Monday, April 30, 2012

Perspective: What You See Is Up To You

One issue after another comes our way. We can see the issue or see the opportunity. Sort of like the illustration above.

What keeps us from just throwing our hands up and giving up the ghost? What makes us see a man's face versus a woman in a dress near a tree?


Today, I am challenging everyone to stop and take a look at whatever is going on in your life and try to look at it from a different angle.

Turn it upside down - see anything?

Lift yourself from it - look down at it - any change?

Throw it out in front of you - how does it look now?

Toss it over your shoulder and look back at it - still perplexing?

While this may seem like gibberish, this is exactly what I do when faced with a challenge or problem.

Sometimes, perspective tells me it is completely out of my control - the actual issue, but I own how I deal with it. Other times, looking at it from another angle produces another path to resolution that I can drive. Most of the time, I just stop looking at it all together.

Yep. Perspective gives us the freedom to let go all together.

I've read somewhere that letting go of one thing, frees you up to grab something else.

So today, ask yourself - what should I be tossing around to see from different angles?

Dead end job?

Toxic friend or family member?

Irrational fear about anything?

Whatever it is, give yourself the freedom to change your perspective and find a new path.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Be The Corner House

We live in the corner house on our street. 

A corner that intersects a main through street with a quiet side street. Alexandria Drive. The above picture is an example of lost stuff that ends up in our yard after a particularly windy morning when it's garbage and yard waste pick up day in our neighborhood.

This abandoned can is the last remnant of the most recent wind tunnel day in Chicagoland. Most often owners come looking for their stuff so within a day or two, we are back to our normal amount of garbage cans and recycling bins.

This one is still unclaimed after almost two full weeks. We've put it in a visible spot along with the other stuff so that hopefully it's owner will miss it and come claim it. Yet it is still with us.

I could also show you a picture of the side of our house which has become sort of a grave yard for crap that blows through the neighborhood and ends up on our property. I'll spare you. But I won't spare you this question?

Are you the "corner house" in your relationships?

You know, the place where stuff blows through but never really takes up residence; or the place where stuff accumulates but never truly purged. The corner house is also a refuge for unwanted stuff that people don't take the time to rid themselves of until Mother Nature does it for them.

I was thinking the other day it is reasonable for us to keep the cans/bins for a few days or even a week but after that, we need to rid ourselves of the junk. It is not attractive to our house and it adds to clutter that we already have on our own.

Additionally, I feel weighed down with a bunch of stuff that does not belong to me. Heck-  we've got our hands full keeping up with our own 3 cans, 1 yard waste and 1 recycling bin - only three of which we actually bought or were given. We already have two extra cans to keep up with due to the corner house status. Further, whenever there is a storm and our stuff blows away - I am on the hunt for it. I drive up and down the street looking for our cans to claim from some one's yard - thinking how annoying it is to have stray cans blowing around your yard and you have no idea where they belong.

I am resolving to clean up the yard this spring. Not delegating it to my husband but me getting out there and getting rid of stuff outside our house that no longer serves us.

Will you do the same in your relationships this spring? Do a quick gut check on the personal, professional and intimate relationships in your life. 

Are you hanging on to relationships even though they no longer serve you nor you serve them? Is there a relationships that CLEARLY needs purging from your life that you just allow space you can't afford in your heart to linger?  Have you allowed yourself to be a dumping ground for things people no longer want to deal with in their own lives? Is there a client that needs firing because they are sucking the life from you and your ability to serve your other clients?

If you answered yes or even maybe to any of these questions - resolve to take action today.

Don't be the corner house.

Monday, April 16, 2012

3 Ways To Bounce When You Fall

Do you bounce?

No, I am not referring to some hip new dance or referring to the slang term for leaving.

I am asking how you react when things don't go your way.

Do you bounce or do you splat?

Over the last 60 days, I've had the opportunity to bounce or splat many, many times. Some things in my control and many others outside my control. Yet every time I found myself bouncing back into life with more desire for success. I am wired to keep moving forward, to persevere - to bounce.

What if you don't have this in your DNA like me? What do you have to do to bounce the next time you get hit by a set back?

Try these three tactics:

Get Space

Retreat from the circumstance that is causing your pain. I'm not saying avoid it - I am saying allow yourself the space to process and understand all that is going on before you make any moves. No quick responses by email, not lashing out over the phone in the moment - just back away from the situation.  Give yourself and perhaps others the necessary space at the on set of trouble to properly deal with it. There is no set time. It could be 24 hours, it could be 48 - it all depends on the the situation. Can't get time space then get physical space - if it's at work, step outside. If it's at home - go for a quick walk or drive to get some space between you and the problem.

