Train puppies – Mentor kids

via Daily Prompt: Mentor

“Training- training is everything; training is all there is to a person. We speak of nature; it is folly; there is no such thing as nature; what we call by that misleading name is merely heredity and training. We have no thoughts of our own, no opinions of our own; they are transmitted to us, trained into us.”
Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

When I was 19 I lived in Madison Wisconsin USA on the isthmus between 2 lakes.  There were bike trails, the university, outdoor festivals and farmers markets on the capital square.  My neighborhood was a mix of students and hippies.  My next-door neighbors were a young family and much to my surprise one day I found the 5 and 6-year-old had written in sidewalk chalk – Subvert the dominant paradigm.  I wasn’t sure what it meant so I looked it up and I liked it immediately.

madison

My parenting style may be different than others – or I should say it absolutely is different from others.  I want my children to function successfully in the school system and to be respectful.  I do not however want them to lack in critical thinking and to just accept everything they are told at face value.  I also don’t want the personality conditioned out of them so that they can be docile and easy to control.  As you may intuit this has led to some challenges for me and some calls from the school over the years.

principal

It has also led to parent teacher conferences where a teacher tells me how much my kids contribute to the discussions and how my son saw something in a story that has been in the curriculum for the last 15 years that she had never noticed and how insightful it was.

Children need boundaries but they also need to have space to develop their natural gifts.  A bright child with logical arguments should be directed to the debate society instead of the principals office.   Aggressiveness can be honed on the athletic field or basketball court.  Creativity can be explored in art club, band, chorus or drama.  Trying to force kids into a box only stifles them.

Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

If we want our kids to become leaders instead of followers, we need to encourage then to test their boundaries.  Don’t be afraid to let your kids fight for what they believe in and see what they can accomplish.

Suit up for Success

via Daily Prompt: Costume

Express Yourself – Suit up for Success

Not hitting the desired rung on the corporate ladder?  Maybe it is time to up your clothing game and dress like the executives.  Polish up your image and see if other people assume that you are what you project.

suit up

 

A few months ago we had an international group in for a team meeting.  My wardrobe for important work meetings is tailored suits, usually with skirts and heels.  That makes me feel confident, polished and ready for anything.

wonder woman

The meeting went well and most of the group left on Thursday; Friday was casual dress and with a $5 donation we could wear our favorite team jersey and jeans.

I turned up representing my team – NFL (American Football) Green Bay Packers – # 12 Aaron Rodgers.  It was fun to have the relaxed atmosphere and camaraderie with coworkers – even the ones who like the Dallas Cowboys.  I was getting all sorts of comments since it was the week that Rodgers broke his collarbone.

When I got dressed I didn’t realize that I would be having a meeting with the regional sales manager from Malaysia.  We needed to sort out an issue that had been lingering and I was determined to get it resolved face to face.  I don’t know if it was the energy in the whole business that day or my costume but it felt like we were in a huddle and I was the quarterback.

go team

Not only did we get the issue addressed – I got a compliment on the jersey and he said he should get one for his meetings!

 

So the take away – your clothes not only transform how you feel and present yourself – they also shape how others see you.  Have fun and take advantage of your super suit – whatever that may be.

GO PACK!

The Struggle is Real – Strategy can help

via Daily Prompt: Strategy

“One may know how to conquer without being able to do it”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

You can’t boil the ocean – having goals without direction or too many goals for the resources available is a sure way to fail.

Understanding what you want is key. It is impossible to plot a course without understanding where you want to go.  The goal may be – I want to increase my net worth by $15,000 in liquid assets or I want to lose 20 lbs.

Understanding your limits is also important – I want to increase my net worth by $15,000 in liquid assets in a legal and ethical way.  Getting money faster may be easier with blurred lines, but understanding that your goal is to do it legally and ethically keeps you on the path.  I want to lose weight safely and keep it off.  Crash dieting for a month isn’t going to cut it.

Now that there are goals – lets look at what to do to make our goals into reality.

Goal One – increasing net worth by $15,000 in liquid assets

How?  Do a Reality Check – where are you now versus where you want to be?

money

The Current situation – I am saving money at a rate of $250 per month, current balance $1,000

The Ideal situation – I have a savings account with $15,000

By comparing the current and ideal a specific target of $14,000 in additional savings is defined as the goal.

Next consider time – Do you want to increase your net worth by December 2018? Or December 2020?

Time to take a look at the factors impacting this decision.

Do a SWOT analysis – What are your Strengths and Weaknesses? What external Opportunities and Threats impact your goal?

Internally –

  • Strengths – Debt to Income ratio leaves extra money for savings
  • Weaknesses – High car payment, tendency to buy new things when not needed

Externally-

  • Opportunity – Get higher paying job, get less expensive car and save the difference
  • Threats – Unexpected expenses, Increases in taxes or utility rates, Economic downturn

Understanding what is going to help achieve the goal as well as what will potentially undermine success is information needed to formulate a strategic plan.

