Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekly Challenge - What Will April Hold For You?

What will April hold for you?  No, I am not asking you to go read your horoscope, although for the record mine says I will not pay attention in the workplace this month (uh oh).  Seriously though, what will you do in April?  What do you want to do?  What will you make happen?  We've been practicing writing weekly goals, some we achieve and some we don't.  (I did not get 500 page views this past week for example.  More importantly, I know why I didn't.  Life happened and I did not put into this blog what I needed to get out what I wanted.  That being said...there is always this week!)  Let's take it a little bigger this week.  Sit down and come up with four goals for the month.  One for work (obviously mine will be to pay attention), one for family, one for self, and one wild card (it doesn't have to be wild, just your choice).

If you need help coming up with goals, start by thinking about your core values...which values do you want to honor in April?  Loyalty?  Excellence?  Family?

Write your goals down!!!  I write mine on a pretty piece of paper and put it on my magnetic board above my laptop.  They are always there when I look up.  Not as a taunt, but more as a reminder of what is important to me when I don't have time to stop and reflect.  I also keep them in a file on my Evernote so I can access them anytime I want or need to.

Pull out your calendar and write down specific things you will do on specific days to reach your goals.  This doesn't have to be rocket science.  If your family goal is to go to the zoo, you can just put the zoo on one day on your calendar.  If you want, schedule in a rain date, too just in case.  For the bigger projects, break your goal down into 15-30 minutes chunks if you can and schedule those in.  Let's face it, we won't get two straight days during the month to sit down and read that business book that has been sitting on the nightstand for two months.

Tell someone else what your goals are, ask them to join you in setting monthly goals, and check in on each other!  It is not cheating to help each other, either.  If you both want one night at the movie - exchange babysitting duties.  Better yet, share a babysitter and go to the movies together.  Tell us your goals too by commenting on this post or share on the Strategic Serendipity Leadership Facebook page! (Like it while you're there!)

Keep a journal of your progress through the month.  How do you feel when you accomplish one of your tasks.  What did it mean to have a special day with your children and family?  Did you have to reschedule anything?

To get us started, here are my four goals...

  1. Finish two teaching certifications.  (I am already registered, I just need to make time to do the online work.)  This one is a bit of a stretch but not outside my comfort zone.  I will definitely need to schedule it in chunks to accomplish both by April 30.
  2. Take my son to the Zoo.  April 20 or 27 as a raindate.  
  3. Read two non-work books.  I love to read.  I read a lot for work and don't always take time to read just for the sheer joy of getting lost in a story.  Taking this much time for myself is a huge stretch for me, but it will balance out the chunks I'm scheduling for work.
  4. Write 15 posts on this blog.  While not a huge stretch, it is a consistency commitment for me.  
Okay, your turn.  What are your four goals for the month?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

How Do You Learn Best?

Does sitting through a lecture, watching the news, or listening to a book on tape really reach you?  How about reading a newspaper, reading a book, or surfing the web?  Or do you do best through experiential learning?  Do you need to talk to others about concepts you've learned or reflect upon them individually?

Leadership development begins with self-awareness - what are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, and how do you learn?  So many people want a checklist of what they have to do to advance in a career.  Leadership development is about increasing your skills and breadth of abilities.  It is not about the next job, it is about every position you will hold in the future.  So attending a class or reading a book because someone told you it will help you get a job is not leadership development.  It is the adult equivalent of teaching to the test.

If you are really focusing on development, you'll pick out one to two competencies or skills you want to work on for a period of time and learn about them (in a way that is meaningful to you), practice them,  reflect on the effect of the changes, adjust accordingly, and start over.

If you don't already know how you learn best, try out a bunch of different methods with little things and see where you are retaining the most.  Journal about it at the end of each day and at the end of the week, reflect on what you learned and develop a strategy that will help you learn new skills and competencies in the future.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

When Life Hands You a Curve Ball - 7 Questions to Prioritize Unplanned Projects and Events

We've discussed goal setting, but what do you do when you are hyper-focused on one goal and life hands you a curve ball.  The theory behind the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator says that some people can easily flex into the new priority (those with a Perceiving Preference) and some can easily stay focused on the original goal (those with a Judging Preference).  In Type Development, we want to learn to utilize the skills under either preference as the situation demands.  But how do you distinguish your preferred response and the response required by the situation?

Ask yourself these questions to help you decide which path to take.

