Archive for the ‘positivity’ Tag

Better 

It has been gloomy, hot and humid ever since Friday’s Dark Day. Hot, yucky weekend followed by humid overcast early week. In fact, it stormed all night and well into this morning. Buckets of rain and growling thunder made for a tense night of restless sleep. 

Yet, it’s getting better. The storm clouds have passed and the sun is shining. A robin has been visiting the ledge outside my office window, serenading me for the last hour or so. There’s a light breeze waving the bright green trees adorning the lawns surrounding my office building and fluttering the flag at the entrance to the campus. 

Seems like the physical changes might be reflecting, or even driving, the mood shift around here. What seemed so dire and intense on Friday has largely eased into a determination to overcome. A few words from the C-Suite, a pep-talk of sorts, has set a better tone and a challenge to win despite taking an unfair licking. That’s a welcome change and a goal I can get behind. 

I hope your week is looking positive and you find something good to appreciate even when there’s gloom. 

Running the Gauntlet 

I’ve been flat-out swamped for weeks, getting ready to host my semi-annual conference with my global legal team. I have an amazing support team in the Executive Assistant for our department. She has done all the coordination and logistics for this event, coming to me for only budget approval and signatures. She’s amazing and I would be so lost without her help. 

But I’ve had plenty to do with arranging speakers, topics, consultants, and preparing my own remarks for two of the sessions. All on top of fifty bazillion other details of my day job. It’s important, though, so I’ve worked hard to juggle it all. It definitely feels like I’ve run the gauntlet, only to see another directly ahead. 

The conference starts with dinner tonight. A few of the international travelers have been delayed by weather, so will miss that. But the substantive program starts tomorrow and runs through Friday morning. I’m hopeful that everything will run smoothly and it’ll be the fun, challenging time I’ve planned it to be. 

The last one, in October of 2015, was the same. Worked my butt off to put a program together that combined a lot of fun down time as well as interesting speakers and some skill-building. I thought it went well. Had positive remarks throughout the week, but when given the chance to comment anonymously, I received a surprising level of negative feedback. Surprising because there was not even a hint of that in any conversation, even those I just overheard and didn’t participate in directly. 

I hope that doesn’t happen again. I’ve gone out of my way to incorporate every bit of feedback and proactive input from my team. I’ve got the speakers they requested covering topics they suggested. I’ve balanced break, meal and team-building time evenly with speaker time, so no one should feel overwhelmed with content to process. And I’ve arranged for some fun freebies and prizes for everybody. So hopefully no one will have reason to gripe about anything. 

Fingers crossed. 

Odds & Ends

Whelp…looks like I missed on the post-a-week target again. Ugh. 

Here are some random thoughts from my work-stressed and scattered brain:

  • May the Fourth Be With You – a silly, silly play on words that never fails to make me giggle. I am, of course, wearing my R2D2 bow tie and “May the Force Be With You” spinner ring for the occasion. 
  • I am now convinced that my work computer has become sentient and developed a sick affinity for making me lose my mind. It only has to implement mandatory updates when I’m on a deadline. It only experiences slow-downs or crashes when I have unsaved work on my screen. And it loses network connectivity only when it is critical that I remain connected to access resources necessary for my deadline-driven, unsaved-progress-generating projects. This vindictive nascent AI is winning in its game of chicken with my last nerve. 😦
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is opening this week!!!! Can’t wait. This movie kicks off the summer blockbuster season and I’m so excited! I hope I get to see them all!
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is becoming an obsession. It was a belated birthday gift to myself and I love it. I’m absurdity proud when I beat a boss or solve a puzzle without resorting to a guide or walk-through. I’ve been a Zelda fan for forever. I’m old-school in that I am convinced beyond persuasion that Ocarina of Time is the best Zelda game of all time. But this one is in a league of its own. Such a rich, open world to explore! The 15 minutes to an hour of play I get on a good day during the week only makes my obsession spiral. It’s a great game, try it if you can!
  • It’s the little joys in life that make it special. I hope you find a pun or a movie or a game or some other little nugget of fun to bring some light and happiness to your day. 😎🙏✌️👊

Tulips

Ugh…totally failing on the post-a-week goal. But on the bright side, Spring has arrived and my SIL’s tulips have bloomed. So have my pear trees, creating a lovely fragrance in my front yard, along with a huge ‘snow’ of blossom petals. Here’s a collage from Easter, when they were at their peak. 

I hope you’re having a lovely Spring!

Just Under the Wire

Whew…just made it. My goal was to post something at least once a week for the rest of the year. This third post since setting that goal just barely makes it. 

