Saturday, April 29, 2017

FoodSanity(19.0)

It's been awhile since I've shared a FoodSanity post.  You may have wondered if I fell off the wagon.  NOT!  Moe (my lovely bride of 40 years) and I are now over four years into our journey of what I'll call "nutritional repentance."  We have been steady learning about the power of good nutrition to positively impact our bodies, our cognition, and our emotional/spiritual state.  Never going back - to brain fog, to aching joints, to blood pressure medicine, to antacids, to weight struggles, to...

That said, many folks inquire about our nutritional choices with great interest.  A few seem to believe we have come under the spell of some cult, one devoted to forsaking traditional nutrition.  Truth be known, our current diets probably more likely resemble "traditional" fare than they do that of the Standard American Diet (aka SAD) of the last 30-40 years.  Our nutritional inputs today are eerily similar to that of our grandparents and their grandparents.  It's just REAL FOOD - food that obviously looks/feels/smells/tastes as if it were grown, in someone's garden (preferably our own). 

Many friends and family bemoan the significant challenge of finding REAL FOOD for themselves and their families.  Agreed.  We have chosen to raise as much of our own as we can.  Yet, better than SAD food is available, even at your local grocery store.  As Dr. Ben Edwards advises, shop the perimeter of the store, where the produce and meats, in their most more natural form are stocked.  Avoid like the plague the inner aisles where all the boxed and packaged stuff resides (stuff that is chock full of grain, laced with coloring, impregnated with preservatives, reformulated, smashed, smushed, sliced, diced, and chemically infected).

Opting for that "perimeter food" is a good start toward cleaner nutrition.  But it's just a start.    The internet is full of great information to inform our search for healthy nutrition.  All it takes is a little time each day to educate yourself (while you're drinking some bullet-proof coffee).  Look it up.  ;-)  

Friday, April 28, 2017

MouseLessons

I recently read Lessons from the Mouse by Dennis Snow (2010).



DS, a long-term employee of Disney World, shares with us the secrets of making magic for customers, and for ourselves.

My biggest takeaways:
  • Consistency of performance is grounded in our habits.
  • Some keys to making work "fun" - Smile, Play (with each other and with customers), Connect (with each other and with customers), Fake it (even when you don't feel like it).
  • Be animated, not automated.
  • A great title for the receptionist - Vice President of First Impressions (could also be used for bus drivers, greeters, cafeteria workers, technicians, ...)
  • Employees are to be treated the way they are expected to treat customers.
  • How to take charge of one's own career: Let your boss know your goals, Be a problem solver, Find a mentor, Be passionate about your work, Always learn, Make your boss look good, Work hard and smart, Show up on time or early.  
My favorite quote:
"In your organization, your customer is whoever benefits from the work you do – or conversely, whoever suffers when your work is done poorly or not at all."  (p. 97)

A quick read and a great book for team book studies.  Thanks for the recommendation, RB.

Monday, April 24, 2017

(Re)Made

The biological sciences now inform us that about 98 percent of the cells in our bodies overturn each year.  Yep, the you in the mirror is physically 98 percent completely rebuilt from one year ago.

Of course, we all know that we don't look or even feel exactly as we did a year ago.  But knowing just how completely new/different we are physically is a little sobering.  If we're that much remade, what goes/went into that rebuilding and remaking?  Fundamentally, it boils down to our daily habits - the quality of food we chose to ingest, the kinds and quantities of hydration we take in, the amount and forms of rest we accomplish, and the nature of the exercise in which we partake.  A million little decisions (driven by our habits) each day/week/month go into the complete rebuilding of US each year.

Same holds true for our emotional/spiritual and cognitive selves.  We are constantly remaking ourselves in those dimensions through our practices of renewal, our choices in what we read/hear/see, the people we choose to associate with, and the purposefulness and quality of our reflective practices.  Again, all are driven by the habits we have adopted.

