Archive for the ‘thankfulness’ Tag

Monday-ish Monday Positives

This is a very Monday-ish Monday. It’s a dark, gloomy, rainy, cold day. Started with a 6am conference call full of sales guys asking for exceptions to process because they left doing their job too late for Q1 close – ugh. One of our internal risk guys raised a false alarm on a contract because he was working from old information, and now my team gets to spend half a day fielding panicked calls and filling out forms to say there was never anything wrong – joy.  And I’m still spending way too much of my time managing outside counsel requests for information on litigation matters that should never have occurred if our customer (in one) or partner (in the other) had acted reasonably and with the integrity you’d expect from even a random teenager – fun times. 

Needless to say, I’m a little on the grumbly side today. 

But, I’m determined not to let the Mondays ruin my positivity streak. Here are a couple good things, even if they are weaker than I’d care to acknowledge right now:

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing. Even though I’ve hit my weekly posting target all of this year, so far, it’s still not the regular, ingrained habit I’d like it to be. So I’m going to try bullet journaling. After reading quite a bit about the technique, I think it’ll kickstart a habit of writing that is distinct from my writing here. My theory is that if I have a habit of recording my thoughts in a couple of different media, the mental ‘muscle memory’ should fuel the habit of creative writing that I want to develop. We’ll see. If nothing else, I’ll have a fun time doodling in a new notebook. 😅
  2. I’m struggling with my taxes this year and don’t know why. I’ve been doing them online for eons without issue. I haven’t changed anything about my life or finances that would affect how I file. So I’m at a loss. However, instead of panicking, I used my reasoning brain and did what adults do and made an appointment with a tax preparer. I feel very grown-up with this decision (which is good, considering my age) and proud of myself for not stressing out over it. 
  3. I have successfully made it through half of Monday without strangling any sales reps. I count that as a win! 😉

I hope you have a great Monday and week, and find a few good things to balance all the annoyances you encounter along the way. 


It’s All Good 

This weekly posting goal is more of a challenge than it really should be, some days. I get so caught up in the bustle of every day life that writing about it doesn’t seem to even make the to-do list. Crazy how fast life seems to move. One day you’re busting your hump to get to vacation and before you know it, vacation is over and you’re back to the grind. Days slip by so fast when you have your head down jobbin’.  Almost so fast that you don’t realize how much energy you’re spending on the parts of your life that shouldn’t matter that much and how little time you’re spending actually living. 

But, it’s all good. It’s all about personal growth and moving forward. I’m still working on it, especially that posting goal. So, to that end, here’s a list of a few good, even great, things in my life lately. 

  1. I had an epically awesome time with a good friend last week. Getting away is always a refresher, but getting away to do nothing but enjoy the company of friends, relax and breathe is the best thing ever. Bookstores and libraries and board games and amazing meals and great company – what better way to spend theee days off?
  2. While I was visiting my friend, I was blessed to experience a community where Butch visibility was everywhere and welcomed. That is extremely rare in my life. You don’t know how much impact visibility has until you realize how absent it is in your daily life. Said another way, it is astounding how meaningful it can be to have your identity and presentation validated by seeing yourself represented in the every day public. Walking down the street or into a public space and seeing yourself in others, not compromised or edited, but exactly as you are on the faces and in the forms/bodies of total strangers, is profoundly moving. 
  3. Prosciutto mozzarella pesto sandwiches are my new obsession. They are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. 😉
  4. I got my performance evaluation today and my boss rated me higher than I rated myself overall and in 4 out of 5 core competencies. He said I set the standard for my role and for a senior leader for our company. He said my leadership has a material impact on my company’s success. So, basically… I’m AWESOME! 
  5. It’s almost Spring and there has been sunshine for at least part of every day this week. Sunshine lifts my spirits and turns my eyes to the sky to appreciate the heavens. This was the sunrise this morning as I arrived at my office:

I hope you are having a great week and take a moment to appreciate the number of great and good things in your life. Keep smiling, my friends!

Dobby is freeeeeee!!

Ok, so I’m no house elf. But it still feels amazing to be free of work in the middle of the day and middle of the week. Leaving my office when the sun is still up, much less high enough in the sky to need shades, is far too rare for me. 

