How do you listen to the silence?

Positive Quote: “Too much noise can cloud your senses. Stopping to listen to the silence can help you gain perspective on what is really important.” – Lynn Schmidt

 

Noise doesn’t have to be loud or even come from many sources at once. To me, noise is when you don’t have the silence to digest, process, and think through or about something.

 

I am an introvert by nature, this means that to recharge my batteries, I need silence and alone time. However, I balance this with being able to interact and engage with others in an extroverted manner. I frequently approach people I don’t know at conferences to meet new people.

 

To me, life is a balance. There is the need for interaction and the sharing of ideas with diverse people…how else can you get the best ideas? Yet, there is also the need to stop and listen to the silence. Without this, I would not be able to process and gain insight into things.

 

Stopping to listen to the silence doesn’t have to be extreme, it could be taking 5 minutes before a meeting to gather your thoughts or 5 minutes after a meeting to ensure you jotted down some notes and takeaways.

 

How do you stop and listen to the silence?

 

What did you think of this quote?

 

Have a great day.

 

Priscilla

 

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How do you solve problems?

Positive Quote: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

 

When I read this quote it reminds me that problems or issues or snafus happen to everyone. Some we create, some we come across, and some we have to clean up after.

 

The quote reinforces for me that solving a problem at its root cause must occur, otherwise it will pop up again looking the same, different, or a variant. In solving we need to understand what created the issue at the root level. For root cause analysis I typically leverage the 5 Whys. The 5 Whys is a concept where if you continue to ask Why it can lead you to the cause.

 

For example, say X report is late.

In the first Why it is because John didn’t complete the report on time. The second Why could be because the software program crashed on him multiple times when creating the report. The third Why could be because there was not enough memory to run fully. The fourth Why could be because John’s new laptop installed the day before had less memory than his old one. The fifth Why could be that the deployment team didn’t know John needed more memory….. and so on and so on until you get to the true root cause.

 

This helps me remember to look for the Why behind the What and Who. Stopping earlier could lead to incorrect assumptions and not a true solution.

 

How do you ensure that you are truly solving problems?

 

What do you think of this quote?

 

Have a great day!

Priscilla

 

What you do speaks louder than what you say

Positive Quote: “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Have you ever taken a step back in a meeting to take in what was happening? It is not always about words. Words alone don’t shape the story. It is also about tonal inflection, body language, and physical actions. I believe that taking a few moments to scan the landscape will help you in determining how best to approach a meeting, a conversation, a project, and life in general.

 

This reinforces that what you do speaks louder than what one says.

 

Some examples:

  • If you are tapping a pen or strumming your fingers/fingernails on a desk or table top do you seem anxious, impatient, bored? The person sitting at the same table is left to make their determination. Will it align with the truth, who is to say?
  • If when you come into the office (work) and go straight to your desk each morning without greeting people, are your actions interpreted as unfriendly, reserved, isolated, rude? Will it align with the truth, who is to say?
  • If during meetings you keep your laptop or workstation on/up and are typing as either you or others are talking, how does this come across? Do people think you are taking notes, not listening, multi-tasking, or ignoring the conversation? Will it align with the truth, who is to say?
  • If when you say yes to something you shake your head no, are you really coming across as saying yes?Do you know what you are saying without using words?What do you think of this quote?Have a great day.
  • Priscilla

Are you on the road to your castle?

Positive Quote: “Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.” – George R.R. Martin

 

I am a firm believer that there is more than one road/way to get to your destination. While the roads are different, when you get where you are going, you may not be. Each road is an opportunity that can provide you with a different view or perspective.

 

When I see two roads in front of me and I need to decide which to take, I try to consistently take the one that is more of an unknown or a stretch.

 

Another I think of is the castle, I relate that to a goal or milestone. While there are many castles, not all suit each person. One should focus on ensuring they are on the road that leads them to their castle and not someone else and not one they think should be theirs, yet doesn’t fit them.

 

I work to keep a mental image of my castle and at times draw it out to keep the vision fresh in my mind. Do you know what your castle looks like?

 

What do you think of this quote?

 

Have a great day.

Priscilla

Can you put your thoughts on ice?

