Monday, August 8, 2016

Lessons Learned

32 days ago an innocent post crossed my Facebook timeline...30 Day Blog Your Brand Challenge.

I have been at the fork in the road of closing my business or renewing the lease, trying to upgrade the website but running into software and host issues that I cannot resolve until September. I was trying to decide if these were signs against continuing on. It suddenly dawned on me that while Red Tennies is a business, I have two blogs and one is about my own creative writing thoughts so at the last minute I went for it.

Most of the other members will post these eloquent and useful blogs today sharing their wisdom in what they have learned. Well, here's my biggest personal takeaway...I'm not normal.

There it is, in black and white and on the internet to be seen forever. I admit it, I'm not normal. I'm beginning to be okay with that however.

See, here are my wise aha moments:

1. 30 Days is an insanely long time if you are committed to writing a blog each day or you are waiting for a vacation.

2. I have a short attention span. Even writing, I lost myself at about 200 words but the goal was 300.

3. I have too much time on my hands - I now have about a dozen new blogs to follow regularly.

4. I don't have enough time on my hands - I need to go back and catch up on all of the ones I've bookmarked and post encouraging replies.

5. It does work to sit down and write when you think you have nothing to say.

6. If you are a writer, it is incredibly important to write. It doesn't matter what, it doesn't matter what format, but write!

7. If I ever unblock the friend who got me here (just kidding Kayla), I will plan ahead instead of living in the moment. Oh, and I'll move to the east coast for 30 days so I can write until midnight's deadline...9 pm is the beginning of the creative time for us west coasters.

8. I CAN do what I set my mind to do, I had only forgotten that I could.

9. Yes, I would do this again.

10. You should join me.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Inside or Outside the Box?

I am at my best when I am working from home, a coffee shop, beachside table or any other form of telecommuting. It's not that I don't enjoy the physical location of my office and the people aren't any bother either. I am completely adequate and efficient in all of my tasks but my soul feels a tad empty when I am confined to normal things. Take me out of the office and you'll see me thrive - my mind is free and unburdened, my dog will likely be with me which does amazing things for the quality of your day. It takes a lot more to ruffle my feathers when I'm hanging out with the pup in a grand spot. We have a new deadline on a project? Not a problem if I'm offsite where I can take in the news, breathe deeply, get a puppy kiss and make the new task schedule to get it done. Give me that same situation at work and there's a bit of a sit and stare time necessary to shift gears because the innovative side gets trapped.

Perhaps that is the root below this firmly planted ability to thrive outside the office - innovators don't like routine and do not perform with passion if stifled. We need to feel and be independent, trusted and empowered. Most people I've worked with have done this but I still feel the diminished effects of a few that didn't lead that way.

Having a space you connect with is so important if you are wired this way. For those who are not craving this, it would be nearly torture to work outside of the office. It truly takes all kinds to keep businesses going, but an understanding of allowing your employees to work in their best situation can build a solid team of efficient, happy and thriving individuals.

Is the office your comfort zone or do you need to be released?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Anticipating Autumn

We have had a remarkably pleasant summer this year, and while I am by no means rushing ahead and wishing it away, I find myself yearning for the autumn season already. I have nobody to blame but myself for this. It began with cleaning out the kitchen cupboards for a yard sale and I discovered the eclectic collection I have of mugs. I am not a coffee or hot tea drinker and feel that a mug should only be used for hot beverages. This leaves only hot chocolate for me and I typically only sip on that about 6 times per the fall and maybe winter. So my mugs are organized and I am ready for fall.

We have also had some unseasonably cool evenings that leave you wanting more of those cool breezes drifting over you while you nestle down into a blanket to stay warm not quite ready to go inside. If you factor in the gas fireplace and my favorite shoe item of boots, fall is easily my favored season.

Some people use January 1st as a kind of reset but I am recharged by fall and I am ready for a recharge this year. The kids will be back in school, clearing the way for the rest of us to finally go to the beach or the zoo without the summer crowds. Last year we headed to the coast on a Tuesday in October and found it busier than any other time we've visited and everybody had the same shock and the same expectation. Crowds and all, it was a peaceful experience of the older generation.

What is your favorite season and why? Has it always been that way or did it change with your seasons of life or as you got older? If you have lived in a variety of climates, did that affect your favorite season?

Friday, August 5, 2016

On Target

I have heard it said when teaching somebody to ride a bicycle you should teach them to look where they want to go, yet so many warn people to not run into the tree, pole, bench, pothole, etc. Focusing on the obstacles and hazards draws you directly to them but if you set your sights on the target you will succeed.

The same can be said for target shooting on the range, whether with handgun, rifle or bow and arrow. How successful would a hunter be if they were busy focusing on the beautiful trees or the path through the woods? It is necessary to focus on the target if you want to meet your goal.

When you set goals for yourself or your business do you keep your eyes focused on the target goal or do you tend to glance sideways at the task list or the obstacles that make it more difficult? Have you noticed that it slows you down or derails you when you do that? Many people create a list of resolutions each January, only to lose complete sight of any target within days.

There are a number of ways to keep your focus and I encourage you to try several to see what works best for you and I'd love to hear your ideas. Some people may be so diligent and disciplined that they live and breathe their! For the rest of us, we can set micro steps that are completely attainable and not overwhelming but consistent and the next thing you know you're at your target. What about the Post-It note approach where they are scattered on your mirror and office to remind you? Sometimes I will force myself to get up during commercials to take steps towards goals.

It doesn't have to be complicated, but it needs to be something you can achieve and it needs to be consistent. What do you have in your sights right now?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

This is one of my favorite pictures from my personal collection because I find such joy in the beauty of this without the frustration that I associate with dandelions in my yard. When they are growing in my yard they only serve to remind me how much it's going to cost in weed killer and time to remove them or the frustration that my neighbor upwind of us won't kill their weeds.

Children have the ability to see these differently though. They have no comprehension of what a weed is. To them they are a beautiful and lovely little tiny kid-sized yellow flower they pick and give to mom and dad or their friends. Then complete delight sets in when it turns to that magical puff to wish upon with eyes closed and head tilted upward as you inhale with everything in you before you release that slow deliberate exhale to send it scattering up into the wind. Oh, what a joy that was...when I was little.

Life is kind of like this at times. We may be surrounded with bad things or negative people, struggles and burdens. I dare say there is a beauty within each if we promise to look for it along the way and not focus only on the negative aspects. Perhaps a broken arm becomes an early discovery of something worse. It was terrible to break the arm, but had that not happened the other illness would have become fatal due to lack of treatment. Instead, that broken arm saved a life. The good showed up through the bad and we should try to find that value. It may be more difficult when it involves toxic people, but I still think we can find at least one good thing in each person.

If we try really hard, maybe we can even find the joy from struggles and pretend it is the beauty of the dandelion puff...breathe in, breathe out slowly and giggle!