I’m taking a few days off to visit a friend. Three whole days of nothing but hanging with a pal and having fun. No hoops to jump through, no corporate nonsense, no litigation demands, no sales people demanding my time, no crises to avert. Just leisure. 

Board games, yum things to eat, a movie, Butch bro time, and new friends to meet. This is gonna be epic!

Have a great week and weekend and find time to do something just for you!

Boss Positives

Continuing my focus on good things, positive things in my life, I thought I’d share a quick list of positive things related to my boss and job. 

  1. First, a bit of an ego boost. The other day my boss unintentionally (I think) paid me a really flattering compliment. He had come into my office to vent a little, as he was stressed and frustrated. After listening and finding a way to make him laugh, I offered to help with anything he could entrust to me. He looked at me a little oddly, but didn’t have anything for me. Then, a few hours later, he asked me to take on a project that was time sensitive and that he didn’t have time for right then. Then he said that I am the only other person in the company he’d trust with this, besides himself. Coming from an A-type, high-control personality, I take it as a very high compliment to have earned that level of trust. 
  2. On a related note, I count it as a significant accomplishment that my boss feels comfortable with me and trusts my discretion to such a degree that he will use me as a sounding board and vent to me the frustration that he feels constrained to discuss with others. It tells me that not only has my personal standard of integrity and discretion translated into a trust that he relies on, but that trust makes me as much an adviser as subordinate. Feels good to be relied on. 
  3. Lastly, I am happy to note that my boss values me as a contributor. I’ve been blessed with recognition and advancement, as I’ve written about before. That’s super motivating and gratifying. Validation of hard work and accomplishment is such an important part of fostering employee engagement. But my boss has gone a step further than validation, into advocacy. On a couple of separate occasions in the last few months, I’ve come to find out about instances of my boss advocating on my behalf. From taking up my arguments for funding an additional attorney on my team, to arguing to the board of directors for changes to equity programs that will benefit me and more of my employees, he’s been working hard to support me. I’ve always felt and acknowledged his support for me as a manager. It’s nice to also see the evidence of his support of me as an an individual employee. 

I hope you are having a great week and feeling appreciated and supported in all your endeavors. 

Thanks to the lady in pink…

Quick bonus post today, because it’s both ridiculous and a tiny bit sad, but also a positive…for me, at least. Here goes…

To the lady in the salmon-pink tee shirt ahead of me in the TSA security line, thank you. I watched from four places back as some rather disengaged TSA employees talked to you tersely and subjected you to repeated pat-downs and questions. I watched as you patiently turned first this way, then that way, then lifted each knee and extended each arm, never once complaining. I watched as you obeyed every curt direction and endured each small indignity. 

I want to thank you for all that you endured, not only because you did it with such aplomb and patience, but because your ordeal saved me from enduring an equally or more egregious indignity. Because their robotic, tone-deaf, leaden-footed examination of you caused such a back-up in the line, TSA took several of us through the standard metal detector instead of the body scan, which allowed me to avoid the automatic extra pat-down and search that happens for me every time I fly. 

I feel a bit conflicted that I benefited from your discomfort and inconvenience. I don’t like to think that a total stranger suffered in my place. (Something a bit biblical in that sentiment that I’ll have to examine later.) At the same time, however, I’m exceptionally grateful not to have had to stand even longer, permitting strangers to touch me under the scrutiny of a crowd of onlookers who I imagine are critical and casting silent aspersions my way for the delay caused by this process. 

You see, my size and gender expression hit two of the top three leading indicators for the profiling of passengers that goes on, unacknowledged and even denied, in American airports. On top of that, the additional friction in the system arising from the general lethargy and disengagement of security workers (in my experience, at least) make my flying experience almost always dismally bad. 

But because you endured that in my place, my flight tonight, after a very tiring and mentally taxing two days of business meetings, has been a much better experience (so far) than I’ve had in a long time. 

So, thanks to the lady in pink, from a grateful Big Butch. 

Quick Hits

The last couple of days I’ve been in offsite meetings for my company’s customer experience steering committee. We’re planning action plans for this year. One of the buzzwords/phrases bandied about the most is “quick hit”. It’s not a new or unusual phrase; we’ve been hearing it for years. But it has stood out this week because of its association with agility and measuring success. There’s an underlying assumption that if we have rapid task completion, we show we’re winning against the goal.