See Facts

Work with facts and not emotions. When things go wrong, we all get defensive and emotional and it is the worst thing to do when trying to bounce.  Remind yourself of the facts in the situation. State clearly what is fact and what is fiction. Write it down, if you must.  Your hurt feelings are not invalid, they are just unwelcome in the quest for resolution. Find a personal confidant that is not involved in the situation to vent those feelings to so you free yourself to actually deal in facts with the pertinent parties.  This is particularly important in business dealings. Our work is personal and when criticized is tough to accept, most often. Keep the discussions around the last set of facts that all parties agreed to and build restoration from there.

Create Alternatives

Most often even the greatest obstacles find resolution but in the moment of distress, how many of us seek alternatives? I always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I find that when all is bad in one situation, thinking about and creating alternatives immediately soothes me. Putting my energy into unrelated projects and innovating in another area of my life almost always gives me new perspective on the situation that stumps me. It is also a way to soften the blow should the straineed issue not resolve. Recently, while figuring out an issue on one project - I injected new life and momentum in another project that sorely needed the boost.

While these actions won't necessarily solve the issue you face, they can certainly make it easier for you to bounce back when you fall next time.

What other suggestions would you give to someone who is looking to bounce in life?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nothing To Fear, Even When There Is

For the last week, I've been waiting to return to the hospital for follow up tests to one of my annual exams that looked a little funky to the doctor.

It was a bit of an odd week. I'd shared the news of needing follow up analysis with only a few people and while I make it a practice to never worry until there is something to worry about, I did find myself at moments paralyzed with "what if?" fear. But I only felt that way when speaking to other people about the next steps.

When left to my own devices and thoughts - I was at peace and without fear. At all. Made me reflect on my relationship with fear.

When I was younger, I used to fear lots of things.




The unknown.

My future.

Then slowly as I matured, I let go of irrational fear. I remember vividly the summer of 1995 when I enlisted a counselor because at the ripe old age of 23, I feared being alone as all of my close college friends were tying the knot. What a wise man, that counselor was because right then and there,  he led me to let go of my irrational fear of being single and all other irrational fears that came into my life ever since. We worked intently and quickly (I only had three sessions that summer)  on how to equip me with tools to cope whenever I felt fear - irrational or any kind.

You see - fear is just what the illustration at the top of my page says it is. As cliche as it sounds, when we allow ourselves to be consumed by the "fear" of something - it becomes a war of the wills. Your will to overcome the fear or the fear's will to control you. Fear can't live in your life without your permission.

Fast forward - the "alarming" test that caused a series of follow-up tests turned out to be a false alarm for a serious condition. I think about how much time I lost on being fearful and it was negligible.

Right on. Just as it should be.

During some trying times in my life 4 years ago, I clung to a verse in the bible that has now become my life verse. I chose it but really it chose me because it exemplifies the way I try to live my life free from debilitating fear. I choose to live a life of love and see why:

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life-fear of death, fear of judgment-is one not yet fully formed in love. - 1 John 4:18 MSG

What about you? What is your relationship with fear?

Monday, April 2, 2012

3 Reasons Life Is Like Baseball Season In Chicago

It's that time again!

Oh how I love the start of baseball season in Chicago! Having lived only 5 years outside Chicagoland in my whole 40 on earth, the run up to opening day here is like no other.

I was reflecting this morning 3 reasons life is like baseball season in Chicago:


Every spring brings new hope for all the baseball fans in Chicago. Could this be the year? It almost never is but that does not keep us from dreaming. Hope is what makes the season start worth watching. It is a promise that possibly something good is going to happen. And even when it turns out bad, we still get a new start the next spring. Life is the same. You have the opportunity to hope for the best and make a new start whenever you wish. And that makes life better than baseball season in my favorite town.


Here in Chicago, you must pick a baseball team and it matters who you pick. To whom are you loyal? While in Chicago it's an age old rivalry of north side vs. south side, it is also a reflection of who you are. I won't go into the north side values but I can say this; south siders are hard workers, scrappy and often underestimated in this town. We turn up in the most surprising places and when we bump into one another outside the south side- look out. Instant friend. Ask Bill Kiss. Our loyalties in life permeate our being - consciously or unconsciously. Mind your loyalties. Wise people do.


Thank God baseball season is only from April to October. Not sure I even like that long of a season but there is a a definite time frame for America's pass time. A beginning that we all anticipate and the end that can be triumphant like in the fall of 2005; or it can be disappointing like so many other years. Seasons have their ups and downs. I could go on and on. And life is no different. You get those triumphant times where all goes your way or you get the dragging, excruciating valleys in life. Either way - you know the seasons are going to come to an end. The key is keeping the perspective that life comes in seasons and knowing how to deal with each season as it comes.

Here's to the start of baseball where ever you are in America or the world. What are you observations about life and the season of your favorite sport?