Make it an Excellent Workday

There are many more ways, but I was thinking this morning that a process always helps. Perhaps you can add your own to this list:

  1. Wake up on time (alarm clock with a mellow station).
  2. Make some good coffee.
  3. Have your outfit all picked out the night before (not always possible I know).
  4. Train your school-age son(daughter) to make the lunches (LOL).
  5. Have a CD picked out with music that inspires you, make sure it is in your car.
  6. As you are getting your coffee made and last minute stuff, start your car and turn the heat on full-blast (winter only).
  7. As you drive to work, think about the possibilities of the day. Look at struggles and worries as merely opportunities to see life a new way and improve yourself.
  8. Think about positive things as you listen to your music on the way. Admire the beauty of the desert all around you.
  9. Consciously remember to smile at people today, you affect others more than you know.
  10. Be ready, for anything and when anything comes your way, accept it as either a positive or an opportunity.
  11. Commit yourself to be 100% in the moment. This means not worrying about the future or the past. I have found they both take care of themselves.
  12. Create a relevant greeting to use so you don’t get tongue tied in those stressful moments. When you see someone at work, say: ___________. (examples: Hi, 3 day weekend. Happy Thursday. Hang in there, etc.)
  13. Have pictures of your kids on your desk and focus on the reasons you work.
  14. Make another CD of your favorite songs and play it in your office area or MP3 player if this is possible in your workspace. For me, its in my classroom before the kids come in.
  15. If you have friends at work that won’t mind, send them a short email letting them know you are thinking of them and that you hope they have a great day. The replies throughout the day are great to remind you of the same thing.
  16. Take time to breathe and do nothing for a few mintes before work. Meditate, pray, think, be still … etc.
  17. If a bunch of stuff has been cluttering somewhere for a while, its probably not crucial. Put it all out of sight temporarily (a cabinet, a bin, a box etc.). This will create a clear place in your work area that can help you see possibilities.
  18. Structure your day with an agenda by hour and check it off as you go.
  19. Say this statement three times out loud when you are alone: “I am fortunate.”
  20. Accept that there is something larger than yourself and surrender that you are small in the big scheme of things. Even if you wanted to be in control of everything, it wouldn’t be possible so be faithful in the small things on your agenda and make it an excellent day.

What do you do to have a good workday?

Salesman at my Door: Kirby Alert!

This post was originally posted 12/15/07
This afternoon about 3:45pm I got a knock on my door by a twenty-something male claiming to be from a new carpet cleaning place in Hesperia (a local city) and that to show what his company can do he wanted to clean our carpet for free.

Immediately I felt the urge to decline because frankly, I didn’t want to move my butt off my couch: I’m on Christmas break! Still, I conferred with my wife since I know she always enjoys having the carpets cleaned. She gave me the thumbs up so we arranged for him to come back in between 5 and 6. We scurried to move the sofas out of the room until he arrived, at 6:05!

What followed gave me that sinking feeling where you go: “Ahhhhhhhh I get this now … it’s a sales pitch.” Now instead of one guy, there were three and we realized we’d been suckered into having three fast talking, fast moving Kirby vacuum salesmen in our family room … What a drag!

I watched him do his little routine showing us the dirt that his device collected and then stopped him abruptly. Having a background in sales, I know that every house is just a lead and the more time you spend on a dead lead … well, I told him we weren’t gonna buy. He persisted stating that all he wanted to do was clean my carpet. My wife asked me to back off, so I did. I went and got pizza while he “did his job” of cleaning my carpet. Later I clarified to my all-too-trusting wife that his job clearly was not to “clean our carpet” but rather to sell vacuums.

About three awkward hours since they first darkened my doorway, we have clean, but cold and wet carpet. The salesman earned nothing for his efforts and all I regret is not stopping it all before it started. After all, we just bought a brand new steam cleaner and vacuum for our home. My wife says: “Live and learn.” What she doesn’t know is that I’ve already lived and learned this lesson through experience in sales. My live and learn takeaway was: “Tell your wife what’s up when salesman come a callin’! And when you do, stand your ground.”

