Published December 19, 2013 by

New Word, Same Issue, New Perspective

By now I hope most of you have heard about President Obama making a “selfie” while at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.  If you read this blog regularly, you know I have discussed the polite use of devices so a “selfie” at a funeral really got me going!   I specifically commented about those who type away at funerals.  (Did you know that the word “selfie” was added this year to Official English language dictionaries?).

Earlier this week, the MIT Professor Sherry Turkle wrote an Opinion Piece in the New York Times discussing the Obama selfie.   “The Documented Life” by Sherry Turkle – THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 15, 2013  Once again we are reminded of the challenges we face with the omnipresent dependence of most on mobiles, tablets, and other electronic gadgets.  I like the way Turkle positions our dependence as our need to “document” every part of our lives so as to substantiate our existence.

I have written about Turkle before and I recommend her book “Alone Together.”   I believe the title is self explanatory.

Some of the kids I mentor have told me of felling isolated because they can’t afford devices.  They struggle to have friendships with their classmates who are always head bent down as they text to others.  How much credibility do I have with these kids as I suggest that they be sensitive to excessive Texting?  The whole world is doing it including politicians at funerals.  I suppose all I can do is continue to repeat my message and plant seeds.

I know I have been guilty of this rudeness and insensitivity from time to time.  I am trying real hard to break my dependence.  I know I am getting better.

What is so important anyway?

Son of a Postman

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Published December 17, 2013 by

Gone One Year, Holiday Ritual, Managing Change

 

As you know, my father was a postman (duh!). His “route” was in a rather affluent area of downtown Philadelphia. The residents were businessmen, educators, doctors, and artistic types – all professionals of various sorts. He carried a mailbag and delivered the mail on foot.  

Since he was a fixture in the neighborhood for many years, he would receive what seemed like hundreds of holiday cards from his customers. I was young, so it was probably only one hundred!   Each year, the family would sit at the dining room table and my father would open each envelope, pull out the cash tip, tell us something about the person, pass the card around, and stack the bills.

 

The Postman’s House – where the cash was stacked!

I don’t think any of us really looked at the cards, as my three siblings and I were focused on the mounting pile of money. At the end, my father would methodically count the stack and tell us the total. I always thought it was just the coolest thing and I marveled at the quantity of cash. Every family has some holiday tradition; ours was counting the tips. Perhaps this is why I went into the financial industry?

Not all Postmen are treated with such adoration. Remember Grandma Ruth from the farm in Virginia, who I featured in my book and in this blog?  Well, I remember when she accosted a postman in the local drug store. She was irate that the price of stamps had recently been increased. Her neighborhood postman was probably on a break and getting a sweet at the store when he suffered Ruth’s attack.

She went right up to him and reportedly said, “You and that President Bush, raising the price of stamps.” (This was during the reign of Father Bush, not W.) The poor guy was probably searchin
g for the exit! My sister and I laugh about this: to us it seems ironic that the “Mother of a Postman” would do this to one of her son’s colleagues. That Grandma Ruth was not a fan of change.

Change is a challenging thing for most people.  Managing change is even more complex.  Like all good management practices, change management requires timely and constant communication. All information leaks, people are not dumb, they
read the non-verbal signals faster then we all think.
   

Leaders, managers, and even parents need to keep remembering that information moves at rapid speeds now.  People tell people – electronically.  Keeping people in the loop as much a possible makes change management easier.  Encouraging and listening to feedback builds bonds.   

Grandma Ruth wasn’t shy about giving her feedback to that nice postman!  Did I tell you the story of when Ruth changed her political party in exchange for a free hairdo from her beautician? Perhaps a story for another day?

Son of a Postman


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Published December 16, 2013 by

Two Years, So Much Said, Thank You

“Son of a Postman” celebrated its two year anniversary last week.  There have been 378 Posts and 282 Reader Comments.  Readership has continued to increase and we are now also followed by many on Facebook and Twitter.  Thank You.  Thank You.  Thank You.   (Remember my advice to do everything in “Threes.”  Its very effective.)

My full time focus on dispensing advice and sharing my skills has now past the one year anniversary.  I have published a book, tutored over 100 teenagers on how to talk about themselves, and I am advising  several non-profit organization and start-up companies.  How did I ever have time to work in a big corporation? How did I manage to reinvent myself?