I think there’s plenty of room to debate the truth or value of that approach. For example, does this prioritize optics over outcome? Speed over quality? Will the ultimate objective of improving customer experience be achieved in such shallow scoops? But wherever you land on those judgments, it’s hard to argue that the fact that there is a ‘win’ against a part of the challenge in a short sprint is a powerful motivator.

So, in that spirit, here’s a list of quick positivity hits from my life that I wanted to share with you. I think the win in this is two-fold: I post something to keep my streak alive, and by focusing on positive things, we all get a morale boost. So here’s 5 good things for which I’m grateful:

1. I’m over the plague and feel so much better! Freedom of breathing is nothing to take for granted.

2. Friends and colleagues who show you in tangible ways that they care about you are such a spirit-lifter. Over the past month, I’ve been blessed to have these spontaneous reminders of support in some really delightful ways. Simple things like a catch-up lunch with a friend, a text to just say hi or express thanks for some small kindness, an email from a colleague to check on you when you’re absent, a smile and a pat on the back to acknowledge your effort. These gestures are so easy and usually costless, but have such a big impact on the recipient. I’ve had all of these lately and am so grateful and humbled by the care expressed.

3. Sunshine is also powerful medicine for the soul. I got a welcome few minutes of bright sun, blue skies and a tasty meal yesterday at lunch. Having left 3+ inches of snow and single-digit temps at home, the 70 degree lunch on a patio by the bay was a real treat.

4. A kind compliment on my style (bow tie and button-up with jeans and boots) from three separate random strangers in the space of a week has me feeling really confident and good in my gender presentation. That’s a novel experience for me, one I’m grateful for.

5. I’m looking forward to a visit with a good friend in a couple weeks. A few days of just hanging with a pal is a rare treat. Can’t wait!

I hope you are having a great week and finding comfort and inspiration in the positive little things in your life.

Some things…

Some things I want you to know:

  1. Friends who call with the express purpose of encouraging you and for no other reason are a godsend. 
  2. Clickety keyboards with a steampunk vibe make new offices even better. 
  3. The new “Murder on the Orient Express” movie is fantastic. 
  4. Grey, foggy, misty, cold days that have me going to work and coming home in the dark both ways take a toll on my spirit. We’re currently on day 4 of the gloomy day streak, ugh. 
  5. Greek yogurt with berries and granola is a nice way to start the day. 
  6. Bonus:  Hooray for brothers who find creative tool solutions to their sister’s odd fix-it dilemmas. Also hooray for brothers who care for their wives tenderly when they lose someone close to them. I’m blessed with both kinds of praiseworthy brothers. 

A few things 

Here we are, more than two weeks after my last post, and I’m copping out with another listy post. Truth is that I want to write more, better, and more frequently, but I am in my own way. My inner critic and the demands of my daily life sometimes overwhelm my creative urge to express. The simple goal of one post per week for the remainder of the year seemed so reasonable and achievable when I set it a few months ago. But it has proved much more challenging than it should be. 

Still, I want to write, so I’m writing. Even if it’s just that paragraph and the following list, it’s something. I set the goal for myself, so any progress is also for me and I’m counting this as some (small) progress. 

So here goes, a few things I want to share:

  • Wil Wheaton, actor and author and Internet personality, is someone whose work I admire. Truthfully, on the basis of only his public persona and online commentary, he himself is someone whom I admire, in addition to his creative works. I’ve followed his blog for a couple of years and almost always find in it something to think about, laugh at, or learn from. I love the wit and intelligence I perceive in his writing. This week he posted, as he does not infrequently, about his struggle with mental illness. I so admire his honesty and willingness to be vulnerable about his condition for the sake of helping others. Read his post, please. Even if you don’t struggle with depression, this is a message on self care and realness with yourself that everyone needs to hear. I got a lot out of it and I hope you will too. 
  • Summer time is awesome. I don’t do as much outside as I should, but I still appreciate gorgeous blue skies, warm breezes and sunshine. 😎☀️👍🏻
  • As my work responsibilities have increased over the years, I have grown to deeply appreciate the exceptional benefit that is the work of a good executive assistant. The amount of burden and bother an EA lifts off the shoulders of anyone they serve is enormous! I’m so so lucky that my boss’s EA does so much for me. She’s just volunteered to do a job for me next week that is absolutely not her responsibility, but will save me a half a day of lost productivity, the value of which far surpasses the dollar value of my time and hers. It sounds overly effusive to the point of being fake, but I am genuinely overwhelmed with gratitude that she’s taking that off my hands. Perhaps that speaks somewhat to the level of stress I’m working with right now. Probably. But it also says a lot about how valuable a good assistant is. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of sunshine and things to feel grateful for. 

