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

Advertisements

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

“Stories are the currency of human relationships.” – Robert McKee

Positive Quote: “Stories are the currency of human relationships.” – Robert McKee

 

I chose the above quote for many reasons. One of which is that this past weekend was a very busy one. I attended multiple events and spent time with friends in other activities. By the end of the weekend I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. I needed a nap. Yet, there is nothing I would have taken away from the weekend. Our most valuable gift we each have to give is our time, ourselves.

 

While most weekends are not as jam packed as this last one, I am thankful for the friends I have and the ability to help in my community. These ‘stories’ come from living, from being a part of the world around us. I would much rather have stories of friends, family, and community events than of nothing but work.

 

These stories keep us grounded, keep us growing, and keep us living with a purpose. My hope is to continue to have stories to share and to continue to grow as a human.

 

What stories are you writing?

 

Have a great day.

Priscilla

 

Do you have an open mind?

Positive Quote: “Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.” – Charles F. Kettering

 

I gravitated towards this quote today as over this past weekend I had the privilege to attend a session led by Rev. Jesse Jackson in St. Louis. I met him, shook his hand, and had my picture taken with him. It was an honor. After the meet and greet he was interviewed by a local news anchor with about 30 or so questions that viewers had submitted. He was very eloquent and one thing he said about recent current events has stuck with me. Jesse said “Cynicism with a strategy is surrender”. This had me looking at the first quote and seeing how they ‘fit’ together in my mind.

One thing you learn as a leader is to have an open mind. To know that you are not the expert in everything and to know that you don’t know things. A leader should be able to not only deal with the tactical, yet also ensure the appropriate focus is on the strategic vision. If you don’t know where you are going how do you know when you get there?

We each need a strategy for our thoughts otherwise when can they ever shape and evolve to the betterment of something?

Each voice makes a difference, whether that difference is positive, negative, or ambivalent is up to the person.

My goal is to continue to have an open mind and both a personal and professional strategy.

What do you think of this quote?

Have a great day,

Priscilla

Are you doing work worth doing?

Positive Quote: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

I am firm believer that there are cycles in a person’s work/career life. When we are young adults it is about learning, growing, finding what motivates us and drives us. After a few years under our belt we look towards either changing careers because we know ourselves better or towards obtaining expertise. Then a few years later we can continue to evolve and grow and change either the ‘what’ that we do, the ‘how’, the ‘where’, and possibly the ‘why’.

 

I gravitated towards this quote for many reasons. One of which is that with being an empty nester, I want to ensure that the work and where I put my time is worth doing. By making these choices and focusing on doing what makes the most impact and what matters, it leads to personal fulfillment. While there will always be things we have to do, whether we find them worthwhile or not, I am mainly talking about the big rocks, the core.

 

What do you think of this quote?

 

Have a great day,

Priscilla

“Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” – H. Jackson Brown

Positive Quote: “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” – H. Jackson Brown

 

The above quote rings true to me. It is like knowing you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

 

Pushing yourself to get out there on the ‘dance floor’ increases the odds of the opportunity of dancing. Sometimes this does not come easily. Yet, when we do, we look back and are, for the most part, glad we did.

 

For me, I could equate this to myself. In the early 90’s I was working in a retail store, working my way up to an assistant store manager over a couple of years. At that point, I was looking inward to see what my next career step could be. I went on the dance floor. I applied for a couple of positions several states away at the corporate office of the store I was working at. I was offered both positions, yet in the end took the one that was the most uncomfortable, most challenging, and included a step back from management to individual contributor. It was in the IT (Information Technology) field. I didn’t look back and kept dancing. A few years later I was back in management, but this time in IT. Looking back I am glad I did what I did and that it worked out the way it worked out.

 

As life moves on and our perspective changes, I still ask myself if I am pushing my boundaries and if I am on the right dance floor.

What do you think of this quote?

 

Have a great day.

Priscilla