1.  Is the "curve ball" situation time sensitive?
2.  Is the original goal time sensitive?
3.  Do you have to choose one or the other or can you rearrange your timeline to accommodate both in a reasonable manner?
4.  Which one should logically come first?
5.  How will individuals around you be affected if you choose one over the other?
6.  Which of your core values will be served by choosing one over the other?
7.  Which of your core values will be compromised by choosing one over the other?

When you have thought through all the questions, think about how you would prioritize each question. Is it more important to focus on the logical arguments, how those around you are affected, the time sensitivity of the projects, or the core value implications?  It is okay to give one question more weight than another, but really think about why you are giving it more weight and own the fact that you are (don't try to rationalize a values-based decision, admit it is a values-based decision).

How often do you have to juggle competing priorities and intervening life events?  What do you do to keep yourself moving forward on your long-term plan while capitalizing on unexpected opportunities and responding to life's emotional moments?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Goal for the Week (Part II)

Last week I challenged you to set weekly goals with me in my post Weekly Challenge - What Are Your Goals for the Week.  Did you do it?  My goal for the week was to get 275 page views for the blog this week.  To put this "stretch" goal into perspective, my largest month ever was 405 page views. I know you are on the edge of your seats and so ... you have to wait until the end of this post to see if I made it (and my new goal for this week).

Once you have set a goal and an achieve by date, when you get to the date you want to review.  Did I achieve my goal?  If so, how can I continue the momentum or do better?  If not, what stood in my way?  Do I need to re-prioritize what I'm working on?

So, join me this week with the Weekly Challenge - Goal for the Week (Part II).  Here are just a few things to keep in mind when you are setting your goal.

  1. What will you do?  
  2. By when will you do it?
  3. Can it be completed in that time?  If not, go back to #1 and be more realistic.
  4. Will it further one of your long-term goals or support one of your core values?  If not, go back to #1 and pick a new goal.
  5. Who will you share your goal with to provide accountability?  This person won't ask you every day if you have achieved your goal (unless you ask them to) but just the thought of walking past them in the hall will make you think about it (trust me).
  6. Write down your goal, by when you will complete it, with whom you will share it on a piece of paper and put it somewhere you will see it every day.  
  7. Tell the person about your goal (give them a copy of your note if you want, e-mai them, text them, etc.).
  8. Tell us about your goal by adding a comment to this post (and then come back when you complete it and share your success!)  You can also post a comment on my Facebook Page - Strategic Serendipity (please like it while you are there!).
My big stretch goal for last week was to get 275 page views for the blog this week.  I am thrilled to report that I had 282 page views this week and exceeded my goal!  I am going to think big - I'm going for 500 page views this week.  (If you see a post you think someone would like, please send them a link, it will be appreciated!)

Here's a parting thought while you're working this week - feel free to add it to the note you look at every day with your goal on it.  

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."  Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Do You Have a Best Friend at Work?

Every year where I work there is a survey of employees to see how satisfied we are.  (It doesn't matter really where I work because most large organizations do this type of annual survey.)  One year they added a question, "Do you have a best friend at work?"  Honestly, I have always refused to answer this question because it is so poorly written.  Literally, your "best" friend is the one you like the best.  Of all your friends.  Do they want to know "Does your best friend work with you?" or, as I suspect, "Do you enjoy coming to work because you like the people with whom you work?"  Yes, I know there is research out there to support that people who have friends at work are more likely to stay there, but it doesn't have to be your best friend does it?

That aside, I want to dedicate tonight's post to the people with whom I work (none of whom are my best friend).  The reason people are more likely to stay in a job with people they like is flat out, when things get crazy, you want people around you that you respect and like.

Take today for example.  I don't know if there is a full moon or if the fact that the circus is literally in town is the cause, but today was one for the record books.  My little office of co-workers and I all had insane experiences with people from outside our office and I credit the fact that I work with intelligent and confident people who above all believe in operating with integrity and when all else fails can laugh for the reason I can sit here and type this e-mail.  We all took one or more for the team today and my co-worker in particular had an experience that would leave weaker men and women (such as myself) running for cover.

In the midst of all of this craziness, I heard the aforementioned co-worker laugh with such sheer joy that it made me laugh.  Not a ha ha, but a can't stop giggling at the sheer insanity.  For the first time in more than two years of working with her.  After more than one of us tried to tell her funny stories earlier in the week and found out that we weren't funny.  All of which really made her laughter even funnier.  And made all the other craziness a little less important.

