Friday, April 30, 2010

Giving Back

What does it mean to you to give back? Does it mean to return what you do not want or does it mean to give a little of yourself for something you believe in?

Hopefully all of us think of this as giving of ourselves to others.

The next few weekends are full of opportunities to give back. Of course the Adopt a Highway clean up will happen this Saturday, The Walk for Animals is happening, Benefits in Seattle for the Neighborhood House, next week is the Breast Cancer walks, there are cats to be rescued in Minneapolis, the Vision Charity Jump, the list goes on and on.

We watch the news reports and read the paper about all the ways to give back, but how many of us get off the couch and do something about it?

Summer is here and that means a lot of opportunity to get up and give back. Find something you are passionate about and volunteer to help. Just think what 3 hours of your time in May will mean to someone who has little time! That is less than a half of a half percent of all the time available to do something good for someone else.

Share with the blog how you will give back less than .5% of your time this month?

For me: 6 hours of cleaning up a highway on Saturday.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Change or Reinvent?

How many of us have changed over the years? How many of you have reinvented yourself?

When I was 17 I ruled my world. I was a senior in High School, Captain of any sports team there was, High Schoolbook editor, a member of more clubs than a kid has time for and lead trumpet player in a number of bands. My brother still comments about me at that age when he sees some basketball player make an unbelievable half court shot or someone stealing the ball and making a one handed lay up on the other end...I was a very talented 17 year old. I wanted to be the best and would fight for that award.

When I was 27 I had changed from my 17 year old attitude. I was still a good athlete and after taking a couple tennis lessons started to win tournaments and work my way up the ranks in Los Angeles. My world was amazing. I was living a few miles away from the beach, working out twice a day, hanging out with kids, a music leader for my church, and volunteering at a number of shelters. I still liked the awards, but my eyes began to open up to a different world/person I wanted to be.

When I was 37 I changed again. I moved from Seattle to Minnesota and started my Masters Degree. I was a Dean of Students, bought my first home, and started a fishing guide business. I was on top of the world again living, working and learning. I started caring less about winning and more about 'playing the game'.

I turn 47 in 2 weeks and in the past 10 years I have changed again. I now have a PHD, I own a lot of toys, I started a new coaching business, I have a new home, and have a day job that is amazing. People want me at meetings and want my insight because of what I can do. Now the game is not about winning or losing at all and more about educating, learning, growing, and caring.

I have changed. Or have I reinvented myself?

Reinventing means to start over and understand what you are good at and what you not so great at and change your behaviors, attitudes, and persona of who you are and start living your passions and your purpose.

When I see this description I think I have reinvented myself. I no longer care if I am the best athlete in the world or so competitive that you don't want to play me (Trust me you would not have wanted me on the otherside of anything 20 years ago). I do not find my strength nor my passion in the area of 'beating someone else'. I no longer look at life as good and bad. I no longer view myself as someone that has to be at the top in order to be useful. I don't like keeping score at sports I participate in, I don't enjoy the attitude of stepping on others for my advancement and I certainly am NOT the same person that I was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. I have reinvented myself!

Yes, there have been a lot of changes that have occurred, but I live my passion to the fullest now. I live with a purpose that is higher. I care less about my future and more about how I can help others make their future. I care less about what people think of me and more about what people think!

There are some awesome books out there on reinventing yourself. To my lady readers there is a really good one that is about reinventing yourself, I will post a couple links tomorrow when I get the books I know are good reads at work.

You can change a behavior or attitude from this to that or better to best, but reinventing those behaviors is making sure your values, strengths and goals are behind those changed.

Reinvent Yourselves - You will discover your true passion!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Rain in Spain falls Mainly in Minnesota

It has been raining for two days now and that would make some people rather annoyed, especially since it is raining during the weekend! Around 3/4 inch yesterday and so far a quarter inch today adn it is still coming! So how and why does someone who would love to be doing some shore fishing today and did an 8 hour target shooting event enjoy the days?

