Wednesday, December 17, 2014

There's a Lid for Every Pot

Celia Rivenbark is wonderful, Wilmington,NC-based writer whose column appears every Sunday in the Raleigh News and Observer. She's the author of Bless Your Heart, Tramp; You Can't Drink All Day if You Don't Start in the Morning; and Don't Dress Your Six Year-Old Like a Skank (tips on Southern Etiquette).

Just from the titles of the books  you can see why she'd be great. If you're scrambling for Christmas presents for friends you should check out Celia's work.

The other day she used a phrase that has stuck with me. She said an aunt of hers had noted that, "there's a lid for every pot," meaning that there is a match for everyone.

I think that works on a variety of levels whether it's people, cars, jobs, haircuts, books, TV programs (ain't that the truth), places to live, sports positions, hobbies or seasons.

So often we don't end up with the lid we expected on our pot, but as long as if fits, that's the deal, now isn't it?

In the last couple of years I've been fortunate enough to find a couple of lids that fit me. Luck had a lot to do with it, but I was also actively open to finding the lid and was willing to try different lids.

Believe me, if you find the lid that fits you can flat-out do some cookin'!

Which pot in your life do you need to find a lid for?

Friday, December 12, 2014

What Did You Do With My Elvis Santa?!!!


I never cease to  be amazed at how much change jumps up and bites me.

You'd think I'd be able to handle change smoothly considering how much I teach it all over the country.

Three weeks ago I moved  and we combined houses. I'm delighted about the move (other than the fact that I keep stubbing my toe on things that I don't remember being THERE!)

So, it's Christmas and this is tree and decoration weekend and we need to decide whose ornaments, lights, Santas, dishes, elf hats, reindeer, fake mistletoe, doorhangers, Santas (an army) and footy pajamas to use...ok, that last one was probably TMI.

I pulled out all our stuff and it fills half a room and while it would make sense to start paring down the selection, this weekend is not the time. Next July, with a couple of bottles of wine and some cold beers we can make those decisions.

This year the process will probably go something like this, "I like that, let's put it over there." and "I've always put this out, you ok with it?"

But, there will surely be a, "You're not really going to put that out, are you?" and "Holy S***! Don't tell me you put that out at Christmas!!"

Laughter will follow because we have that kind of relationship, but there'll definitely be an, "Ok, we can put it out, but put it over there (where it's unlikely to be seen)."

Dealing with change effectively in any setting comes down to a few basics; awareness, communications, patience and action.

And, oh yeah, wine and cold beer.

See you Monday, have a great weekend.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Feet On the Floor...1400 Blogs

Today is the 1400th blog for The Perfect Workday. If you are a consistent reader and, especially, if you are kind enough to pass a blog on to a friend or colleague, all I can say is, "Thank you!"

I won't bore you with all that's happened in life since the first blog in 2009. I'll simply say it's been a journey.

The constant, though, has been that every morning upon waking I put my feet on the floor and open my eyes and find some things in the world have changed and some seem to have stayed pretty much the same.

All you can do is either ignore or try to improve what suits you and enjoy/appreciate/do more of the good things.

The scary realization for most folks is that they have to make the choice for themselves; it means they have responsibility for their lives.

Don't just pay lip service to the reality that you make the choices that create your life. Make choices that matter to you.

There's been no magic in writing 1400 blogs. I simply make the choice on most workday mornings to get up, walk to the computer and start writing. But, when most people hear "1400 blogs" they surprise up to and including, "ARE YOU SH****** ME?!!"

There is a goal in life that's important to you and you can reach it the same way I blog, one day at a time.

Remember, when your feet hit the floor and you open your eyes the choice is yours.

The simple fact that you have a choice is the magic.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Teaching a Pig to Sing

Yesterday I had a wonderful opportunity to talk with a group about doing a change presentation for their workforce. The management group is kind, enthusiastic and imaginative. Their hearts are in the right place and they are realistic enough to know one program won't get everyone on-board. They are just the type of folks you want to do business with.

The challenge is this: They are trying to teach a pig to sing.

