Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Surgery: Relationship, Transaction or Both?

Tomorrow, I will have surgery to relieve a compressed nerve in right forearm that has slowed me down to all but a crawl in the last 4.5 months.

All the interactions with the doctor's office and the hospital leading up to the big day have really got me thinking about how "transactional" this deeply personal relationship appears to be.

Let's face it - some relationships in life are transactional by design and by nature.

When stopping to think about that, it's a tough thought.

On one hand, there are transactions between humans all the time - some on a regular basis, some intermittent and some once in a great while. So we are always weaving in and out of some type of transaction or relationship with people.  Understood. No issue.

On the other hand, I believe that some relationships - however brief - mean more than others and should be treated that way. The health care industry sits in this category.  Whether it's a long term relationship you a doctor or a short relationship with a surgeon - everyone in the relationship stream must strive for every interaction to feel deeper than a mere transaction.

While I may only have arm surgery once in my life (shooting prayers up as I blog this)  - the value my experience in this relationship has huge implications for my surgeon and the hospital that treats me.

Do you agree?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Contentment: The Underrated Sibling of Happiness

I tweeted no less than 10 articles that refer to happiness in the last 30 days.

It seems as though - everyone is talking about it lately - especially since Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh's NY Times Bestseller "Delivering Happiness" hit the shelves this past June.

Huge fan of Tony's and what he has done at Zappos - one of THE driving inspirations for Relationships Matter Now, LLC - no question.

But I wanted to post today on the "contentment" because I think it is the underrated sibling to happiness.

Dictionary says contentment is:

"The quality or state of being contented." And contented is defined as:

"feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation "

This past week - I started my "Rumba a la Cuarenta" or my Rumble to Age 40. We all know that as we approach the BIG 4-0 - we reflect more than normal which for me has been ridiculous, considering how much I reflect anyways. One of the big discoveries I came across this week in reflecting on the last year of my life - personally ,professionally - relationally - the best way to describe my life is contented.

There is a peace. A joy even.

The struggle of starting my company. Being a wife, mom to two active children and volunteer in my church - all while holding a full-time job and serving on the local village board. Of course, there are ups and downs - highs and lows. Triumphs, hurts, victories, disappointments but overall - I am content. And I want to encourage others today to be content. No offense to happiness but contentment is great thing to strive for.

Does this mean I am not driving toward my business goals with brute force and tenacity?
Does this mean my marriage isfine so I am no longer "working" to make it better?
Does this mean the other relationships in my life are all humming along w/ no need for care?

I think sometimes in America we misuse the word content and confuse it with something that is less than it's true dictionary meaning. Like - "settling" or "stagnation" So today - I ask you to consider your life and consider if contentment - "feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation"-  is an option for you.

For me - discovering contentment in all areas of my life over the past year has opened the door to happiness, peace and joy as well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Embracing A Tough Reality

Love this image of embrace - it captures me
This past week, a  good friend  updated her Facebook status with the following:

"Always the lesson, never the miracle”

Those words pierced my heart because I could relate. Can't you?  How many times have we asked, “can't I just get this one break?”

If so,  then you must be like the many of us whose lives are built to face and overcome complexity.  It is just a fact that while some people may have what appears to be a much easier and less complex road to what they want, there are those of us whose path is just a little more tough for achievement.

Now I don't want to sound as if this is a pity party or “woe is me” line of thinking, but after much thought and self-reflecting this week after reading that post,  I've come to embrace this tough reality.

And tough it is.

Who doesn't want the "Easy Street" in life? Isn't that why we take our chance and play the lottery hoping that we will hit the jackpot and all will be well.  But then you hear the statistics of the people who hit the lottery–the depression, anxiety and bankruptcy. How does that happen? They all can't just be idiots. Nor do I think there is some "big curse on easy money". My theory, is that they are running from and fighting their reality instead of embracing it.

Let me tell you a quick story about a recent issue, that really accelerated my acceptance of this thought in my life:

Since July, I have had limited use of my right arm. Thankfully, we've identified the problem and it will be corrected surgically before the end of this month.  The interesting thing about this whole situation with my arm is that there were 12 long weeks of not knowing what was going on and all was revealed in an afternoon with a diagnostic test.  So why did I have to go through all that, when the same diagnostic test after the first visit  would have made the problem clear and I'd be practically recovered now vs facing surgery? I don't know the answer to that question but I don't let it bug me either, because I've reflected on each week in the journey with my arm. There is a rich story that will be told when this is all over and perhaps, THAT is the answer to my question.

In my down time, mostly afforded to me because of a bum right arm, I started to reflect on my life as a whole and found that it was full of rich stories, none of them easy or without complexity, yet all triumphant, fulfilling and challenging for uniquely this person I've become.  What freedom in that moment!  What perspective!

And do you believe that very next “complex issue” I was faced with was suddenly transformed into an intricate puzzle that I had to put my brain around to solve versus “here we go again..." And the action to move forward came a bit more quickly than normal.

Then I got to thinking, what if others who share this same path embraced it rather than fighting it? What if we all could stop and reflect on our lives and use it to grow us? I am certain our relationships with others would benefit from this.

Mine have already.