Easy, sometimes I have to believe that the weather comes when God tells me to slow down and relax. I have been going and going for weeks in a row and my intention this morning was to go again out to fish for the day, but with the ears and head still not feeling perfect I decided the cold and wet weather gave me an opportunity to slow down and relax.

As I look out the patio door the birds have taken cover except for the robins digging up some good worms in the garden. Even the squirrels have decided to stay in and relax today. The earth is getting exactly what it needs and as of right now I think I am getting exactly what I need as well. A quiet, slow down, and relax day.

Relax the mind, body and spirit and watch the beauty of the day unfold. Slow down and relax.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Celebrating 100 Posts!

Today I celebrate the 101 posts of this blog. When I started I wasn't sure my AADD would allow me to follow through on such an adventure, but I am almost a third way to my goal of over 300 posts this year!

What to do to celebrate? I could write more, I could go out for a big breakfast...hum..what to do?

I have it, I will go to a Women's Gun Shooting Clinic all day! I am sure you all were thinking the same thing! Doesn't everyone go and shoot black powder rifles and 357 magnums when you want to celebrate?

Okay, this was already planned. I grew up shooting and actually had a job that required me to carry and fire if needed. I do not carry now nor do I want to 'fire if needed', but today is a fun day.

Three girl friends and I are heading to a Rifle Range for their annual Women's Shot Camp. We will spend the next 8 hours learning about shooting as well as participate in around 5 hours of actual shooting practice. Sounds like a good way to get the adrenelane going!

Morale of the story...try something new, hang out with friends, do both at the same time. Life is to short not to enjoy a raining late April Saturday by doing something different!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day by...

So many ways to celebrate the day! As good citizens of the world we are coming up with all sorts of ways to help save the planet. When it comes to helping, most of what you hear is about the big companies that are "Earth Day Challenged". Companies that make plastic bottles, plastic bags, plastic anything or companies that build bigger and faster machines with a 5-10 MPG engine, or logging companies that have clear cut some of the natural resource areas. They get a lot of attention,maybe rightly so, but when you put things in perspective maybe we should all be the ones getting the most attention or bad press.

How many plastic water bottles do you have in your house? How many, in the past year, have you said "the heck with it I don't see a recycling bin around so I will just throw THIS one away"?

How many times have you driven your fuel efficient car 2 or 3 blocks to pick up a movie?

How many newspapers and magazines are lying around your house that you have have never read or read once?

Earth Day citizenship isn't just for big businesses folks, all of us have a part in the health of the earth. Don't go blaming big business for supporting Nascar if you don't walk or bike to get that movie. Don't blame the bottled water industry if you buy items in plastic, and don't blame the loggers trying to make a living if you have cardboard and newspapers in your house.

Personal accountability and responsibility is for each of us to have. So celebrate Earth Day today by taking account of how you personally are impacting this world.

Clean up a ditch
Don't sweep your leaves into the street
Use earth friendly soaps and fertilizers
Buy a stainless steel bottle and get rid of the plastic
Support a local food grower
Plant a garden
Plant a tree or two
The list goes on!

It doesn't take a big company to STOP doing something to make a difference rather it takes each of us to START doing something---that is what will make a difference!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The "Yaw" Factor

Today I would like to talk about the YAW factor. Yes, Yaw! No this isn't the Norwegian way of saying yes as is ya sure ya betcha. Pronounced the same way, but completely different meaning.

Yaw is a noun and verb that means to deviate from an intended course. Many times you will hear this term for mariners at sea if they are hit by big waves and cannot get back on the scheduled sailing course. The events around them make them yaw from course.

The yaw factor can be seen in many of our daily lives as well. We have a plan, we have cleaned for spring, we have our course set and 'bang' the yaw factor enters. It happens all the time. A parent gets ill and you are faced with a yaw factor of going and taking care of them. You get into a car accident, your furnace quits in the middle of winter, your marriage ends, you get sick, or you lose your job. All yaw factors.

Every day we are faced with the possibility that a yaw factor will occur. Few of us plan for such events, how can we? Or can we?