Positive Quote: “He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Many, many years back I had someone tell me that whoever lost their temper or raised their voice first in a meeting lost. As in their words were no longer going to be heard and whether they had valid things to contribute to the conversation or not, it would no longer be heard based on the delivery method of a raised voice.

I took that to heart. Prior to that conversation I will admit I had a pretty quick temper. This temper is diminishing and if I look back at the past 8-10 years, I know I have not let it out to feed or grow.

The ability to put not only our thoughts but our opinions on ice when in conversations and yes in disagreements can significantly improve the outcome.

 

This quote reminds me of a couple of specific interactions during the course of my career.

 

The first one is where I was having a performance review session with an employee. Nothing I said was a surprise, as we had had many discussions about the topic and had specific milestones in place for him to accomplish to demonstrate success (this was back in the day before it became known as a performance improvement plan). While we were talking, at a table, in a conference room…he became agitated and stood, started pacing, yelling, and his body movements were more physical. What did I do? I waited a few sentences to see if he could self-modulate. When I knew he wouldn’t and that he was lost in his own mind not hearing what I was saying, I stood, which caught his attention, and told him that I was going to step outside to give him time to gather his thoughts and when he was ready for us to talk without the loud voices that I would come back in and we would finish our conversation. It took him about 15 minutes, then we finished. In the end we had a clearly understood conversation that would not have been possible if I had not stepped away.

 

My second example is one that I experienced many a time. At the time I was managing more technical focused people and each time a release went out that ‘broke’ something the frustration mounted as the impact to the end user and customers increased. I’ve lost count of the times I interrupted someone to say, yes this is not a good thing, yes, more thorough testing and better use cases would have been helpful…however, now we need to focus on the solution and fixing rather than chasing the blame. First fix, then evaluate and make it better for the next release to prevent the issues. While I was not happy about the issue myself, if I had expressed this the focus may not have been as quick to solution, which would have extended the impact.

 

Ultimately, I am a believer that one cannot ‘shoot’ the messenger and one cannot feed into the flames and downward spiral of a heated, yelling situation.

 

Some of the tactics I use are:

  • More often than not, it is not personal. I remind myself of this.
  • Things happen and I remind myself it is how I choose to react that will define how we move forward
  • I remind myself that no one comes to work purposefully meaning to cause things to happen or cause more work to others
  • I remind myself that no one is dying, injured, or severely hurt (thankfully in my line of business casualty is rare to non-existent).
  • Before I speak, I take a deep breath to center my thoughts
  • I consciously choose to ask clarifying questions before I jump to assumptions

 

What are some tactics you have?

What do you think of this quote?

Have a great day,

Priscilla

How do you carry the load?

Positive Quote: “It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” – Lena Horne

 

A load can mean so many things for each person. It could be personal, work related, physical, mental, emotional, etc…

 

There are many sayings around this topic as well.

 

  • A weight has been lifted from me
  • Take a load off
  • Getting something off my chest
  • Let me unload

 

For me what this quote is saying is that it is in how we choose to accept, handle, and carry the load.

 

  • Do we do it alone?

 

  • Do we have a support group?

 

  • Do we have others help us or seek help?

 

  • Does the load even belong to us?

 

I choose to be positive and if/when I have loads to bear, I will not keep them to myself. Isn’t there a saying that many hands make quick work? I could relate that here and say carrying the load on many shoulders makes it lighter.

 

What do you think of this quote?

 

Have a great day.

Priscilla

Do you learn, grow, and thrive?

Positive Quote: “Look upon yesterday with openness and ask “What did I learn?” Look upon today with curiosity and ask “How can I grow?” Look upon tomorrow with anticipation and say “I will thrive.”” – Lynn Schmidt

 

If how busy I have been lately is any indicator, I have been learning a lot.

 

I like this quote for many reasons. In particular I like the word ‘thrive’. Not survive, but thrive. TO me thrive means growth in a positive way.

 

This quote also reminds me of intrinsic motivation. The ability to self-motivate and take the situation for what it is and learn from it. We each are in charge of our own careers, our own emotions, our own thoughts…..what we do is ultimately up to us and the choices we make.

 

Today is going to be a busy day for me, meetings, phone calls, and the like. Yet, I will focus on taking that step back (mentally) and ask myself ‘How can I grow’.

 

What do you think of this quote?

 

Have a great day,

Priscilla