fear? Will love give me moral courage?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Looking For A Couple of Apps

With the season of graduations upon us, many are now considered smarter. So is your cell phone!

The Pew Internet and American Life Project reports over 35% of U.S. adults own a smartphone. In-Stat predicts that 65 percent of all Americans will have a smartphone and/or tablet by 2015. Do you have a smart phone?

Smart phones are amazing due in large part to apps that are available. There are several camera apps that make my point-and-shoot-camera a thing of the past. Speaking of a thing-of-the-past, I no longer need a flashlight. My smart phone takes care of this including a warning light for a car breakdown! The weather app eliminates the need for an outdoor thermometer or turning on the television for the Weather Channel. There is an incredible assortment of entertainment including games, movies and sports connections. There are productivity apps to help you organize thoughts, appointments, to-dos and reminders. Health apps help you count calories, track exercise and suggest routines. Gasbuddy tells you where the cheapest gas can be found in your area. Yelp helps makes a decision on where to eat. 

What is your favorite app?

Great apps are dynamic. They continue to get better over time with frequent updates. We should continue to get better as we grow older. I long for several incredible dynamic apps that would help with this ongoing process.

How about an app for critical thinking? I envision this app to have bright red letters on on a black screen. This app would require your smart phone to be on continuously. It would simultaneous read your mind consciously and subconsciously, monitoring your dialogue with others including what you might be viewing on any screen. Its algorithm would be built on requiring complete information. If the app did not receive comprehensive, complete thinking including pro/con, right/left, top/bottom, either/or and but/and, it would buzz and flash the smartphone owner prompting the need to ask more questions and do more research to fulfill a complete cycle of critical thinking. The app owner could not just tune into only Fox or CNN, Limbaugh or Olbermann, NY Times or Washington Post, Rove or Dean, but would be required to seek to understand different points of view. This app would also signal alarm when spoken judgment or assumption was made without getting the rest of the story.

I’d like to see a Fear app. In my thinking, fear is the opposite of love. Fear is the root of ugliness, bad behavior and scarcity mentality. Fear causes us to avoid, shutdown or raise our voice and strike out. This app would take a reading of vital signs during a conversation with others, quickly deciding if fear was coming upon the app owner. In the free version, suggestions would pop-up on the screen suggesting ways to eliminate fear and act with courage. The paid version would transmit neuro-feedback to help slow reaction and get us to think, to be more curious and perhaps become more compassionate. This app would help reduce blood pressure. The potential for this app could be life-changing.

The Un-Perfectionist app would be great for those who have hard time letting go, for those who micro-manage, for those who are obsessive compulsive, for those who over-think everything, for those who lack patience and for those who do not play well with others. Since so many of us are walking around with earbuds in our ears, I envision this app working in conjunction with those attached earbuds. The unpaid version would have a regular soft message reminding the user to “take a deep, let go...another deep breath... NOW, let go...” The paid version would be tied to one’s calendar and “to-do” list reminding the user to stop working obsessively on the current project or hovering over others and go get exercise. This app would teach you how to deal with and leverage with your limitations. It would be like playing golf. You play the ball where it lies!

What app would you like to see on your smart phone?

