Monday, August 30, 2010

Want, Can, Will

Which one is it? Or is it all three?

Energy is a choice for your physiology, just like attitude is a choice for your state of mind. Put them both together and be surprised at what you get!

Looking inside yourself to find put which way you respond to most questions or concerns, which state of mind are you in?

Is it the want state of mind? The state or thoughts that say to you, it's all about me? I can do it because it will make an impact on my life, a difference to me? Want is the ability to do something, that you will feel complete or reach a success point if it is done.

Can focuses on ability. You are able to do something. It does not necessarily mean you want to (have a desire to) do it, or that you will be active in accomplishing that task, but you are able, capable.

Will really is action, a verb. Taking control and making a statement that you intend to jump into action and get to it.
In order to become a leader, an empowering and innovative leader, you need to be in all three states to get to the end result. You need the desire, the capability and the effort to turn words into action. As a leader you can see that this could be within yourself, or within your team, or any combination of the team and yourself. Smart leaders surround enslaves with people, who possess the want, can and will philosophy. That way, different levels of each state will create a whole effort that can capitalize on execution and reach higher than expected potential.

So which one is it? Want, can or will? Or is it all three? Think about this next time you tackle a project, a conflict or a task. You will see where you need to grow or change to make it all work out to the results you want.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Unclutter Your Life

Life should be easy, wing it, un-plan it.

Imagine your home or your favorite space. Is everything in its place all the time? Drawers and shelves neatly lined up? Your closet color coded or set up by e season, shoes all in a row or in boxes? Or is your space a jumbled mess of papers, sticky notes, clothes, hangers, socks, books, stuff everywhere? Do you have a favorite drawer where everything seems to land, to be sorted only when you need something (desperately) from that space?

Not easy to face up to what your space looks like is it? Now compare this to your life. Is it cluttered? Or is every minute of your day assigned and orderly. Is the clutter in your life all negative influences or experiences that need to be removed or realigned so they do not interfere with your everyday life. You can realign the clutter that exists by putting it on different shelves, in drawers or even in the garbage can -get it out of our minds completely, send it away.

Clutter. Our lives are full of it. Why do we hang on to things (or people) that clutter our lives? Clutter is the person who calls just to talk even though they know you are at work and you cannot get rid of them. Clutter is the event you have to go to because someone else committed you to it. Clutter is the stack of books and magazines in the corner that you told yourself you needed to read them but cannot find the time. Clutter is the argument that keeps coming up between you and your spouse. Clutter is the relationship you have outgrown and keep up with because it is a habit.

Wow. That is a great deal of clutter. And imagine what clutter would look like if we looked at our work life through this lens?

How do we get rid of clutter? It's a decision. Not an easy one, to determine which clutter needs to go, and perhaps, which clutter needs to be put on a shelf or in a drawer for later use.

Deciphering the clutter is a very personal task. Which clutter do you want to keep but simply move? What clutter just needs to go away? What clutter are you happy with having around you? See, life should be easy, and easy to wing it, so to speak.

Try this. Upland your life just a little. Make a list of the clutter. (you are saying un-plan but you are making me do work, well, you need to get to the 'un-plannable' state by being able to work through the clutter and sort out what is in the way, then you will be able to give yourself a fresh start and a new routine which will take 21 days to build into a habit.)
Next to each clutter point, put an A next to the clutter that needs to go away. Put a B next to the clutter that you want to keep. Put a C next to the clutter that you may simply need to reallocate.

Work the keep or B list first. Go through each one and determine if it has a positive or negative effect on your life, work, and peace of mind. If it truly is a keeper, check it off. If not, use one of the other letters, A or C, to redefine it.

Work the A list next. If it needs to go away decide what you are going to do with it. Is it a relationship that needs to end? What are the steps, though difficult, that you will take to resolve the relationship. Could it be as simple as avoiding all contact, or eliminating all contact, or having a conversation with the person stating the facts about why the relationship will be changing? Is it old clothing sitting in the closet that you think you may fit into again? Easy, send it to a clothing recycler-Goodwill, consignment or the local church. Go through each A list item and plan the steps. Then do the steps to get rid of the clutter.

