Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Taking a Moment to Remember

Went to a wake on Sunday for my brother-in-law's brother. Really nice guy. Very sad.

It got me thinking about other people I knew who've died. They were at peace. And after I thought about them, so was I. Calm, quiet, content, grounded. At peace.

Who might YOU take a moment to remember this week?

Monday, April 19, 2004

Having a Sense of Humor AND Thick Skin

From Women's Sports Foundation. Elida Witthoeft, former coordinating producer for ESPN Sportscenter, was asked: What qualities or characteristics do you have that have helped you get to where you are?

"A lot of it is hard work and persistence. It’s having the willingness to try different things and fail and try them again and keep learning ... I also think, in my case being a woman in a male-dominated field, I believe that it’s partly personality. That’s two-fold. One is you have to have a good sense of humor ... The other thing is you have to be strong, have thick skin and you have to be tough. Not tough in an obnoxious way. I think you have to have quiet strength. You have to be strong in who you are, you have to know who you are and what your goals are, and you can not be easily deterred."

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

The noun called 'happiness'

I've been working on something with a few clients lately - a way to 'tune in' to more happiness. The way it works is this: 'happiness' is a noun, which means it could be a person, place or thing. So, the exercise is in three-parts:

Part One - Identify a person who makes you happy. The person could be living or not, someone you've met, or just read/heard about, someone famous or not. Then spend some time being with, or even just thinking about, that person.

Part Two - Identify a place that makes you happy. Maybe it's defined by its geography, like a town or city. Maybe it's more of a type of place, like a bustling metropolis or a quiet community or a vacation spot. Regardless, spend some time there - even if it's only in your imagination - so that you feel its rejuvenative powers.

Part Three - Identify a thing. A picture, a color, a time of day, a favorite old tree, the bright shiny sun, etc.

Give yourself permission to spend a few minutes with your favorite person, place, and thing - even if it's just in your mind. See how relaxed, at peace, and happier it can make you. And see if it doesn't bring a smile to your face!

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Interview Tips

From the Career Builder section in the Sunday, 4/11/4, Chicago Tribune:

Questions you should ask your interviewer:

+ Describe a typical workday.
+ Which managers would I be working with?
+ What are the strengths/weaknesses of the team I'll be working with?
+ What can I do to help the company achieve short- and long-term goals?
+ What's next in the hiring process?
+ When can I expect to hear from you?

What your interviewer needs to know about you:

+ As an employee, you can do more than others.
+ You can do it better and faster than others.
+ Your level of professionalism will save the company money.
+ There are no risks in hiring you.
+ You're a sure thing.
+ You want the job.

What you should know about your prospective employer:

+ What is the company's history?
+ What new products have been introduced?
+ What's the company's status in its given industry?
+ How many employees are there?
+ What are the company's products/services?
+ Who are the key executives?

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

A Seat at the Table

No doubt you attend more meetings than you probably care to. And no doubt, many of those meetings aren't the best use of your time. So to suggest that there are some meetings that you'd actually want to attend must seem pretty absurd. But it's not.

There are four types of meetings:

(1) the kind you attend that aren't worth your time (most?);
(2) the kind you attend and are glad you do;
(3) the kind you don't and are glad you don't (many); and
(4) the type you don't attend but would really like to.

It's this last category that's worth another look.

What meetings are these? What would you have to offer if you did attend? Who needs to know that? How would attending help you in your work? etc.

Simpy put, sometimes you have to ask if you want to have a seat at the table.

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Friday, April 02, 2004

GMail and Unintended Consequences of Our Communications

Now I'm a pretty big fan of Google. It's the search-engine-of-choice for visitors to the GottaGettaCoach! website (although Yahoo, MSN, and AOL provide their fair share, too, thank you very much). And I'm obviously a fan of Blogger, Google's web log service and home of GottaGettaBlog! So when Google announced their new email service, GMail, I thought that it'd be pretty good. And in a lot of ways, it is:

First, it's free.

Second, it's BIG - you get a full gigabyte of space; far more than with other free email services. Hotmail, as example, gives you 2MB; Yahoomail, 4MB. So no more worrying about your mailbox rejecting emails because you've exceeded storage capacities.

Third, it's a service of Google, which, as I said, has a reputation of being pretty good at what it does.

Yet there's this one part of GMail - something called their "contextual advertising system" - that I don't think I like. According to CNET, a great source for objective and comparative information on all things computer-based, "The Google contextual advertising system automatically scans for frequently used terms in order to serve up ads ... For instance, if you e-mail a friend to play tennis this weekend, the system would lock onto the keyword and send you a relevant advertisement from a tennis gear supplier."

Google says they won't actually READ your email; just scan it for keywords to determine what ads would be relevant for you to see. Yet, for anyone who uses metaphors or creative language to make a point about something, as many of you know I do, can you imagine the kind of 'relevant' advertisements GMail would want to send?!

I've got to say, though, that it'd sure be a great way to see how what we say can be interpreted in and out of context. And in that context, whether you use the service or not, just knowing about it can serve as a reminder for each of us to check in more regularly on any Unintended Consequences that may be coming from our communications with others. After all, effective communication is really about insuring that the message you intend to be received, is the same the same as the message that's actually received.

Thanks for the reminder, GMail.

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