I'm sure you know the old saying, "It's a waste of time trying to teach a pig to sing. It annoys the pig and frustrates you."

The group they want to create an experience for is a classic 20/60/20 group. Twenty percent of the folks will be all-in, good participants who will look for something to learn and will take something away from the session.

Sixty percent can go either way depending on everything from their attitude about work, their innate sense of curiosity, how they relate to their colleagues, what the weather is like or how tight their underwear might be...their up/down can come from anything.

The final twenty percent wouldn't get anything from the experience if you gave them a bonus to come to it and spoon fed the material to them. The bottom twenty percent is the essence of the pig, and the negative power they hold with the rest of the group will determine the success or failure of the effort.

So, why do it? Because the number of folks you can affect who are in the sixty percent block will determine whether or not you can improve the culture in the whole group...even a little. And, the folks leading the group are sincere about wanting to get better, to step ahead of mediocrity.

In a workplace in which about eighty percent of workers describe themselves as disengaged or actively disengaged (the sixty and bottom twenty percent) making an effort to improve the culture in ANY group--making it more positive, productive, happier--matters.

As my Aussie friends would say, "Good on'em!"

Monday, December 1, 2014

Jeepers Peepers

This may seem like an odd question, but...How are your eyes?

Recently, I've been having headaches of varying intensities and one of the first questions my doc asked was, "When's the last time you had your eyes checked?"

To be honest, it's been awhile. A few years ago I got glasses for distance because I couldn't read the names or, to be honest, the numbers on the backs of jerseys when watching a Carolina  football game from the stands.

(I know, I know, considering the season I can't say I wouldn't have been better off blind this year)

So, in the next couple of weeks I'll have my peepers checked again and I'm pretty sure I'll need an update on glasses.

The simple point is that so often the solution to what seems like a complex/difficult/scary problem is something simple.

And, there's no reason to go stumbling around...visually, or in life...if the solution is as close as a couple of inches from the end of your nose.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Don't Pay the Ransom, I've Escaped!!

Sorry about missing blogs the last week or so. Life sometimes takes precedent. Moving, work, travel and all the same things the rest of you are experiencing. Will be back to full speed on Monday.

But, Happy Thanksgiving weekend!!

Couple of quick thoughts:

If you aren't aware of you've got to go to the site and see their Thanksgiving cards...wonderfully funny, irreverent, sarcastic and TRUE!

To our friends in the North, keep digging.

To all, be careful on the roads.

So, enjoy the last of the turkey, glory in OD'ing on football and--considering that it's Black Friday--BUY LOCAL!!

See you Monday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cheese or Laugh...Which One Are You?

Last weekend was homecoming weekend at UNC-Chapel Hill. Fortunately, the Tar Heels pulled out a win so most of the frozen spectators who made it ‘til the end of the game were happy.

One of the great things about homecoming at a college, church or family reunion is that you get to see places and folks you haven’t seen for awhile. Memories flood back and new memories are made.

For the last ten years, one of my fraternity brothers has had a get-together on the Friday night before Homecoming Saturday. I’m the youngest one of the group. Most of the guys are mid- or late-60s, and they joke about the fact that I’m the pledge so I have to answer the telephone (needless to say, we were in school before all the hazing was publicized).

It’s great seeing these guys and seeing/talking about/hearing the commonalities (health issues, relationships, mortality thoughts and hating what is happening at UNC-CH) and the differences (various ranges of success, relationships and life views).

Guys who were 10-feet tall and bulletproof in college now have a more measured view of life. Some of the ones who were introverts are now wonderfully outgoing and full of life.

Most of us change as time goes by; physically, certainly, but also in how we view life. After a particularly funny biological moment during a photo session a thought came to me that sums up what we all learn as life goes on…

When we look at all the people we come in contact with in life we can break’em down into two groups; those who spend all their time acting as if life cheesed, and the ones who act as if life laughed. The best thing is that we get to choose which one we’re going to be. And, the very best folks are the ones who, when the first thing happens…they do the second.

Or, is it the other way around?