Monday, November 30, 2009

I respectfully decline . . .

Ideas that are borne out of the inability or fear to imagine.
That a disagreement constitutes a need for a change. Sometimes right is right.
The assertion that one person has the right to control another person.
Attempts to make others feel inadequate.
The judgement of a person's ideas or values if they are true.
That we are responsible for other's lack of knowledge. We live in the information age. There is no excuse.
The view that only others make mistakes.
That arrogance and confidence are the same thing.
The notion that only winners win.
That one person's fear is the responsibility of others to conquer.
That people with an education are the only people capable of being intelligent.
That leaders are only capable of leading.
That visionaries are only leaders.
That to be a leader one cannot admit fault.
The values of others if they are not consistent with one's own values.
The notion that team be used as a convenient term when otherwise there is no "we" or "us".

Friday, November 27, 2009

Would you like fries with that?

Sometimes I am taken aback by the number of times we carelessly say and do things that affect others. I call it a drive by slam. This takes on many forms: a terse comment; a turned back; a closed door; an insenstive email that leaves a footprint.

In this world of instant communication, instant coffee, instant results, instant food and instant gratification, I see instant hurt feelings, instant resentments, and instant dissatisfaction every day.

And it's so easy, because in this day of instant whatever, we treat each other like they are commodities to us. Our possessions. Something we can buy, use or disregard.
We treat people like they are fast food.

Give me what I want, when I want it, and if you don't, there will be repercussions.

This is 1959 thinking and I am tired of this, and it makes me tired. I just want to step off the world and get away this this instant stupidity that I witness.

So, if anyone actually reads this stuff, here's what I would challenge you to do if you see yourself engaging in this, or being engaged.

1. As a former CEO of mine used to say, take the high road. Do not lower yourself by reciprocating in a negative way. Once you do that, the offender's actions are null and void, and your negative actions are now the issue.

2. Confront the behavior with the person. The "Crucial Conversations" method works well. Have a stated objective or a problem to solve and do not detract from it. Meet the person face to face and state your case. Do not become defensive. And stay with it until your objective has been accomplished.

3. Do not let others make you feel bad. When people spray negativity, nastiness, or disrespectful behavior, you do not have to accept it. Let it go. Do not accept it. Disregard their behavior. Acceptance constitutes acceptance. Do not be a victim. Do not give power to the negative behavior.

4. Be nice to someone and all the above would be unnecessary to say. Pick up the phone. Have a personal conversation. Treat people with respect. Treat them as you would like to be treated.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I wish I said that.

Tom Jackson took the stage at Casino Regina this week to invite the citizens of our fair city to join him in supporting the food bank. As I was standing in the back of the room, I was taken aback by his presence. Not because he is famous but because he has something important to say: "I love you."

What powerful words. Words that say, "no matter who you are, or what mistakes you made today, you are worth the effort." Every person deserves to hear this every day, yet how many times do you really hear it? How many times do you say it? How many times do you mean it?

At the end of the day, I often think about the events. I think about what happened. What bothered me. What caused me to cringe. What I said that might have been insensitive. How many times I felt impatient. The times that I could have been more understanding and less judgemental. And I shudder, and pray that others will forgive me today, or look past my imperfections, which are many.

And then I make a promise to myself: Tomorrow I will be better. I will seek to understand. I will listen to each person like they have something valuable to teach me that I must know. I will try to help just one person have a better day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Things my dad taught me.

November 11 is Remembrance Day. We will remember all the soldiers who died for our freedom. All the soldiers who gave their young lives without having a chance to live their own. All the soldiers who stood up for something, and gave their life for it. As we remember this sacrifice, I hope we take the time to ask ourselves - are we living the life that we deserve to live? Are we living our lives to the fullest?

Or are we taking it for granted, and frittering it away, aimlessly wandering, waiting for someone to pull us out of our haze. Are you at least trying to discover your own potential, or are you lost and disengaged. Do you know there is a planet under neath your feet and a sky above you? Do you know that this life is a gift? A fleeting gift?

Sometimes I am disillusioned when I see people become disengaged from all the parts of our lives. We go to work, seeking to be entertained. (Hello, it's called work for a reason.) We think we have the right to complain and do nothing about it. We don't stand up for change, and we don't want to make it happen. We only want to talk about. Complain about it. Rate others and not ourselves. We all want "you" to change, but we will not change ourselves, or take responsiblity for our actions, decisions and behaviours.

This concept of self - responsibility is something that I believe in. To me, it's about personal freedom. The freedom to choose. The freedom to live. The freedom to be accountable for one's actions. The freedom to . . . be free. So often, I see people forgo being responsible for themselves. I hear people blame others for their lot in life. I see people judge those who try to make things better, without lifting a hand themselves.

I become impatient when I see this happening. And then I remember what my dad says.

1. Where ever you go, you are the only constant.
2. You can't change people. You can only change how people effect you.
3. All you can do is your best.
4. Show up.
5. Don't say that word.

So on this important day of remembrance, take the time to remember the people who stood up for freedom and peace so that you and I have the freedom to choose the life we want to life. And spend a few minutes considering whether you are doing justice to the sacrifice.

A Pittance of Time - Terry Kelly

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