June 28, 2010

feeling prepared

Each of us has a different level of comfort with how much time we have to prepare for something.
It is good to be aware of what our experience of this is, because sometimes, we believe that we aren't ready when we are.  Sometimes it is possible to hold ourselves back from doing things because we don't feel ready, when we will never feel ready.  
In regular day to day life, however, there are those of us who prefer to be prepared ahead of time, and those of us who thrive on leaping in.  Both approaches are valid and have strengths that shine in different situations.  There is nothing wrong with someone whose approach differs than yours.  They do not need fixing, talking to or remediation.  
In terms of understanding and honouring the relationships in our lives, it is good to remember this. A little acceptance goes a long way. 

June 22, 2010

do you floss?

Do you floss your teeth?
We know it is 'good' to floss.  It makes our dental hygienist happy and dental cleanings less painful.  More than one of us has staggered, gums bleeding, from our dental office.  It is also about looking after yourself. 
Knowing that something is good for you is often not enough to make you do it.
Creating a habit of flossing is about more than healthy gums.  It's about integrity.  With yourself.  About whether you can give your word to yourself that you are going to do something and then do it.  Every day.
There is a tendency to think that our word to ourselves doesn't matter much.  No one else knows what you promised.  Only you do. 
It does matter. When you break your word with someone else, they begin to lose trust in you.  Break it a few times and they start to make up a story about who you are.  That you are always late.  Or that you don't pay back money they loan you.  Or that you are someone who cancels plans at the last minute.  
When you break your word to yourself, you make up the same stories.  And you believe them.  You believe the stories and your belief limits what you take on.  You won't take on things that don't mesh with the person you know yourself to be.
How many broken promises are you carrying around?  It can be a heavy burden.  The good news is, you can start to rebuild trust with yourself at any time.  Start with one thing.  A small thing.  Floss your teeth. 

June 20, 2010

the power of a relationship

A business that pays attention to the relationship that customers develop with employees has a tremendous advantage.
We can be drawn to the products or services of a business for many reasons.  Sometimes the brand attracts us, often word of mouth from friends.  Once hooked to try it, however, it is usually the person that we as customers relate to, not the company.  When we make a decision about returning to a store or a restaurant or re-engaging the services of someone, we think of the person we interacted with.  That experience can make it or break it.
If the product is at least good, the experience with the employee can make the difference in setting that business apart from all the others providing 'good' products.  If the product is exceptional, leveraging the customer relationship can knock it out of the park.
Businesses have multiple points of contact with their customers.  As customers, our impression is formed from every interaction.  The cashier, receptionist, shelf-stocker, hostess, waitress, maid, maintenance person, security guard.  Every single interaction matters.
For any of us, this presents a huge opportunity.  Creating a good relationship with customers is entirely within our control.  It is aided by a little mindfulness.  How do you want your customers or clients to feel, and what are you doing to create that?

June 13, 2010

three things to remember

I participated in a Change Camp (vcc2010) on Saturday.
The energy was infectious. Participants were from a broad range of careers and pathways. Drawn to be there, from a collective sense of passion and commitment to causing a difference.
Topics ranged from creating meaningful online public engagement to generating crowdfunding for social change projects to the culture of permission within large organizations. If you are interested, you can find notes from the sessions here.
I will share three things I left with. That I didn't have - or at least, wasn't present to - when the day began.
One:  it doesn't have to be a lot of work to bring people together to share ideas.  The thought of organizing people seems daunting.  However, it's mostly the thinking about it that is daunting. As Elijah, one of the organizers of this event, stated if you create the space and let people know, they will come.
Two:  forums for gathering collective intelligence are powerful and regenerating.  The energy generated can carry any idea far.  Being able to harness that kind of energy is gold.
Three:  groups is the way to get things done. I know this, yet I forget.  One of my favourite quotes, from Margaret Mead, reads "never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.'' Her quote isn't about one person.  It's about group.
Any time I am trying hard by myself to make something happen, and feeling powerless and isolated, then it is good for me to remember these things.  Find others to help.  Bring them together. Make change happen.

June 9, 2010

power in a photo

Music, and its lyrics, has tremendous power to shift emotion, move, inspire.  Quotations, for me, have a similar power.
I have only recently become aware of the power in pieces of art, and in photos.
All stir emotion.  Emotion can have great influence over what we do.  Whether we do what we say we are committed to.  Whether we hold ourselves back for some reason; maybe because we aren't feeling powerful.
I wanted to share this photo I took, from a recent trip to San Francisco.  I like what it expresses, that at any time, we can choose to be different than before.  And I like that the sign is hanging there on the street, to have its impact on all who pass by.