Life balance is about growing and learning to be satisfied in your life with or without yaw moments. If you are faced with a yaw moment how do you handle it? Does it make you deviate from every course or just for a little while? Does it make you sail into uncharted areas that are uncomfortable for you? What happens to you when you have the yaw factor occur?

Life is not predictable nor is it easy. Yaw's happen all the time to each of us. The difference is how we handle these moments. Do you get frustrated and give up? Do you set a new course from the yaw moment? Or do you fight to get yourself back on your previous course? All are fine and there is no right or wrong here. As long as you are aware of your course and the impact yaw factors have.

It is okay to steer in a different direction as you may grow and learn more by being there rather then staying where you are now. Maybe the new course will bring in new meaning and purpose to your life. Maybe the new course will convince you that your truth lies in what you plan.

Your convictions to yourself and to your course are the key. Yaw's happen and happen a lot. We can't plan for them, but we can plan our reactions to them.

Just a friendly reminder today to take stock of the potential yaw factors around you. How will you react, learn, grow, change and be?

Ya sure ya betcha!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Every year we seem to all get excited about doing spring cleaning around the house. Old clothes go to goodwill, old files get shredded and recycled, clutter gets either put away or thrown out, and the yard and flower beds get uncovered and ready for the sun.

As part of Four Seasons Coaching, Spring means the same thing but personally.

Spring is the time to personally throw away things that don't fit anymore: attitudes, behaviors, people, activities - things that you no longer value and are no longer healthy to have around you should get rid of! Stop getting junk in your personal mailbox - you don't need it and it only serves to clutter your life.

Spring is the time to shred the old and get ready for the new: I like to think of this in a literal sense. Write down everything that is old and not worth keeping in your head, heart, mind and soul. Seriouslly!!! Write it down!!! Next go to the shredder and put the piece of paper into the shredder and be done with it! Make it a statement that you will leave the negative attitude behind, you will be kind and give yourself a break, you will not worry so much about what others think rather what you feel. Shred it and be done with it.

Spring is the time to get rid of your personal clutter: do you volunteer for everything and have no time for yourself? Have you started 10 self help projects and gotten no where with them? Get rid of the clutter folks. If it is books give them away, plans - revisit and rewrite. Whatever is your clutter, either file it or get rid of it.

Spring is the time to remove the old layer of leaves covering what you are capable of becoming! Establish your vision of who you will be this year. Uncover what is beneath the surface and look to what potential there is in you! You are the flower ready for sun and water, but you must uncover yourself first! Plan, look, be. What is it that will happen by Summer?

Spring Cleaning may be a household phrase for washing windows and changing a waredrobe out, but it is so much more. Do your personal spring cleaning now! Get ready for summer and the growth it will bring!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quote to put things in perspective

There is a quote on my daily calendar that says "God made the world round so we could never see too far down the road." (Isak Dinesen)

It was a great reminder today that taking care of the day to day is as important and looking down the road.

As part of the coaching practice I ask clients to see 3, 6, and 12 month goals. In otherwords, down the road, around the bend, and off the horizon.

Most want to just look "off the horizon" and how to get there the quickest way possible at all costs and by all means!

"God made the world round so we could never see too far down the road." It isn't all about the 'off the horizon' piece. Planning on your ultimate goal without looking down the short road and around the bend means you are missing some very important pieces along the way like: living, learning, being, and creating.

Try not to look so far down the road that you can't begin to even think about how you will get there, but keep in mind that the down the road will come! Are you planning and preparing or are you just waiting for the end of the road to happen.

Again, "God made the world round so we could never see too far down the road." A quote to live by.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wanted - A Better Janice

I had a hard time sleeping last night, mainly because I have a hard time slowing my head down, but also because I found that I was not satisfied with who I was this week.

I was cranky, demanding, critical and I swore more this week then I have for years. I know part of my crankiness is from the ears/head issue, but I decided that I wanted a better Janice, so here is my personal ad for myself.

