Archive for October, 2009

The No Impact Man

Have you heard of this book? This blog? This guy?  Well, now you have!  Check it out.

The book was a great read but more than that, I really appreciated Colin’s honesty about this project.  It definitely makes you look within and see how you are living your own life.  I was impressed in so many ways and shocked too.  I dog-eared a ton of pages and it had a profound impact on me.  I hope you will read the book or check out the blog. Or even go see the documentary from their yearlong journey.

His wife and child also participated and to read his wife’s perspective on this via a column in Business Week (reposted on his blog) was also brutally honest about her life and the changes this yearlong experiment had on her as well.

I am sure some of you wonder about my latest movies and books. Between Food Inc., Better Off, and now The No Impact Man, you would consider me a very organic, vegetarian, of the earth kind of person. Well, I am trying to be. I don’t often eat meat and never cook it.  I do wish to be more reliant on farmers markets and other similar farm options year over year.  I think it takes each of us to make adjustments and just keep making them.

October 25, 2009 at 7:01 pm 2 comments

“Out”ing of another kind

I was passively listening to Good Morning America last week while I was getting ready for work and heard Glenn Close talk about her sister’s mental illness. The interviewer, I have no idea who it was, asked Glenn how she felt about being “outed” for her sister’s mental illness.  Are you kidding me? This is a horrible way to perpetuate the idea that having a mental illness of any kind is something to be ashamed of, hidden, and never discussed.  Tom Cruise started this firestorm when he attacked Matt Lauer about postpartum depression indicating it as a non-entity (many new moms loudly disagreed and thank you for doing so). And now we have someone on Good Morning America indicating its shameful to share if you have depression, anxiety, or anything similar and if you do, you shouldn’t have.

Why all the labels and their negative connotations? I have talked about labeling before, though more from a personality assessment perspective, but this really bothers me.  Why is it bad that someone has anxiety or depression?  There are many types of depression (and anxiety too) by the way but most think of clinical depression. That is one, but there is also situational depression.  When I think about situational depression, I think about the book Eat, Pray, Love. The main character ends up going on a yearlong adventure to escape, cleanse, and become whole again after a particularly ugly divorce.  This is not a bad thing. Something and someone she believed in died, in a sense, and she is sad and mourning that loss.

I have had my own bouts with depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive behavior. I am not, nor will I ever be, ashamed or embarrassed that I have been through these states and sought help from them.  In fact the times when I felt shy about it when I have shared this and gotten the pity look, like I was now irrevocably broken.  I was not as open to getting the helps I needed. But as you get older, you want resolutions, you want help, you want answers.  I was insightful enough about myself to realize things weren’t working quite like I wanted and even sometimes even saw what I was doing that I wished I was not. But I could never quite make the changes needed or make them stick for longer than a second or two.  I needed help to change my mindset and my behaviors and I thank the wonderful people who have helped me on my journey back to me. I have often shared how seeking help gave me the ability to take what I knew about myself and dig deeper within to move forward.  And this from someone who rarely asks for help!!

Don’t always listen to those in the media or “out there” in the world. Sometimes, they aren’t right. Sometimes they are. You have a right to make up your own mind to agree or disagree.  Alcoholism, cancer, anorexia, mental illness, and more. None need be a dirty word.

October 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

To Kindle or Not to Kindle – Follow-up

I first became aware of Amazon’s Kindle in April of 2008. I explored it and thought it was interesting.  I considered it but thought it was too early to make a buy and held off. I reconsidered again in March of 2009 (both times blogging about it).  I went back and forth based on feedback from those that did have it and even looked at some of the upcoming purchases I wanted to make to see if it was offered on the Kindle. I again held off.

Well, Amazon has had a few new iterations since then and the price has come down considerably. I have looked up numerous books I would like to read, old and new. There are classics that are free to download – how cool – and many books on my wish list now on Kindle.  Despite already making plans to mark my 40th in a very unique and substantial way, I decided to purchase this as a combo birthday present (another one!) and Christmas gift.

Do you have one? Are you happy with your purchase?  Mine is charging as we speak. I have downloaded a number of literature classics I haven’t read in a long time as well as one on the bestseller list.  I noticed that some of my textbooks could also be downloaded at a ridiculous savings over the hardback.  What a way to spend a snowy afternoon in Omaha!

October 10, 2009 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

The enormity of your job

Do you ever think about the impact you have in your organization? Usually you hear about employee’s not feeling appreciated or valued by their boss or their organization as a whole.  But on the other hand, do you take the time to reflect on the impact you have on others?

Lately, I have been thinking about this a lot. The enormity of my job has really got me thinking lately.  I have thought of this in my beginning days as a business coach but ultimately, I came to realize I was the catalyst and the answers or resolutions came from the person and not from me. I still feel responsible but don’t feel the weight on my shoulders quite as much as I used to.

However, as a professor, I think about this more and more. I have been developing a degree program and recently, classes started.  With 34 students, I feel a great responsibility to each of them to ensure they are learning, applying principles, and gaining the tools needed to be even more successive after the program ends. It’s an incredible pressure that I have on myself and feel the enormity of my impact to the students as an instructor. But also, in the near future, with the adjunct instructors that will also begin teaching in the program.

However, I am not unique just because I am an instructor.  Many persons in the workplace manage others and the impact of their management skills, coaching ability and feedback on their staff are just as important and just as impactful as anything I do. As a manager, do you feel the enormity of your job and how you impact each person on your team?