I mention this because many people have asked me this question.  I tell everyone that they too can do this.  There is nothing special about me.  I just always go with my gut, offer to help, and insure that I am having fun.   There are so many new and democratic ways to evolve yourself if you have a positive attitude and know that your skills can be transferred to all kinds of endeavors.   If I can write a book, sell them around the world, learn how to use social media,  relate to disadvantaged teenagers, and help young entrepreneurs develop products, you can too.  Just Do It!  Just Sayin!

I am totally having fun.

Son of a Postman

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Published December 10, 2013 by

Stay Awake, More Important Than Speaking, Use Rapid Repeat

Do people tell you that you never listen?  Do you struggle to stay awake in meetings?  Do you speak over people while they are talking?  Well, you need to work on this.  I discuss the fine art of listening in my book, but I recently learned a listening technique that I am finding very helpful.   It is call “Rapid Repeat.”   I learned of this technique at a Mindfulness Immersion that I attended last month in Canterbury UK that was organized by my friends at Mindfulness At Work.

Even if you don’t understand or buy into my enthusiasm for mindfulness, this listening technique it very useful.  “Use the Rapid Repeat Method to improve your listening skills and
concentration abilities. Do this by simply repeating, silently in your
mind, what is being said a fraction of a second later. This holds your
concentration and improves your recall of what was said.”

It really works!  When you try it you might find it difficult to stop.  The above quote is listed among several listening tips provided by Mark Reid Solicitor Derry Londonderry Waterside Legal Aid.   I have no idea who they are but you should listen to what they say about listening.

Got it?  Now if only my new young animals would listen to me!

Son of a Postman

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Published December 9, 2013 by

Fresh Eyes, New Car Smell, My New Pets
I have written several times about the concept of “beginner’s mind.”

Some of my earliest blog posts were about the benefits of “Beginner’s Mind.”
We all should seek to see the world through this special lens. “Beginner’s mind” means that you strive to live every moment and do everything you do, be it new or repetitive, as though you have never done it before.  It simply means that you need to BE PRESENT in your own life. 
If you apply this attitude to everything in life, it does make it all more exciting and you generally feel happier. ”

In the last year I have experienced the joy of “beginner’s mind” as I have begun so many new ventures in my life.  I highly recommend it!   You can make every day a new day just by being uber aware of everything you do.  I sometimes call it “the new car feeling.”

Think of the feeling you have when you drive your new care for the first time.  You are uber aware of everything like the smell, the way the car handles, how to operate the radio, and even the feel of the brake pedal.  It is no coincidence that you remember these days as being very happy times.  Its because you are using fresh eyes,  You are present.  You are using “beginner’s mind.”

My friends at “Mindfulness At Work”  espouse the benefits of Beginner’s Mind.

“Too often we let our thinking and our beliefs about what we ‘know’ stop us from seeing things from a different perspective. By cultivating a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time we become receptive to new possibilities…

Sometimes we feel we know it all, that we are in possession of all the facts.  However, if we can drop into the present moment with a beginner’s mind, we can get out of a habitual mind groove and free our perception of past experiences.  When we become open to new possibilities and come off auto-pilot, we experience heightened awareness and experience things with much greater clarity and wisdom. This leads to more creative and wiser choices.”

It totally works for me and you should try it.  I am now very conscious of exercising my beginner’s mind as I watch my new puppy and new kitten explore their new worlds!

All pretty simple.

Son of a Postman

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Published December 4, 2013 by

Life Lessons, Have The Conversation, Read Chapter 14

Below is the transcript of a recent text conversation.  This chat started with me supposedly conversing with a young boy who was reading my book (must see picture above!).  I thought it important to share our discussion. 

Son: “I can’t stop reading it! Now I know how to manage fluffers!”

Me:  “Oh my!  Now now Mr. Little Kevin (not his actual name), tell me which one of you parents is a fluffer.  You know, they talk and talk and talk and promise you treats and then rarely deliver? ”

Son: “Definitely mummah. Puppah always delivers.”

Me:  “But what if it is both my boy?   Perhaps I should establish a trust fund for your therapy bills?”

How do you parent, teach, work with, or manage those who talk a good game but
struggle to deliver or even carry their weight?   You really should address this issue early in a child’s life.  Keep them to their promises.

My little friend and I are working through our ideas and, like our favorite toys, we share our thought in Chapter 14 of a book titled……

“SON OF A POSTMAN
Delivering Straight Talk on Managing Fluffers, Bullies, and the Rest of the Team”


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