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September, 22 2005

The Snowball Effect

What to do when everything seems to be going wrong?!?! Oy! That's what's been happening around the Cole/Bailey/Diamond household lately. I live with my daughter and granddaughter and we have been having a time. Without boring you with all of the details, I will say that we have had computer problems, car problems, health issues and some personal decisions to make and it hasn't been fun. Just when you think you can't take any more, something else stupid or irritating or troubling happens to prove that you can -- you will -- you must. I wish that I had words of wisdom here -- remember I'm in the middle of all this drama so I'm not seeing so clearly myself. But this is what I know for sure: focussing on the unpleasant developments is definitely not a solution; Relating the horror stories to friends and family -- NOT a good idea; and trying to figure it all out, forget about that, too. A very wise man once told me that trying to figure out a solution to a problem with your brain is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. (Isn't that a really good metaphor?) Yet that's what we do, we inflame so many situations. Making every effort to stay calm is really important. Keeping a really good sense of humor is essential. Having confidence that all the "garbage" is going to pass as quickly as it has come -- well, I'm not there yet but that's what needs to happen too. Think of a way to have some fun -- It may be a little thing -- it really works. Do something different -- interrupt a pattern -- or move or walk or exercise. No one of us is chosen to have a bad time. It's just that we get caught in a downward spiral and keep attracting irritating things into our lives. Well, for me, I have sat at the computer long enough for today so I'm going to go out and do something very different. My mood is a bit more optimistic and I can't wait to report when the good times roll! Have a great day.

September, 14 2005

Oh, The Mistakes I've Made

I have recently read over the last few submissions that I have made to this site and they are replete with punctuation, grammatical or typograpical errors. I think I now know how to correct errors after I have posted a message...(I hope I have this down!) but I wanted everyone to know how much it bothers me and how unacceptable I think it is to produce something (anything) below a certain standard. I think that we have an obligation to give our very best at all times. To me, that means that my work is well written and well presented. Did I make the mistakes on purpose? Of course not! But something has held me back from going the distance to make it better. I'm actually a little surprised at myself. I'm not usually lazy, but how else can I explain my reluctance to make the blurbs right? Each of us has areas where we settle for less from ourselves because of any number of reasons. It's good to see those when they happen so that we can be more vigilant in the future. I'm not beating myself up about the mistakes so much as my complacency with letting them stay there. I have brought a problem to my awareness AND I want very much to change this example of unsatisfactory behavior. I want to learn and grow and do excellent work. I don't expect to be perfect but I sure hope to be better tomorrow than I am today. That's the very least that I can give to my clients, my family and my friends.

September, 06 2005

Just do it!

I, like so many of the watchers of the hurricane tragedy, have questions about the government's responsiveness, communications, and general competence after the hurricanes. But I want to put a new slant on this. Away from the current events, I worry about the inability of so many of us to get going and make something happen. I have heard a lot of talk from federal officials, and I suspect that many people in the involved state and federal agencies were extremely busy while not much was happening on site. I have observed a lack of getting things done in many situations while it appears that folks are doing some thing -- it's just not the effective thing. I can't ascribe reasons to more talk than action but I think the discussion of effective action is useful In the past week, we have seen individual acts of accomplishment that I so greatly admire that we should note them and use them as models in our lives. I cannot tell you how much I admire the folks who said -- I'm going to just do it. And do it they did in spades. The man in San Diego, who rented a plane and filled it will food, water, and clothing from Costco, and then flew into Louisiana leaving his supplies and taking hundreds out to be relocated with families in his community. The fishermen, who took their boats to streets of New Orleans and made hundreds of rescues. The private helicopter pilot, who flew over the scenes and made his shots available to the networks so the world could see what was happening. And the businesses like Waffle House, Wal Mart, and others, who have already put pay checks in the evacuees' hands, or provided food, or moved their organizations -- large as they are -- to address immediate problems. I fear that too many of us -- government officials too numerous to count included -- talk a good game but don't ... "Just do it!" I'm reminded of Tom Peter's instructions: "Ready, Fire, Aim." Recent examples of "aiming" may have cost people their lives at worst and made intolerable suffering last longer. We may not always need to get it right the first time, but we need to get it going. And "worry" about getting it right or analyzing too much or seeking one more opinion can be very harmful. The folks who showed up to do good in New Orleans asked themselves only one question: "What can I do right now?" And many will probably not remembering even having that thought cross their minds. They swung into action. We all need to just DO IT more. Guided by our hearts, things may not always look neat, tidy, and pretty that way, but the end result will be so worth it. I so applaud those who acted immediately and made such a difference. Your work was invaluable and your inspiration will be equally long lived.

August, 23 2005

Listening Is A Gift

As a coach and consultant as well as mother/grandmother, I know both personally and professionally how important listening is. Listening is an activity -- it's following both the words and the music that you are hearing. Yes, that's right...People, even when they are talking, are using words as substitutes for more complex thoughts, feelings and emotions -- that's the music. It means being open and alert to the explanation of the most personal or deepest situation/challenge/event. Lately, I have been on the other end of the listening chain. I have had a couple of health issues so I have had to explain to doctors and health professionals what has happened and what is going on with my body. I will take responsibility for the fact that I may not have portrayed the situation efficiently. but few of these professionals seemed very interested in what I had to say. One doctor told me that the response that I was having to a certain medication was impossible. What was I to think? I felt even sicker after the discussion since I was worried about the problem and insecure about what I was experiencing. Listening can be a gift. When someone validates (even if they may not agree) what you say, you automatically feel better. When someone hears behind your words and checks that out with you, it provides you with greater clarity, and when when you enter into a talker/listener agreement, you couldn't feel closer. Right and wrong and other judgements are left behind in true listening. The listener is doing all the he/she can to retrieve the essence, facts, and substance of the talker. The listener can then clarify if need be. It's not about control -- it's about determining what is going on without trying to fix it. We tend to listen on our way to something else. I submit that listening is an important element unto itself and just by listening, the talker may have insights and revelations that begin a "changing" process. Practice listening -- it's a gift that you will give yourself as well as others.

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