So, no, I do not work with my best friend.  But I do deeply admire, respect, and enjoy working with my co-workers.  And I agree that goes a long way.

What is the funniest thing that has happened at your office - spill!  Better yet, give a shout out to someone you work with who makes your job enjoyable in the comment section.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Changing Things Up

How often do you change things up in your life?  Maybe something big like changing a job or something little like a room arrangement or your schedule?  I realize I am in about a six month period where I am playing with changes and finding things I like.  Part of it is trying to align my life more closely with my purpose.  Part of it comes from suddenly finding myself a single mother of a toddler.  And some of it is just plain making sure I am still myself and not just Jackson's mom.

One example is that I used to volunteer 10-15 hours a week outside of the home.  This was extremely fulfilling for me and was one of the first things to go.  Now I realize I have a few hours after he goes to bed in the evenings so I am searching for (and finding great matches) opportunities to contribute my skills virtually.

I also went from having a car to not in the split.  Now everywhere I go (daycare, shopping, etc.) involves walking and usually pushing a stroller filled with 25 pounds of baby and whatever other gear and shopping happens to be on the list at the moment.  This is a great change for me both mentally (no longer dealing with car mechanics, inspections, and filling the gas tank), physically (the pounds are falling off), and psychologically (walking just helps me clear my mind!).  I'm not a saint by any means, I have a ZipCar membership for those times when you need a car...but they are a lot fewer than I would have thought.

Another example is that I work for the government and pay raises have been non-existent for a few years and now we are facing furloughs.  Honestly, financially I am not where I would like to be and increasing costs without any increases in income is difficult.  So I am searching out other opportunities and recently joined the Scentsy family where I can earn income at my own pace (and ramp up if needed in case of a furlough).

Part of the process for me has been a thorough clutter removal process in my home that is still ongoing. I do some every week and it makes me feel good.

I've also been adding color to my home and work spaces.  Colors that inspire and energize me.

Add that to finally finding my groove with this blog, making time for friends, spending quality time with my son, and devoting myself fully to the job detail of a lifetime.  I am finally finding where I fit.  I made a few changes that didn't fit and just let them go.

When was the last time you changed your routine?  What would be the first thing you would change?  What would the impact of a change be on your mental and physical self?  What is stopping you?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reflection Time

Ferris Bueller said it best, "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."  Tonight as I sit here in a very quiet house while my son spends the week with his father, I know that reflection is a good thing.  To say the past two years of my life has been a whirlwind is an understatement.  But as I reflect back on my life today, I realize how much I have and how very lucky I am.  I wasn't unhappy yesterday, I just wasn't fully aware of how truly happy I am.

If we can't even stop to realize whether we're happy or not, how do we make decisions that impact our lives and all those people who work with us and depend on us?  If you are not taking time to reflect at work, how do you know where you are, where you're going, and how you'll get there?

Carve out 15 minutes in this week's schedule to seriously reflect on what you want to achieve in the next five years.  Make as many notes as you can during that time.  Don't edit yourself, just let it go.  There are no right or wrong answers.  It can be about work, personal, or both.  Just keep writing - set a timer.  See what you end up with.

Did you write down something you hadn't really thought of before? What surprised you?  What is taking up a lot of your time that isn't leading to anything on the paper?  What will you change this week  because of your reflection?

Monday, March 18, 2013

What Do Elmo, Colbie Caillat, and Daniel Goleman Have in Common?

"When your monster wants to throw things and your monster wants to shout, there's a way to calm your monster, and chill your inner monster out."  We laugh when we play this for our young child and the cute little Elmo turns into a monster and we dance with our little one when Colbie Caillat melodically sings "Belly Breathe."  Toddlers are notorious for meltdowns.  All the research says it is because they don't have the words to express their feelings and guide the parents to stay calm.

But what about when you are at work and YOUR monster wants to throw things?  The Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), a popular emotional intelligence assessment, includes Emotional Management and Regulation as one of composite scales with Stress Tolerance and Impulse Control as subscales.  In other words, how well can you chill your inner monster out?

In his book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, posits that 20 percent of an individual's success comes from IQ (which does not change significantly over a person's life) leaving 80 percent subject to other things, including Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI).  Goleman believes that a person can train his or her brain to increase Emotional Intelligence.  While he believes this training is easier during childhood he acknowledges the brain can be retrained at any age.

But is it really as easy as Colbie says?  Do we just have to breathe?

How do you chill your inner monster out?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekly Challenge - What Are Your Goals for the Week?