Wanted - A Better Janice

Someone who cares about herself while caring for others.
Someone who is cared for but not demanded of.
Someone who knows that words tells a lot about a person and that doesn't want to be the type of person who swears.
Someone who can be calm and relaxed in the face of disappointment and hurt.
Someone who knows others are trying to help, even when it feels like being demanding.
Someone who takes the time to enjoy the small things in life, while planning for the big things in life.
Someone who will take care of her health and go and see a doctor.

I hope this better Janice comes soon, so I will look for her this weekend and remember much of what I have listed as "wanted" is inside.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Think BIG!

I was reminded yesterday to think BIG when it comes to the vision of my future. For many of you that know me I thought I was actually thinking BIG with the house by the lake, traveling around, in shape and healthy; sounds BIG to me.

I was walking the halls yesterday and a colleque of mine was standing waiting for a meeting and I congratulated her on her new promotion. She was wildly excited and asked if I had ever thought about making a video. Of course being the 'ham' I am I would LOVE to make video's, movies, on stage (a deep passion I have that rarely comes out). She said "I would love to have you in a video, what are you good at?" Of course my smart-A comment was "fishing". She looked at me funny and said "well I meant at work".

We laughed a bit and talked about how she never knew I loved to fish as much as I do. She said "why not make a video on fishing"?

I of course have thought about this all my life and after 30 years of watching Babe Winkleman, Bill Dance, and a host of other male fishing TV personalities I always wanted to be the first woman fishing show host!

She asked if I owned a video recorder - I said no, she asked if I actually caught fish - I said yes, she asked if I had a special message to share with people - I told her about the blog, and she said YOU have a story why aren't you trying this out?

I had a rush of energy from this, truly a rush. A dream that I had totally given up on had new life! Now of course I am not going to quit my job and go find a TV station that will hire me on the spot because of my good looks and ability to fish, but it reminded me to think BIG!

Don't let those dreams die! Start small, maybe a short video on YouTube about fishing and living...and see what happens!

A lady from the hills of England has become a singing sensation, a boy from California is now the hearttrob of 13 year old girls everywhere, a wedding procession has warmed the hearts of millions, if you don't think big and start small it will never happen!

Think BIG folks. What is that hidden dream?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Four Seasons Coaching

Many of you may not know that I am trying to start a coaching business. It has been a three year adventure so far with few coachees, but I am not giving up. The economy was not a friend to coaching the past two years, but I see such a value in helping others lead their lives that I will continue to work towards a successful coaching business.

I had someone ask the other day why I named it "four seasons" so I thought I would share with you the reason as well as give you insight into the process of coaching.

When you think of Four Seasons what comes into your mind? Most likely Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. If you take a look at each of these seasons a little closer what is it about the four seasons that makes them a season?

Winter - Everything is covered with white (in Minnesota), trees are empty, ice forms on the lakes, things go dormant as they wait for the new season.

Spring - The world comes alive again. New bunnies, new leaves, pollen counts go up, ice gets off the lakes, gardens get planted, and people start coming out of the house again.

Summer - The world is alive and growing. Gardens start producing, trees are full again, the sun is high in the sky, warm breezes, and people come out in groups to enjoy BBQ's, reunions, vacations and each other.

Fall - the world gets ready to change. The leaves change colors, the sun begins to set earlier, the animals begin to find a place to hibernate, kids go back to school, and there is a brisk feeling in the air.

These are the four seasons. Can you see the coaching mentality in them? For me coaching is coming out of the dormant stage and evaluating what life is about, learning and spreading those wings, growing into a new you, and making changes that last. Winter, spring, summer and fall.

The world has a message and a process that is written in the seasons. Coaching has the same.

It is spring time - are you learning and spreading those wings?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Personal Manager or Leader - Which do you do?

Yesterday I gave an overview of what I think organizationally about managers and leaders, but today I would like to move that to personal.

Are you managing your life or leading your life? Do you manage tasks and events or lead with vision and purpose?

These are hard questions to ask, but harder to answer for many of us as we want to be the leading actor in our own play. Even if we want to be the leading actor we let others steal our personal show and end up managing the day to day and hoping someone will or may not notice.

The challenge is to lead your own ship and all the crew that makes up you. Your parents, siblings, friends, partner/spouse, neighbors, and animals all are on the ship. Unless you are a hermit you have a personal ship.

