Identifying and Thanking Our Collaborators

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I was laughing at my own jokes recently, I realized that my ability to write sick quips and funny dialog had come from my family; not always in the best of circumstances, my mother, sisters, and brothers contributed to my proclivity for absurdity (along with a steady diet of Mad Magazine).

Each of us owe much to people who have helped us identify our gifts…however painful the process. Along with using our unique gifts, showing them appreciation is the right thing to do.

Today, I write in memory of my mother’s whacky life, my sister, Angela, the master jokester, and for my brother, Ronnie, who bought me my first MAD Magazine.

It’s too late to thank them any other way.

(originally posted 2012)

Not As I Do

While working as a middle manager I was very irritated with my boss for not giving me the recognition I deserved until…in an awkward transaction, I realized my employees were irritated with me for the very same reason.

Since then, I have noticed how easy it is for me to totally blast away at someone else’s cluelessness while completely missing my own.

The following routine helps me be less of a nincompoop:

  1. Before I open my mouth with a swift condemnation for someone else, I ask myself (with the excruciating humility it takes to be completely honest), “Have I ever done anything similar?”
  2. If the answer is “Yes.” or, “I don’t know,” I postpone judgement. In most cases, my memory will pull up something embarrassing within a few hours. Then, I decide to show mercy to the offender (as I hope others will show mercy to me) before I move ahead.
  3. If the answer is no. I thank God that I dodged that bullet, ask myself if I can address the issue proactively, and then, show mercy to the offender. (I never know when I’ll need some mercy in the future.)

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When It Is Good to Lower My Standards

It is not always a bad thing to lower my standards. It is a good thing to do when…

  • I have been too critical of myself (as I have aged, I’ve noticed that my appearance standards {ahem, obsessions} have not contributed to mental health)
  • I am too critical of others (my standards do the most harm when used to facilitate a feeling of superiority)
  • my standards were unreasonable (perfectionism) or alienated the people around me (self-righteous)
  • I based my self-worth on my standards (lack of awareness of how ridiculously messed up I am)
  • I bragged about or felt compelled to talk too much about my standards (insecure)

Or, prepare for the institution.

Yes or Know

“The only ‘no’ in my vocabulary begins with k.” My friend, Joann, got this response when she asked for help. I loved it! The person she asked for help, went on to say, “Just let me know what you need.” 

Great philosophy…

Okay, well, I admit it is not a good philosophy for those of us who have a problem setting boundaries, or for those of us who hang out with sociopaths, or, for those of us who are already in trouble with authorities for saying yes too much, but for those of us who tend to say “no” too quickly, or need to learn generosity, what a concept!

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Image result for say yes quotes

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Anatomical Decision Making. Head North!

This was a good “Two-Minute Tune-Up” for me today. I hope it is entertaining and practical for you too.

Leadership Strikes

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In my personal and professional life, I have observed a pattern with regard to how decisions are made…anatomically.

Starting with the Southern part of our body and heading North…

  • Especially in the heat of the moment, the knee jerk reactionis very common. This technique employs minimal insight and information when responding to a given situation.
  • From there, we may opt to the more sophisticated seat of the pantsapproach, where we use our limited personal experience and judgment to come to a conclusion without considering procedures, planning, or other available technology or input.
  • Then, we may advance North to “gut feeling.” At this stage, we utilize intuition, both our own and that of others, coupled with additional data in order to come to a conclusion on how we believe things will turn out.
  • Improving upon this practice, we might continue upward to “listen to our heart,” wherein we now allow our deepest emotional inclinations to have a stake…

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Overreacting or Too Sensitive?

I am just now beginning to see myself through the eyes of those close to me; just now beginning to see how I…

  • overreact to certain circumstances
  • bristle up unnecessarily with anger
  • get my feelings hurt by taking comments too personally

I didn’t know I was overreacting or being too sensitive and argued with anyone who attempted to convince me. But, by recently becoming more aware of, and more healthily detached from, my (mostly useless) self-preservation tactics, my assessment has changed.

I sure could have saved myself a lot of trouble.

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My favorite over-reaction video of all time is a mom getting ready for company. For a good laugh…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSN5pSqcxEo

Do the Math

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This minion’s opinion of taking advice from people was mine for many years. I thought they were wrong, I was right, and I was frickin’ proud of my who-asked-you attitude.

Yet, stubbornness came with a price-tag. Not that I believe I should have listened to everyone. Some of the time I was darn right to be stubborn! (Let’s see, what is that percentage? If I take the number of times other people were right and divide it by the number of times I was right…well…okay…whatever…)

Anyway, for a sanity check, now I consider other stubborn people I know, and how much better their lives could be if they were only willing to see themselves from an outside perspective. That calculation gives me incentive to listen up.

When Humility Is the Only Sane Option

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Harsh but sometimes we ask for it. We screw up. We miss all the cues. We listen to the wrong people. We act selfishly. We throw caution and our future to the wind. We indulge. We go against reason.

On those occasions, we do ourselves a big favor by owning it sans excuses.

Minions, Opinions, and Illusions

Some of the biggest falls I have taken in my life have been associated with ignoring the following important facts:

  • What I think people think about me and what people actually think about me are generally two different things.
  • What people say to me is not usually what people say about me (especially when I am their boss, family member, or competitor).
  • Who I think really agrees with me and who really agrees with me are far from the same.

To avoid a rude slap in the face from reality, I must…

  • find my security from within vs. from without
  • remember that we humans, in order to avoid conflict, often say and do what is expedient vs. what is completely honest
  • work daily on an inner life (based on awareness vs. illusion)
  • solicit, accept, and reward honest feedback from peers, employees, and family

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Kingdom of Speech

Tom Wolfe’s new book, The Kingdom of Speech, is so intriguing and entertaining that I missed a dozen turns while listening to the audio in my car. Never would I have imagined being so captivated by the history of scientific research on the subject of speech acquisition! Yet, wow, what a journey Wolfe took me on, dicing up historical legends and institutions, serving them up with scathing humor, and alerting me to the marvel of speech and mankind’s embarrassing inability to define it.

Again, I am moved by what I don’t know…and haven’t even thought about knowing. I hope it will remind me today to be more…

  • humble when I am tempted to think I am hot stuff
  • aggressive in using my free time to learn (instead of veg)
  • respectful of all fields of knowledge and their impact upon us all

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