Tag Archives: Stretching

My Mind Simply Refuses

I do hope that I find that I am not alone in this one.  Do you have information that you just cannot, no matter how hard, how often, how many methods you try absolutely cannot seem to remember the next time that you need it?  (Right now my mind is finding it quite amusing not to give up the specific word, to use as an example, which I always confuse with another word.  The one which made me think of writing this post just a little bit ago.  Hilarious.)


photo credit-news.sciencemag.org

photo credit-news.sciencemag.org

Now if this were a math issue, I could commiserate with my mind’s disinterest.  I can’t tell you the number of times I sat in a math class, thought I understood the lesson, only to find out that apparently I missed something – or that something hadn’t bothered to stick around and make it into long term memory.  I get the logic of math, but some element of it eludes me and math and I are comfortable with this current agreement.


Microsoft Word and I regularly fight over sentence structures, I don’t recall all the detailed grammar rules terribly well, but if the sentence sounds the way that I intended I am ok with my mind not bothering to dust off all the grammar rules that I learned once upon a time.  Noun?  Check.  Verb?  Check.  Sounds ok when spoken?  Check.


Sometimes I get just a wisp that I retained the needed thing once and it was stored somewhere around up there – yes, there’s the spot.  But the needed thing has perhaps been moved to make way for some other reference, or grouped with something similar.  I can bemoan that it is missing, or I can figure out how to look it up again.


My example word is refusing to even give any hints.


In instances like this when the knowledge is a word I am particularly consternated.  A WORD.  I’ve always loved words, why would one trip me up?  I know that I’m trying to hard – I can’t Google myself out of this one.  I’m thankful to Google for most of the other times when my mind just says nope, didn’t keep that one around.


Ah, ha – one of the words I always confuse is restive.  Not the word that started this whole thing, but a little closer.  Whew.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations



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What Do You See When You See It?

Have you ever noticed how often you can be discussing something with someone else or within a group and be well into the conversation before it comes to light that you aren’t in agreement at all when it seemed as though you were, or possibly not even discussing the same thing at all?  For instance what if you were talking about POV and you meant point of view when the other person interpreted it as something completely different.

Optical Illusion 2

Professionals in the court system know this is why eye witness testimony can be suspect, but juries which are made up of people who don’t necessarily know the psychology put a lot of weight on eye witness testimony.  Where was the eye witness standing, what was this person doing at the time that might have absorbed their focus, what are this person’s prejudices?  All of this and more affects your point of view, your perspective of an event.


I still love a visual that someone once used with my son who had been involved in an altercation with a friend.  The person held up a magazine between himself and my son.  He asked my son to describe what he saw and my son gave a description of the front of the magazine.  Then the person gave his own description of the magazine from his point of view, which was of the back of the magazine.  They were both describing the same object factually, but the descriptions didn’t jive because each was of an unrelated portion of the whole.  This was an aha moment for my son and I was excited to be part of it because I had not ever seen such a concrete and straight forward example of point of view before.


As a person with the writer’s observational viewpoint, I often find that I get clued in to the point when points of view diverge before others in the room.  My writer self wants to watch and see what happens and my process self wants to correct the divergence as quickly as possible to prevent wasted energies.  My role in the conversation determines my actions.  If time is crucial or I am leading the discussion, I will speak up.  If there is a chance for a growth opportunity for the participants, then I will often let the divergence play out.


I have always believed in the power of words.  It is crucial to choose the right word to describe your thoughts within a situation, to convey your meaning to others in a manner that they will understand.  Sometimes words that are devastating to one can just slip off the tongue of another with hardly a thought to the consequences.  Vigilance at all times is not possible, but perhaps we should flip the magazine around every once in a while to see what the other person sees.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


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Shall We Dance? A Happy Story of Collaboration

We know that there is strength in numbers; it has been proven time and time again throughout history.  We should use this knowledge in our work life to our advantage as well as for the organization’s success.  Finding one or two people either in the same department or your counterpart(s) in another department, especially if you have complementary strengths is a good exercise.

There are many good reasons to collaborate, ponder this one:

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Collaboration will strengthen the end result of the project because each person can bring their own point of view which includes their experiences, emphases, and expectations.  Shared knowledge gets richer.

“Our future depends on being clever not individually, but collectively.”

~ Matt Ridley

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

~ Margaret Mead

When I was younger, I wanted to go it alone so that no one could make fun of me if they didn’t like what I was doing and so that I could garner all the praise for myself when it went right.  As I got older, and especially working in a very complex organization, I realized the value of seeking out compatriots.

It started out merely as discussion, but grew into process changes that benefited many.  The department that I worked in handled only one part of customer transactions since these tend to work cross departmentally, and we began to realize that if we took a look at the transaction process together, we could improve it before we had difficulties.   Additionally, we each grew in our overall knowledge as we continued to work together.


Try it out, dancing is better with a partner.

© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

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More Potpourris

DSC03125Some things that I’ve come across that I feel fit in with my theme on this blog, please check them out:


3 Steps to Turn Any Setback into Success – this article provides some great points to ponder while you lick your wounds and plan your next move – my take on this topic was Its Just Practice.