Do you allow your mother to tell you what is best and follow those instructions just to not make waves or do you take the advise and apply your own rules that steer your ship in YOUR direction!

Do you allow your partner/spouse to decide when and where things will happen - vacations, yard work, finances--whatever those things are. If so you are not your own leader and your ship is not following your command.

Do you allow your friends to influence your personal decisions on who you should be? Why? Do they know you better? Do they have a better idea of the vision of you? Why do we let them chart our course?

We all love to give advise, but rarely do we like to get it. We want to feel in control and command our own ship, but many times we let others determine the course because it helps us blame others for where we land. Well today is the "enough is enough" day!

Make a statement that no longer will you allow others to steer your ship. They can help out, make fancy pies in the kitchen, grease the motor, and provide a safe harbor, but they cannot steer your ship!

It is about taking control of the one thing you can control and that is you! It is about leading your ship rather than managing the man.

Set your course, give the command and follow your vision! You can do it and it will amaze you at how quickly you can gain confidence and strength in yourself.

Not ready for the ship vision--try at least the little dinghy. No need to go full speed ahead, but start small and lead yourself to the next level. Sail folks sail, but on your chart not someone elses.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Manager versus leader

I was asked this morning can someone be a good leader without being a good manager or a good manager without being a good leader. I say yes! The next question is how do people learn to be good leaders? Is there a class you can take to learn this quality? Interesting questions.

The way I explain this is truly a Janicism thought as I do believe some people have the skills to be excellent managers, but they may never reach a status of a leader. I don't think you can be a great leader without having excellent management skills though.

Here is my Janicism View.

Management. There are two words within this word that I think describe this term. Manage and Man. Management is the ability to manage man (woman as well). If you can get a person to complete a task, grow a skill, or be successful at a project, you are good at "man" managing!

Leadership. There are 2 works within this term as well. Leader and Ship. It is less about an individual "man" view and more of a ship or a whole host of people and you lead them to success. There are very few ships of 1 crew and if you have more than 2 people you need to be a leader if the ship is going to go in the right direction. Two or more people paddling in opposite directions does not make well for a leader.

So there you go - you can manage a person, but you can lead a ship. So what characteristics do leaders have and how do they gain the skills to be a leader?

I know there are classes in leadership - accounting leadership, training leadership, management leadership, leadership in higher ed...the list goes on, but I there are skills of leaders that cannot be learned in a book, they must be in you.

I described this view as "paying attention" and I asked this future leader three questions.

1. Who on our team has 19 pairs of glasses that she wears to match her outfits?
2. Who on our team grew up on a farm and used a John Deere tractor to generate power growing up?
3. Who on our team just completed their PHD comprehensive exams?

This is what leadership is to me and it was fun to watch the lightbulb go on about paying attention. The questions weren't about how to bring a project from start to finish or how to make someone answer 30% more calls an hour, it was about knowing the people who are on your 'ship' and steering them personally and professionally in your direction.

Do you know of people you consider leaders? What makes them a leader? How about managers? Do you know people who are great managers? Can you see them moving to a leadership role? How about yourself? Are you a great manager or an inspirational leader?

Leadership is more than a title, it is a responsibility. You must want it, live it, and believe in the value of others. That my friends is what a great leader is.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

When life throws you lemons...go fishing!

You have all heard the get lemons make lemonade, but I am not much of a lemonade gal, so I go fishing.
It was a tough life day. A friends Dad passed away suddenly while mowing the lawn, another friend went through a tough learning situation with work, my head and ears are still causing me a lot of many things happen around us that really are lemons.

I have learned it is what you do with these lemons that really do make a difference. I go fishing. It takes all the thoughts away as I watch the bobber go up and down and pull in a few crappies. Life becomes still and for a few hours you forget what is paining you and just be.

I actually like lemons. They should remind us that life sometimes doesn't have to be perfect to lead to a perfect outcome. I was ready to cancel my fishing trip this morning as I was tired and again head was ringing, but I didn't. I went and met to nice guys who were getting away from life for a while as well. I went with a good friend and she was able to forget about life as well.

