Appreciating My Insides

Everyone is different. No one is the same. These have been grilled into my head since I was little. I still remember being in church at age 5 and singing "Red, yellow black or white, all are precious in His sight."

But those are external. Have you ever really thought about the internal differences that make us so diverse?

I am a naturally talkative person. I am comfortable in social situations, can chat it up with complete strangers and am confident in myself. Being a waitress for 3 years fed this personality trait and helped me fine tune it. It is easy for me to sympathize, empathize and spew out a bunch of professional sounding lines in seconds. It's natural, it's genuine and it is part of me and my personality.

I've never really stopped to think how it would be if it were the other way around. What if I felt shy in social situations and uncomfortable talking to strangers? What if nerves constantly surrounded my every move in life? I wonder if I would be successful, I would almost certainly be in a different career field. I take my outgoing personality for granted and I shouldn't.

External differences between 2 people are obvious. They are there staring you in the face. The next time you are speaking with someone and start to feel impatient or taken aback by their attitude put yourself in their shoes. What seems logical in demeanor and attitude to you, may be coming from someone complete different internally.

Appreciate who you are, inside and out. And don't forget to appreciate and understand who others may be as well.


What happens when The Big Bang Theory & Commencement speeches collide:

Larry died.

Larry dies at least once a month, but this time, I know he's not coming back ... my roommate tossed him in the garbage while I was away. She left his pot on the counter. Larry was my plant. The only living thing I have ever been entrusted with. And he ended up in the trash. Awesome. It was a *great* return from a truly *great* weekend.

Ever have one of those trips where everything that could go wrong, does? This weekend, my Mother & I took the 5 hour trip to Potsdam, NY to watch my little sister graduate from SUNY Potsdam.

It's appropriate that as I'm writing this I'm watching "Two and a Half Men" ... because besides seeing Sister graduate, Chuck Lorre was her commencement speaker.

Chuck Lorre is a producer & writer, currently known for The Big Band Theory, previously, Charles in Charge, Roxanne, Two and a Half Men and many others.

I didn't pay too much attention while the President was introducing him, I was busy trying to put feeling back into my toes.

He caught my attention though. His first words were "Is anyone Twittering, Blogging or Texting this speech?" and the theme was "personal reinvention, or how I stumbled ass backwards into a job where grammar was ignored and neurosis, fear, desperation, childhood wounds and mediocrity was richly rewarded"

Throughout the course of his speech I heard the words condom, sex, pissed, pubic hair, sex, wasted, drunk, asshole, dickhead and oh so many more. The ASL interpretor was doing a lot of finger spelling ... most of his language didn't translate any other way. He commented "Notre Dame had the President of the United States at their commencement. You have me ... that just goes to show, you get what you're willing to pay for."

A SUNY Potsdam student for 2 years before dropping out, he made sure to mention that he learned nothing and in retrospect was the biggest waste of time he'd ever spent. "This is sort of like revisiting the scene of a crime, the crime being that I learned nothing here. For me, Potsdam was two years wasted — with the emphasis on wasted."

There were a few nuggets of, inspiration, in his speech. Or as much as we were going to get. He encouraged students to look beyond the classroom, get out into the world and LEARN. "Smart by itself doesn't get the job done, but experience can kick Smart's butt so go out and start gaining it."

Chuck also said that the one thing he has learned is that in order to get anything in life, you first must be willing to give something.

How true.

Life ... relationships ... it's all a two way street. Be willing to open yourself to others. Share resources and knowledge. Introduce friends, fight for what you know is right. Educate, inform, LEARN! That is a key to success. (Ok, that is my own interpretation and most definitely not his, I think he might be angry to think someone could have taken something positive from that speech.)

So congratulations to my beautiful sister who is sure to go far in life.

And RIP Larry.

EDIT! You can now watch the full speech on YouTube here. Make sure to watch all 3 parts!


How do you Focus?

Last Tuesday I was invited by our Training & Development Specialist to attend her training course, Franklin Covey Focus. The name Franklin Covey comes from a combination of Stephen Covey, the creator, and Benjamin Franklin.

She said I didn't need it, I just needed to become familiar with our courses ... Hmm

I was excited to go because it is a part of my department and being new to the company I want to become involved, know what's going on and find my niche within the organization.

I also REALLY wanted that nice leather Franklin Covey planner.

The class began by discussing the "Time runaround dilemma". Put simply our time dilemma stems from:

Because we don't know what is really important, everything seems important.
Because everything seems important, we try to do everything.
Others see us doing everything, so they expect us to do everything.
Doing everything keeps us busy, so we don't have time to think about what really is important.

Sound familiar to anyone?

The first step is to understand the difference between "Important" and "Urgent". At first thought, these words might seem the same. But they are in fact, very different. Defined, important means "of much or great significance or consequence". Urgent meaning "requiring immediate action or attention; pressing". To understand these differences, our tasks are split into 4 quadrents of the Time Matrix.

Q1: Necessity. Items in this quadrant are crises, pressing and deadline driven. They are important AND urgent.

Q2: Productivity and Balance: These items include preparation, planning, prevention and relationship building. They are important but NOT urgent. Many of these actions may prevent an item from reaching Q1 status.

Q3: Deception. Needless interruptions, unnecessary reports, unimportant email, meeting phone calls. These are urgent but NOT important.

Q4: Waste and Excess. Busywork, time wasters, TV, internet ... the list could go on and on. Not only are these items not urgent they are also not important.

Think about the feelings you have when you are experiencing each quadrant. The only quadrant associated with positive feelings is Q3. While it is impossible to eliminate items from other quadrants, spending time in Q3 will alievate stress from other quadrants while creating contentness and feelings of accomplishment. Spending time in Q3 also makes us more capable to say NO to Q3 and Q4 activites.

One should strive to Manage Q1, Focus on Q2, Minimize Q3 and Avoid Q4.

We were then asked to set a defining set of values for ourselves and following up with a clarifying statement. These are things you value personally and/or professionally. A few examples include: Teamwork, Faith, Integrity, Humor, Family. The clarifying statement is there to elaborate what that value means to you.

These values are what you feel you should live by. These are pulled into your Q2 items. But are you fulfilling them?

After defining our values, we were asked to set achievable goals and create timelines and action plans for our goals.

One important thing they touched on was "Sharpening the Saw". This is your YOU time. Schedule it out, plan for it. If you let your Q1, Q3 and Q4 items take from "Sharpening the Saw" you will spend less time in Q2 which is where you want to be.

There were numerous other activites throughout the course that explanined focus and time management and how to better organize ourselves. It was extremely helpful and I am proud to be apart of an organization that invests in developing these skills in associates. This is a course I would recommend others to participate in or offer to others.

Its been a week and I have been diligently using my planner and accomplishing my action items. I am setting weekly and daily goals and it is a good feeling to be accomplishing the things I am setting out to do.

This is one life lesson I'm happy to have learned.