We've all heard it - you are more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down and more likely still if you tell someone else.  It seems easy, right?  So why do we hesitate to write down and share our goals?  I can think of two popular ones right off the bat.

If we say it out loud it won't come true.  We've all heard this one in some form or another, usually when  someone is expecting a new job offer or baby.  That little voice in our head says don't count your chickens until they're hatched.  Understood.  However, there is a difference between telling someone your goal is to get a new job in the next three months and telling someone that you expect to be working for X company by the end of the month.  I know setting SMART goals asks us to be specific, but in this respect a little vagueness is understood.

If we don't achieve the goal we will be a failure in our own eyes and those of the people we told.  Rubbish.  I have a good friend at work who is always telling people her wildest goals.  Yes, some people roll their eyes.  And those are the same people who are picking their chins up off the floor when she achieves them.  What could be more satisfying.  Instead of holding back, tell your biggest critic and then watch their amazement as you succeed.

So, my challenge to you this week is tell someone (post it in a comment here, too!) of a goal you have for this week.  Come back and brag when you've achieved it!

Just to be fair, my goal for this week is to get 275 page views on my blog by this time next Sunday.  You professional bloggers out there might think that isn't much, but it is a big stretch for me.  I'll keep you updated...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Work Life Balance

There is a lot of talk and writing around work/life balance, but what does it really mean?  As I pave my road of single motherhood, I have a different view than I ever have before.  For me, it now includes being able to do work I love, spending time with my child and helping him develop, and cherishing time for myself and fulfilling my own dreams.  While it seems so large, it seems within reach.  Part of it deals with organization.  I don't have to schedule to the point that my perceiving preference gets stressed out.  But I do have to prioritize tasks for the day and week.  Part of it deals with really knowing what is important to me and what is not.  And part of it deals with not feeling selfish for wanting it all.

How do you define work/life balance and how do you protect it?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Will... (A Weekly Challenge)

We all know people who spend more time telling you why they can't do something than they do actually doing it.  We also know people who try to please everyone and agree to everything.  Both are equally troublesome.

So...for the next week, I am taking the phrase "I can't" and "Of course" out of my vocabulary and replacing them both with "I will."  What it means is that instead of immediately saying I can't or of course, I will think seriously about what I can do and commit to that affirmatively with "I will..."

What do you think?  Join me in the challenge.  Let us know how it feels to make the shift.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Staying True to Your Core Values

I recently did an exercise where someone asked me to list my values.  I've done this with a list and without it.  For me, it is easier to start with a list and then whittle it down.  Basically I end up with wanting to contribute, be recognized for my exceptional work, and be a good and honest person.  These are my core values.

We all have them.  They are those values that guide our actions and decisions without our really even thinking about them.  It is usually only when we are somehow asked to violate them that we realize how important they are to us.

As children, it might be when all of our "friends" are picking on the kid in the class who is "different" and something inside of us wants to protect that person.

As teenagers, it might be when our friends are pressuring us to drink, do drugs, or have sex and we decide that pizza and movies on a Friday night at home might not be the worst thing.

In college, it might be when we really want to take that Art History course and our parents really want us to take the business or pre-law course.

At work it might be when we see a co-worker treated poorly, see a co-worker abuse a rule, or are asked to do something by our boss "to get ahead" that just doesn't seem right.

What we do in those moments forever shapes us.  We all want to say that we always do the right thing, and always would.  But we are not perfect, nor are those around us.

So think about what your core values are.  Write them down.  Where is the line you won't cross?  What would you do if you were asked to cross it?  Really think about what is important to you and how you will protect it.

If you are lucky enough, you work for and with people you trust.  You may argue with them and they may frustrate you at times, but you trust them to respect and honor your core values.  If you have that in this day and age, make sure you honor it.  Protect them and their values the way you would your own.

If you are unlucky, you didn't have to think very hard about what are your core values because they jumped out at you from much reflection on a day to day basis when you feel they are being trampled on.

I must admit here, I've been on both sides of this dilemma.  I tend to withdraw instinctively when I work for someone or with someone I don't trust.  But here's the catch - that violates one of my core contribute.

I have learned, that to be true to my core values, I have to respect the person for whom I work.  That makes me fulfilled and it keeps me engaged.  In the past, I have worked in a job I didn't even really like because I respected my boss.  Probably not the best career model to follow, but I like where it has taken me.  I have had the opportunity to work for some strong, caring, intelligent women who mentored me and performed their job with true integrity.  Do I make lots of money?  No.  Do I lead a large division of people?  No.  But, I know that I contribute, I am recognized for my exceptional work, and I am a good and honest person.  And for me, that is everything.

