Monday, September 24, 2012

A Few Words To Describe My Favorite Season

Love this time of year

Ahhhhhhhh the crisp air of fall is finally here.

Transitioning to chilly days and cozy nights is my absolute favorite time of year. My relationship with Fall is solid. You never see me procrastinating to pull out the sweaters or prepare the house for winter.

The time for reflecting on the year and gearing up for a strong finish does not escape me.

Fall is my time for harvest. All the great ideas and plans that were laid early in the year start to crystallize or disintegrate now and I'm perfectly fine with that. It is a time to pick up the pace or slow it down - depending on the trajectory of the project.

Now is a time to Act,  Learn,  Repeat - quickly to understand how to plan the next year.

Fall also represents another year passing by with my late fall birthday... while the rest of the world reflects during or after the holidays. I'm usually done reflecting by Thanksgiving.

I challenge you all to look at the change around you over the next few weeks and decide on what change you will impart on your life.

How will you end this year?

What goals/objectives should be taken with you into the next year?

What must you abandon to grow?

Get to it - winter will be here before you know it!

Monday, September 17, 2012

3 Tactics For Dealing In Broken Glass

Worth mending? I think not - a new glass would be better

Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together. ~ Unknown

One week ago I posted this quote. Without question, the best quote I posted all last week if you measure by visible interactions - number of comments and likes. It was universally well received because everyone can related to a relationship in their life like this.

A sister.

A friend.

An ex.

A co-worker

An acquaintance 

Doesn't matter who it is or who you are - you can relate to the very true statement in that quote. These types of relationships are also referred to as toxic. We all have THAT relationship that just is better off broken.  However for some of us, those of us who consider themselves  self-aware and healthy emotionally speaking - this is an extremely tough thought.  People like me who start over every day.

I believe in the gift that is a new day. Every day I look at life as a new opportunity. I even tweet/post every Sunday morning a "New day, new week = New mercies, new opportunities" thought for the upcoming week.

When you live like that, you believe in giving yourself a new chance so that extends to those in your life. And that is the rub.

Many people do not deserve another chance with you. It's harsh but true.

Many people don't really want another chance with you. That's why they hurt you repeatedly.

Many people don't love themselves. So they can't possibly love you.

So what do you do with those people? If you are indeed forced into contact or are related to them and expected to have contact in some way/shape or form.  Here are the three things I do with broken relationships:

Small doses.

Little to no real time investment is ever spent on relationships that I consider broken. I am considerate when we are going to be in the same functions but do not go out of my way to see or spend time with these people. Be yourself always, just in small doses. For me that means remembering their birthdays because that's who I am. No need to buy crazy gifts but sending a card and calling even though it may be painful and you don't know what you will get - you will feel better if that is part of who you are. Don't allow someone else to cause you to lose who you are with them. Just keep it in manageable doses.

Keep contact short and simple.

When forced into contact, I keep it very light. No deep probing questions, nor do I share deep or personal details about me. Think the Christmas card update if you do or receive those. Very 30,000 ft in nature.  This can be difficult because toxic people usually don't have many boundaries and will absolutely divulge lots of information not appropriate for your relationship. Listen when forced and offer little to no advice. They don't really want it and especially not from you. Be courteous and be brief.

Always be honest with them and yourself

The toughest but best policy. Many times when you realize a relationship is toxic you think you have to avoid or be dishonest with how you truly feel about them and the state of your relations with them. No way. The very few toxic relationships I'm forced to have, have their annual "volcano moment." The moment when the toxic person confronts you for your aloofness towards them and wants it to be better but does not know how to do it. You offer some suggestions and point out exactly why things are the way they are but do not put any hope in long term change. Toxic is toxic for a reason. You love these people and want the best for them and right now (and most likely always) that means telling them the truth and keeping them a safe distance away.

This is not easy and by no means is it pain-free. I just had a volcano moment in the most toxic relationship in my life. I am literally still shaken from the deep hurt I experience with each contact I have but I am at peace.

I do my best and am ready to have a normal relationship with this person whenever they are. That's the problem with optimist like me. But the realist in me keeps me sane which is why I'm also prepared to follow my three steps for the rest of our time on earth together.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Why A Sensible Person (Like Me) Would Choose A Side Politically

We really only have a few choices politically speaking in the United States

Now that both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention are over, we are really in the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign. It's almost over. Like most of you, I will be glad when it's November 7 and not just because my birthday is coming.

I'll be glad because, as a nation, we will have to "kiss and make up." We will have to put our partisan talk aside and reunite to go about the business of running the country, together. Warts and all.

