Thursday, August 26, 2010

A #SethGodinMpls Inspired Re-Mix

Originally I had hoped to attend Seth Godin's event today at the Pantages, especially since there was a killer Groupon deal, but it just wasn't doable.  I did, however follow some of the #SethGodinMpls tweets on Twitter. 

Back in March & April of the year while reading Seth's book "Linchpin - Are You Indispensable", I had written a couple of blog posts. My first thought was to re-post, but instead, I settled on a re-mix/re-write of those posts.

Linchpin gets to the heart of where the culture of the workforce started & where it's evolved to. It makes you reevaluate the career choices you make & why you are the type of employee you are. It also provides a vision for changing things if you don't like what you see & want to become someone with "gifts" to share - someone with "passion, discernment, dignity, humanity & generosity." There are so many truths in this book that you can put in your leadership "toolkit" and use to become a better manager, a better employee & a better developer of self and staff.

Back then, Erica Mayer introduced her twitter universe to an unemployed & homeless man named "D J" who we now know as Chris, who had been blogging about his experiences. Erica took attention away from her own fundraiser efforts for clean water in order to ask people to follow this man on twitter.  She knew how much we could all learn from his plight, as well as how much might be accomplished if people came together to support his goals. Chris still aspires to raise awareness about & find solutions for homelessness. He even completed a very successful charity "water drive" of his own. We are now very familiar with Homeless Help Network.

"...there's some correlation between the passion and the effort that people bring to a project and the outcome." - Seth Godin

Seth coins new terms. He reintroduces old concepts in new ways so that you visualize them in entirely new contexts.  He really paints a new vision for his audience. One of those terms is "the resistance" which more often than not prevents us from staying on course and seeing our goals through to the end. There are also those endless personal to-do lists that we all continually add to, but never seem to fully complete.

"Whichever way the wind of resistance is coming from, that's the way to head - directly into the resistance. And the closer you get to achieving the breakthrough your genius has in mind, the stronger the wind will blow and the harder the resistance will fight to stop you." - Seth Godin

Life is all about Choices. This is a book that makes you really take a look at how you have been approaching your life & more specifically, your work life & career.  Most people have this vision of the things they strive to accomplish, but perhaps are not as deliberate when considering the process or the journey. Things just happen & most people are unaware of the specifics of what got them from point A to point B. Most of us have done the things asked of us & have been rewarded for doing so. Or so we thought.

"Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow." - Seth Godin

Reading this book, made me reevaluate my own life's journey. With fear comes an almost primal need to make a transfer of power, to free up the resistance and to keep driving towards accomplishing goals, even if it means swimming in uncharted waters. Maintaining optimism in my thoughts - a key to making positive things happen. It's an effort to develop & share works of art with the world in whatever form they may be.

"Where do you put the fear." "The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds." - Seth Godin

We all have episodes in our lives when initial fear has held us back & the ideas presented in this book really challenge us to push past where the fear wants to take us in lieu of something greater, something much more fulfilling. 

Whether you agree with every assertion Seth makes in his writing is besides the point. You can pick & choose among the tools he presents, then begin to change your daily interactions & achieving some really exciting things. If he gets you to alter your traditional mindset & think and act in new & empowering ways, I'd say Linchpin is worth the read. 

If you liked this, you might also enjoy: How Relevant Are You? ...In the 21st Century Workplace 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Not so "Wordless Wednesday" - Garden abundance

An over abundance of goodies from the deck garden has been a pleasant problem to have.

I recently read somewhere that you can keep your tomatoes in the warmer refrigerator bins & they will keep longer, but the bin was beginning to overflow.

So I took them out & let them warm up to room temperature...

Then went outside to pick some basil...