I’ve nothing profound to say. It’s Saturday, but feels like Sunday. Got that little edge of tension that comes with thinking tomorrow is Monday and all the stress that will bring. Trying to ignore it and relax. 

Here are a few good things to help me with that and hopefully inspire you to find the little bright spots in your corner of the world:

  1. Yesterday was the first day of sunshine we’ve had in more than two weeks. I enjoyed it by sitting under one of the pear trees in my front yard before sunset. Birdsong, sunshine, warm and breezy…a few perfect minutes at the end of the day. 
  2. Speaking of…my pear trees are about to bloom. That is one of my most favorite events of the year. Nothing smells nicer than pear blossoms in cool, Spring morning air. 
  3. I went to a movie at a new theater a couple weeks ago. They have a Star Wars theme in their lobby. I sat in the Emporer’s chair! Silly little things make me happy. Check out the pics below. 

I’m baaaaaack!

So…hi. It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Life has a way of running inexorably on and suddenly it’s been 3 months and only feels like a couple weeks. Sheesh. 

Anyway, I’ve been trying to write and failing epically. I’m my own worst critic, true, but I think the issue is more basic:  I feel that I have to have something deep and meaningful, or worldly wise, or Earth-shakingly original to post in order to be worthy of publishing here. I’m completely baffled how that idea got into my head, but it’s been a barrier for a while. 

Yet, this is my blog and I started it for me. I made this a place for my own thoughts and expressing them in my own voice. I’m honored that my writing has attracted readers. But that was never the primary purpose. I need to get back to that original goal. 

So I’m giving myself permission to just post anything I feel like sharing. It may be a rant on something irritating, a list of positive things, something that makes me think, or smile, or just some random oddity that I find interesting. I’ve seen a few of my favorite bloggers do this periodically and it seems to work for them. So I’m giving it a go. 

I hope you enjoy the nearly uncensored view into my brain that this is likely to turn into. I also hope that I can keep up a somewhat regular posting pace. Because I like this blogging thing and the feeling of connecting that I get from sharing something from my brain to the internets. 😜
So, for today, three good things:

  1. I’m posting to my blog, which WordPress tells me just turned 4 years old. My ambition is to post at least one thing a week for the rest of the year. 
  2. Spring is here in the Midwest US. Green things are starting to grow. My SIL’s tulips have already pushed 3 inches of leaves out of the soil. So happy to see life return. I’m including a picture of the sunrise from the first day of Spring that I took on my drive to work. It was a good way to start the day. 
  3. I went to see Beauty and the Beast with a friend last Friday night and absolutely LOVED it! Say what you will, but a good ol’ Disney story always leaves me smiling. I still find myself singing “Be Our Guest” in my head. That was pure escapist fun and I’m glad I went. 

I hope you all find more than a few good things to smile about today. 

I didn’t sign up to be a traffic cop

Well, with this post, I fulfill my #NaNoWriMo slash #NaBloPoMo goal of posting once a week in November. I even squeezed in a couple of bonus posts. So I’m happy with my achievement, even if it wasn’t 30 straight days of posts. 

Recently I talked about having had a really good day after doing some deeply hard-core executive lawyering. That’s happened quite a few times and I’ve tried to celebrate those wins so as not to lose sight of the good, substantive work I do. That’s important, because it seems far too many of my work days lately consist of frustratingly wasteful, non-substantive busy work. And way too much gate-guarding/re-directing of tasks and obligations away from my team. I feel like I’m mostly a traffic cop, hence the title of this post. 

That’s not what I want to be and not how I want to spend my time. But it’s a necessary evil, if I’m to protect my scarce resources from inefficient and productivity-eroding time-sinks. That is part of my job as the boss. But it seems such a low-value activity and a very expensive waste of time and talent. 

So, instead of whining about it, I’m trying to think of strategies to resolve the symptoms and, hopefully, the root cause. It’s challenging, because no problem is one-sided and lots of people and variables come into play. The priorities I have for my team, which make these inefficiencies so problematic, aren’t the same priorities that other teams have. Indeed, these inefficiencies are tools or methods that other teams are using to pursue their competing priorities. 

A good example is when the sales teams try to end-run the approval process and ask my legal team to draft contracts in absence of approvals “to save time”. My team is put into the position of having to create complex, nuanced contracts on the basis of little or no specific information about the deal, while also having to play approval-police to be sure the contract doesn’t get signed before all the business approvals are given. That parallel processing always includes more calls/emails/special handling, with the associated increased time to get work product out, than we ever need when we get a fully approved contract request before drafting. So I spend time talking to sales reps and sales managers to identify needs and clarify requests and push back against the stupid and unreasonable, while my team struggles to provide top quality service amidst the chaos. 

That’s what I mean by inefficiencies making me a traffic cop. 