October 6, 2009 at 8:33 am Leave a comment

Customer Service Week

It’s Customer Service Week.  Have you thanked your customer’s yet?  They could be internal, external, near or far.  We all have customers.  Let them know that you appreciate them. Because deep down, don’t we all want to feel appreciated and valued?

October 5, 2009 at 8:33 am 1 comment

Where’s the trust?

I asked the Twitterverse a question earlier last week. My tweet was simply: “People make mistakes. Is there a limit to what you will forgive?”  I received some interesting direct messages from people.  I am sure you think murder, adultery, lying, stealing and such would be high on the list. They were. Some consider these a break in trust so great, there is no regaining of that trust; not under any circumstances. But there were others who said that they could forgive anyone anything if the person was remorseful, apologetic and if necessary, served time for the crime through community service, a fine, or incarceration.

Is trust limitless or finite? Do you have a limit to what you will forgive a person and then move forward?

It has been an interesting decade in terms of scandals.  I am not going to rehash the big one’s in our largest organizations but suffice it to say, September 28th’s Business Week shared that only 44% of American trust businesses today compared to 58% two years ago.  That may not be significant, but that Fall seems to be the pinnacle of American’s trust in big business in an 8 year period. It has also led to a cascade of leadership books dedicated to the topic of trust.

Recently, there has been onslaught of politicians caught in adulterous situations. And in recent days, David Letterman has admitted to having affairs with members of his staff. And this is a man who has made millions off making fun of the very same people he himself is just like.  Does this make you question his credibility and integrity? For Letterman in particular, this came to light due to an extortion plot. We do not know if his wife had been previously aware and their relationship already through a healing process.

The question isn’t that they made these mistakes. That is a conversation for another post. The question is, could you forgive a mistake like that? What would it take? Could you rebuild the trust that has been shattered?

I was with a boyfriend many years ago that stole from me.  For me, the trust was gone. I never believed anything he said and questioned every word that was uttered.  I could not get past the lies nor the stealing, mainly because he was never genuinely sorry and because he was a repeat offender.  Had he been truly sorry and didn’t repeat the act, I would have been able to move on and would have been able to trust him again.  For me, there was a limit to what I could forgive with this person.

I believe that we all make mistakes. We are human.  Sometimes temptations do get the best of us despite our beliefs in ourself. It becomes a crisis of faith. Not just for the person who was affected, but also for the person who committed the act. I am not condoning any action a person has committed. But I do believe people on both sides of the issue have reactions to the situation.

This, I believe, is the true heart of the situation. How could someone make the mistake to begin with? How is it that this one time, they were not able to resist temptation? But just as the person is asking this questions to the guilty, I believe that same person is asking himself these very questions. These are not easy questions.  There aren’t always easy answers.

People make mistakes. Is there a limit to what you will forgive?

October 3, 2009 at 10:36 am 2 comments

The Omaha Blog Co.

If you are a blogger in the Omaha area, consider joining the Omaha Blog Co. meetup.  This newly formed meetup is being organized by Danny Schreiber, the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News, a truly fantastic organization in the Omaha area.

See you there!


October 2, 2009 at 10:48 am 3 comments

Who I wish I was

Do you ever wonder about who you are and how you got here?  I think about this sometimes.  I think about growing up and the places we lived.  As a family, we moved around quite a bit, as many of you who read this know.  Sometimes, I can sit and wonder about the way things could have been if we hadn’t moved that one time, or that other time. Recently, I was talking to a great high school friend. We haven’t seen each other since we were sophomores in high school as I moved to another state after that. We were talking about school dances for a minute and then I sighed and said I wished I hadn’t moved away for the final two years of high school.

What does this “what if” game get me? Not much actually is probably most people’s first thought. Or a bunch of wasted time might be another thought.  Sometimes, it really makes me wish for more from the past, which we know I will not get. I can’t change what happened back then. So then, why do I do it?  For me the answer is simple, sometimes, when I think about what I did back then (or didn’t do), it helps me now. I take what I have learned or felt from that long ago experience and apply it to current events.  In this case, would I move away from Omaha?

I am not unhappy in Omaha. Do not misunderstand this at all. I have built a great life here, love the climate, and have met some fantastic people. But the lack of proximity to some of my oldest and closest friends does make me think about moving back to the east coast at times.  But then I think about the past and all the moves I endured as a kid. There were 2 that were quite dramatic, and tragic in a young girl’s eyes, that took much time for me to recover.  When I chose to move to Omaha, I did it with full desire to do so. I did not feel I was running away from anything but instead running toward something. I was looking forward to the adventure of moving my company, enjoying the Midwest again, being closer to some of the sports teams I love, and being closer to the heart of who I am.  If I were to leave Omaha right now, it would not be with a happy heart as it is not a fully realized goal. I have not thought about my job, my company, and other things I would be leaving behind.

And for this, I am grateful for my “what if-ing” because it allows me to see that when we moved around growing up, I was choice-less in the decision.  I felt snatched from my home, my closest friends and for a shy person, from a place I felt accepted and a part of things.  To realize these things is to help me make decisions now. I do have a choice and I have the ability to determine when a move is good for me and when it might not be.

What happens when you play the what-if game?

October 1, 2009 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

October 2009