Trivia: The average price of a Kirby vacuum is $1500.

Slow Down and Think: One Day, One Thing

The possibility thinker often has to “self discipline” ones thought boundaries. This can be difficult, especially when there are SO many things that need attention.

Life bombards you with stuff. At any given moment the average person has a barrage of tasks and events hanging over ones head. It is very true with teaching and certainly true in leading a family. I have had days at work where I’ve been so overwhelmed by my schedule that I had to sit and collect my dizzy thoughts. Not many mind you, but I have had them. Most of the time I seem perched on the edge of these moments.

With so many forces vying for our attention, what should we focus on?

This is a personal question that each person must answer for her/himself. I have found that when it is really “thick” with tasks, events, and demands on your wit, candor, and time it is best to try and focus on JUST ONE THING each day. Think about it, no matter how beaten down you may be by stress, fatigue or even sickness you can usually handle doing ONE FOCUSED thing. I think a lot of people would say to this: “One thing? I WISH! Are you crazy? I’d get fired!” I would respond to that objection by stating that one thing is better than nothing, and when you are overwhelmed, nothing is usually the one thing that you do get done.

I would rather have ONE thing done well than get ten done in a shotty way.

The reality is that limiting yourself to just the one goal will take a lot of stress off you and make you mentally stronger. At the same time, you know while you are going through your “low” that you are getting at least one quality thing doen every day, and that’s a lot more than most people can say who THINK they are being productive. It shouldn’t last though because your pride in that daily goal you achieve will feed your personality and make you mentally stronger.

You will start to desire more challenges.

Eventually you will have more motivation than time in the day. I am of course speaking in metaphor when I write “one thing.” The point is this: When the heat turns up in the kitchen, scale down the meal. Your time to cook the feast will come, but only if you care for the chef!!! I wrote an elaborate tale a while back about the resting lumberjack that relates well to this post, if you have the time.

Your Turn:

How do YOU deal with feelings of being overwhelmed? Do you use any strategies to simplify your life? This is a very interesting topic to me, what’s your take on it?

Remember Those People Who Inspired You? Be Them.

Do you ever take the time to think back on your life and remember the people who have either inspired or helped you along the way It’s those people that have made your personality and success what it is today. I can remember in junior college wayyy back in 1993 I had a drawing instructor who really helped me out in my college experience. At the time I was in a band and playing clubs and parties on my off time. I would draw pictures of our equipment and stage as well as guitars. He gave me several good words that were nothing short of charitable! Nonetheless, he took the time to let me know I had something special to offer the world.

I have another memory of someone I work with standing up at a meeting and telling the room how grateful he was that I ran a talent show for the kids. That was a much needed encouragement and I will never forget it as long as I live.

If you run through your past, I am sure you can come up with a few if not dozens of memories like these. Let’s ask ourselves this question . . . is there anyone in our lives we could bring up these days You never know when the thing you say to someone will be like a landmark on their road of life and give them an eternal assurance that they have something important to offer that only they can give. My thoughts this morning . . .

(Written Jan 9, 2007)

Paradigm Shifts and Why we Need Them

I once heard a motivational speaker tell a story about when he was on an airplane and a 5 year old child was just making all sorts of racket. He was right next to the speaker so he was getting very annoyed. What annoyed him most was the way his mother obviously heard the noise and yet chose to ignore the problem. After a long time, the speaker spoke to the mother and said, “Pardon me ma’am but can you please control your son?” She replied by explaining how sorry she was. She had just found out the boy’s father had died and she couldn’t think of a way to tell him.

This produced what they call a “paradigm shift.” It makes the bad behavior seem acceptable and changes the way one perceives a given situation. I try to stay open to having these shifts. An example is the way the dogs near me have been barking at all hours of the night. I’ve been so angry at their owners and wished they would do something about it. I actually dd go over and talk to one of the home owners. His story was understandable. The uncle had left the dogs there and said he would come back and he never did. The dogs came up to my son and licked his hand. they were sweet dogs, albeit extremely loud. Since that meeting there has been very little barking. In a sense, I got a paradigm shift being open to it. When I feel angry at someone or a group of people, I need to remember a paradigm shift could turn my anger around.