The birds were flying over, fish were biting and for a few breif hours, I got a break from lemons.

Each of us has a lemonade, just keep reminding yourself what that is and the feeling you get when you are making your personal lemonade. I know it will make things better, healthier and be okay.

Here's to the lemons of the world. I am ready to fish!

Friday, April 9, 2010

God bless the broken roads that lead me straight to you

Recognize the title? If you are a contemporary country music fan you probably do. It is the title of a Rascal Flatts song. I heard it this morning on the way in to work and it has stuck with me all day.

The song is about feeling blessed for all the broken relationships and events that have led someone to where they are today. In the songs case, all the broken relationships someone has and how if those relationships would have not broken, the one that matters for life would never have happened.

It is about seeing the blessing in the hurt and negative events because they all lead you to something better.

For me it has been jobs. NOT that all my jobs have been terrible or anything, but I have had quite a few of them in my life. Had any of them earlier been longer or better I would not be in the position I am now.

If I hadn't gotten sick while in the Border Patrol I may still be in law enforcement. Had I never left Minnesota and moved to Seattle I would have never worked at a software company and learned about customer service and technical issues. Had I not moved back and gotten "fired" from the nursing home position I would have never gone back to school. Had I not gone back to school I would have never worked in higher education. If I would have never been laid off from my past job, I would have never gotten the one I have now that I love.

It is not only true for work, but my life. I would have never known what I want or didn't want in a relationship had I not had a few that didn't work out. I could be married and living in a town of 200 people in northern Minnesota right now had it worked out, going to Taco Tuesday at the Catholic Church every week and living in a trailer house in the middle of the woods.

God bless the broken roads that lead me straight to you.

There is a reason for everything happening. I truly believe this. It may not be obvious while you are going through it, but in time it will make sense. Personal road maps of things that happen are so interesting to look at.

Can you think of events in your life that have led you to where you are today? I bet you can. The next time something happens think of where it will lead you. Don't feel sorry for yourself or say 'why me', rather remember it is leading you somewhere.

God bless the broken roads!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Personal Expectations

This week I am working on getting teams of people together for a number of different reasons. Work, adopt a highway clean-up, t-shirt sales...things that are coming up that I need to get organized around.

Although the planning is easy, one thing I forget to do is set expectations for the event as well as for the people. I am great at the planning and organizing, but I forget that people need to know what is expected of them in order to be on the same page as I am.

Here is the example of what I mean. I am organizing a highway clean up for May 1st and the information I have given is the time, date, location, and the recommendation to wear long pants and sleeves. Great! I have an organizing plan. What I have not done and should do it set expectations.

Expectations are different than planning. Expectations are how people should act, behave, and do something. For the example above I need to set the expectations of:

1. We will start at 9am so be at the park and ride at 8:45am
2. We will be walking against traffic only
3. We will NOT cross any lane of traffic for safety reasons
4. We will pick up as much garbage as possible in the 6 hour time frame caring more about plastic and less about paper products
5. We will work as a team not individuals to make sure that safety is the number one concern.
6. We will do the best we can in the time we have

There, expectations. Not to hard, but notice it has nothing to do with how many bags we will fill or how fast we will get it done or how many people will be needed. It is not outcome based, rather attitude based.

This is one example. I think of this now as I remind myself that I need to have personal expectations for myself every day. These shouldn't be that I will work 9 hours today, or work out for 30 minutes, or spend less on has nothing to do with action items and more to do with attitude.

So, My personal expectations for this week are: I will treat myself and others with respect, I will hold myself accountable for my actions, I will listen to and support my body and mind, I will take the opportunities to improve as they come available, and I will bring value to my day.

Expectations - personal or otherwise they are needed. Set them and remind yourself that you have personal expectations.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gone Fishing!

It has been over 6 weeks since I was last fishing and I am getting antsy. I hear how the lakes have reached "ice out" phase, I have been getting all sorts of information in the mail about resorts wanting to take my money so they can take me fishing, and I just cleaned out my wallet and pulled out my 2009 fishing license. Can you feel the excitement!