Monday, May 7, 2012

To the Graduating Class of 2012

Congratulations! You are about to conclude a major event in your life! That’s something to celebrate! Unfortunately, during these tough economic times we are all dealing with many tough challenges. My question, how is your gratitude and compassion?
I would like to share two stories.
Jane’s Story
It’s nearly 90 degrees on a July afternoon during rush hour. The sun is creating shimmery heat waves off the highway in the distance. Orange barrels begin to appear. Construction is up ahead. Traffic is beginning to slow to snail’s pace.
Jane is sitting in a 10-year-old Ford Taurus station wagon, nicknamed Old Blue. Old Blue has over 200,000 miles, but has no rust, uses very little oil and still gets nearly 28 mph on the highway.
A song comes on the radio. It's an old song that reminds Jane of when she and a boyfriend, Jim, were dating. They had driven over to the mountains to see the fall foliage. This song had come on the radio and they sang together as if they were a duet live on stage. They had laughed. It had been a wonderful Saturday afternoon. 
Jane glances in the rear view mirror. She sees the sail bag and rudder-tiller for the family sailboat, Time Out. They use Old Blue to pull their sailboat to the lake. They had a pleasant sail this past Sunday. There had not been much of a breeze, so they just sat in the water a lot. They had brought their picnic lunch along with them and ate it on Time Out. They had used pieces of bread from their sandwiches to feed the fish that swam near the boat. Since there wasn’t much wind, they decided to tip the sailboat over and practice getting the boat upright. It had been a great lesson in case of emergency. The water had been refreshing and the family had had fun splashing each other.
A car is entering the highway on Jane’s left. Jane stops to let the car get in front of her. Jane notices the person behind her isn’t happy with her allowing the car to cut in. The man’s arms are raised up the air as if he gives up. Jane just shrugs her shoulders.
Jane notices the bumper sticker on the BMW 535 ahead of her, “My other car is a pair of hiking boots.” Jane laughs out loud. A flock of geese fly overhead. She is reminded of her father who has died. She remembers that the habits of geese were very team oriented. They fly much further in the V formation than if they flew alone. Geese change leadership position and honk as if to give each other encouragement. This discussion about geese was the last conversation she had ever had with her father. He died of a heart attack that night. A tear rolls down her cheek. She misses her father, but smiles as she recalls memories of him.
Traffic continues to creep along. Jane sees a billboard with the message, “That ‘Love thy neighbor business’…. I meant it. GOD.” Jane recalls an incident at work where a coworker complained constantly about having to work overtime and their president who made an obscene salary. Jane just listened to her. She wanted to tell her coworker to go find another job if she didn’t like things around there. She recognized that her coworker was an excellent worker. The coworker always got her work done on time with very little error. She also knew that her coworker was going through a divorce and that her father had cancer. Jane decided she could put up with the complaints. 
The sun was now directly in her eyes as she rounded the bend in the highway. Jane suddenly realized she had her clip-on sunglasses in her sun visor. The sunglasses made the sky look even bluer. Such color was took her breath away. This would be a lovely evening to grill hamburgers and sit outside her room mate.  Traffic was beginning to break up and regain speed. Jane had realized that she had gone only 3 miles in the last 30 minutes, but she would be home within the next fifteen minutes. Life was good.  
Betty’s Story
It’s nearly 90 degrees on a July afternoon during rush hour. The sun is creating shimmery heat waves off the highway in the distance. Orange barrels begin to appear. Construction is up ahead. Traffic is beginning to slow to a snail’s pace.
Betty is sitting in her 10-year-old Ford Taurus station wagon her father had given her. Betty is embarrassed to drive this old car with over 200,000 miles. It is out of style. She complained to her friends that she needed a new car. One friend pointed out that the car was paid for and still ran well. Her father was a tightwad. She deserved better.
A song comes on the radio. It's an old song that reminds Betty of when she and an old boyfriend had gone on a date. They had slow danced to the song. She remembers her boyfriend getting aroused. They had a some pretty good times together. Unlike her current boyfriend, a tightwad, he'd taken her to all the best places. She wonders why they ever broke up. 
Betty glances in the rear view mirror. She sees the sail bag and rudder-tiller for their family sailboat, she calls “Money Pit.” It seemed like her father was always buying something for the boat. She hated to sail, but went along to keep peace. Sailing this past this Sunday had been a pain. There had not been much of a breeze, so they sat in the water a lot. They had brought their picnic lunch along with them and ate it on the boat. The sandwiches had been warm and the lettuce had wilted. Her mother jumped in the water to cool off, but she wouldn’t go in, especially after she saw blue gills swarming near the boat after they’d had thrown bread from their sandwiches overboard. Besides, the water didn’t look anything like those pictures of people swimming off sailboats in the Caribbean. 
A car is entering the highway on Betty’s left. Betty pulls up closer to the car in front of her. She wants to get home, but this car is forcing her to let them in. Betty yells an obscenity even though the woman in front of her cannot hear her.  Betty notices the person behind her isn’t happy with her allowing the car to cut in. The man’s arms are raised up the air as if he gives up. Betty yells at him that the woman forced her way in. “Dumb son of a …. Why don’t you come up here and drive for both of us?”
Betty notices the bumper sticker on the BMW 535 ahead of her, “My other car is a pair of hiking boots.” Betty smirks, and wonders, “What kind of a jerk puts that kind of bumper sticker on such a classy automobile?” Probably has pink flamingo lawn ornaments in their garden, too. Some people have no taste. 
A flock of geese fly overhead. Geese droppings fall onto her freshly washed car. Betty thinks to herself, “It's bad enough that I have to drive this old bucket of bolts and now it's stained with geese _ _ _ _.”
Traffic continues to creep along. Betty sees a billboard with the message, “That ‘Love thy neighbor business’…. I meant it. GOD.” Jane recalls an incident at work where a coworker complained constantly about having to work overtime and their president who made an obscene salary. Betty agreed. The president ought to go to the store and buy groceries. She probably didn’t have any idea what a pound of hamburger cost. She probably didn’t even know what hamburger tasted like. What a b_ _ _ _. Instead of making all that money, the president ought to hire some more people so they didn’t have to work so hard. 
The sun was now directly in Betty’s eyes as she rounded the bend in the highway. Betty cursed at the sun. That blue sky only seemed to make the sun brighter and hotter. Betty had planned to have hamburgers on the grill. She hoped her roommate would remember to get the grill going. She’d said something about eating outside. No way. Not in this heat and with the bugs and mosquitoes. Traffic was beginning to break up and regain speed. Betty had realized that she had gone only 3 miles in the last 30 minutes, but she would be home within the next fifteen minutes. Not nearly soon enough. Life sucked.
Which of these two people do you more closely resemble?
Which of these two people would you hire?
Which of these two people would you prefer to work with?
Your education has moved you into a new position of possibilities. What about your attitude? Is it ready to meet the possibilities as well? Is your attitude one of, “If only...” or is your attitude one of, “I am blessed beyond what I know!” 
Betty has a scarcity-mentality. She is a victim. From her point of view, the world owes her. 