This one provides some clear cut information about achieving the ‘sweet spot’ of just the right amount of assertiveness – How to be Assertive (Without Losing Yourself).


How to Undress for Success is by Jeff Haden, one of the people who post useful and thought provoking things on LinkedIn, but manages to seem really just like one of us at the same time.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


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First Solo Moment

There might be that rare individual out there that doesn’t know about self-doubt, but the rest of us all experience that first solo moment on a regular basis.  It is that moment when your training seems to abandon you as you must alter from student to responsible party.

Sadly there is no photo evidence of my first driver's license, so I'm substituting my son's.

Sadly there is no photo evidence of my first driver’s license, so I’m substituting my son’s.

I vividly remember the first moment when this phenomenon became apparent to me.  I was 15 and in Driver’s Ed.  I’d driven a simulator a few times and even the family car maybe twice with my dad.  Now the school had turned the summer empty, vast parking lot into a driving course.  Paint lines and orange cones covered the crumbling asphalt.  There was a row of compact cars on loan from a local dealership and the instructors were either installed at the top of the observation platform in the center of the lot, or standing in the grass on the edge.

I had been looking forward to this moment for ages.  While I waited my turn, I critiqued the performance of my classmates harshly in my mind and I could see from the facial expressions around me that I wasn’t alone in my hubris.

Then it was my turn and I was assigned to a car.  I believe it was a Volkswagen Fox. (Yes, this dates me.)  I climbed in and adjusted everything as I had been taught, the seat and all the mirrors.  Just before I was told that I could start the car, it hit me that I was alone in a vehicle for the first time in my life.  Additionally, the full responsibility of managing this machine landed squarely on my shoulders.  My ears stopped working and I had to carefully focus on how to breathe.  One of the instructors in the grass had to come over and tell me to start my car.

I don’t recall how I did on that course that day, but I know that I didn’t distinguish myself as I had hoped.  The biggest lesson from that day has remained the awareness of the importance of ‘getting in the driver’s seat’ but retaining the openness of a student.

© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

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Coming to Your Own Conclusions

Everyone has an opinion on what you should do for this or that issue in your life.  You should do ‘x’ because my cousin’s boyfriend’s sister had the same problem and this is how it went wrong for her.  You should do ‘y’ because I read this article in a magazine that said it’s best to do it that way.

You do your own research and find a variety of potential solutions presented by all types of experts.  Some of these solutions even contradict each other.  They use these very definitive words – never do this, always do that.  All this emphatic information leaves you feeling queasy and less certain than you were to start with for crying out loud.

How can they all seem so assured when their solutions are so different?


They are assured because they found a means to come to their own conclusion about the issue at hand.  Your job is to examine the criteria that they applied to their conclusion to determine if it applies to your situation or if you should set aside their recommendation because it is not helpful for you at this time.

Hopefully they have provided some background and key points to prove the validity of their conclusion that you can use in your review.  If their reasoning begins and ends on some form of ‘because I said so’, then they have not provided a compelling argument for you to emulate their actions.  (In my opinion)

Now you have narrowed down your expert examples, you can take a closer look at the criteria listed in the remainder and start to build your own conclusion based on these specifics that make sense in your individual issue.  Not necessarily taking on as your own their conclusion, but using it to help you to make sense of your situation and the best solution that you can apply based on your overall intent or goal.

© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

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Being Spectacularly Yourself

A few years ago I had a very difficult year.  There’s a list that pops up periodically in articles of serious stressors and I was affected by a fair number of them in this particular year.  This isn’t about stressors or difficulties, though.  It is about finding your joy by understanding yourself.


“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer.”

~Albert Camus


I learned many, many things that year, but two stand out as beacons to me still.  The first is just as Mr. Camus states above, only my personal expression is that there is joy to be found.  It is in such varied and unexpected places if we can only keep our minds, ears, eyes and hearts open to absorb it.  Or since such constant vigilance is difficult to maintain, remind ourselves of the possibility on a frequent basis.


The second was an idea that took hold of me then that every person has within them a ‘great thing’.  Some people have more than one; some people may never realize their great thing.  But it exists and just waits to be discovered.  No one else can tell you what your great thing is; you must look inside yourself and then nurture it.


By saying great thing, I don’t mean to imply that it is something that will bring fame and riches or indeed any sort of renown necessarily.  (And I am deliberately not capitalizing great thing because it is personal.)  Your great thing will most likely play a part in your definition of success.


“Do not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness.”

~James Thurber


I have a friend that posted on Facebook shortly after this past New Year that while at a party she was asked the traditional question about her resolution for 2013 and on the spur of the moment she answered to sparkle.  Isn’t that just grand?  She has had her trials, but she chooses to sparkle.  (She is possessed of an excellent wit, so I have no doubt that she will be able to fulfill this resolution.)


Finding joy, nurturing your great thing, or sparkling won’t prevent the trials and tribulations of life from pecking at you, this is true.  But each will help you to achieve contentment, and internalized, will flavor all your endeavors.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


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February 11, 2013 · 9:21 am