taking small steps: 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.

continue reading…

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?

continue reading…

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.

continue reading…

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.

continue reading…

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.

continue reading…

shared experiences: risk verse reward

the calendar’s relentless progression: autumn leaves

09a4fd_5a3a0b47c6734f4bb47db6f902cf7096mv2_d_2560_1600_s_2

The latter part of September perpetually hosts the first day of fall—a time of moderating weather, heavier work schedules and looking ahead.

During one’s teens, 20s and even 30s, this annual period typically seems full of hours and days, its farewell comfortably in the distance. Yet into the 40s and 50s, those selfsame hours appear ever briefer, ever more precious. As much as the numbers themselves do not change, our perception of them moves ever faster. While not able to slow the calendar’s relentless progression, making the most of each 24-filled gift basket goes a long way in mitigating it. This applies to finding fulfillment in work and career projects, to spending dedicated time with family and friends, to enjoying vacations and travel, to lifelong learning.

continue reading…

avoiding the instinct: gesticular cancer

That one gesture, that universal conveyance of anger and defiance, that singular finger. Yet beyond what can causally be attributed to this or that surface09a4fd_39633f424aee474b8d708d4d9a20eabb offense or vernacular veneer, why is it so pervasive? What lies under the skin that ignores patience and forgiveness?

Looking outward: Someone aggressively weaves in and out of congested traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway with the no-holds-barred determination of getting to that McDonald’s or bank drive-thru window 90 seconds earlier. Rather than react with that all-too-common shot of disgust, rather than increase hormones and heartbeats, why not just let it pass? As difficult as it can sometimes be, love thy neighbor as thyself isn’t just some Biblical catchphrase to be tossed like so much salad dressing. Why buy into the kind of pharmaceutical-grade drama that can suck the life out of an otherwise peaceful moment? Why not consider stepping back and feeling empathy for that person, grateful that your own stomach is full, that you’ve got use of both legs, that your breathing is regular, that you’re not lying in a hospital bed?

continue reading…