Strategy

Strategy

One of my Mantras is, “Be Intentional”.

Do what you say you will do… but think about it first.

Hmmm.   I can’t remember the moment I decided to live with intention, but most people who know me would probably use the word to describe me.  It might have come from watching people not be intentional.  It might have come from the hard lessons of the frustration that comes from letting others direct my efforts or decide my focus.  Whatever the source, “be intentional” has become an almost daily mantra for me.

I can’t just tell myself to be intentional, I have to have a strategy or a plan to guide my behaviors, thoughts, and actions so that I actually become intentional.

strat·e·gy

[a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.]
 
Here is my intentional strategy: 

Be Intentional-

  • Know what I believe.  I don’t have to tell everyone every thought and/or opinion I have, but I should know what I believe and why if I want to be sure I am doing or not doing what is important to me.
  • Decide for myself how I spend my time.  There are television shows that I might enjoy or benefit from.  There are books and magazines worth reading.  There are people who will add to my life if I spend time with them.  If I choose for myself, I will be less likely to succumb to advertising and marketing ploys for things I really do not want to steal my time away.
  • Don’t say “yes” or “no” too quickly.  Take time to consider how I commit my time and energy.  There will be consequences to any decision and I am wise to be as much in control of my decisions and actions as possible.
  • Don’t blame others for my own choices and results.  Own my own efforts and decisions.  Apologize when necessary.  Reimburse when appropriate.  Accept credit and praise graciously.  Say thank you and “I am sorry.”
  • Live without regrets.  If I consciously, intentionally decide what to say, how to spend time, who to be with, what to do, then the chances of having regrets is slim.

We can’t become intentional on accident. What is your strategy?

 

Perfection is Highly Overrated

Perfection

Perfection is Highly Overrated

Full disclosure… My natural inclination is not toward perfection.  I prefer to make things work, rather than fix them.  I had a VW bug that needed a new starter (1970’s) and rather than spend the money to get it fixed, I always parked on a hill (easy in Austin, TX) so I could push it and pop the clutch to get it started (that worked well until I moved to Lubbock, TX, where there are no hills).

I get my face and hair to the point that I am satisfied and then I don’t look in a mirror for the rest of the day.  I have written a weekly newspaper column and this blog and others, but could not bear the tedium of trying to write good poetry.  I have no problem creatively substituting chicken for shrimp or cauliflower for potatoes or flour for cornstarch rather than making another trip to the store. I don’t regularly check the air in my tires or the balance in my checkbook or get birthday cards mailed on time.

Perfection is Overrated

I do have an appreciation for doing things well and right and correctly, though.  In truth, I am a rules follower (if I have deemed the rules worthy of being followed).  Grammar, driving, attendance, polite behavior, reading a book from the front to the back, putting your dirty dishes in the dishwasher, doing that you say you will do…all of those examples and others like them should definitely be done following the rules.

There are times when doing things close to perfect is important.  Trying your hand at carpentry?  You should definitely measure twice, cut once.  Knitting an afghan?  It makes a difference if you check the dye lot on every skein of yarn.  Going on an overseas trip?  Checking the expiration date of your passport is prudent.  Heading for a baseball game at Wrigley Field?  Checking the weather can prevent being way too cold on a blustery day in August.

I am all for doing things well…
striving for perfection, however, is an entirely different thing.

The pursuit of perfection on an everyday basis wastes time, prevents communication, halts progress, frustrates goals, annoys others, gives false impressions, and generally keeps progress from happening.  Finding the reality of “perfect enough” saves a lot of misspent energy and time.

 

 

 

 

Straight and Sturdy and Strong

sturdy and strong

My husband and I happened to be in a house recently that was next door to one we lived in long ago.  It brought back a lot of memories and we smiled a lot while remembering our lives and our family at that place, that stage of our journey.

We remembered a lot of work there, too.

We are always remodeling, upgrading, adding to homes, it seems.  Once, I counted 17 different addresses we’ve had in our 43+ years of marriage and in each, we left our mark of added rooms, new roofs, refinished floors, etc., etc.

At this particular past address, Dave noticed the fence he had built 30 years ago. He designed it and erected it by hand with his carpenter/friend. Six feet tall, made of wood, handsome lattice at the top, it is still straight and sturdy and strong.

No warping.

No sagging.

No leaning.

I think back to my life there in that home and realize that home is where I started building my strong life, digging a deep foundation for where I am now…making my BEST ThirdThird.

We were living there when I learned about wiring and started studying and sharing the life-changing information that comes from understanding self and others in terms of DiSC behavior styles.

It was there that I decided I would no longer be insecure.

There I learned there were certain volunteer efforts that I should say no to because I wasn’t all that good at them and others could do them better.

In that home, I learned to be grateful and to appreciate the moment.

Now, I stand straight and sturdy and strong….just like the fence Dave built.

Weathered a bit.

Needing a fresh coat of paint occasionally.

Showing age if you look closely.

But, standing straight and sturdy and strong.

With gratefulness and purpose.

 

 

 
photo credit: Nanagyei Droplets – HFF via photopin (license)

I Will No Longer Be Insecure

I think I came pre-wired to be paranoid… to care too much what others thought about me.  And, I was born into a family that poured water and fertilizer into that fertile soil of fear and the desire to be well thought of.