Lastly, work on the C list. The clutter that needs to be reallocated. Go one by one through each item and note where you will be reallocating the items on the list. For example, if it is a daily phone call with mom that always gets into the middle of your morning, let her know what your morning schedule is and would it work to relocate the meeting time. Or, if it is an event that you have been committed to, let go of some of the responsibilities by delegating to others.

Not yet mentioned are those little items that just seem to crop up. Say NO. Be strong...unless you want to!

You will need to complete the ABC exercise with items as well as relationships and your schedule.

Your life has just become a little more unplanned, open to change. You will find yourself more relaxed, at peace and full of energy. Try it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stakes versus Steaks

Stakes or Steaks?

I planted a garden this year, for the first time.  We often have our young nieces and nephews visit and they are enthralled with the idea of a garden, dirt, growing things.  Early in the summer, I had just put wooden stakes near the tomato plants to hold them up.  One of our young visitors asked which plants were the tomato plants.  I said "the ones with the stakes."  Our visitor ran to the garden to have a look.  After a few minutes he came back to see me on the deck and said "I don't see any meat out there, which ones are the tomatoes?". His mom and I spent time with him showing him the tomatoes and also discussing words that are spelled differently and sound alike.  By the end, he was laughing at what he had said.  He could actually picture the meat.

Lesson 1:  vocabulary is important, use age-appropriate words
Lesson 2:  the young ones keep us youthful, laughing and happy
Lesson 3:  cherish every minute of life

Monday, August 9, 2010

Life Lessons from a Dental Hygenist

I don't know about you, but I have never been fond of going to the dentist.  In fact, so not-fond, that I did not go for years...until I could no longer eat on one side of my mouth because of a sensitive tooth!

I bit the bullet- so to speak - and headed to a nice, new dental office in my new hometown.  They quickly fit me in to see the dentist, who was very nice even though I was so nervous that I tears ran down my face the entire time I was there.  After he diagnosed my issue, and set me up for cleaning (uggghhhh!!!) and deep scaling (!!@#@!$), I booked another appointment for the next day.  I was pretty proud of myself.

So the next day, I headed in to meet with the dental hygenist - let's call her K.  She was the sweetest, kindest person I have ever met.  I apologized to her for my nervous state and of course the tears.  K developed a plan to complete a quarter of my mouth at a time so that I would not have to endure the pain and stress for a long period of time.  She was helpful, educational, talked me through each step and let me hold the suction tube so that I felt like I had some control over the procedure.

We got through 1/4 of my mouth after numbing and freezing...I had to book another appointment to do the next section.  The office was placing bets to see if I would actually show up to do the next section.  I did!!!  And I was not tearful this time, just nervous.  But we got through it together.  K kept up a steady stream of one-sided conversation because it is tough to answer when her hand was in my mouth.  K also made sure that if I needed freezing or a break, we would take it.

Needless to say, after 2 more visits, and the purchase of a Water-Pik, I am now in a better position both mentally and physically.  If it weren't for the kindness of K, I never would have gone back.

Life Lessons: 
  • while there are scary things to do in life, we need to do them and will be better for them
  • people come into your life to get you through things and teach you along the way
  • be grateful for kindness and pay it forward
  • there are special people in the world, sometimes you find them, sometimes they find you!

Thanks K :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Meditation of the Earth

My garden is my haven.  I did not know it when I planted a few seeds in early April just to see if I could 'grow stuff'.
And guess what?  I can!  This is a red sunflower in my garden.  It stands over 6 feet tall with 3 other off-shoot stems and will have more than 12 different flowers before the summer ends.  Amazing.  And the bees like it too!

I was completely surprised by the peace and rest I found digging in the dirt, turning the soil to prepare for planting, planning out the seed beds and wondering if any of it would grow.  I planted vegetables, sunflowers and a wildflower butterfly bed near my back fence.

Whenever I needed a break from work, or life in general, I would head out to my garden and get my hands dirty - and the peace that overcame me was amazing.  Spending time in the fresh air, sunshine...and even rain, took away the stress of the day, helped me find solutions to problems and answers to questions.