The best part of the fishing opener this year is that it falls on the day before my birthday; May 8th so I will get to fish on my birthday and mothers day (same day this year) and the full week after. This still doesn't do it for me know though. I know I can't wait another 4 weeks, I just can't.

I have a wall hanging in the basement that is over my canoe bookcase that says "Gone Fishing". Weird place for it I know, but it reminds me that every day I have something to look forward to that I absolutely LOVE. I do.

So this weekend, I will 'pre-fish' a bit. Go for some Crappies or other pan fish to get the lines wet. I can't wait. The sign on the door this weekend will be "Gone Fishing"!

Now the only part to figure out is where should I go to get my license?

Go Fish folks! Whatever your 'fish' is, put out the Gone Fishing sign!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How much Value did you give and see today?

It has been a crazy day. More meetings then hours in a day it seemed. As I take a moment to write though, I am astound by the amount of value I gave as well as saw today.

I knew it was busy and running from place to place is never easy. Meeting after meeting I heard "you have it under control", "this was very helpful", "we now have a plan" and others. Value statements of control, helpful and planning.

I also saw a lot of value today in people I work with as well as people in my life. Comments like: "You really organized this well", "we have an appointment for the furnace check on the 24th", "I can't wait to help clean up the highway on May 1st", "You really made a difference in being here" and others! Again, value statements of organizing, meeting, helping, and making a difference.

I could have gone through the day with blinders on and not stopping to notice the value of people, projects, and life. I decided not too and rather notice all that is happening around me. Look for the value in people, projects and life.

In Silence the loudest words are spoken! How much value did you give and see today?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thank you for bringing VALUE to the world today!

Mondays can always be challenging after a nice weekend. A friend of mine uses the line "Thank you for coming to work today" as kind of a humorous way of saying welcome to the new week. I think we need to change this to "Thank you for bringing Value to the world today", it makes more sense.

Work is just what you do on a day to day bases, a job is a group of days you work, but value is what you provide others and yourself with that is important and relavent.

If all of us thought to ourselves "what value will I bring to the world today" what would we be able to accomplish?

Do you wake up thinking that in 9 hours and I will be done working, do you think that at least you have a job, or do you think today you can bring value to those around you by being kind, caring, helpful, and productive?

What if everyone who worked with you had that attitude? What would the world be like? Whoa! Think about it, everyone in the world bringing value to the day - every day! Think of the possibilities!

You have heard the story of how most human's only use 10% of their brain, but in actualaity we use 90-95% of our brain every day. Sorry folks it is true, but how do we use that 90-95% of our brain? Do you use it to just 'make it through' or do you use it to bring value to the world?

How about your body? Do you use 90-95% of your body to bring value to the world?

The challenge is to make every minute of every day valuable, be it personally, professionally, spiritually, emotionally, or physically. Value - relative worth or importance (Webster Dictionary Online, 2010).

Thank you for bringing VALUE to the world today!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Introducing Pebbles and Pinochle Peanut

Well with only 4 little monster kitties in the house, it seemed we had room in our home and hearts to add to the family.

We got a call from a friend of ours who works with Feline Rescue in Minneapolis and they had found a white kitty sitting outside a foreclosed home. They called the owners who no longer wanted her so they asked if we could foster her for a while until a permanent home could be found.

Foster??? I am not sure I understand that word --especially when it comes to animals and kids. I grow way to attached to quickly and giving them back is never an option.

So we adopted Spice, changed her name to Pinochle and nickname Peanut. She is shy and already has made the underside of the box spring her new home. She is slowly coming out of her shell thanks in part to Pebbles!

Pebbles - Well here is her scoop. So we are working with Pinochle "Peanut" and had her for less than 14 hours when our "friend" calls Suzan and says "there is a little kitty in the street that looks like a small Rockefeller, can you help?" Rock is the only male cat in the house and he looks like Sylvester - black and white.

9am - I get a call with the question, "How about two?" Say hello to Pebbles.