Since the NEW us is under constant construction - either purposely, or not - it's probably worth our time to take a close look at our habits.  After all, we choose those. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

ActionVerbs

Having been raised in the Christian faith, Matthew 7:7 resides firmly ingrained in my psyche and tattooed on my soul:  "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (New International Version)

Notice that the available abundance alluded to in these words of Jesus is prefaced in each instance with required initiative action on our part.  The three operative action verbs are "ask," "seek," and "knock."  Implied prior to each of those actions is a conscious decision - a choice to pursue more.

Wanting is simply not enough.  

We must actively press for that we desire, whether it be peace or security or knowledge or wisdom or love or truth or...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stymied

All of us get overwhelmed.  Sometimes it's in our personal lives.  Sometimes it's in our professional lives.  Sometimes it's in both at the same time.

Some folks seem to get completely stymied when feeling the endless crush of life bearing down on them.  Here are some typical symptoms of the stymied:
  • Busyness - They move relentlessly from one inconsequential task to another.
  • Attention Deficit - They don't finish thoughts, sentences, emails, projects, or meals without jumping right into the next.
  • Fuzziness - They not only lose focus on what's important, they seem to forget that they even know what's important.
Other folks I know manage overwhelmedness with much more aplomb.  Traits (or, habits) of the un-stymied:
  • Re-focusing - These folks make a habit of regularly revisiting the main drivers of their lives and professional pursuits, keeping them psychologically (and logically) moving toward their chosen goals.
  • Gear down instead of speed up - These folks build into their days/lives minutes of purposeful reflection or solitude or reading, somehow - an emotional/psychological habit of resetting, if you will. 
  • Finishing - They make the conscious decision to spend their energy primarily on stuff that matters, and to deliberately, persistently bring those projects/tasks to completion.
When we allow ourselves to be stymied by overwhelming circumstances, we open the door to less energy, less passion, less effectiveness, less learning, less...LIFE.

We can do better.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cliffhanger

From my years of charading as an athletic coach, I recollect the frequent banter among coaches when we would assess the propensity of an athlete to exhibit what is now often called grit.

Grit is a combination of character, determination, resilience, and refusal to give up.  

The anecdote went something like this:  If you fell over a cliff and your survival depended on one person at the top of the cliff holding onto your lifeline, would you want _____?_____ holding that rope?

Though we rarely get into literal cliffhanging jams in life, the figurative kind come along with a fair amount of frequency.  Having someone at the top of the cliff who'll "hold the rope" is just as important in the figurative cliffhangers as in the literal.

Know the folks you want holding your rope?


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mentored

We all benefit from mentorship.  Some mentors do it in fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants fashion, doing what they do without a lot of reflection or intent.  Okay.  Some, on the other hand, mentor with laser-like purpose.  Okay.

Regardless of deployment type, there are some common roles mentors play:
  • Wizard - They help us see possibilities, solutions, and the potential for magic.
  • Mine Sweeper - They guide us through treacherous landscapes, identifying pathways, pointing out threats.
  • Diagnostician - They help us assess our strengths, our weaknesses, and our blindspots. 
  • Coach - They prescribe situations and learning opportunities that sharpen us, that improve our skills, that make us stronger.
  • Cheerleader - They enthusiastically support us, and work to build similar support among others.
  • Parent - They love us (despite our flaws) and defend us (despite our mistakes) and hold us accountable (despite the associated pain for both of us).
Some mentors play all of those roles.  Some play a few.  Some play only one.

The cumulative effect is that we receive the right amounts of pressure and support to make us better, stronger, smarter, and wiser.

The obligation, of course, is that we pay it forward.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WordRules

Words are some of the most powerful tools/weapons we have at our disposal.  The impact of our words only intensifies as the size of the audience grows and/or as the level of our leadership authority increases.

Thus, some key guiding principles can have positive and immeasurable impact when we follow them:

  • Words seem able to hurt FAR easier than they heal; use them negatively with extreme caution.
  • Criticism never plays well (especially when uninvited).
  • Apologies are extremely hard to carry off with authenticity and sincerity.
  • Speak with brevity, speak with precision.
  • Judiciously match tone and body language to the message (mixed signals are bad signals).
  • Thought provoking questions are a most powerful use of words.
  • Think first; pain, anger, confusion typically follow thoughtlessly delivered words.
  • Listening well always trumps talking well.
  • If in doubt, stop talking.
We make the world a better place when we wisely abide by these word rules.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Anxious

Anxiety is a cognitive-emotional state.  All of us who have cognitive function and emotional being experience it.  "Anxiety" typically fosters negative connotations, but it can and does serve us in some useful ways.  

