The Blog

What pays off?
September 11, 2018

You have at least another hour of work you’d like to finish, but you’re honest about your limits. So you go to bed when you know you should. You wake up rested. Your energy stays high all day, you accomplish so much more than if you’d been dragging, and you’re more fun to be around.

There’s something that bothers you about a colleague and you hesitate to address it. You do it anyway, because you know if you don’t it’ll get worse. Then it’ll get worse again, because the person will wonder why you waited so long to bring it up. If there’s anything more embarrassing than walking around with spinach in your teeth, after all, it’s thinking no one cared enough about you to point that out.

You feel vaguely guilty about taking the lunch hour you’ve been allotted and using it to go on a hard run, with time to shower before you get back to your desk. But in that time you solved not one but three work problems that were giving you fits. What were you feeling guilty about again?

Your energy’s the most precious resource you have. Take good care of yourself, attend to the difficult conversations, and watch it soar.

What helps?
September 10, 2018

When Katie was little we never tried to talk her out of being sad. We never told her not to cry. Well, Darrell did once! He came around quickly, though.

When you suggest people “calm down” or “smile” or “buck up” they have a new problem. They were sad, and now they’re ashamed.

Sometimes the only way to feel better is to let yourself feel even worse. Practice on yourself. You’ll see how effective it is.

Be religious about it with your children. They’ll learn to trust themselves.

Afford the person you’re married to that courtesy. Collectively we’d save -- what? -- a million billion dollars (or so!) in therapy.

SwitzerlandEver heard of Debbie Millman? She’s a big deal in the design world. She occupies more than her fair share of my brain space because she once made this suggestion: “Imagine immensities.”

Every time I think of it I can almost feel my lungs filling up with air. Good air. Colorado mountain air. Something relaxes inside. I give myself permission to keep dreaming.

Then I get back to work -- refreshed from a reminder there’s so much joy left to seize.

How do people see you?
September 6, 2018

I’m walking toward the checkouts at Target, thinking of how I want to move through the world. With grace. As someone with a lot to offer. Because that’s where it starts, right? With intention.

A few seconds later -- no kidding, seconds -- a Target gal approached me. “You have such an elegant, classy way about you,” she said! I smiled big, leaned in a little closer to her, and admitted I hadn’t exactly dressed up. “But it’s the way you carry yourself,” she countered.

I told her I’d just reminded myself to stand up straighter and would probably always remember this exchange, the timing was that eerie.

A few months later I pulled the same gal aside to tell her I still think about it every time I walk in the store and at least a couple of other times during the week: “Am I carrying myself in a way that Target gal would notice?”

You can change your life with a single intention. You can change someone else’s life with a passing comment. Makes it a little easier to get up in the morning, doesn’t it?

Have you heard the suggestion to replay your favorite fifteen minutes of the day before you fall asleep? I’ve been doing that for a long time. It’s a sweet way to drift off.

Oh, sure. You could use that time to beat yourself up for what you didn’t finish. You could worry about the next day and the day after that. You could mourn the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

You’ll probably be dragging tomorrow, though. The fret train is hardly an expressway to sleep, let alone sweet dreams.

I’ll stick to my routine, thank you very much. It’s a great way to thank the heavens for the privilege of being here at all.

The fewer buttons you need to push first thing in the morning, the more likely you’ll ease into the day with…ease.

That’s one reason I set the clock on the microwave for how long I wanted my coffee -- back when I was drinking coffee -- to heat. The mug was inside, ready to go, and all I had to do was press “start.”

The downside? Darrell couldn’t tell what time it was when he got up in the middle of the night.

Which was also the upside. Right?

What’s going to happen when you know what time it is? You’ll start doing the math. “Okay. Four o’clock. Three more hours until the alarm goes off. Better get right back to sleep. Go!”

I’m awake now.

Almost any sleep expert will tell you it’s better not to know the time. Sweet dreams.

parking lotIf I was hiring people I think I’d find out when they planned to get groceries. Then I’d sit in the parking lot and watch what they did with their cart when they finished unloading.

Do they walk it over to a corral? Or do they leave it next to other carts in a different part of the lot, nowhere near a corral? How difficult do they make it for the store employee charged with wrangling those carts?

The other day someone chose to leave a cart in the middle of the driving lane. What else would you need to know about that person?

You might think nobody’s watching, or nobody cares. Have you not seen the news? Someone’s always watching. Good behavior is its own reward, of course. But these days it can also keep you out of serious, permanent trouble.

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photo courtesy of Katie Anderson

When Katie was a baby I took her with me on morning rounds to gather the news. I was a reporter for a radio station in town, and Darrell -- who was working from home -- appreciated the time to focus.

Nobody seemed to have a problem with the arrangement, not that I’d asked. The gals at the police department, the sheriff’s office, and the court administrator’s office acted like I made their day, every day, by sharing Kate with them. They happily doted on her while I looked at the reports.

One day I heard the reporter from the other radio station was not happy about this. It struck me as exactly none of his business, but I took a poll just in case. I asked everyone I worked with if she minded that Katie was with me.

“The only thing we’d mind,” every single person said, “is if you showed up without her.”

There’s more than one way to do life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Particularly the people who aren’t pulling for you. You won’t keep them happy no matter what.