Prepare in moderation

We had a beautiful snowfall last night. It clung to the yard and even to the street. We knew what was coming, we just did not know how much snow we would get. Sometimes life is like that. We know something is happening, we just don’t have knowledge of how intense it may be or how much it will affect us.

The trick in dealing with the question of amounts is not to get carried away. Being prepared is always good. Just don’t plan or spend for something that would cause pain if it did not happen. Think of it as a measured response in everything.

 

It is easy to get carried away. I remember the first year I was in Alaska with the Air Force. We had significant snow early in September, and I went downtown and had studded snow tires put on my truck. What I did not understand, because it was my first year in Alaska, was that the snow would melt right away, and we did not get another heavy snow until late October. So, I had spent money on snow tires that just weren’t needed for another couple of months. I would be better off if I purchased the tires later when I really needed them.

I know we all take such actions, trying to stay ahead of the circumstances before us, and often spending to procure things we don’t need right away. I think that’s the way we are as a society. We are often looking forward and planning. Although it is good to look ahead and prepare, there are also some problems that can be caused in some related actions.

We need to be careful not to purchase too much, for it may not all be required. Even worse, we can buy things too early, and by the time we need them, we cannot remember where we stored them. Then we have to go out and spend more money to purchase them again.

The trick is to find moderation in preparedness. We have the things that we usually use, and maybe a few items for just in case. We need to not go overboard one way or the other, and we should have a plan to know what’s where.

 Just by putting in a little bit of forethought, we could spend less, enjoy things more, and have some real preparation of what may come, without spending too much.

Just one mean old master sergeant’s thoughts.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Transition

It feels like this may be the last hot day of the season. Coolness starts to come back tomorrow along with the possibility of rainstorms in and out for the rest of the week. More and more our weather puts us into not one season or another, instead, into a state of transition.

No matter how much we strive to find a permanent place, whether it is work, home life, or even the climate, more and more we find ourselves in a state of transition. We often fight transition wanting to stay where we are, doing what we know, and living the life we have. Believe it or not, we actually want to stay where we are, whether we like it or not.

The trick is to embrace transition when it comes. We want to get out in front of the change. Why? Because failing to do so puts us at the whims of the winds of fate. We can either enter transition not knowing where we will end up and having to live with the consequences or when change is upon us we can plan and research and act in a method which will help us to end up where we want to be. The choice is ours.

When I was 42, and just out of the Air Force, I actually built a layoff business plan. My dad was Army, I was Air Force, and I really didn’t understand how the civilian world worked regarding employment. I did know, to find a job I wanted, I had to go out and find one.

Although the factory I worked at did not close for 14 more years, the fact I had written that plan, served me well when needed. The fact that my family and I made it through those times and grew better because of them, I believe, proves that with a little fore-thought, guidance from above, and faith, transitions are not to be feared.

Transitions merely keep us excited about what is to come next. Change can be large or small, or better or worse. More than anything else change is what you make it.

Protocols

It’s another day, and my list of things to do is growing, and growing, and growing. I was explaining to a good friend yesterday a portion of what I was trying to do. The conversation helped me to realize how much I’m trying to accomplish and made me ask the question, “Am I actually accomplishing something, or am I just continuing to add to the heap?”

Often, I feel like I am trying to level a mountain, and it just keeps growing under me. How does this come to be? Not being able to say no very well. Wanting to do many things. And the biggest of all not having a robust set of procedures to help manage my personal and professional life.

Most successful people have some plan to help ensure good self-care. Good self-care helps to ensure you are ready to do good for yourself and others.  They start with a set of protocols for self-care. They have a process and a time for preparing and going to sleep. They have a set of actions and a time for getting up in the morning and know what they’re going to do to prepare for the day. These protocols may be identified as morning rituals, standard operating procedures, processes, or something else. It doesn’t matter what they’re called the only real question is whether or not they work. Protocols only work if they are used.

If you don’t have protocols for self-care, it is never too late. You set your mind to the fact that you will try something and stick with it.

You can set a time to go to bed, and prepare for that time by curtailing the use of interactive electronics about an hour before then. You could choose to write or read instead of playing computer games. Sleeping in a cool room without much light gives you better rest.

Plan when you will wake up in the morning and what you’re going to do. What do you need to do to feel good at the start of the day? Take a shower? Shave something? Exercise? Grab caffeine or something to eat? Go over your plans for the day?

You can do many things to improve life and make it work in your favor. Only you know what is best for you. You are the one that will know for sure. I can tell you that a little planning and commitment can go a long way in helping.

Ahhh… Sensory Perceptions

Good morning.

The sky is blue, and the temperature is cool shirt sleeve weather.  This will be a great spring day.

Did you ever stop to think how things get done? The dread of taking out of the trash? The fear and loathing of the laundry? The dank despair of the dishes? There’s a very easy explanation to help all these things become accomplishments.