The wildflower bed was interesting.  I hoed for 2 hours to prepare the soil, then sprinkled  wildflower mix from a container into the dirt.  It poured rain for the next 6 hours so I thought for sure there would be no garden to look at from the deck.  After the rain, it became very dry and as much as I watered, the water just ran off as the dirt was rock hard.  I decided to not be so attached to this part of my gardening experiment and about 4 weeks later, flowers started to sprout.  At first, I was not sure if the greenery was all weeds, and to my surprise, the majority was not.
Just like people, when given the right conditions and a chance to grow, they will surprise you!

Now my vegetable garden was a different story.  Everything started growing like crazy!  Tomatoes in June (had to stake them twice because they are so tall), cucumbers that have at least 250 more flowers to grow, pumkins crawling up the fence and potatoes invade the space of everything around them  I am now waiting for the carrots to get ripe to pick and have just pulled the peas from the beds.
Just like people - they come into your life when you need them.  They may be 'scattered, all-over-the-place' or be straight up and independent, not tied to anything or anyone for strength, how we nurture them, care for them makes a huge difference to who they are today and will be in the future.

From the earth I have learned to tend the garden of my life.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Things You Never Know About Your Kids Until You Need To

My son was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinsons White Syndrome (WPW)3 years ago.  Have you ever heard of that?  I had not.  And luckily It was diagnosed because of another illness he had which took us to the emergency room in our home city.  After discovering this heart issue, we had appointments with a cardiologist, worked through stress tests and ECG's, but were told that the WPW seems to be inactive, though that could change as my son continued to grow and become more active.  Researched it a little on the internet, and were left feeling pretty confident that this was true.
My son is a stellar basketball player.  His dream is to play college ball in the US - to pay for school and so that he can continue a career in the sport he loves.  He plays a minimum of 3 hours a day on the court, not including work-out time with a trainer or practice time with his various teams.
In the spring of this year, while on the basketball court, he started to experience severe palpitations, some that would not stop for 3 hours. Scary!!  Especially since he was out of the country, with the team and I was back home.  We had no idea that this could start so quickly.
Smart kid - fouled out, got off the court, and settled down.  Took a while, but was fine.  He came home and we got him set up with his doctor immediately (or as quickly as that could be).  After a physical and ECG, he was told no sports until this is dealt with by a cardiologist.
Off to the websites to research what this meant, while the family doctor was booking with the cardiologist for us.  Wolff-Parkinsons White Syndrome can actully be cured.  The way to do it is to go into the heart and burn out the area that is causing the extra conduction. This is called a cardiac ablation.  This procedure is completed by a team of cardiac electrophysiologists.  Again - scary!!
After a stress test (in which my 17 year old lasted only 7 minutes) our cardiologist referred us to a specialist in WPW.  We had to wait 2 weeks for this visit and expressed our concern at the timing of the procedure.  Our specialist was kind enough to get us into the study lab as quickly as he could. In the meantime, lots of worry and wonder - someone was going to be inside my son's heart!
On our pre-op appointment, we met with a wonderful team who explained the procedure, answered all of my and my son's questions and showed us a video of how the procedure actually is executed.  We were told he could be in the study lab anywhere from 3 - 6 hours, then a minimum of 2 hours in recovery.  My son would need at least 2 - 3 days rest and then be good as new.  Imagine that?!
The day arrived (earlier this week).  My husband and I took my son to his appointment - we spoke little, each dealing with our own worries.The time came for my son to get prepped for the testing and procedure.  Off he went with a nurse - who quickly came back to get us so that we could wait with him until he went into the lab.  The comic relief my husband provided was beyond words.  We even have great pictures of my son walking himself, with his IV into the lab (which looked like a NASA setting).
Three hours and 45 minutes later, my son asked for me.  When I got to recovery, he was a little groggy but asked me if I was ok, and then told me the procedure was a success, the cardiac ablation worked!  He was so happy - we all were.  Nothing could take away the smile on his face, or the stress from my shoulders as seeing him healthy by watching the monitors on his heart looking normal.
Now it is 3 days later.  My son is rested, was out shooting baskets for the first time in 3 months (a little sore, but smiling), and we all feel like we have a fresh start on life.