My issue isn’t so much that I want to be liked.  I want to be respected; well thought of.  Considered to be intelligent and a source of accurate information.

The result of my wiring and my (relatively informal) training, is that I became very introspective in my early adult years.  I was always rehashing and analyzing every conversation I had.  (It didn’t help that my social group was relatively small and tight and narrow.)

“Why did I say that?”  

“I wonder if they knew that I meant ______ and not _____.”

 “I hope they don’t call me and want to talk to me about our interaction.”  

“What are they thinking about me?”

I often feared that I was in trouble or thatI had been misunderstood or that I had inadvertently offended someone.(Offense would definitely have been inadvertent, since I feared offending anyone, and though I am out-spoken, I am not mean-spirited.)

One day, after an interaction at a meeting, I was in my home doing my usual wonder-wonder/rehash-rehash and suddenly realized I was wasting a lot of energy and thought over something I had no control over.

  • How could I know what someone else was thinking?
  • How could I know what someone else was paranoid and insecure about?
  • Why did I feel as if I was the only one who had responsibility for how a conversation went?

Sigh.  Too much angst for a young mother who had her hands and her life full of small lives and a busy husband.

So… I decided to take action.  Sort of action.  Anyway, I decided to be different.  To think differently. I decided I would no longer be insecure.  It was that simple.

I told my husband, “Dave, I have decided not to be insecure any more.  If I do or say something that I know has offended someone else, I will quickly accept responsibility and ask forgiveness.  If it is not obvious to me that I have intentionally or unintentionally offended someone, I will not spend any time worrying about whether I have offended someone.”

“And,” I continued, “I will assume that if I have offended someone, it is their responsibility to bring it to my attention so I can apologize.”

I don’t recall Dave’s response.  Probably because he was dumb-struck from wonder and glee.  This was a turning point in my life. It was good change.

Of course, there certainly have been times since the big decision that I have second-guessed myself or wondered how a conversation had gone from the other person’s perspective.  But, I have been able to remind myself that I am only responsible for myself and that I need to show up full of who I am, ready to give and be, conscious of others around me, but not fearful of how I will be perceived or judged.
**As a post script…..I told a friend that I had made the decision to stop being insecure.  I do admit that this young woman was one of the main intimidators in my life at the time.  I tend to be upfront and open so I told her I had come to the conclusion that I was simply going to believe that who I was would be adequate and that I was no longer going to be insecure.  She laughed.  Laughed!  “You can’t decide to not be insecure!”  Ha.

So she thought.

You Spot it, You Got It Mantra

you spot it, you got it

You Spot It, You Got It

I have “ThirdThird Mantras.”  Words to live by. Lessons learned. Guidelines for designing my BEST ThirdThird.

An important manta for me is “You Spot It, You Got It.”

It goes like this…..I meet someone and they begin to explain to me that (or treat me like) they know more about our topic than I do. Without ever clarifying my interest or experience. Assuming that I know nothing.  It is very annoying to me.  A “pet peeve,” in fact.

But guess what? I realize that I can be just like that if I am not intentionally caring about others. I can jump in and run on and slash and burn with the best/worst of them if unchecked. It takes thought and care and practice for me to genuinely care to hear other people’s thoughts and experiences and concerns.

“You Spot It, You Got It” is a gentle reminder that being critical of someone else is often shining a spot light on a personal area of need.

I remember clearly from my childhood an instance when I was critical of a friend’s approach toward another person. My mother pointed out to me that, quite often, what you notice as a deficit in others is probably a deficit in yourself.

Ouch. I remember at the time reacting to that, confidently stating that I didn’t have the annoying character defect I noticed in my friend. Of course, privately in my own thoughts later, I could clearly see that my mother was right.

It is a principle that I have not been able to forget. I have passed it on to others and have used it for my own efforts at living life on purpose, letting my occasional 20/20 insight into others’ lives be mirrored back to benefit my own growth.

As an example, lateness is an irritating habit in other people that I have to constantly monitor in my own life. I can be highly offended when others are late to meet me, but effectively justify my own tardiness.  Unless I am remembering this gem from my childhood. You Spot It, You Got It.

How to use this life mantra

This is a good mantra to get into your head.

If you have a friend who is a constant complainer and you can’t help but notice, there is a good chance you are a complainer.

If you easily spot the person who demands to be the center of attention, you might be, just a little bit, wishing you were more noticed.

If you are frustrated with people who make assumptions without facts, guess what?  Check your own facts.

When there is a habit or behavior that you quickly pick up on and react to in others, chances are it is a quality that you, yourself, are demonstrating to others.

“You Spot It, You Got It” is a useful tool.  When you are annoyed with someone, stop and think about it.

Does “someone” use social media when you are in a conversation and it annoys you?  You might check to see how often you find yourself checking your phone during meetings or at dinner. It is often easier to spot the truth in others than it is in ourselves.

The “You Spot It, You Got It” mantra might be a slightly painful tool to use initially, but it can become fun.  It is certain to be instructive for your efforts at designing your BEST ThirdThird.

It took me a while when my mother pointed it out to me long ago, but it is a lesson I learned early and for some reason, it has stuck with me.

photo credit: amseaman Binocular Boy via photopin (license)