The truth is, they get done because the only thing worse than having to do these unpleasant deeds, is to not do them and have to live with the results. Therefore, we do the tasks we often hate. And as we do those tasks, we find a reward.

Our hard work culminates in several sensory delights. The area we were working in Looks better. The same area probably smells better. And, there is a comfortable realization that for the moment it is one less thing to do.

All of these sensory perceptions are actually highlighted by the release of endorphins in the brain that make you feel better. The endorphins and the positive sensory perceptions upon the completion of the task actually work together to provide you a very positive experience.

You still may not like to do the dishes or clean the bathroom. Yet, with positive completion experiences, you might be willing to do it again and sometime in the future. As these things come about, they form habits. Habits persist because of the outcomes they produce.

If the endorphins and positive sensory perceptions do not work out well for you, McDonald’s always worked for my kids.

Have a wonderful day and a fantastic week.

Let your Spark Shine

Thank you for being here today. I know many of you have been following the blog over the last week or so as we talked about some very interesting topics. I truly appreciate you reading our blog, and I really appreciate the comments. Thank you so much.

I have seen trainers, writers, and others say that if you have something and it’s only in your head, you really have nothing. I strongly disagree. If you have that idea or goal in your head, you have an idea or a goal.

That idea or goal in your head is the spark. You need to bring it forth. I liken this to the Boy Scout fire building contest. Building your idea is a lot like building a fire. You have to make sure that the spark has air to breathe and fuel to burn. If in trying to start the fire you have too much air, the spark extinguishes. Too little air in the spark suffocates.

The same can be said with the fuel needed to add to the spark for fire. The fuel is wood from the forest. But if you try to use large logs or big slabs of wood the spark will never catch. We used to teach our scouts “thin to win.” Rather than using large slabs of wood, use little real thin pieces of kindling that the spark can easily heat up and catch fire.

The same for your spark of the idea or the goal. You need to get it out in the air where others can see it and help it grow. At the same time, you can’t immediately throw it into a demand to grow fast, be an overnight sensation, and make some bazillion dollars the first year.  A good idea needs the time to grow and be a stable platform.  The best and brightest ideas take time to start earning money.

Never let anyone tell you an idea in your head is nothing.  And, take the sparks of ideas out of your head and see what they can really do.

Remember the idea about slow and steady, and thin (lean) to win.

Time to Reflect and Plan

Good morning it’s a wonderful overcast, cold wintry day here. The snow is on the ground, the winds are blowing, visibility is under 2 miles, and although not a blizzard, the roads are icy enough to stay home and work out of the home office today.

I’m using today to benchmark how all my plans are going. I also look at ways I should change to make my work more vibrant and meaningful. You may consider this the active laying in the easy chair and stare at the ceiling. I won’t deny that some of that happen, yet actually, there’s more to it than just that. I look over the last six months to see what worked, what did not work, what I could’ve done better.

I do some work with some standard tools such as the affinity chart where I list ideas and concerns on post-its. I then take that affinity chart and move it into a Fishbone diagram also called the cause-and-effect diagram.  Where the fishes head would be, I list the main thing I want to improve and then in the body of the fish I break the Post-Its up into five groups along main bones of the diagram.  I use plans, people, prosperity, procurement, and papa nature.

This diagram allows me to look at all the variables gives me my best options that if I change something, it may improve the overall output from my business or at least from the part of the business that I’m working on right now.

You always need to keep an eye on what’s going on, because change is always inevitable. Changes fast and sometimes ruthless because and taking the path of least resistance change can often run over anything or anyone.

Thank goodness we have days like this where we can take a step back, drink a little hot chocolate while we watch the snow fall, and take the time to ensure I am doing the best I can or what I want to do to change.

Thanks for joining me. Have a good day, and if you would like to have some charts to work with or know more about this, please reply to the blog, and I will send you an email with the charts and how-toes you would need.

 

 

Ask

Thank you for spending some time with me today.

It never hurts to ask. And if you are hurting it is the perfect time to ask. So many things that get tied up in bureaucratic red tape and waiting to go through the endless line of paperwork or sitting in an in-basket somewhere waiting for overworked people to find the time to approve or decline and pass on can be handled swiftly and efficiently by merely asking the question.

Actually, those handling the paperwork appreciate a kind question being asked. The decision makers get to connect with the end-user of whatever the request is. They also can see their actions and motion actually helping a fellow human being. Asking the question makes everyone feel involved on a human scale.

If you asked the question, whether the answer is exactly what you wanted, or not, at least you know the question was considered and weighed, and a valid action was given. And you know, that at least your voice was heard in the making of that decision. It is better to stand up and ask than it is to just let the system run, and then gripe about the decisions for a long time to come.

Is there anything you would like to ask me?