Running the gauntlet

Business, Learning, Observations No Comments

These next 3-4 weeks will be pretty stressful for me. I’m in the process of having some software tested and released. Why is this stressful? It’s not complete to my satisfaction!

Here is a thought about projects. I’ve used it in the software arena, but it may be helpful to you in other areas of your life.

There are only three things you can change to get a project completed.

  1. You can change the due date and give yourself more time to reach completion (the most sane option in my opinion).
  2. You can get help!  Have people join in.  For complicated projects, there will be a ramp up cost.  Don’t forget that.
  3. You can sacrifice quality and just “deliver something.”

It has been the story of my life that I am rarely brave enough to use #1, I’ve never been wise enough to try #2 (although I’m eying that option very carefully), and I find myself time and again facing #3.

But the way I’ve handled things in the past is that I would rather just miss a deadline and not turn out anything, than the turn out something I’m not satisfied with.  This could tend toward perfectionism.  This may be why I haven’t blogged so consistently..  I want to have quality things to say.

I’m just wondering, but maybe life is better when you “just get something out there.” Let it face criticism and then hone and revise.  This would lead toward a satisfactory product instead of striving for something flawless out of the gate.

Something to consider – what do you think?  Are these the only three options for a project, or are there others?  Are you a perfectionist?  What do you think about the draft – revision cycle?  Is that how you really work?  What works for you and what are you doing currently?  Are they the same thing?

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Are you a list person?

Observations No Comments

For me, I am a list person.  And I’m not.

I like making lists.  It can actually feel the items dripping out of my brain and onto the list.  I then have space to add new things to my mental memory banks.

But there’s the problem I see in many places.  I don’t have a good name for it though.  Well, when you don’t have a good name for something you give it a little description and call it a “syndrome.”  So this is “I declared it, so it’s done” syndrome.

I sit in meetings where we discuss a course of action.  The discussion can get elevated and when we come to a decision, it feels like we really did something.  But we didn’t do anything!  We decided to do something.  That’s not the same as carrying out the decision – I have to keep reminding myself of this, because I suffer from this syndrome.

So when I make a “to do” list (or a “will do” list, or a “wish to do” list, or a “should do” list, or now a “do do” list…), I think that putting it on the list accomplishes something.  I think that is because I feel the dripping out sensation.  I think what I need to find is the feeling of accomplishment.

This leads me to a life coaching question, “What have you done well, lately?”  This could be refined to yesterday, or even so far today.  This question puts aside the nice feeling you get from “I declared it, so it’s done” syndrome, and actually asks you to dig in and recognize actual accomplishments.

Then as a follow up, you just ask clarifying questions.  “How do you plan to continue doing this?”  “What else could you do to build on this?”  “How did you feel when you recognized you achieved this accomplishment?”

This is a great self-coaching session you can have with yourself whenever you need to step it up a notch and actually accomplish what’s on your list and not just be a list maker.

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If only… …then I’d be happy.

Coaching, Disciple, Learning, Observations No Comments

I was in the first grade at Brier Crest Elementary school.  Our school had three stories and the stair wells were in the center of the building with sky lights letting the bright sunshine to diffuse down and reflect off the white tiles.  I was headed back to my class after lunch and from the top floor one of the 6th graders looked down the stairs and saw me.

“Hey kid!” he shouted, “you wanna learn something to make you real smart?”

“Sure!” I yelled.

“Pie times diameter equals circumference!  Remember that and you’ll be real smart!”

I repeated it back to myself a couple of times until I knew I wouldn’t forget it.  What a great day!  Just out of nowhere this gem of wisdom comes floating down from those great elementary school titans – the 6th graders.  I just couldn’t wait until I could achieve the 6th grade.  And with my new found key to the storehouse of knowledge I would be unstoppable!  If only I could get to the 6th grade, I’d be happy then!

Then when I got to 6th grade I learned about the Jr. high kids and how they got to go to different classes.  When I could take more of my favorite classes and have more than one teacher, then I’d be happy.

And then in Jr. High I went over to my friend Jamie’s house.  His older brothers were in high school.  They had these cool jackets with our school colors on them.  Wow, when I got to high school, I’d be happy then.

In high school I was one of the first to get my drivers’ license, due to the fact that my birthday is in the fall.  As soon as I got my license and could drive, I’d surely be happy then.

I got my car, and in a few years I was a senior in high school.  But there were so many rules.  I would really be happy when I got to college and on my own.

After college and my friends were all getting married – I’d be happy when I got married.

And after I got married everyone asked, when I’d have kids.  I’d be happy when I had a family.

Now my kids are growing up so fast, I’ll finally be happy when they are older and we can do more things as a family.  If only that would happen, then I’d be happy.

Where does this end?  I keep waiting for that day I’ll be happy!

Maybe I better stop looking for happiness then, and see about happiness now…

What about you?  Are you saying “If only… then I’d be happy?”

