Tag Archives: Motivation
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20/20 et al… Looking back to look ahead

10 Jan

It’s the dawn of a new decade – time for reflection, renewal, hope and that that stuff.  Happy New Year readers!

I’ve never been much for new year’s resolutions (they never seem to stick for me) and instead I find myself doing a lot of reading, thinking and experimenting to find new directions and adventures.  And I have to say, slowly but surely I’m loving who I am and I’m taking a lot less crap from people than I used to.

 

For a minute, since it is customary to take a glance back, I’ll ponder the last 10 years.  What have I done since 2010 and what can I learn from the experiences?  I made a short list (maybe you can identify?)

–  I’m more optimistic and positive about life in general and much more easy going about things I can’t (or shouldn’t) worry about.  Maybe this comes with age, but when someone asks me about a how a presentation went, I answer positively knowing that I’ve done my best . I used to belabor the opinions of attendees (all over the map) while now I know that their opinions are based on their perceptions and expectations, with little to do with me as a person.

— I’ve stopped being “insane” according to Einstein (“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.) I stopped presenting at every conference that asked me (usually to speak for free or at my cost!) It took me long enough to learn this!  After 100+ presentations with little follow-on consulting or paid work, I quit doing QAI, ASQ, SSTC, PMI and other “technical  conferences” where I donated so much of my time and energy.  Today, I go to the conferences and present where I’m appreciated and where I want to see friends.

— I also learned that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” and it can be folly to try to recreate past successes when the landscape changes. Here’s what happened:  I served as the president of an organization in 1998/99, and left for 15 years to give others a chance to be on the board.  In 2015, I returned as a board member for a 3 year term to find that many of those who joined the board in 2000 were still serving (no term limits.)  As the new/old person where most of the policies changed since my last term, there was little slack and I constantly (unknowingly) violated policies.  Next time someone asks me to rejoin a board, I’ll politely decline and save my heartbeats for a new endeavor.

— Over the past 10 years, I’ve worked to become more open and more tolerant and more accepting of people who are different from me.  Given that I see a lot of people around me doing the opposite, I’m feeling quite happy about my progress.  It is interesting to watch people fight for power and prestige and control, and be able to simply observe the drama (instead of participating.)

— I also discovered that there are more and more diverse and interesting things in the world – and, there are associated tribes of accepting and  professional groups that support these interests. If you’re struggling with people who are difficult or don’t share your values, look around and explore related industries – you might discover a community where you’ll thrive!  For me, meeting Dr Alistair Cockburn and his Heart of Agile community of incredible worldwide agile leaders, did this for me.  Additionally, finding ICEAA (International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association), Malaysian Software Testing Board, and other new groups has also been positive.  You don’t need to abandon old ones, just expand your network.  Instead of fighting against the grain and feel like you’re constantly getting splinters, find a new board (or group) and flow!  WIth 8+ billion people in the world, there’s a tribe of people with values and principles that are JUST LIKE YOU!

For 2020 and beyond, I’m committed to allowing myself more curiosity, expanding my writing and training (software measurement and leadership) and doing more cultural exploration (travel.) And, I’m deciding whether to continue or abandon this blog (does anyone actually care if I write ???)  At this point in life, I realize our time is too limited to take on the drama of detractors – and there’s so many wondrous people I have yet to meet (maybe you!)

As a freelance consultant, I’m also learning to ride the waves of feast or famine (after 20 years of being independent you’d think I’d realize that income is completely unpredictable) and… relax.

I trust that work will always come in (it’s never anticipated) and I’ll always be comfortable, albeit maybe not wealthy in finances.  I’m committed to delivering great value in consulting, training and speaking – and attendees always credit great knowledge transfer from my courses.  I don’t often ask for work, but I’m learning that I need to “toot my own horn” at least as well as I promote others.  Having said that, please consider hiring me as a speaker or measurement or leadership consultant for your IT or business professionals.  I’m a PMP, P.Eng., CSM, CFPS (Fellow) and well-versed in agile software development and project management.  (And I dabble in craft beverages and the hospitality industry speaking!)

Life is positive, inspiring and dare I say always an adventure.  What’s on your agenda for the next decade?

To your health and success!

Carol

Note to Self: Soooooo much distraction… pause and focus

20 Feb

Note to self:

I apologize, I’ve been an absentee blogger for too many months. I’ll be the first to admit that you are my most important reader (I’ve learned that through my discovery of self-love) and it was often the pure satisfaction of having you read and admire my work that kept me writing. Until it wasn’t.

I stopped blogging partly because I lost my focus – I became distracted by too many “squirrels” and reading other people’s blogs and believing that others had more guidance than I could get from you.  I was wrong.  Now I realize that it is important to take time to consciously observe (there will always be sooooo many squirrels to distract), pause (with intention) and then focus back on the love we share (unconditional love and acceptance is wondrous!) This has been a cosmic discovery.

You know I never really left you when I stopped blogging — we’ve been on a journey of exploration and discovery. We’ve read so many new books, gone to so many new places, listened to so many inspirational and enlightening CDs, loved and lost and loved again, and in the process I found you (maybe for the first time.)  I’m happy that you are open to the belief that our best life and deepest love is yet to come!

So, today, I address you, the Royal We (me, myself and I) with a commitment to start blogging again… sharing thoughts through this virtual paper so that we can discuss, savor, create, enjoy and relish with the manifestations they inspire.  It’s a life journal open to the universe – a tracking of where we’re at and where we’re going… I finally appreciate what my mother meant years ago when she said “you can never run away from yourself… wherever you go, there you are.”  It’s so true and it’s refreshing.

I love you to the moon and back…

Your BFF.

p.s., If this sounds esoteric or self-serving to anyone reading this far, that’s okay. This blog has always been about observations and ideas about interpretations of life (for my benefit.) If it happens to inspire or resonate with even one other person, that’s gravy and I’d be grateful to know about it.

p.p.s. Life is good!

Graduation day revisited… it’s never too late for your dreams!

4 Jun

I graduated from mechanical  engineering many moons ago with the wide-eyed dreams of youth backed by a zest for the future and a century’s worth of wishful thinking.  For the next few years, life was a dream… jobs were plentiful,  I was a newlywed and new mother,  and even though finances were precarious (my husband went back to university to pursue a new career in a new city when my daughter was 4 months old) I had nothing but optimism for the future ahead.  What was woefully missing, and I never realized it, was a sense of self (as in self-acceptance, pride and self-love.)  While my business sense of self was intact, my personal worth and persona was based on the views of parents, husband and friends. As such, I found happiness only when others accepted me and I was making them happy.

Fast forward to today with grown children,  grandchildren, years of experience, age and financial uncertainty.  Jobs in my niche are scarce, ageism is rampant, savings are small and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to retire… hardly the image of success according to the “others” in my past, BUT, that’s all secondary to the fact that I’m truly happy.

Life has had many twists and turns, highs and lows, successes and failures, and I  finally realize that all of the external success and acceptance by others in my life was a red herring.  Happiness comes with self-acceptance and self-love, and without those, happiness is fleeting. Certainly love, parenting, friends, adventure, money and other things are important,  but not when it comes at the expense or with the exclusion of self.

Good things from others in my life are the icing on the cake, but the cake is a foundation of self-love and self-acceptance.

Today as I see so many celebratory posts about parents and graduates, I find that I am revisiting, with new eyes, the dreams and hopes of graduation.  The difference this time is that the hopes and dreams are based on being in love with myself first… and others second.

I’ve included below some of my favorite motivation/graduation style sayings. They resonate with me and I hope that a few will do so with you – no matter where you are in life and in love.  Celebrate who YOU are and reach for the stars!

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Survival trumps friendship during a recession…

20 Dec

How many of your friends are struggling in this economy?  Have you noticed that these same friends do more cocooning and are less receptive?  How about you – do you find yourself withdrawing from social occasions when your own finances head south?  Of course if one does not have money to go out, it is obvious that spending will decrease.

Do you think this recession (and its continuation) affects our overall society and friendliness?  Has the sociological effect of the downturn been a consideration by our U.S. congress?  Could our global outlook and our friendship to the world be affected by this economy?

I wondered about many of these questions both professionally (as work has decreased and my own financial situation has worsened) and personally (where friendships seem harder to keep up) – and I finally think I have discovered a link between the economy and friendships in the world.  Read on…

One of the most famous models used to explain human behavior is called

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

In short, how humans behave is influenced first by our physiological needs (food, shelter, clothing and other basics of survival), then by our safety needs (personal safety, job security, medical needs), both of which must be satisfied before the social or other higher-level needs enters the picture. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization or the ideal “nirvana” situation for people whose lower level needs (including social and self-esteem needs) are satisfied.  According to Maslow, the highest achievement any person can do is to reach the top of the pyramid.  (Of course, there is a full school of knowledge and sociology that accompanies this model and ample internet materials about each level – I simply wanted to present the basic premise of the model here.)

Have you noticed a lessening of overall friendliness and friendships during the recession?

I’ve been puzzled by some of the personal interactions with friends and how more and more people seem to be cocooning these days, then it hit me that it may be due to Maslow’s hierarchy.  Here is my theory:

When people are without sustainable income, have lost their jobs/livelihood, or are scrambling to make their mortgage payments (shelter), pay for food or give the essentials to their families – their entire world and survival is affected. Moreover, as a result, wherever they may have been prior to their current situation (i.e., self-actualized or social) – they end up being at the base level of the pyramid.  The same situation happens when the economy forces people to revisit their spending habits when their own job or medical security is affected (level 2).

As such, friendships are the domain of level 3 – social needs – and when people are challenged to succeed in level 1 or to reach level 2, their social needs fall by the wayside.  This recession no doubt will count among its casualties the demise of many, many friendships and relationships.  Not only will these relationships be those that are personal neighbor-to-neighbor type relationships, but rather also global political relationships between nations.  When a country’s people are foraging for work and barely surviving, it is no wonder that their outlook on the world is degraded.

So, consider this – perhaps instead of equally withdrawing from people who withdraw from us due to their own survival needs being first, we should be friendlier and extend our hand with more patience and consideration of their plight.  After all, if they are in basic survival mode, they cannot possibly see their way into putting friends or relationships as a priority.

A few suggestions…

Here are a few ideas of how you (and I) can make a difference in today’s “survival trumps friendship” state of society:

  • Smile and be patient with sales clerks and restaurant service people who seem to be frustrated;
  • Open a door for someone or help someone carry a package that they seem to be struggling to carry;
  • Let someone else have the closer parking spot;
  • Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery line even if they have more than the express line number of items;
  • Pay for a friend’s cup of coffee instead of going Dutch;
  • Give someone a compliment (sincerely);
  • Show understanding when someone is slow at a checkout line or in traffic;
  • Give a homeless person at an intersection a few dollars;
  • Forget that someone cut you off in traffic.

Remember that those who cross your path may not be as fortunate as we might be at the current moment.  For me, when I see someone less off than I am, I consider the phrase “for the grace of God, go I” – because our roles could be reversed if not for good fortune and opportunities I have had.

What do you think?

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe weekend ahead!

Carol

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