It occurred to me the past few weeks just how divided and cynical we have become as a nation. It begs the question that many ask and few answer - Do I have to choose a side?

How many Facebook posts have you seen about the lesser of two evils? How many folks have you seen declare they are not voting at all?

Because of this I was compelled to write about the three reasons a sensible person would choose a side politically - even in all the turmoil we see that is politics today.

No Decision Is A Decision

When we don't decide something - a decision is made for us. On our behalf. I remember the first time I heard that. It was in high school when I was stubbornly trying to stonewall something related to the student newspaper where I served as the editor-in-chief. Our advisor said to me - "To not decide is a decision, Denise" Even though I did not grasp its power at the time, that is a very powerful statement and it plays out every day in American local politics. Whether or not you vote, people are elected to office. Whether or not you participate, decisions are being made for you by those same people you did not elect.

No Party or Candidate Will Have "It" For Every Person

Can I get an AMEN for that? Really, have you ever seen a political candidate that encompasses everything you believe in or stand for? Present company included? I am an elected local municipal official and I am certain that there is something about me that would turn someone else off. That is normal and by the way, human. Only robots can be programmed to meet our needs 100% And I sure as heck don't want robots doing the job because then the humans behind the robots are in control. See how that works? We have to make a choice that is most closely aligned with our beliefs and desires for our country moving forward. I have said it before - both sides of the political aisle should spend more time talking about what we all want because THAT is where we can have a conversation - not the "how we get it". We have fiercely different paths to get to where we want to be a country but it seems like the best way to get there is to start with... there. Future post on what "there" looks like next week.

Not Lazy

When you peel back the layers - it all comes down to laziness on the part of most Americans in this  area. We are apathetic about politics as a general rule. We have our allegiances and don't want to investigate anything further. Well, I am not lazy. I will not stand back and let someone else decide for me - not even the party I am most closely affiliated with. If we don't have a viable candidate for an office - I HAVE to consider who's on the ballot and vote. Period. End of Story. Same goes for you. Your parents have an affiliation? Great - good for them - now grow up and read and make your own decision. Your church is telling you who to vote for? Shame on that church - they should just be advising you to pray for the process and get involved without telling you WHO to vote for. Pick up a newspaper. Read a book. Investigate online. Get as many perspectives as you can and THEN make a choice.

It is not simple nor is it something to take lightly. We live in a country that sets the standard for freedom and expression. The best way to express yourself as an American is to get involved in the process of governing our country. Voting is the gateway to that. For that reason I have voted in EVERY election I've been eligible to vote in since I was 18 years old. I've voted red and blue. Always siding with a specific candidate versus a whole party slate. But you can't do that without getting yourself informed.

I've made a choice and I urge each of you to do the same.

There's only 8 weeks to do so.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Finally A Runner

Channeling my inner FloJo
It's been a great long holiday weekend.

I ran the Sunset 5K for the second time and recorded my personal best time of 38:58.8. For the past year as I've run other races and trained intermittenly but had not seen myself as a runner until that evening.

It's not about the time.

It's not about how fast you run.

It's not about the equipment.

It's not about how others see you.

It's all about how you see yourself. And I finally see myself as a runner.

It all happened within a brief exchange at the registration table. As I checked in, the woman at the table said something to me about doing well as she got my packet. Another woman next to me looked up and said she recognized me running in the neighborhood and that she saw me at another race earlier this year and before I could blurt out my normal self-depreciating comment about not being a "real runner" or being super slow.

I didn't.

I simply replied - "yes, that's me. I'm not very good but I do run"

And just like that I am a runner. I finally see myself as a runner. Albeit a slow, quirky and heavy one but a runner nonetheless. 

How many times do we sell ourselves short of who we really are?

How many times do we compare ourselves to others? our journey to that of other people?

We must embrace our own walk.

We must accept ourselves.

I am certain that until that moment, every time I denied that I was a runner or somehow diminished the fact that I was running regularly -  it was because I had a picture of what a runner looks like in my mind and I ain't it.

I thought a runner was someone who loved to run.

I thought a runner would be running more races by now.

I thought a runner would have progressed beyond 38:58 in a timed race.

I thought a runner would have a desire to run more than a 5K.

Until then, I thought of anyone else besides me to be a runner.  I've been a runner pretty much since I completed the Couch-To-5K program last summer but only truly accepted it Friday night before my race. I smile reflecting on it now.

Guys,  this realization is huge. Perhaps there are some other areas of my life I need to "wake up" to...

Best selling author?

Accomplished strategic business consultant?

I don't know but I intend to be more aware from now on.

What about you?

What do YOU need to wake up to and acknowledge to make it so?