Why the names?

Well the friends we got Spice from are our Pinochle Card Playing Friends so in honor of their friendship and fun we renamed Spice to Pinochle - Peanut for short.

What do you call a small rock at the beach? A pebble, right? So since this little black and white one is full of trouble like our male kitty Rock, her name is now Pebbles.

As I write this they are playing together, chasing each other around and just being kitties. The kitty family is now complete again.

If you have room in your heart as well as your home, adopt an animal today!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Minneapolis Rookery - No Vacancy

If you are reading this and live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota you have a treat right out your backdoor. A Blue Heron Rookery!

What is a rookery? Well, a rookery is like a bird condo complex. Other animals who live within a small area can also live in rookeries, but I learned about them through the Blue Heron colony in Ballard Washington.

If you ever go to the Locks in Ballard - Seattle suburb, and look to the top of the trees there you will see 20-40 huge bird nests. Look even closer and you will see the Heron's sitting in them, not just for bringing up their young, but as living quarters.

In Minnesota it is a little different as the Blue Heron migrates to a little warmer country in the winter, but every spring they head back to their summer home in the trees on the Mississippi River.

I watch for them, on the bus every morning, and it excites me to start seeing a pair here or there, but this morning every nest had 2 birds sitting up and watching the sun rise.

I wanted to get up and be a "Rookery Tour Guide" on the metro bus as no one else was looking and admiring this wonderful view. Some day I will get the nerve to do this.

So welcome home Blue Heron's and may your Minneapolis condo complex provide you with continued shelter, good fishing, and admiring fans.

If you live in Minneapolis and want to check it out at

10 Minutes from Downtown Minneapolis on Interstate 94. If you take a bus downtown that takes I-94 between I694 and Downtown, look to the left around the grain elevators and you will see them! Once the leaves fill in on the trees the Rookery will be hidden from the road, so look now, you can too be "Rookery Tour Guides"!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Your Personal Grocery List

Do you have a grocery list in your house? You know the kind you write down what you need from the store each week? I do, actually I have a little white board on the side of the fridge that has 4 types of lists with the categories of: Groceries, Target/Costco, Pets, and Other.

The grocery list has things like milk, eggs, bread, soy sauce, chicken...the weekly needs in our home. We go to our local grocery store a mile a way to get these things.

The Target/Costco list has things like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, a broom, Easter supplies...the monthly or need future needs of our home. We go to these types of stores that are 10-20 miles away.

The Pets list has items specifically for our dogs, cats and fish like dog food, cat litter, scratching posts, fish food..specialty products that we need every few months or so and we write it down when we are about 2 or 3 months from running out. We get these supplies at specialty stores.

The last list is Other and includes things like new silverware, new pots and pans, a motorcycle, a boat cover...things that aren't needed but more wants and certainly only when extra funds are available.

So, those are see as my Little Fish Lists. You see them all the time and it's fun to see, but really nothing you can hold on to. You shop and it is big deal... but think about how much time and effort goes into these Little Fish lists?

Now think about Big Fish Lists - a movie a few years ago called it the "Bucket List"--things you want to do before you kick the bucket. Do you put the same amount of time into the Big Fish Lists as you do the Little Fish Lists? If not, why?

Here is my example of what I would like to have on my Big Fish lists:

Groceries (daily needs) - Workout, quiet time, love of an animal, a haircut, a hug, a kiss, giving someone a compliment, and having sun on my face.

Target/Costco (need soon within the month) - A boat ride, Fishing, a movie and popcorn night, make dinner for friends, a pinochle game night, and some bulbs planted.

The Pets (Specialty Items) - Feel value at work, feel value in my life, adopt a kitty or two, review my goals, and create a budget.

Other (Nice to haves, but long term) - A trip to Seattle to see my baby brother, a new deck, new windows, more blog readers, and two puppies.

There - my day to day and longer term little and big fish lists.

Morale of the story is if you never know what your Big Fish are, how in the world will you ever catch them? Don't settle with the little fish milk, eggs, and bread---go after those Big Fish needs!