In order to save $14,000 by December 2018 would require a monthly contribution of $1,167 per month starting this month.  Is that feasible?

In order to save $14,000 by December 2020 would require a monthly contribution of $400 per month.  Is this feasible or could you do it sooner?

Maybe you can comfortably save $650 per month which would put you at the $14,000 mark in 21 ½ months.

Another goal is weight loss. Let’s say I want to lose 20 pounds.

hmm donuts

Reality Check – Do I have 20 lbs to lose?

Current Situation -My Body Mass shows Index I am 15 – 20 lbs heavier than ideal for my height

Ideal Situation – I am the ideal weight for my height

The goal is set – lose 20 pounds without crash dieting

When? – I want to lose 20 pounds by the middle of April 2018

How? – Is this do-able by my preferred time?  Time to do a SWOT analysis

Internally –

  • Strengths – I like walking in nature and occasional hikes, I like to swim and, I like bike riding
  • Weaknesses – I love chocolate, sweets, and chicken nuggets

Externally –

  • Opportunities – onsite workout center
  • Threats – Krispy Kremes and Sonic

So if I set out to walk, hike, swim and bike ride more and eat fewer sweets and chicken nuggets – is that a strategy?  Not quite, I need to add in a measurement – April 30, 2018 is 3 ½ months away so I will need to lose a set amount of weight each week.  Or none this month and 7, 6, and 7 respectively in February, March and April.  In order to know if I am on track to succeed I need a tracking signal.

Two goals are illustrated above.  Once the facts are known determine how aggressive your strategy will be, do you want the slow steady approach or a quicker result.  You can do either as long as you have the resources to meet the milestones.  A milestone is a set target – balance in savings or total lbs lost at the 1 month mark – are you on schedule at this rate to meet your goal?

The measurements will allow me to adjust the strategy if it isn’t working.  It is better to adjust the strategy and meet the goal than it is to give up – so if you aren’t on track adjust and see your goal through to completion.

Take a look at your own goals and try to create a strategy to achieve them.

Thank you for reading

 

 

Resolve to Evolve

via Daily Prompt: Tentative

wimpy2

Don’t wait until next Tuesday – Invest in Yourself Now!

Over the past few years I have been on a personal journey of self- development and improvement.  This has included small measurable goals like reading more and getting at least 10,000 steps each day.  It has also involved getting to know myself better by acknowledging the feedback that my body is giving me.  There is more harmony in accepting that I can decide what I enjoy and don’t have to make anyone else happy.

As I sought out information and improvement I found a great website where anyone can take inexpensive and even free courses from amazing schools like MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley.

harvard

Here is the link to the site for those who are interested

https://www.edx.org/

I love to write and found a course from the University of Queensland in Australia on English grammar.  I enjoy history and politics and found a phenomenal American government course on HarvardX.   There are courses on a wide range of topics and the other students are all over the world.

Every day we all have the opportunity to learn and evolve.  This is not limited to mastering tasks on the job or checking boxes on a to-do list.  Learning doesn’t need to be expensive – it could and should include going to the library and borrowing books or using Wi-Fi to take a free class.  There are podcasts and audio books.  There is an abundance of information available for those who seek to learn.

library

Investing time and energy into learning every day is beneficial on many levels.  It will give you advantages in your professional life as well as in your personal life.  There are resources to learn everywhere and instead of waiting until it is convenient just go for it.

 

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do”
― Pelé

 

Free Range or Cube Farmed?

cube farm

Which is more Productive?

 

clean home desk

In an age when people are realizing the scale-ability of incomes and looking to maximize their leisure time – it is time for corporations to ditch the 40+  hour work week and find a model that attracts talent and productivity.

In the 1950’s when most households were patriarchal maybe the 9-5 workday made sense.

pleasantville

But the “Honey, I’m home – where’s my dinner?” days are gone.  Now people are far more productive when they have the flexibility to balance personal life with work.

Why would you want to rot in a cube farm while life passes you by just to impress a boss who may give you a small increase annually?  The same boss will certainly expect you to “step up” and work even harder when another employee moves on or a new priority is set.

  • If you had the chance to work remotely and a set list of tasks to complete would you get them done?
  • Would you be more or less motivated if you knew that you could work and go to your kid’s ball game?   Or pursue another interest like a dance class or golf?
  • Or take a graduate course at 10 am on Wednesday with the best professor instead of an evening course with an adjunct professor after both of you have been working all day?

YES!!! Of course you would because it isn’t that you don’t want to work – you want to live and work.

Balance is the key to everything.

You don’t have to the be The boss to be A Boss

surfing

Mondays could start with a morning surf or yoga class – how would that change the dynamic of the week?