So I ask you again...what are your core values?  How do you stay true to them?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Do You Bring Solutions?

I often hear from leaders that their employees seem to come to them to solve all the problems, send them in the right direction, tell them exactly what to do, etc.  In my mind I would hate needing to get that much sign-off from my boss, but I realize that it is a prevalent problem in the workforce today.  Here is a checklist to work through before you ask your boss for help.

1.  Standard Operating Procedure.  Is there one?  Have you checked what it says?

2.  Your notes from when you received the assignment.  What?  I cannot tell you how many people don't take notes when they are receiving a new assignment.  Yes, it is a lot to take in at once, that is why you write down your steps so you have something to go back to.

3.  Samples from prior similar assignments prepared by senior employees in the office.  I'm not saying plagiarize, but do you know the accepted format?  Does the boss like an executive summary up front?

4.  Your independent research.  And please do not tell me you went to Wikipedia only.  There is a wealth of information at your fingertips.  The trick is to synthesize it into something that is useful and reliable.

5.  When you get stuck or have a problem - bring three possible remedies/solutions.  Do not just say, I couldn't find anything, do it, etc.  How can it be fixed, prioritized, reorganized into something sustainable, etc?  Show you are a problem solver and it will earn you respect.

Asking for help is not a problem.  It is when you are asking for help instead of doing your work that will earn you a bad reputation.  What can you do today to make sure you are exhausting your own thought processes and research channels before you seek out the help of others?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Flashing Back to the First Day of School

I am taking a class tomorrow - not teaching - taking!  And I am like a kid getting my backpack ready for the first day of school.  Notebook, check...favorite pen, check...lunch so I don't have to leave, coke and red bull to keep me focused, check...

The beauty of lifelong learning is you always have that thrill of learning something new, stretching your wings, stepping outside of your comfort zone.  You've seen that medicine commercial...a body at rest will stay at rest.  I believe the mind is the same way.  (I know, there are lots of neuroscience books out there that say the same thing and give scientific data and proof.  But do you really need it?  Don't you know that feeling when you learn something new?  It has to be good for you!)

So as I look forward to my day tomorrow, I encourage you to look at your schedule this week.  I am pretty sure you have a pile of articles and books (either actual or virtual) just waiting for your attention.  Can you carve out one hour this week to learn something completely new?

Tell us what you learned!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Overwhelmed by Trying to Do It All?

Authors Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest are about to release a fresh perspective on having it all by cutting out the "noise." The book will be released on March 19 and I'll write a full review when I've had a chance to read it. In the meantime, I invite you to join me in MinCamp!

Minimalist Parenting MinCamp

MinCamp is a 14-day challenge to move you in the right direction.  I just finished day 6 and I am feeling great about my progress.  The 15 minute challenges are just perfect for fitting in after the kids have gone to bed or during nap time.  Without giving away their process (seriously, click on the link and sign up!), I've had reflective time and action time that helps center me and give my actions purpose.  The actions are in small enough chunks that there is no inner pull to put them off until you have enough time.  The badges you earn after completing each challenge help you end the day with your own personal gold star.  Each day you will receive an e-mail from the authors with directions on the day's task and related links.  If you like the MinCamp as much as I have I know you'll be looking for the book for more!

Best of luck with your journey - let me know if you join!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

You Will Never Be As Hard on a Single Working Mother as She is On Herself

I was recently half an hour late to a Junior League of Washington meeting and a when I asked a question about something they had discussed earlier a friend made a joke about getting there on time.  Yes, within no time at all I realized she was making a joke and didn't worry about her.  The reason it hit home and I continued to worry about being late was that I was beating myself up inside about being late.  Her teasing comment was barely heard because of the screaming judgmental voice inside every single mother that says "you can't do this" or "you're doing it wrong."