I haven’t answered all (any) of the questions about how to remedy this condition. But I have been working on it. With the help of cross-functional leaders I’ve raised awareness and received some short-term relief for my team on parts of the issue. And just yesterday I proposed a refinement to the contracting process to the sales leadership team that could resolve the lion’s share of the frustration for both sales and legal. It will require commitment on both sides and a significant behavior modification for the sales teams. But it also could mean removing more than 80% of the procedural friction from the process and increase sales (and the pace of sales) into the bargain. 

It’s a project for next year and I have high hopes. It’s not the substantive legal and executive work I enjoy most, but it’s good work and could bring a lot of tangible and intangible benefits to my team and my company. If the price is my being a traffic cop…where’s my whistle?

Finding the positive in the unpleasant is a win and one very good thing. I hope you’re finding something positive to celebrate today. 

Glimmer of Positivity 

Because my last few posts, like my life and general reality, have been decidedly on the grim side, I have determined that I will be positive and hopeful in this post. And, harking back to the method I used earlier this year, I’m going to allow myself to define positivity expansively. (For example, I think it’s entirely positive that I have successfully avoided strangling a most annoying salesperson for over a month!) Even the small victories over gloom and defeat are to be celebrated, because any victory fuels the fire that will consume this era of hate. 

And so…a list of some good, positive things:

  1. I have done, and done well, some seriously deep and meaningful executive lawyering over the last few weeks. From dealing with emergent conflicts, to guiding senior executives in strategic decisions, to managing multiple outside law firms on concurrent litigation matters, my skill as a legal professional and a business leader has been tested and met every challenge. I’m proud of my contribution to my company’s success and proud of my team’s achievements. 
  2. I got an early start on holiday gifts for my team this year. I try to give hand-made gifts that are fun, or useful, or meaningful. I’m happy with my choice this year and glad I started early. 
  3. My skill at diplomatically delegating, whether to members of my own team or to other departments, is increasing. I have struggled with the feeling of failure at having to say no to some things. But I’ve learned that exhausting myself not only compromises me as a resource and leader, but it withholds growth opportunities from others. It’s still a challenge, but I’m doing better and my team and my company are benefitting. 
  4. The weather has been beautiful and I’ve seen some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The sky is always a source of joy and energy for me. I like its infinite variety and find peace in the loveliness and simplicity of a sunrise. A collage of a sunrise from earlier this week (with the super moon!) is attached below for your enjoyment. 
  5. It may get cold enough to freeze here in the next few days and my eyes and nose are rejoicing the possibility. Can’t wait. Not only will it finally feel like it should for the holidays, but my allergies will abate until Spring and that’s a very good thing. 

Making an Effort 

Lately it seems that I have more grumbling, discontented thoughts than I like. And I don’t want to veer off into a habit of posting snark and complaints. So I’m making another conscious effort to be positive and find the good, at least one good thing, in each day

Today I’m going to a continuing legal education seminar on intellectual property law developments. Could be boring, but I’m betting it won’t be. Because it starts later than my usual time to get to my office, I’m taking the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. A real, sit-down breakfast with plates and forks and everything. A big change from the sandwich or wrap I usually snarf in the truck on the way to work. 

This little restaurant in my neighborhood is usually packed for breakfast on the weekends, but I got right in this morning. A lovely glass of pineapple juice and a tasty meal with no wait for a table…a very good start to the day. 

  

Noisy, Painful, and Dark

Faltering in my positivity streak…

— — — — —

Noisy, painful, and dark – that’s what the world feels like right now. 

  • Brussels
  • Gomeshi 
  • North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas- legislated hatred & bigotry 
  • Suicide Bombings
  • Burning children 
  • Dead trans* women
  • Police violence against POC
  • Refugees ignored, targeted, vilified 

My heart is exhausted and my mind is numb. 

Hatred, indifference, misogyny, discrimination, unkindness, reactionary politics, bombastic rhetoric, and invective spewed indiscriminately at anyone, anything, and any idea or ethos that doesn’t fit in a predetermined “normal” box. All difference, diversity, and authenticity reviled. Threats of violence, ostracism, even imprisonment or internment being bandied about like poker chips by not just internet trolls, but also by men (and some women) in positions of power…just for existing as women or queer or trans* or black or Muslim… 

The world is looking pretty dark. The noise, the cacophony of hate is physically painful. I’m having trouble finding the good things that have meaning in order to celebrate them. 

This is why I don’t watch the news or listen to the radio. This level of poison in the atmosphere, the seething hatred making the air and sea and earth burn…it is too much.  

My heart and mind recoil. But where is there any solace, any refuge?  

%d bloggers like this: