Succeed OR Fail

So I liked this saying from a colleague of mine at work:

We succeed or fail as a team.


It’s not me. 


It’s not you. 


It’s not him.


It’s not her. 

It’s us!


No one can do it alone. 


– If we fail, we fail as a team. 


– If we succeed, we succeed as a team. 


So let’s come together and be a team and give it our best shot! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Keep A Cool Temperament

So this was amazing. 


I was working with someone for a number of weeks/months. 


All of a sudden, I got a complete blow off email from them that said they are done and they wished me well in a sort of very sarcastic and even contemptuous way–like a real f*ck off!

Were they just being nasty or trying to pick a fight or something?


First, I was taken aback and honestly hurt–like what the heck happened that they showed their true strips…did I miss it all along. 


I showed my wife their email, and she read it the same way, and said “What an asshole!”


I continued to hold my mouthpiece and feelings as I contemplated how I would respond. 


I have to admit that some choice words and wishes back to them definitely came to mind. 


But I said to myself, “Hold, hold, hold!”


It wasn’t easy not to respond in kind–lash back out at them–and even then some for good measure. 


No, that isn’t the way. 


You can rise above this. 


I kept my mouth shut and literally controlled my reactions.


Well, lo’ and behold, I thought I would never hear from this person again the way they spoke to me, but then a few days later,  I received another email where apparently they rethought what they did.


It didn’t have to come from me to them to “set them straight!”


Their own conscience seemed to have played on them and they came to their own senses about how they behaved and spoke. 


I learned from this that it is critical to maintain your composure and keep your cool under all circumstances, no matter how trying. 


Don’t stoop to their level–you rise above it!


Sometimes, the other person may just surprise you and rise back up too and do the right thing in the end. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Essence of Time Management

So here are some quickies on the essence of time management.


1. Urgency vs Importance:


Don’t sacrifice the important items for the urgent ones!


– Focus on the items that are important on the right side of the matrix–if they are urgent (upper-right), you need to do now; if they aren’t urgent, but they are important (lower-right), you need to make time for them. 


– Deemphasize the items that aren’t important on the left side of the matrix–if they are urgent and not important (upper-left), limit them or delegate them; if they aren’t urgent or important (lower-left), delete them. 


There are two potential areas of dissonance that can cause you tension, stress, and anxiety.


– When the urgent top row items and the lower-left life necessities get in the way of your focusing on the quality life items that are of long-term importance to you (the lower-left).  For example, work and errands can crowd out your personal, family, community, and spiritual time. 


– When you have too many items in the lower-right quality time area and these are in competition with each other for your time and attention, and you don’t know how to prioritize them and get it all done.  It’s like there is never enough time. For example, we ignore our spouse, the kids, or closeness with G-d, because we just can’t get to it all.


This is where our personal values and conscience come into play to drive what we do and how we spend our precious time in this world. 


We all only have 24 hours in a day, so our actions need to be purposeful and driven by our values!


2. Tasks vs Relationships


Imagine another matrix with focus on tasks on the vertical access and focus on relationships on the horizontal access. 


Again here, we want to ensure a healthy balance of focus on both task and relationships (upper-right corner). 


If we focus on tasks at the expense of relationships or relationships at the expense of tasks, we are going to have a problem.  Moreover, it makes no sense to focus on items that are neither task- nor relationship-focused (lower-left).  


We need to collaborate with others to accomplish great, complex tasks (we can only accomplish so much alone). 


Again, dissonance (tension, stress, anxiety) is caused when we are pulled off-balance to focus on work or people to the exclusion of the other.  


As they say,


“Mission first, people always!”


We’ve got to build meaningful relationships and work together to get the mission done and the mission can be helping people and building a better society in a variety of ways. 


In a sense, it’s people helping people. Love thy neighbor to help thy neighbor.  


Time is of the essence–we have so little of it–it is precious–we can’t get it back–it goes so fast–we need to manage it like gold. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Rocky Says

A quote from my role model Rocky: 

It’s not about how hard you hit.
It’s about how hard you get hit.
And keep moving on.
That’s how winning is done.

Go Rocky!


And by the way, you should hit pretty (i.e. very) hard also. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Fruitful Discussions

I liked this guidance from Dr. Britt Andreata on addressing conflict through managing difficult conversations


Here’s how the typical bad scenario unfolds:


1. Problems begin with another person (e.g. annoying or unwanted behaviors).  


2. People start building their cases – listing the wrongs done to them, collecting corroborating evidence, and seeking validation from others.


3. There is a tipping point in terms of frequency or intensity of the problems that lead to a confrontation where accusations are made and blame is attributed. 


4. Then the aftermath in terms of a animosity, loss of trust, and a damaged relationship.


Here’s a better way to deal:


1. Problems begin with another person.  


2. People spend some time reflecting on why the behavior is affecting you, getting clear on what you want to correct it, and trying to see from the other person’s perspective. 


3. The tipping point is sooner in terms of the frequency and intensity of the problems–so you nip it in the bud earlier–and you have a conversation with the other person where you have reframed the other person from an adversary to a partner (e.g. you’ve questioned the facts, assumptions, conclusions along with your emotions, beliefs, and actions–and you’ve looked at alternative narratives to these) and you take responsibility for your part, share your experience and goals to improve things, invite their perceptions, and “co-create solutions.”


4. Follow through with the other person to work together, implement the changes, and hold each other accountable to address the issues. 


The amazing thing about this approach to conflict management is that assuming the other person isn’t truly bad, evil, or gunning for you is that we can look at things from constructive perspective where we own our part, and they own theirs, and together we work together to make things better for everyone. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fight or Flight

So I learned this interesting thing about the Fight or Flight response.


Fight or flight is not just physically fighting or fleeing, but it has a much more diverse set of responses involved to perceived life-threatening events. 


Fighting (turning towards the threat)

1. Physical fighting (Protect yourself with force)

2. Non-physical aggression

– Criticism (e.g. Attacking personality or character)

– Contempt (e.g. Attacking sense of self-worth with sarcasm, shaming, insults, eye-rolling, and sneering)


Flight (turning away from danger)

1. Physical fleeing (e.g. Run/hide)

2. Non-physical withdrawal

– Defensiveness (e.g. Deflecting the attack with excuses, disagreement, counter-arguments, or blaming)

– Stonewalling (e.g. Conveying disapproval or disconnection, stop participating, change the subject, or giving the cold shoulder or silent treatment)


When you recognize that not all issues are life-threatening, then you can lower the intensity of the “Amygdala Hijack” in terms of fight or flight and instead work towards developing mutual understanding, trust, respect, and shared goals and solutions. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and attribution of content to Dr. Britt Andreatta)

What Do You Do With Fear?

Thought this was a really good perspective on fear.


“You have two options:


Forget Everything And Run


Or


Face Everything And Rise”


It the old fight or flight!


– Running may be good when you can avoid a devastating fight and get yourself and your loved one to safety.


– But sometimes you don’t have that option and you have to “fight the good fight” and overcome the devils you face. 


Everyone is afraid of something(s) and/or somebodies. 


If someone isn’t afraid then they are brain dead!


Strengthen yourselves, ready yourselves, and pray. 


What do you fear and how will you face it? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)