To give you a little perspective, let me give you an idea of what I needed to do to get to my meeting at 7:00 PM.  I needed to leave work at 5:00 PM, walk to a metro station, wait for the right train and take it to my station about six miles away, walk to my son's daycare to pick him up, get the feedback for the day from his teacher, on this particular day we had to find the shoe my son had taken off and hidden in the room, pack up his stuff, walk home, pick up dinner for him at our favorite pizza place (thank goodness for our favorite place in our condo building), meet the babysitter, give her the update and catch up a little, catch a bus to my metro station, take the train to another station, and take another bus to my meeting.  Now consider for just a moment your experience with public it ever just sitting there waiting for you to hop in and leave?  I had to wait four times for a bus or a train.  When I rationally sit here and type this out I am amazed that I ever make it on time!  Now remember, for those four hours of commuting time and meeting, I am paying for a babysitter.  Should I call into the meeting instead of going in?  Probably.  Should I take a year off and get myself together after the upheaval of my life this year?  Probably.  But the truth is, I need my night or two each month with these women.  I love the people on the committee and we are doing important work.  It is truly one of my top two life experiences with true teamwork.  Beyond that, these women have helped me through one of the roughest times of my life both through personal efforts and through just giving me an escape and sense of normalcy.  So I do this twice a month and I do my best to juggle everything to make it happen.

In your life there are single mothers you work with, volunteer with, or are friends with.  It is okay to admit that you get frustrated when they are unreliable and you have to deal with it.  Single working moms have to take off work when a child is sick.  Period.  There are no other options.  Daycare doesn't allow sick children for the obvious reason that they don't want the other children to get sick.  Single working moms sometimes don't get any sleep and don't have energy for fun things you may have planned for months.  Single working mothers spend all day at work and then all evening taking care of their child or children, they rarely have time for relaxing showers let alone phone calls with friends.  Single working mothers often ask you to change drinking and dancing get togethers to playing trains at Barnes and Noble.  It is okay to miss who they were and get frustrated.  The most important thing you need to know when you do this is whatever you are thinking or saying is nothing compared to what is going on in their heads.  You can't make a single working mother feel bad - she does that herself.  And she tends to work harder to try to constantly make up for everything she thinks she is doing wrong.

Would I hire a single working mother - in a heartbeat.  They are hard-working, values-based people and they will give you everything they have and constantly strive to give you more.

Would I have a single working mother as a friend - absolutely.  They appreciate little things and your company in a way you will never fully understand.  They just want to hear what happened in your day!

Would I volunteer with a single working mother - gladly.  They are making a conscious decision to give of more than just their time because they truly believe in the cause.

Have I ever judged a single working mother - sadly yes.  I look back at my own childhood and realize what an amazing woman my mother was.  Even as the child of a single working mother I did not understand the challenges because she made it look easy and normal.  She did it with the ultimate grace and set an amazing example.  Only now, at forty-two, after having my own child, have I learned that she has the same voice in her head (still!).  Hearing her thoughts on what she thinks she did wrong and knowing what an amazing mother she was to me in reality are what help me when my inner voice starts judging me.  Not every single working mother has that type of reassurance to hold on to so I hope that this little piece will help them.

You are an amazing person.  You are raising one or more children who will just remember that their mother was successful, hard-working, and always there for them.  They may remember those occasional times when they were at your office, but they remember them as magical times in a new place with lots of cool grown-up things around.  You will never understand how "fun" your workplace is!  They will never know about the times you cry in the shower because you don't think you can do it. And they won't know or care that they were frequently late to daycare or play dates.  They will remember your love and your support.  They will remember your passion for your work and your causes.  And they will look up to you and remember you as an amazing person not as a single working mother.

For those of you who are friends or co-workers of single working mothers.  Don't worry when you judge them or if you say something out loud.  You will never be as hard on them as they are being on themselves.  Anger is such a difficult emotion to maintain and they just don't have the time or energy for it.  They understand that you are not trying to be mean and they will forgive you long before you forgive yourself.

Single moms out there - what is something that someone has done for you that you were so incredibly touched by and they probably have no idea how much it meant to you?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Surprise someone with a positive action.

Somewhere along the way we have become extremely hostile to each other.  We are quick to blame others and constantly protecting our own back.  At work and outside.  I sincerely hope this is one of those "inside the beltway" things, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is not.  Is it the pressure of a long-term recession?  Do we see those less fortunate than us and get angry only because we know how very easily that could be us in the blink of an eye?  Are we so insecure in our jobs that we will willingly and quickly throw a co-worker, team, or organization under the bus?  

I am truly hoping that you will join me in this week's challenge and share your stories as comments below.  For the next seven days, seek out and seize an opportunity each day to surprise someone with a positive action.  Pay for the person's lunch in the fast food store behind you.  Give a co-worker positive feedback.  Tell a loved one how much you admire them (and why!).  Let's create a ripple of positive action across the country this week that overpowers that grey cloud that seems to be covering everyone.

Who's in?