Friday Fun

Just because it's Friday and it's July....

There seems to be stress and anxiety everywhere these days.  From national news events to personal strife, people all over the damn place seem to be, well anxious.

Enough.  Enough noise from the outside world and the world outside.  Enough noise from within yourself (you know, those voices that talk to you and rip you a new one daily telling you that need to improve everything about yourself?)

Just for today: ENOUGH.

It's Friday.  It's July.  Don't take yourself too seriously today.  Relax.  HAVE FUN.  Laugh.

Here, I'll help you get started. 

You're welcome.


Like a Stubborn Toddler Who Always Asks "Why?"

During undergraduate school I was kicked out of a class. Like, for the remainder of the semester.  The prof said that I asked too many questions and she felt that I challenged her too much.  I did and I did.  Full disclosure: I was also cocky and obnoxious.  Karma came a-knockin’ when I became an adjunct professor and “that” student sat right in front and challenged me every week.  But I digress…

Of course college is not the only time I’ve been told that I “ask too many questions”.  I believe it makes me a curious world-seeker, while others uh, not-so-much. And while I can still be obnoxious, I have come to understand the true reason behind my incessant question-asking. 

Lately I have been participating in career coaching (you know, ‘cuz I’m so curious about the world, life-long learning and all that crap).  Two ideas have come together to give me a serendipitously ah-ha moment.  BOTH coaches encourage participants to ask a question (YAY!).  The questions are very simple: Who? And Why? The mother ship has called me home.  Bazinga

Emily Bennington, career coach guru and who I want to be when I grow up (I think we’re the same age), invites us to ask who we want to be rather than what we want to be. (and who cannot be “president”; the achievement is the result).  This has been profoundly simple to me.  Diving in and asking myself questions is, well, difficult.  Self-examination is difficult for a lot of people but oh-so-worth the results. 

Simon Sinek asks a different question but it’s in the same ball park. Simon encourages companies to ask themselves why they do what they do.  This is radically different thinking for most businesses. Usually businesses ask what, then how, THEN why.  By asking why first and what last we begin to understand that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. (and why cannot be “to make a profit”; profits are a result).  Consumers of Apple products understand this explicitly.

So this is where my obnoxious question-asking is finally a useable, purposeful skill.  Turn inward to ask the questions who (do you want to be?) and why (you do what you do).  By developing the answers you will change the way you see yourself and your clients will fully understand your value….and theirs.  


Resolve To…

Usually I love New Year’s Eve.  The atmosphere is electric and everyone is wound up and looking good.  But this year was different.  This year I didn't want to be around any assholes, so I stayed home.  It was the right decision.  I’m sure I’ll re-join the nonsense again for NYE 2013.  But that is 363 days from now, so let’s focus on the present. 

Resolutions are full of ways to improve, to fix something that we deem flawed within ourselves.  And if we fix these terrible parts of our character or behavior or process we will somehow magically be, well…happier.  And we use the end of our calendar as a marker for when we should start improving.  It’s logical and we all do it because the first day of a new year is a great place to start anew.  I find it hilariously ironic that we start each New Year by taking the day off of work and lying around hung over. 

But I digress…

For resolutions to work, we should take a different approach to them.  Stop looking within yourself and start looking without.  By focusing on how you help others rather than focusing on “fixing” yourself, you become focused on what value you bring to the world.  My resolution this year is to (get fit, increase income, stop bad habits) answer the question “how am I serving others?” Inspired by a Blog post by Emily Bennington, I resolve to spend the year trying to figure out what value I add to other people’s lives that they can’t get somewhere else.  This list of people includes my boss, the clients our organization serves, friends, family, and the community.  It seems like a big list, but really I am in contact with this group daily.  So, might as well serve them all better. 

The first step is to revisit the opening of the post. I should probably stop calling people assholes.  I should also probably use nicer language.  I will not, however, be less sarcastic. 

We can serve others and discover our value while at the same time not taking life too seriously.  (It’s ok if this post made you chuckle but also inspired you.) I suppose that is my other resolution – to take my life less seriously.  The year 2012 was steeped in heavy, serious challenges and obstacles and they were all focused selfishly on me.  All of the decisions I made (most of them dreadfully bad) were all about me and zero of the decisions I made improved the lives of others.   In fact, I hurt several people.  By asking -“How am I serving others?” -  I am creating a paradigm shift in my entire thought process and approach to life.  I employ you to do the same. 

So, welcome 2013! How can I serve you today?