Tag Archives: future

Sticks and Stones are Secondary

30 Mar

Did you grow up in the era of  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!”

Childhood memories can be brutal – especially if you were ever accosted by a bully.  It didn’t happen more than a couple of times to me, but I remember yelling these words hoping the bullies chasing me would somehow get tripped up by some magical force that the words conjured up! They never threw punches, but the unkind words they flung could be far more damaging.

“Ugly duckling!”  “You look like a boy!”  “Pigeon toes!”  Words thrown in haste that decades later, for most of us, can still sting.

Names and words can be powerful weapons that can inflict pain, rejection or verbal “spanking” of others.  I believe that words can turn into W.O.M. – weapons of mass destruction, and cause widespread damage to whole societies.  (Hitler used words to effectively control a nation and alienate the world.)

I recall the story of a bully whose father caught him taunting the neighborhood kids. As punishment, he made his son put nails into a fence for each name he had yelled.  The fence was covered with nails by the time he was finished, and the father talked to his son about the damage he was causing.  The son recognized the bad behavior and promised to stop bullying.  When a day that passed without name calling, the father allowed the son to remove some nails from the fence, until it was finally clear of nails.  The lingering message came on the last day when the father showed the son the holes that remained in the fence.  The son then realized the lingering damage of careless words.

Today, many parents refrain from corporal punishment (physical spanking), but fail to recognize the harm they inflict by the verbal spankings they unleash with their words.  (It is oft quoted that children hear the word “no” around 67,000 times by the time they reach the age of two, and the word “yes” far less!)

What is worse – physical or verbal abuse? 

If you believe the opening line of this post (sticks and stones…), you may not agree that words and tone can cause damage.  But I would bet that unless you have the most confidence and the most wonderful parents in the world, you probably still cringe when you recall harsh words of grownups from your past.  Why do we convict those who use physical abuse as their weapon and not those who use words to the same effect?

This week, a new documentary called “Bully” opened in select theatres across the country.  The filmmakers chronicled the life of a teenage victim, in the hopes of raising awareness and curtailing bullying in schools. I agree that it is time we take action to stop school yard bullies so that all children can concentrate on learning (a good strategic move for our nation!)

Next steps…

Maybe the next step after that will be to face the less obvious, but sometimes worse, cyber bullying and verbal abuse.  But, first, we as adults, need to stop and recognize the power of words to cause harm.  Guilt, shame, rejection, and embarrassment… these are but a few of the emotions we can stir up with pointy words.  We would never poke someone’s eye out with a stick, but we don’t think twice about stabbing them with words.

(Sidenote:  sometimes parents even use these tactics on their grown children to coerce or manipulate them into submission.  I’ve seen plenty of examples of this from friends whose parents don’t realize they are no longer children.)   

Perhaps the first step towards healing our societies is to reword the childhood adage… to maybe “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will ever hurt me.”

Just food for thought…


Change is the natural state…

6 Dec

Has your life gone exactly as you would have predicted when you were younger?  I don’t know anyone who is in the exact place they had envisioned years ago.

I know that when my children were young, I used to think that Chaos was the natural state… there was always frenetic activity at our house between homework, activities, pets, friends, field trips, etc.   (Sometimes I miss those days!)

These days my house is much less active – I live in the same home that used to house 4 people, 2 dogs, 2 cats and always friends of my kids sleeping over, and now there are rooms in my house that are no longer used. Since the real estate market is so depressed in Florida and I have no equity since having to refinance (due to the divorce), it doesn’t make sense to try to sell and move.  Now, before you think that I’m not happy – I have to tell you that my life today is one that I only dreamed of a mere five years ago when I was in the midst of household disharmony and threats of violence.  I now know that Change – not Chaos – is the natural state!  And Change is a good thing.

Back then (5 years ago), I dreaded returning home from a trip because I knew that the household would erupt and fighting would greet me. I longed for a life filled with peace and happy, healthy grown children.  While change happens slowly, my vision of a peaceful, harmonious state did come into being.  Today my children are grown and healthy and finding sustainable work in an uncertain economic environment.  The main parts of my vision came into reality and today I cherish watching peaceful sunsets with my cat on my west-facing deck. I am grateful for peace and harmony in my life!

What I forgot in my vision of the future was to include specifics about what I wanted and needed for the Royal We (me, myself and I).

So, today I envision a future  that involves more about me and for me. I neglected myself in my quest when I envisioned peace and happiness for my children.  (Not that the last 5 years has been bad… I’ve co-authored two industry hardcover books, nurtured new, individual friendships, joined networks, traveled and spoken in new countries, and worked to reinvent my career – and yet my life is not how I’d like it to be.)

I envision continued good health (a priority), plus a training and speaking calendar filled with prosperous career bookings at rates that show respect for my knowledge and expertise, more international (paid) engagements, a social calendar filled with fun events and outings with friends, and a financial standing that puts me back in line with where I was headed before my divorce.  I can envision it, feel it, almost taste it – yet the universe (along the lines of the Secret) has not yet delivered on it.

Now that I have the confidence that Change is the natural state – I can be more patient than I might have been in the past.  I long for a more robust cadre of engaged and sincere friendships, more well-paid contracts, more travel adventures, and more social events where my presence makes a difference.  And for the first time, I can also envision that there could be room for someone in my future as a dear friend or partner – something that I never could even consider in the past.  As change evolves, revolves and intertwines its way into our lives, I envision once again becoming involved in a positive connectivity of a community again soon.

As the change in life over the past 5 years has shaped into my present, I find myself living in more isolation than ever before.  While this has been good for self-discovery and growth, it’s no longer productive for an extroverted person like me.  So, what can I do but envision a future with changed results.

I welcome Change as the natural state in my life. How about you?

Have a productive optimistic week!


Got business?

6 Apr

As a project manager / published author / international standards expert / speaker /consultant, I’ve spoken to audiences in over 25 countries.  When the economy and business were booming, life was easy and most of the professionals and people I met were upbeat and optimistic about their industries and life in general.

Unremarkably things are different these days:  businesses are closing, people are losing their homes, and relationships are strained.  Lately, I’ve been using my down time to brush up on the latest social media, blogging, project management advancements, and business development in general.  During the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a marked increase in the flood of emails celebrating the recession’s end (mostly from overseas) from colleagues looking to do software development and related business with me.

My question to you is:  got business?

In reality (i.e., real $$$) – has your business or job or industry seen such an upswing in cashflow, contracts, or activity lately? Or is it the feigned promise of an end to the recession that people are using (along the lines of the Secret: what you think becomes your reality) as optimistic thinking to “wish us” out of the recession?

Have you seen new business coming in?  I know that a lot of people are heavily invested in the “social media” sensation (Twitter, Facebook, linked in, plaxo, etc.) that is sweeping the nation – did you know that if Facebook was a country it would now be the third largest country in the world (with more people than the U.S.?) – is this where our new economy is going?

Got business?

Wishing you a productive and profitable week!

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