Add a little fresh Mozzarella & of course you've got the easiest side dish around ~ just add a little cracked pepper, sea salt & Balsamic to taste 
(I skipped the olive oil)
(Too bad I forgot to take a pic before we dived into it)

If you've been wondering what to do with all the herbs you can't possible use right now, check out this helpful post I recently found on Twitter: Save the herbs! I'm excited as we have more Thyme, Rosemary, Mint & Basil than I know what to do with!

Not to mention that every day we go out & pick the yummiest, sweetest ripe berries for a quick snack.

Our Munchkin usually gets the largest ones... or "all of them", as he loves to say & which is more often the case.

P.S. Enjoy the rest of your gardening season!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: Wordless Wednesday - Making Spring Rolls w/ Garden Goodness  or  Mama Robin's Safe Haven

Friday, August 20, 2010

Goals To Live By

It's been an interesting week - full of highs & lows, celebration & disappointment all around the same event.  I've been thinking more & more about why it's important to set goals, write them down & then track progress on an ongoing basis.  Obviously goal setting is nothing new. We all claim to do it at any given time both in our personal & professional lives. The key, however is understanding how well you are able to hold yourself accountable for taking steps towards achieving those goals. In order to be the most effective, this has to be an ongoing ritual, not simply an infrequent agenda item.

"Life’s up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want." - Marsha Sinetar 

Every sale needs a closer.  That pretty much sums up my week ahead.  If I don't acknowledge my own worth, than how can I expect anyone else to come & meet me in the middle.  No one deserves to sell themselves short.  You've  got to dare to reach much higher than you may have ever needed to do in the past.  You may be happily surprised by a pleasant outcome.

"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo Buonarroti

So, what is the secret sauce? Reinforcing the positive behaviors: checking things off the list as you go and acknowledging the hard work it took to get each goal accomplished. The reward will come in the ability to praise yourself rather than waiting around for someone to acknowledge your worth. Make inspiration sustainable.

"People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals - that is, goals that do not inspire them." - Tony Robbins

I assembled  the quotes for this post in the hopes that you'll take at least one to heart.  I'll call them "Goals To Live By".  Whenever you start to question or doubt one of those goals you've documented and/or your ability to find the strength to continue on the path of pursuit, remember some of these powerful words. 

"You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals." - Booker T. Washington

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - When Flying Was Fun - Photo Gallery - LIFE

@JoshuaFoss RT'd a tweet from @frogdesign with this link a couple of days ago & it really brought me back to the good old days of air travel. Things will never be quite the same again. Check out: When Flying Was Fun - Photo Gallery - LIFE

Here I am enjoying a comfy ride in First Class on a Northwest Airlines Jet. Just one of many, many flights we took growing up. Yes, those are cloth napkins, a "glass" glass & china on that tray. Some things in life just shouldn't be improved upon.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: Starting my Christmas Wish List Now

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Relevant Are You? ...In the 21st Century Workplace

Over the weekend, I spent a few hours with some old coworkers, many who faced the same fate at some point over the last several years.  They either voluntarily opted out of the workforce, or were laid off and have not been able to find comparable opportunities since. If you now find yourself in a similar position, or know someone who is, do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
  • Friend A has been laid off more than once in their quest to find a fresh start in this still very volatile economic environment.
  • Friend B is contracting while they continue their search for a permanent & better fit.
  • Friend C has resigned themselves to the fact that they may not return to work in the foreseeable future & have stopped looking altogether.  
  • Friend D continues to search, not wanting to settle for a suboptimal position & chooses the reality of long term unemployment, 20+ months out of work.
  • Friend E us actually thankful they don't have the pressure of work due to having other devastating health events come to light during this same period of time.
"The government's broadest definition of the unemployment rate, incorporating people who want jobs but did not search during the month (of July) was unchanged at 16.5%" - The New York Times, August 6, 2010

The other similarity between myself and the other ex-coworkers, is that we are all mothers ~ albeit in different stages of the journey and all are caretakers at heart.  As I imagine Seth Godin might say, we have been conditioned to believe that success is inherent in our ability to take care of our husbands, kids, homes & employers in Superwoman fashion.  In today's environment, even Superwoman clout is devalued ~ unless that woman includes herself on that list to be taken care of.

