Saturday, October 15, 2005

Were You Listening?

What was the last thing someone told you that you were contributing to a situation? Were you listening? Really listening? What did you hear?

There is Never a Bad Time for Good News

Friday I received some significant bad news. In this middle of it I got a wonderful voice mail from a young woman college student who I have become close to. Lindsey had called to share the great news that she had been selected as one of 50, out of about 475 applicants, to be inducted into an honor society that recognizes both your academics and student leadership. Even though I was going between two phones dealing with doctors, hospitals etc, I was elated.

I spoke to her a little later and by that time she had found out what was happening in my life. I went to ecstatically congratulate her and she immediately apologized for calling me with the good news. I told her there was never a bad time for good news.

I realize people will disagree. What if you are having a bad day/week/year and someone keeps telling you everything that is going right with them? It is kind of like that joke about the proverbial Christmas letters where they tell you how their child made the top sports team, National Honor Society and filed for a patent for a product. In the meantime they have traveled around the world, celebrated 30 years of wedded get the picture. There you are reading the letter after getting laid off from your job, wondering how you are going to meet the bills and keep your kids out of jail without tying them to a chair (which would put you in jail!).

But there is a difference in genuinely sharing good news versus delivering it in a pretentious, patronizing, malicious manner. Even for those we love (maybe especially for them) we need to make sure there are no underlying reasons we are doing it. Do we really want them to share in our joy? Or are we trying to make a point?

A couple of years ago I realized that hearing other people’s good news could really get me through some tough times. I had to back burner my business, which was really taking off in a new direction, as I tended to some major family issues. This was tough, but I did what I felt I needed to do. I belong to a Mastermind group made up of 9 women entrepreneurs. At the time my business was sitting on my desk collecting dust, some of their careers began to reach stratospheric heights. One of my darkest weeks I got bombarded by their good news. I remember saying to a few people that if it wasn’t for watching their good fortune I would have nothing to celebrate. Someone asked me if I was jealous…and I realized no. Their success was giving me the hope and reminder that my time would come too.

There is no bad time to share good news, if you do it for the right reasons.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rainy Days and Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays....

Today is at least our sixth consecutive day of rain. I have long known that rainy,overcast days tend to suck a lot of life out of me. A sure sign is getting out of bed. Normally I am a "zero to 60" in a matter of few minutes..yes, I am one of those dreaded morning people!

So this morning I am dragging myself out, and before I know it a few hours have passed and I cannot point to one productive thing I have done either professionally or personally. I haven't even looked at my "to do" list and really am not sure if I care if I do. This is definitely not the way to start the day. (And you thought "Motivators" never needed motivating..)

Now here is the difference between what I used to do versus what I do now. At one point I would have done some combination of the following: general procrastination, beat myself up for not doing what I should be doing, for not accomplishing anything, or the right things. This of course did nothing to lift my spirits, get anything done and left me feeling even worse.

Instead what I did was accept this was not going to be the most energizing, productive day of my life. Considering I am someone who used to complain that I didn't get enough done on the few "sick days" I took from work..when I was really sick--- this is a tough step to take. Fortunately somewhere along the way I have decided to deal with the obvious reality . Denial wasn't working so I figured I better pick another option!

Immediately that took presssure off of me. Then I took out my "to do" list. I determined what literally had to be done today. There was really only three things. I marked those and then determined what else needed to be done that I felt I could realistically do. In the end I ran four errands, made about 6 phone calls, and tended to one detail about a meeting. Not exactly an award winning performance.

But....I did get something done, I stopped walking in circles, I feel better in general and am not beating myself up.

You know what? It turned out to be a pretty good day. Now I will go and make sure the sump pump is still running and I don't have a flooded basement!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Can You Celebrate Fixing a Filler Valve?

I am convinced we don't celebrate enough. Every day something happens that makes our day, but we think it is too "stupid' or "silly" to share with anyone. The trick is to find people who will "get it".

My friend Laura, recently single, emailed us the other day with an "Announcement".
She said "I just changed the filler valve in my toilet tank."

First of all it was cool she felt she could share it with us and we would "get it". Did we celebrate for her? Yes! Were we impressed? Yes! Did most of us even know there was a filler valve in a toilet? No!

Which made it all the more impressive.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Good Today Is Better Than Great Tomorrow

Having been raised in a family inundated with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), perfection has been drilled into my head. This at times has frequently held me back from doing things since I only wanted to do them once...perfectly. Because of it things have frequently never gotten done...or have been done too late. For an entrepreneur this is an especially bad thing. This past January I took a workshop on creativity and product innovation that changed my mind, and more importantly my actions.

Any time when you are in a situation where you need to move ahead, is the need for perfection holding you back? Have too many choices and can't figure out which one would be the perfect one? Do you wake up one day and suddenly not have the opportunity because you waited too long? Someone else got promoted, made the sale, asked the person out --all because you were waiting for the perfect situation? The reality is that there is no perfect time. Seizing the chance today and being good, far exceeds preparing to be perfect tomorrow and missing the opportunity.

And so today I take my chance on my first blog posting---good today (and actually starting it) , is better than preparing to be perfect for tomorrow.