Happiness is a choice, not unlike contentment.  We can be happy in some pretty miserable circumstances.  I remember being very happy one summer afternoon while dancing and goofing off with friends during a terrible summer storm.  We could be grouchy that we were soaked, or we could have some fun.  We were a little too old for that, but other people were crouched in business doorways and under trees.  We were out in the streets having fun!  Same circumstances, different choices.

You have to decide what your happiness is.  You can have it today, you won’t have to wait.  You just need to decide what it is!

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Good Copy Evokes Emotion

Learning, Observations No Comments

Here is some good copy – nothing to sell, but it draws you in.  I used Mike Mindel’s flickr tricks to do this article.  The copy came in junk mail from family – (if it’s from family, can you really call it junk?).  But I pulled the images into flickr and used them for linking…  That and ScribeFire made it pretty easy to pull together.

So does this copy effect you?  For what purpose?  Does it bring with it a call to action?  To have a better day?  To forward it to all your friends and family?  What do you think?  Comment and let me know your thoughts.

Puppy Size

This is one of the neatest stories you will ever hear. You will know precisely what this little girl is talking about at the end (you’ll want to share this one with your loved ones and special friends)!

“Danielle keeps repeating it over and over again. We’ve been back to this animal shelter at least five times. It has been weeks now since we started all of this,” the mother told the volunteer.

“What is it she keeps asking for?” the volunteer asked.

“Puppy size!” replied the mother.

“Well, we have plenty of puppies, if that’s what she’s looking for.”

“I know…we have seen most of them,” the mom said in frustration…

Just then Danielle came walking in to the office

“Well, did you find one?” asked her mom. “No, not this time,”
Danielle said with sadness in her voice. “Can we come back on the
weekend?”

The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and laughed

“You never know when we will get more dogs. Unfortunately, there’s
always a supply,” the volunteer said.

Danielle took her mother by the hand and headed to the door. “Don’t
worry, I’ll find one this weekend,” she said.

Over the next few days both mom and dad had long conversations with her.

They both felt she was being too particular. “It’s this weekend or
we’re not looking any more,” Dad finally said in frustration.

“We don’t want to hear anything more about puppy size either,” Mom added.

Sure enough, they were the first ones in the shelter on Saturday
morning. By now Danielle knew her way around, so she ran right for the
section that housed the smaller dogs.

Tired of the routine, mom sat in the small waiting room at the end of
the first row of cages. There was an observation window so you could
see the animals during times when visitors weren’t permitted.

Danielle walked slowly from cage to cage, kneeling periodically to
take a closer look.  One by one the dogs were brought out and she held
each one.

One by one she said, “Sorry, you’re not the one.”

It was the last cage on this last day in search of the perfect pup.

The volunteer opened the cage door and the child carefully picked up
the dog and held it closely. This time she took a little longer.

“Mom, that’s it! I found the right puppy! He’s the one! I know it!”
she screamed with joy. “It’s the puppy size!”

“But it’s the same size as all the other puppies you held over the
last few weeks,” Mom said.

“No, not size… the sighs. When I held him in my arms, he sighed,” she
said. “Don’t you remember?

When I asked you one day what love is, you told me love depends on the
sighs of your heart. The more you love, the bigger the sigh!”

The two women looked at each other for a moment. Mom didn’t know
whether to laugh or cry. As she stooped down to hug the child, she did
a little of both.

“Mom, every time you hold me, I sigh. When you and Daddy come home
from work and hug each other, you both sigh. I knew I would find the
right puppy if it sighed when I held it in my arms,” she said.

Then holding the puppy up close to her face she said, “Mom, he loves
me. I heard the sighs of his heart!”

Close your eyes for a moment and think about the love that makes you
sigh. I not only find it in the arms of my loved ones, but in the
caress of a sunset, the kiss of the moonlight and the gentle brush of
cool air on a hot day.

They are the sighs of God.  Take the time to stop and listen; you will
be surprised at what you hear. “Life is not measured by the breaths we
take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

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The Power in a Book

Coaching, Disciple, Learning, Observations No Comments

I am convinced that books are the key to success. They have no power in themselves. Even the great holy books from antiquity are merely ink and paper of some sort. Their power lies in the fact that books are vessels. Vessels of knowledge. Through books we can talk with predecessors long after they’re gone. We can interact and learn from those who would be far too busy to take the time to teach us these same lessons.

I have developed a love of learning through the medium of books, and I would like to find a way to share that with anyone who is following my blog. I’m going to read through and comment on a book, and I’d invite you to participate by reading along and adding comments as we go.  By sharing our ideas that we receive from reading books, we can get more from it than simply reading and reflecting alone.

Stay tuned and I’ll let everyone know which book we’ll start with and how you can best follow along.

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An Inaugural Address

Learning, Observations 1 Comment

Everything that does start has to start some time. And so this is the beginning of a journey. It is my intention that if you come along with me, you’ll learn, grow, and change. It may be together with me, or it may be in opposition to me – but that you aren’t the same for having spent time here with me, that’s my goal.

So let’s see what happens!

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