The idea of maintaining relevance in the 21st Century Workplace is not a male or female sensitive concept.  Many men who had become too comfortable in their roles & who had considerable tenure in their roles have been dramatically affected as well.  It's not unusual to see Mr. Mom on the playgrounds during the day or even the other end of the spectrum, men who have lost everything & are now homeless. When either sex has traditionally been the bigger bread winner in the family and experiences a major life event such as this, words that come to mind for many are depression, demoralized & disbelief. 

Their stories are not shocking anymore - they represent the new reality of today's workforce and those who have been bounced out of it.  The one thing all of these people perhaps could have done better is staying relevant.  Hindsight in this case is more than 20/20, it is a virtual lifeline.  There is no safety in security.  No comfort in complacency. No reward for selfless loyalty.  That thinking is so yesterday - even of our parent's generation.

People have come to realize that no one is going to look out for you - but you.  Call it "dog eat dog" or "survival of the fittest", whatever cliche you choose, but it's true nonetheless: you are the architect or your own destiny and the faster you own that responsibility, the better off you'll be.

Staying Relevant in the 21st Century Workplace can evolve out of a number of actions:
  • Continuing Education ~ Learning new skills, Executive Leadership Certificate Programs & Mini MBAs
  • Earning Advanced Degrees ~ Masters or Doctorate Studies (Don't wait any longer invest in yourself)
  • Networking ~ Both online & offline
  • Industry Association Memberships ~ Get Involved; Get Connected
  • Participation in target industry focused webinars ~ a productive use of your time at home
  • Volunteer work in the community or with your kid's schools or athletic programs
  • Blogging ~ Whether you wish to work on your writing skills or define your personal brand
  • Active Goal Setting ~ Writing them down & tracking process
  • Renewed focus on personal health & fitness goals
  • Wardrobe consulting ~ Bring someone in to evaluate how you are presenting yourself
So excluding you business owners who are already in charge of your own destiny; if you are one of those people who is feeling very safe & untouchable in your present role, ask yourself: "How Relevant Am I?" Are you comfortable with your answer? Just a little something to think about.

These two articles speak to this very situation... I recommend you take a look when you've finished reading this post: - Faces—and Fates—of the Jobless and Back to School


Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 8:57 AM
Great post, Monika. Unfortunately, it seems we all have been affected somehow by the recent economic developments, be it through friends loosing their jobs, hard times to land projects, or other events. reading your blog I could not help but noticing "No reward for selfless loyalty." Although you are dead on, this saddens me to the core. What happened to building companies and organizations where we value the quality of life of employees? I believe it's too easy for employers, and employees alike, to only fight for their own cause. Unfortunately, it seems that the "take-care-of-me" scenario is one being shared with the world, think of shows as The Apprentice, where one needs to work in a team to only better themselves.

I have heard of many people leaving their jobs because of the pressure, and unbearable conditions they have to perform in, which seems to be an act of desperation when in the midst of a recession. So instead of having this happen to our co-workers, our friends, and family, how about we stand up and say, no more. How about we stop being selfish and only look out after "me" and say enough. How about we stop working gather in the cafeteria area and tell management, let us have a constructive dialogue as how we can best take our company forward. After all, it seems we, management and employees, all want the same, a healthy, profitable and great workplace. Let's take these times to bring us together building healthy organizations where everybody is valued. Wishful thinking, maybe. Impossible, absolutely not.

Thanks for a great post, Monika.


Maikel van de Mortel  l  Element Six Media  -  Creating Green Buzz™

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - We ❤ Model Trains (video)

Photo & Video taken in Downtown Wayzata 
The Depot Gardens

For those of you who enjoy trains as much as we do... Enjoy!

If you liked this, you might enjoy the streetcar pics from our recent trip to downtown Excelsior