Monday, August 2, 2010

Does it Really Matter?

Recently a friend told me I should be blogging - regularly. I kind of laughed it off and then asked - ok, blog about what? And she said "blog about being the mother of a 4 year old at the age of 48; about training and completing my first sprint triathlon [again] at 48; about life in my shoes." At first I thought she was crazy, but I keep thinking about it. In the scheme of life, would I say anything that really matters? Maybe yes, maybe no. But one thing is for sure, what I say does matter to Emma.

The other day Emma [my beautiful 4 year old daughter] asked me what God looks like [question number 7056]. I respond as I do with everything - "what do you think?" We got into this big discussion as we're driving [which is where all big discussion take place] that included length and color of hair, height, build, clothes, eyes, hands. We have all seen the pictures of God with long flowing robes and long silver hair. I like to think of God more like a grandpa; loving clear eyes, strong yet soft hands, always ready to hold a hand and/or give a hug. His hair is gray and kept short, but there's always a strand or two that doesn't stay in place. And clothes, he's wearing work pants and a comfortable button down collar shirt - all clean, but soft and worn.

Well, that's my picture of God, but how do I help Emma define her picture of God? I'm sure there will be more discussions in the days to come.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What Will You Do Differently On Monday?

I've just started reading Linchpin by Seth Godin and am LOVING IT! I love the way this man thinks - so unconventional and real world. In just the first few pages gems like the following pop out:

  • All of us are geniuses sometimes.
  • You have brillance in you, your contribution is valuable, and the art you create is precious.
  • If you've got something to say, say it, and think well of yourself while you're learning to say it better." - David Mamet
Then I put the book down and login to Twitter. I follow the Harvard Busines Review [HarvardBiz] and while scrolling through tweets, I see a tweet from HRB titled Drucker's Question: What Will You Do Differently on Monday?. In the article, Drucker is quoted as saying "Don't tell me you had a wonderful meeting with me. Tell me what you're going to do on Monday that is different." The article goes on to discuss how attendees of one particular leadership event, the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University's CEO Forum held in October 2009, DID go out and do something different because of what they'd heard at the forum.

So, what about you? What about me? When you "learn, hear, experience" something new, what do you do with it?

The past three months have held a lot of "new" for me. Development of a new business model, rededication to actively growing my faith, and taking my physical well being to a new level. So what will Monday look like for me?
  • Taking the new model and adapting it to two more clients [one is up and running - and going well!].
  • Taking my newly Bible [new testament] loaded MP3 player to the gym with me.
  • Continue with my training [which I started on Thursday] for my first triathlon [sprint] June 6, 2010.
What will Monday look like for you?

Here's to learning and growing. J

Friday, February 5, 2010

Giving Comfort [by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend]

In November 2009 I was looking at the November 2008 issue of Reader's Digest [my Mom doesn't throw very much away] and was struck by an article written by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend titled Beyond Tragedy. The lead in to the article read .. "My father taught me how to handle death with grace adn courage. Forty years later, his example still gives me comfort. It touched me.

The sidebar writing on Giving Comfort was something I thought more of us should know. I have copied this sidebar verbatim below.

I have a set of lessons learned about how to console those who have suffered a loss, based on my own personal experience and observations over the years.

First, go to the funeral. Thirty years ago, Mayor Richard Lee of New Haven, Connecticut, told me that he always went to funerals. "It's there that you see people, he said, and that they see you. It's there that you mingle with families, listen to them talk, and lend your full support. I had never heard that advice stated so explicitly, but he was exactly right. Death opens an enormous hole in the heart. A funeral service brings together those who can help fill that hole.

Second, call or write your friend when someone close to her or him has died. It is remarkable how few people actually reach out in tough times. Perhaps they don't know what to say; perhaps they think the person would prefer to be left alone. It is better to try and be rejected than to never try at all. Your friend can always resist the effort - not answer the phone, not open the letter. But it is hard to imagine anyone not appreciating it.

Third, never say "You will get over it." People rarely do.

The death of a loved one rips us apart, shakes us up, hurts terribly. So my fourth tip is to embrace the person who suffers. I think of the kiss my mother would give me when I would scrape my knee or cut my finger. Her act of love was more healing than any antiseptic.

Make it clear in the letter or phone call to your friend that she or he is wonderful. The outstretched arm, the warm embrace, the freshly baked cookies, or the fragrant flowers do not replace the life. Not by any means. But they do say to the grieving friend, "You are loved. You are cherished."

I felt convicted after reading this. I am guilty of not reaching out to friends when they have been suffering. I've thought "I don't want to bother them." But, this writing is proof again - it's not up to us to worry about "bothering" someone in need. it's up to us to "be there - fully."