The Lonely Rocket

Neil Armstrong was in a lonely rocket. I can’t comprehend losing a child. I have at least 2 friends that have lost kinds and I do not think I could get through that. I was really arrogant in my early adulthood in that I thought I could always bring myself up from my own bootstraps come what may.

Even that was before I was a parent. I have 3 kids and I really think I would be defeated if I ever lost one. I’m saying that because I have utter respect for those who have suffered this unthinkable loss. What would that be like? I think it would forever change a person. People can move on from this, like Neil Armstrong does in “First Man.” BUT, he is changed, I think that is clear,

Running your OWN race means not comparing yourself to slower racers or faster ones. It means improving the only way you know how and that may be different person to person. It also means setting your standard much higher that everyone’s when you are the only one that can get it done. Neil Armstrong again? Your heroic actions may affect millions, you have only your race to worry about. Set personal goals and get personal rewards.  Setting weekly, even daily goals in a journal can be a great way to measure success. Again, Bill Gates’ measure will be different from a lemonade stand worker. I’m a huge believer in journaling. In my case, later years has produced online diary journaling. It’s a lot of fun and helps me gauge my own opinion of my success.

One small step for man. WE do not see how crucial our steps are for others. Sometimes we never see but faith keeps us going. Recognition isn’t always there. If motivation to do things depends on the recognition of others, it will probably fail. Be your own cheerleader. Reward yourself for achieving a goal. Don’t have any? Set some. I can guarantee you Neil Armstrong had them.

Hancock (Movie Review)

This is a repost of Will Smith as Hancock: Lacking Human Moments published first on Yahoo Voices Jul 16, 2008.
Will Smith’s movie “Hancock” is a superhero flick that struck me as lackluster at best. There are a few moments toward the end that worked but overall it was just a movie trying to win an audience through special effects.

In the beginning we find John Hancock curled up on bench in Hollywood, California. He’s clutching a bottle of booze much to the chagrin of a little kid urging him to go get the bad guys. This scene is wholly confusing and I found myself guessing that he was a well known bum with amazing powers. Sounds stupid huh? Well, I was 100% correct. In the first 2/3 of the movie we see Hancock go through rehab and do jail time. I kept hoping we’d get something to hold onto in terms of a moral, but it never came. I suppose one could justify that big chunk of the movie by saying it shows people should be responsible and stay in jail even when they have the superhero ability to break any brick wall down (or thick steel for that matter). I’m sorry but the morals here, which are always there in great super hero movies, are cloudy if not non-existent. This superhero movie had no morals and therefore slipped and fell most of the way through. Now, in the last 1/3 of the movie it recovered somewhat, at least in the morals department. We find out he has a wife he didn’t know about and he does a few things to save her life. Without giving away too much of the plot, I will just say this moral of “selflessness” is presented in the most cryptic way it takes a movie reviewer to glean it, at least that is this movie reviewers opinion. If I were to ask one of my kids what the moral is of the scenes between Hancock and his wife I have a feeling I’d get a blank stare.

Should superhero movies be that complicated?

The second area the movie flopped in my opinion was the lack of human moments. Ironically, superhero movies are great because they reveal the humanity through the characters. Not only did these characters lack endearing human qualities, they seemed one dimensional, like a storyboard that was never fleshed out with human characteristics. I found the characters flat and built to serve only the grossly overdone violence that never stops from the first scene. This movie has tons of CGI effects that are neat to look at but unfortunately they don’t carry the weight needed to become a great superhero movie like “the Hulk” or “Spiderman.” I am a big Will Smith fan, but unfortunately, not even Will Smith can save this colossal train wreck.

Hancock will be a good rental for kids that want to see things get destroyed or by drunks that find identification in going to jail to sober up. For the rest of us working class heroes that need good movies to inspire and propel us to do great things, this movie will fall on empty ears and desperately-seeking-for-more than “Hancock,” human eyes. Those eyes, in case the makers of Hancock are interested, want morals and human moments in movies, it’s what keeps us coming back.