Published July 24, 2014 by

The Downers, Turn A Cheek, Forget It

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I have a mental list of people with whom I have had significant relationship challenges.  I am mindful of keeping this list very short even if it means constructively moving some people out of my life.  I try to learn from poor relationships to see what I could have done differently. I appreciate those who have passed through my life causing great challenges for me.  Some are positive and some are not.

Most of my toxic people taught me patience and how to turn a cheek, but some just caused pain. The pain typically comes from words meant to judge negatively.  Toxic people aren’t challenging for everyone, it’s just situational.  I am sure my toxins are all loved by someone, perhaps their mothers?   Nonetheless, I consciously rid myself of my toxins and foster new relationships with happy positive people.

Most of those who challenge us have inflated senses of their own importance usually fueled by their own insecurities. Most feel the need to insult and embarrass others primarily to make themselves feel better. Many avoid looking you in the eye when speaking to you.   The latter is a sure sign of trouble. Doesn’t it all sound just like the schoolyard when you were a kid? It isn’t that much different.

I believe you should respect everyone in your life and dig deep to respect people who may be different than you.  It is better and healthier to focus on the good things people achieve.  The positives of my life and career certainly have far outweighed any downers.

You know, it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere and time to cleanse and renew.  You should rid yourself of those toxins and encourage those you lead to do the same.

Son of a Postman

Best Practices Conflict

Published July 22, 2014 by

Vacation, Holiday, Give Them A Break

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In a previous post, I wrote about the importance of taking time off from your daily routines and truly resting your mind and body.  We all know these times as vacations or holidays.  I urged managers, coaches, and parents to remember the importance of these breaks.  Make sure that those you lead, or parent,  get real true breaks.   Leaders of all kinds can sometimes forget the long term benefits of people truly shutting off.  Everyone is too focused on the short term.

Today I am repeating that message and sharing a note I received from a reader.  It is a message not just for leaders but for everyone.

“I guess I am “one of those people” [who don’t shut down] but you have not heard from me because I have decided to be less electronic this vacation.  Twice per week for work e-mail and I answered only three of them….one was to my boss and the others to colleagues.  This is one thing that you never touched on…supporting your colleagues when they take time off so they can actually relax and know that their clients and work are being looked after.”

It feels good that some people hear my pleas and “help me help you” more broadly.

Son of a Postman

Best Practices Teamwork

Published July 17, 2014 by

Wrote A Book, Masked Identities, Slept Better!

UnknownWriting a book that is based on your life and career experiences can be tricky.  You want to tell a good story and you   want your characters to be real and rich with details.  I chose to mask the identity of those who didn’t sound so positive, ethical, fair minded, or just not that nice.  We all know people that we wished we hadn’t encountered in life and work. I was not insulated from these experiences in spite of the charmed life and career that I have had thus far.  It is healthy to be mindful that all experiences represent learning and growing experiences.  You move on.  You let go.

When I wrote my first book, I tried very hard to mask the identities of everyone except my family members.   There are a few individuals in my life, and discussed in my book, that were so challenging that they still make me cringe.   I continue to strive to accept each one as a valuable learning experience.  This isn’t always easy, but it is healthy to just let it all go!

A good friend recently sent me a quote related to this exact topic.  My friend wasn’t aware of my admiration for the work of this particular writer, Anne Lamott.   Perhaps Ms. Lamott would have given me contrary advice about my story telling?

“You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”

HA!  Touche!  Namaste!

Son of a Postman

Available now in paper on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com and in Kindle format 

 

 

 

Best Practices

Published May 28, 2014 by

Appropriate Questions, Wrists Flapping, Focus Only On The Positives

Picture me at a dinner seated at a table for 11.  The table consisted of 5 couples and me, the perpetual single.  Even at my advanced age I still get pangs of anxiety when I attend events primarily populated with couples.  I have previously written about the challenges that “the single” faces both socially and in the workplace.

Several of my dinner mates were long time friends while others were hopefully to become my new friends. A good time was being had by all and suddenly one of my new friends addresses a question to me.  “Are you gay?”  Pause. Breathe. Breathe Again.

Please note that I was not wearing a dress, makeup, or unmanly shoes.  I don’t recall my wrists flapping excessively and I didn’t wear an ascot nor do I own one.   Oh well.  Pause, Breathe, Deeper Breath, Respond.

My mates and I discussed this harmless question and we didn’t think it was mean spirited.  It was a reflection of the openness and kindness that I strive to display when meeting new people.  It usually helps newcomers feel comfortable in my company.

We pondered other scenarios.  If a woman sat at our table wearing a wig or having her head covered for a religious or medical reason would someone say “are you an orthodox jew?” or “do you have cancer?”   Are these questions the same as saying  to someone “when did you get that tattoo of a woman’s breast put on your face” or “do you have an eating disorder because you are painfully thin?”

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions but I do know that I did feel somewhat uncomfortable with the question.  I don’t fault the questioner but myself for momentarily thinking the motivation was macho or condescending.

When you are gay, you often get this question positioned as an attack to remind you that you are less than normal, or perhaps your contribution is somehow to be discounted.  It can take a lifetime to get it in perspective and learn to just let it go.  At this event, I know that my conversation was interesting and very amusing.  Perhaps the questioner just wanted me to yield the floor so he could speak?

I tell this story to amuse you but more importantly to remind you should always be mindful of the things you say in front of your students, teammates, children, and your employees.   When you are in a position of leadership, everyone is always listening.

Say what you like to strangers but try to be compassionate and kind.

Son of a Postman

Available now in paper on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com and in Kindle format
 

Best Practices

Published May 23, 2014 by

Anger Management, The Enemy Is You, Learn How To React

I have spent much of my life actively dealing with anger issues. It gets activated when I don’t like how I am being treated or if I feel the need to defend others.
The good news is that I recognize my reactions and I am working to pause
consciously and breathe before flipping out.   I have worked so much on “self-regulation” and I know it is working.  My relationships with others is so much better now.

I just finished reading a book titled “Love Your Enemies” written by Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman.  I hope you are not surprised to hear that the only real enemy you have is yourself.  Others that you believe are your enemies are only that way because you let them have that affect on you.   Simple!  

“There is a story about the Buddha that points to such wisdom.  One day the Buddha was walking across a plot of land when a man came up and angrily started shaking his fist in the Buddha’s face, saying he has no right to be walking there.  The Buddha looked at the man a said, “Tell me, if you prepared a lovely gift for someone, and you reached out to give it to them but they refused to accept it, to who, would the gift belong?”  “To me, of course,” the man replied.  “Just so,” the Buddha said.  “I’m not accepting your gift of your anger.  Therefore, it remains with you.”  (from “Love Your Enemies”)

If you expect to parent, teach, coach, or manage others and get the most out of them, using anger as a motivational tool will not be effective. It has always amazed me that so many people don’t get this at all!

Anger-based
responses never work, are counterproductive and alienate people.
Reactions based on anger also degrade a manager’s or leader’s
effectiveness and credibility. 
Plus, you just feel real bad after you do it.

Son of a Postman

Best Practices Conflict