Anxiety, healthily channeled, can..

  • Focus our attention, heighten our awareness.
  • Spike our energy levels.
  • Press us toward action.

Anxiety, not so healthily channeled, can..

  • Fog up our thinking and judgement.
  • Drain us of energy.
  • Paralyze and stymie us.
Obviously, the difference in outcomes is based on how we channel the anxiety.  

Healthy channeling of anxiety comes from knowing who we are, knowing clearly where we are going, knowing well how to discern the difference between "urgent" vs "important," knowing sources of wisdom (both living and written) upon which we can draw, and knowing deeply what we believe.

Those who do not experience anxiety are not living, either figuratively or literally.  Channel well.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hiding

We all know folks who hide.

They hide behind the rules.
They hide from owning decisions.
They hide from customers/clients.
They hide from differing viewpoints.
They hide from silence and reflection.
They hide behind their busy schedules.
They hide from "putting their name on it."
They hid behind "headquarters" or "corporate."
They hide by saying "no" quickly, thoughtlessly.
They hide from examination of changing contexts.

None of those hiders am I inclined to follow.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Good'Un

About 25 years ago, Moe (my lovely bride of 40 years) and I purchased our initial piece of ranch property.  Our first project on that place was to build a new barbed wire fence on a couple of the boundaries, one of which was along a county road.

An old bachelor neighbor (I'll call him Bob) would slowly drive by during that fencing project, examining our work.  After several days of observing, Bob pulled up next to me one day, killed his engine, and began chatting.  We talked weather, cattle, the price of feed, the need for rain, etc.  Then Bob got around to what I believe was his purpose for stopping.  The old bachelor looked through the windshield of his old truck at Moe working on fence about 300 yards away and enviously said, "You gotta a good woman, there."

Below is a picture of Moe fencing yesterday.


Bob is spot on, still.  He doesn't have a clue how good she is.

Would love to think she and I have at least another 25 years of (fence) building in front of us.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pre-Suasion

I recently read Pre-Suasion:  A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini (2016).


RC follows up on his initial blockbuster, Influence (2006), by taking a measured and empirical look at how those of us in the business of influencing others can effectively "set the stage" for acceptance of our message.

My biggest takeaways:

  • Trust is the precursor of influence.
  • Six powerful tools of influence:  reciprocation, liking, social proof, authority, scarcity, and consistency.
  • The focusing of attention is critical to influencing thought and/or action.
  • Making a personal/emotional connection to the content is a powerful attractor of attention.
  • Closing the discussion before closure causes cognitive revisitation later.
  • Rhyme and music are powerful psychological connectors to content.
  • Establishing habits around desired outcomes is imperative to sustaining change.
  • Fostering a sense of kinship/unity heightens the potency of influence.
  • Three ravagers of organizational health:  poor employee performance, high turnover, and prevalent employee fraud and malfeasance.

My favorite quote:
“Dale Carnegie assured us, ‘You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.’” (p.  92)

An excellent read - one of the best I've read in several years.   Thanks for the recommendation, DP.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Leaning

Leaning ON that which we already know and understand is a good thing.  Leveraging the knowledge, the experiences, the skills we have acquired helps us to function more fully and more effectively.   But only if we activate that leaning with intent.  Otherwise, that knowledge, those experiences, those skills are useless to us.

Leaning INTO that which we do not know, have not experienced, or cannot yet do is just as powerful a concept.  Pushing into new knowledge, unfamiliar experiences, novel skills stretches us in myriad ways.  And, it makes us healthier and wholer (oops, another new word).  

There is little difference in the words "leaning" and "leaRning" - just an R's difference.  However, both are critical to our getting better, doing better, being better.

R we?