the result of indecision: bad whether

In Measure for Measure, Shakespeare makes clear that “our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to badwhetherattempt.” Over four hundred years later, these measured words are as relevant as ever. Must indecision continue to rule the centuries like some perverse King Henry loop?

Three weeks ago, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in a way that was initially presented as decisive action, yet was anything but that as its gestation and subsequent reporting had more back-and-forth lobs than a championship tennis match.

The business world rarely has so much at stake (though, to be sure, untold lives have perished due to mercenary decisions and cut corners), yet reckless overspending, massive layoffs and criminal conduct routinely hit the headlines. At the same time, nimble organizations that can decisively weather crises, adapt to changing circumstances and wear the non-stretchable fabric of integrity not only survive but thrive.

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the brain-body connection: flat tired

a lack of transparency: stained glass

Why is transparency within the realm of all types of communication—friend-friend, parent-child, husband-wife, manager-employee—so consistently elusive? Why StainedGlassmust the ego so quickly approach the greasy fast-fed drive-thru that values expediency and quick profit over healthy dialogue? Why do so many start with perfection as the baseline, from which there is no room to breathe?

Imagine almost any type of scenario. You’ve borrowed a friend’s or parent’s car and have had an accident that was your fault; does the car’s owner not far more appreciate an immediate admission and pledge to do whatever it takes to right the situation, rather than an elusive answer and possible insurance or courtroom fight? You’ve missed a Friday deadline at work to the detriment of a client relationship; does the client not far more appreciate an immediate call and pledge to work through the entire weekend to right the situation, rather than an elusive excuse and possible contractual fight?

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complacency as the rival of fulfillment: dashbored

team-965093_1920No job is filled with creativity and fulfillment 100% of the time. And yet we’re all born with passions that should be fully explored in the search for fulfilling careers. They’re out there; are you rushing to find them? Do you squeeze the most juice from each day? Maybe you love the outdoors; choose one of countless jobs that has you experiencing sunlight over fluorescent lights, breathing natural air rather than that from filtered air conditioning. Maybe you love food; choose one of equally countless jobs that has you preparing, cooking, creating, serving, owning. Do you get the idea? Choose!

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at a minimum: cardboard & character

How easy to take for granted…21437141974_27d3aacbc3_b

…the hundreds of thousands of people—men and women with lives, loves and labors—who are responsible for that cardboard carton carrying everything from beer and books to papers and paraphernalia.

The factory workers, the salespeople, the layers of middle and upper management, the stockholders who provide capital for payroll and expansion, the drivers who long-haul these yet-to-be-filled and already-filled boxes, the cities and states that depend upon the accompanying toll revenues, the highway workers who in turn pave and upkeep those very well-traveled roads, the bricks-and-mortar and online workers who stock, pack and send the boxes, the lawyers and doctors who stack them rafter-high, the paper recyclers alert to these soon-to-be discarded cartons…. All of them spend their earned income on themselves, and their families and friends, which in turn creates sustenance for so many more.

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taking small steps: light switch

light switch

Your job isn’t going quite the way you’d like. Perhaps it’s a recalcitrant employee, or if you’re on the other side of the door, an obstinate boss. Making even slight changes will go a long way toward showing your flexibility and understanding. Most people naturally and rightly respond to sincere effort. Stay an extra 10 or 15 minutes at the office a few days a week, or come in a bit earlier. Take all of five seconds to offer a good word or acknowledgement of a task well done.

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storing and accessing mistakes: I cloud

Making mistakes can be a source of true peace.

What a ridiculous statement, no? How could it be so, and why does it never feel that way at the moment?Erasing

For those determined to move ahead tangibly—both personally and professionally—and not just to aspire, the follow-up question, “What can be gleaned from this?” is key. None of us can know at all times where to step and where to avoid, what to do and what to avoid, how to embrace and how to avoid; such a valuable avoidance instinct can only be built up over time, over problems solved, over situations lived through.

As long as we recognize that being perfect is not only unrealistic but impossible, and that freely admitting inevitable mistakes is a sign of strength and self-awareness rather than weakness, we open ourselves to lasting progress and development. The instinct to cover up mistakes or to spin them in a more favorable light is surely natural; who, after all, wants to walk around with errors hanging from the emotional rafters, with slips stuck to public message boards?

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making the most of meaningful opportunity: flew shot

How many times are you confronted with meaningful opportunity — in a day, a week, a month? Are you receptive to the signs, willing to pursue them, needleeager to take your best shot? Doing so may take you out of your comfort zone, may involve some risk, may expose you to criticism and/or failure, may initially sting.

But weigh the consequences of inaction, and you may well be confronted by mediocre work, by unsatisfying relationships, by an unforgiving calendar, by less money, by… by… by.

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looking ahead: inauguration blues

Inauguration BluesJanuary 2017 has nearly run its course; a twelfth of the new year is already history. What of the resolutions to inaugurate new habits and new pursuits, to look ahead as a high-school student looks toward college, as a college student looks toward a job or graduate school? Those in their teens and 20s are more often than not filled with the idealistic perspective of the need for education, of making a lasting impact, of personal growth.

With the calendar’s relentless progression when the 30s and 40s can seem to pass so quickly, with increasing job and family responsibilities, with the constant need to try finding time for exercise and sleep, who has time to inaugurate a skill like learning a new language? (The phrase ‘foreign language’ is increasingly fading as the world’s borders become ever closer, despite current walls and divisions.) Who has time to inaugurate an exercise routine when just getting out of the house in the morning and back in at night can seem to elevate the heart rate too much?

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dealing with daily pressures: fresh-squeezed juice

Your job promotion depends entirely on addressing daily pressures while completing extraordinary work by Friday for a project impacting the entire company.

Your spouse’s crucial work commitments cause all the week’s family responsibilities to fall on your shoulders alone.

You’ve lost your job and have accepted two or three jobs either within or outside your field rather than lose your house to foreclosure.

Your child’s or parent’s illness means that you’re burning candles on both ends of the day, as inattention or cutting corners is not within your repertoire.

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