Jane has a law-of-abundance-mentality. From her point of view, she owes the world a debt of thanks.
The world needs more Janes and fewer Bettys. How will you show up to the next part of your life?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Left Handed Loser?

My wife and I play racquetball. It’s not much of a contest if I play with my dominant, preferred right hand. So, I’ll play left handed! Then it becomes a contest! I think it strengthens our relationship. We both gain benefits of playing together including health, playfulness and balance. I don’t dominate the game. It’s a win-win for both of us.
I’ve come to realize there are several other benefits for me to playing left handed.
It gets me out of my comfort zone into my learning zone. I get a new perspective. I see the unfolding shots in new way and play differently. Natural moves I took for granted are challenging. When I make a mistake using my left hand, I tend to be more thoughtful in how I might do things differently next time. I fail forward.
By playing left handed, I have to focus and pay more attention. This keeps me in the game. I also have to be more aware of my swing as I tend to be more awkward and take wider swings. 

This style of play reminds me not to take myself so seriously. While winning maybe satisfying, learning and being in relationship has even greater satisfaction. 
Playing with my left hand reminds me that my resources are deeper and broader. Phantom rules get broken as in, “I must play with my right hand!” Or “I can’t play racquetball left handed!” Or “That’s not the right way of playing racquetball.” Or “Racquetball can only played one way.” Or "It's all about winning." It opens the door to possibility thinking including  looking at what else in my life I have a set a pattern and if I were to break it, new opportunities would emerge!
There are health benefits. I know I use more of my brain and give it more of a workout. My left arm is getting more movement thus getting stronger.
Finally, it brings balance into my life. I gets me to live into the ying and yang. It reminds me there is a time for everything and to make time to deepen relationships with others as well as myself.
What is your dominant hand, your preferred way of doing things? What would happen if you tried a new approach, see from a different perspective?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Ten Commandments of Being a Team Member

    1. Thou shall be trusted. This means:
    • You have integrity. You live with integrity. You promote integrity. 
    • You do not make promises you cannot keep. 
    • You keep confidences.
    • You choose to do the right thing over the easy thing.
    • You know what is listed on your resume is the truth and can be verified.

    2. Thou shall know thy strengths and lead accordingly. This means:
    • You also know your weaknesses and are not afraid to admit them.
    • You allow others to lead with their gifts, talents and passions.
    • You empower others.
    • You walk-your-talk and are a role model.
    • You build relationships and network.
    3. Thou shall have a personal vision and thou shall support, believe and promote the team’s vision. This means:    
    • You examine your life, because the unexamined life is not worth living! 
    • You know your core principles. You use your core principles as a foundation to discover your purpose and mission.
    • You know the team’s mission and are inspired by the team’s mission because it is in sync with your personal mission. 
    • You live your mission and the team’s mission.

    4. Thou knows thy customer is actually a guest. This means:
    • You know the guest is ANYONE who relies on your work—including team members as well as those seeking your goods and services.
    • You treat the guest the way you’d treat your mother!
    • You know the way you treat team members has tremendous impact on how you treat others who desire your goods and services.
    • You know that the guest desires to have a great experience and you can choose to give them a great experience!
    • You know that you must strive to bring your best to the team everyday.
    5. Thou shall seek to understand. This means:
    • You are curious. You ask questions, especially, “Tell me more!”
    • You listen more than you talk.
    • You suspend judgment.
    • You avoid assumptions.
    • You deal with change constructively and effectively. You understand that change is an opportunity rather than a problem.
    6. Thou encourages others. This means:
    • You get to know others on the team including how they like to receive praise, where they like to receive praise and when they like to receive praise.
    • You catch people doing the right things and acknowledge their actions.
    • You give away credit.
    • You practice compassion continuously, especially with those who have a lower title and less power than you.
    • You give people your time including your full, undivided attention and don’t one-up them when they tell their story.
    • You are more interested in others than being interesting to others.
    7. Thou shall not triangulate. This means:
    • You meet face-to-face with the person you have a problem or conflict. You do not use email to deal with emotional issues. You don’t go to another team member and spread your problem.
    • You draw upon a neutral third party who can help each side see the other’s point of view.
    • You acknowledge the fear creeping into the relationship and work to find common ground to have a conversation and avoid bad behavior.
    • You avoid being a victim. You recognize the world is not out to get you! 
    • You do not complain or whine especially when things do not go your way. This is wasted energy. You are not an ouch looking for a hurt!
    8. Thou shall not become a workaholic. This means:
    • You have a life and encourage others to have a life.
    • You inspire balance for others.
    9. Thou shall not come to work sick. This means:
    • You cannot be good for the team unless you are good for yourself.
    • You do not spread your illness to others.
    • You prevent becoming sick by sharpening your saw daily including eating well, getting exercise and getting enough sleep.

    10. Thou shall not take thyself so seriously. This means:
    • You do not let shame rule your life. You will make mistakes. It’s a part of being human.
    • You learn from mistakes and failures. They are valuable lessons.
    • You know not to take things personally. It’s not all about you!
    • You learn to laugh at yourself...out loud...loudly...often!