Pasting on the positivity

I promised I’d stop whining and pull myself out of the funk I’ve fallen into lately. And, to show that I am not churlishly unwilling to ‘look on the bright side’ as I have been admonished to do, I’m challenging myself to find at least one thing in each day for the rest of the week that is positive, uplifting, or for which I am thankful.

This is me faking it ’til I make it–deliberate positivity until it becomes natural. Paste on a smile and marshal onward.

So for today, Wednesday March 11, 2015, I’m happy and thankful for the Spring-like sunshine warming my office. It gives me hope that the frigid winter is coming to an end and the greening of the countryside will soon begin. Sunshine is a great cleanser, it drives out the gloom from both sky and heart and irradiates away the germs of melancholy. I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to view the sky outside my window and enjoy the warm rays while I work.

Anything in particular you are happy about or thankful for today? Let me know in the comments.

May your day be full of sunshine, even if only in your spirit. 😃☀️👍

From the gut

Stretched. Pressured. Burdened. Constrained. Laboring under expectation. Pulled in every direction. In demand. Responsible. Needled. Tightly wound. Everything is too loud, too bright, too demanding. Swirling. Dizzy. Confused. Irritated. Annoyed. Anxious. Unsettled. On edge.

These are some of the things I’m feeling right now.

“Why” doesn’t matter. “How to fix it” isn’t the aim of this post. Sometimes you just need to say some things “out loud” (as it were), to take away their power by admitting that they exist.

My life is good, blessed, full to the brim with great things–love, family, friends, health, plenty, to name a few. But, like all of us, I have challenges, obstacles, stressors in my life. From time to time, I get to a point where the stressors swamp my brain’s ability to balance them against the always more numerous blessings in my life.

That’s when I begin to feel too much. Noise and light and smells and people’s voices and insignificant irritations (wind, dust, cold, scratchy clothing, inane remarks, intelligence-insulting tv commercials, etc.) all become needles that prick at my skin and psyche and sense of equilibrium until something breaks. It’s usually my temper and it’s usually at the least significant thing.

Most times that breaking of temper manifests in me shouting or throwing something in the solitude of my car or office or bedroom. Aside from the occasional snapping at a sales guy or speaking more sharply than I intend in making a point, I am usually pretty good at not taking my temper out on others, especially innocents. But the irrational temper tantrums nevertheless happen.

They shame me. I despise that loss of control. Worse is if someone does get an unintended blast of that temper; I’m doubly ashamed of the lapse and the unwarranted discomfort inflicted on the innocent. So I actively suppress my emotions and consciously control my reactions. But I don’t always succeed.

There’s no neat and tidy resolution to this post or the conditions I’ve described. Taking time to be silent and solitary is rarely possible as, like most of us, there are people who depend on me and who need my time and attention. Sleeping more is a pipe dream for the same reasons. Vacation, travel, spa days, all suffer the same shortcomings: time, money, competing priorities. And drink and drugs (of all kinds) are out of the question for me.

So, this is my stop-gap, to vent my frustrations into the ether via this blog. I’ll survive and get past the fug of this bout of stress-induced meh. It does help to just say it to another person, to know that there’s at least one other soul in the universe who knows that a struggle is happening, even if no one can do anything about it.

Therefore, consider this my confession to the sisterhood of unresolved frustration: I’m irritated and fighting to not let it rule me, even if the irrational 2 year old in my head is screaming to throw all the things in reach and take temporary satisfaction from the shattering.

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