Thursday, October 11, 2018

Don’t Stop Complaining

Several years ago, I heard someone on a podcast define gossiping as “complaining to someone who cannot fix the problem.”

This was a revelation, a turning point for me. As a child at church, I learned the impact that gossiping can have on relationships, communities, and society. I hold that understanding still today (so many years later). But, I struggled to determine what was actually considered gossiping. If I shared news about a friend when he wasn’t there, was that gossiping? If a group of us got caught up in discussing the details of another’s life, was that gossiping. Maybe. Maybe not.

Take this definition, and I hope you find the same clarity. By all means complain, but complain to someone who can actually solve the problem. Don’t waste your breath spouting negativity that can’t possible bring resolution.

Be present in your conversations and understand the power behind your words before you speak them. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Left Lane

The sun is just starting to rise, gently coloring the horizon. I’m lost in thought, radio off, preparing my mental checklist for the day. Speed control set at exactly the limit. You enter the on-ramp up ahead and soon it is apparent that you should either adjust your speed, or I should “let you” merge in. Courteous by default (or so I try to be), I signal and glide over to the left lane.

At this spectacular point, you merge in slightly behind me and slowly creep up beside me. We don’t wave, but I scope you out with my peripherals. I consider reducing speed, but decide to wait it out. Clearly you are in a hurry and will speed along soon. But, you don’t. Instead, you gradually pass me on the right, leaving plenty of time for the ten cars behind to catch up and tailgate you. Now a long line is parading beside me to the right. You know, like you’re not supposed to do.

Now I’m stuck over here in the left lane like a jerk and your ten new friends don’t even know that I did this for YOU!

There is probably a lesson here, but I haven’t learned it yet. Until tomorrow morning...

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Line in the Sand

Located at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, you will find the following on a plaque:
LEGEND STATES THAT IN 1836
LT.COL.WILLIAM BARRET TRAVIS
UNSHEATHED HIS SWORD AND
DREW A LINE ON THIS GROUND
BEFORE HIS BATTLE-WEARY MEN
STATING: "THOSE PREPARED TO
GIVE THEIR LIVES IN FREEDOM'S
CAUSE, COME OVER TO ME!"
__________________________
If you drew a line in the sand (or gravel, grass, linoleum, etc.) and asked the people with shared values to come over, how many people would join? Would your family all be on your side of the line?

If the CEO at work drew a line in the sand, would you be on their side of the line? Would your co-workers all be together?

Are the people in your life defining the same line as you?

Draw a line in the sand and take a look around. Do you like the view? If not, change it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Allow Adventure

On my left foot, I have the following words tattooed:
if you don't know where
you are going, any road
will get you there
Vision is a great thing to have, when you have it. Vision keeps the destination in view, when your eyes know where to focus. But, lacking a vision does not mean that you have to stay stagnate. Waiting for a target (or worse, waiting for the "right" target) can hold you back from gaining speed.

As a traveler of this thing called life, consider becoming okay with trekking down paths that do not immediately lead you anywhere. You can find benefit in all actions. Even mistakes, or especially bumpy roads that end with a u-turn, can be fruitful in the future.

Be patient. It will pay off, if you let it.

Follow your curiosity and enjoy the journey.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Listen Up

Conversations are transactions. Are you holding up your end?

When someone tells you a story, they are taking a risk. Will it pay off? How will you greet or receive their words? Will it be valued? Will they be valued?

If you are constantly meeting stories with disdain and boredom, people will stop engaging in meaningful conversation with you. Sometimes this may require you to embellish the value of the story, to encourage rather than extinguish. Often, this requires you to practice humility and realize that you don’t know everything.

Create an environment where stories can be told.