This week I had to learn a new software package at work.
And while I’d describe myself as pretty tech-savvy, I had no idea the concentration it would take for me to learn just a few basic things. After the first hour on the first day, I was cranky and snippy.
I’ve always romanticized learning. And what’s most embarrassing is how much this reveals about how little I’ve been stretching myself.
I have to remember this when I put my kids on the bus each morning, and welcome their weary souls back each afternoon.
One of my BFFs was celebrating a milestone birthday. A jaunt to Tuscany was out of the question, so a group of us met at a Hampton Inn just 45 minutes away.
Our tiny hotel room could not accommodate a swinging bathroom door on a hinge, so to save space, the door was on sliders. Our window looked out onto a highway off-ramp. Someone commented that the room was actually quite large by cruise-ship standards.
We gabbed and laughed and ate microwaved appetizers. We never set an alarm or got a wake up call. Nothing we did the next day was pre-planned or required reservations.
We came home refreshed and feeling like we had spent far more than 24-hours away.
And while a trip to Tuscany might’ve been lovely, it would’ve also been fraught with jet lag, high-hopes and must-sees.
Having no expectations was the key to our magical getaway. Something to remember during this holiday season of “too much.”
Seth’s new book reminded me of something.
Back in the day, my newly minted OB/GYN needed patients.
She hired a manicurist to give manicures to her patients in her waiting room.
In her first year she delivered more babies than doctors that had been practicing for decades.
This is marketing.
I kick myself every time I use my phone’s calculator app.
I only need to multiply 234 and 345, and all of a sudden I’m responding to texts, emails and scrolling recommendations from Netflix.
20-minutes later, I can’t remember why I picked up the phone in the first place.
People love their own spreadsheets.
This passion is born out of the author’s deep understanding of the logic they’ve painstakingly developed inside every cell.
But something happens when the spreadsheet is shared with others. The author is exuberant:
“Isn’t this cool?”
“It’s so clear.”
But onlookers are confused. The unfamiliar jumble of numbers, colors and tables, is disorientating.
“Is ‘red’ a good outcome?”
“Why are we dividing cell A3 by cell T5?”
The audience simply doesn’t have their sea legs.
Other peoples’ spreadsheets make me feel downright dopey.
Please don’t email me your spreadsheet or present it on a large screen.
Spoon-feed me the results instead.
The clasp on my watch had a recurring problem: It would suddenly release at random times.
I took my watch from jeweler to jeweler and everyone had the same answer: There was nothing wrong with the watch clasp.
At the last store, the jeweler asked if he could examine the way I put the watch on my wrist.
In just 60 seconds of observing me, he realized I was closing the latch from left-to-right, when it should be clasped right-to-left.
Imagine the chronic issues and pains that might be solved with just one extra minute of attention.
I’m convinced that there are secret rules everyone knows but me.
“Where do I stand to wait for a StairMaster?”
“Do I need to tip for takeout?”
Turns out most people feel this way.
The other day a woman at Aldi gave me her shopping cart. If you know the secret-cart- rule at Aldi, you know that to release a grocery cart from the corral, you need to pay a quarter. Aldi exit-ers simply hand off their carts to Aldi enter-ers in a pay-it-forward kind of way. First-timers are confused at the dogged insistence of the exit-er to take their cart, until an Aldi old-timer explains the arrangement.
Mentoring is all about explaining the secret-rules. What knowledge can you share that’ll bring someone a little more into the loop?
Yesterday, on our way to Thanksgiving dinner at my mother-in-law’s, we stopped and ate at McDonald’s.
To onlookers we must’ve seemed lame, negligent and everything that’s wrong with society.
But hold up: The McDonald’s was at a rest stop and we all had to use the bathroom. Traffic had us on the road for two hours longer than normal. And of course the french fries.
See how understanding a backstory can activate compassion and humor?
What else are we judging without understanding?
(p.s. we didn’t mention our pre-feast pit stop to my mother-in-law.)
Most days, I send gratitude group text to my immediate family. Sometimes one of my sons will reply with something he’s thankful for, but often it’s just me.
This tiny habit helps set my mood to a good one. And often changes it from a bad one.
Turns out, it’s hard for me to remember my struggles at the same time I’m being grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving everyday.
I am a conflict-allergic manager.
But I’ve found another way: Instead of confronting bad behavior, I compliment good behaviors instead.
Has almost the same outcome in results.