The Sweater

She just reminded me today that I was wearing the same sweater the day we met.  That’s amazing considering that happened 15 years ago.

I was very involved with a local business organization and her company had sent her to a meeting to check us out.  She walked in with a “deer in the headlights” look.  My spirit is such that I had to adopt her right away.

Karma made us click immediately.  By the time the next meeting came around we were best friends and knew each other’s secrets.  Her partner even liked me which was amazing because she was insanely jealous.

We didn’t get much of a chance to mix socially, but we ended up dragging each other to our various groups and associations so we got to spend a lot of time together.

Click to next chapter….she changed jobs and had to give up the club.  That, however, had little effect on our friendship.  The biggest change came when she split with her partner.  She called in a panic about where she was going to stay.  It had been an unplanned explosion.  I said  ”come on over.”

I have a spare room so moving her in was easy.  We had a wonderful year together.  Each of us has her own world, but there are places where they converge.  She doesn’t mind cleaning and loves my cooking.  I can spend all day in the kitchen, but the place looks like a hurricane blew thru when I’m done.

She fell in love with a lovely lady in Kentucky who she met on the internet; very fortunate for her.  They were online every night for months, then they met, then she moved to Kentucky to be with her soul mate.

I really miss having her closer.  I have visited there, which was a great trip, and she comes here often to see her kids.  Our lunch yesterday was a good thing.  We got to visit, plan our next get together, and eat too much.  We’ll continue to communicate by phone and computer in the meantime.

I am just amazed that she remembered the sweater after soooo many years.

Embrace Soft Skills

       You are the model for the behavior of your employees, and their attitude is a barometer for your business.

Embrace soft skills like patience, kindness, support, and adaptability in yourself and your employees.  Soft skills are the collection of attitudes, habits, and actions that guide us in how to live our lives vs. hard skills which come from the training we need to get the job done.  You do need both in equal amounts to become successful.

Your attitude will be reflected in the attitude and enthusiasm of your employees. You will know if you are grouchy or lazy by looking at your employees or other people around you; if they appear grouchy or negative than you probably are, too. If you are creative and adaptable they will be, too, making them more valuable to your business.

If you embrace flexibility and an open mind great thoughts will come to you; if you are stern and standoffish they probably won’t.  If you treat your staff the same way they are likely to become creative and more productive, too. Competitions and challenges are also great motivators. Being adaptable and taking advantage of new ideas may lead you in new directions that hadn’t even crossed your mind and open a whole new world of opportunities.

Some of our newer tech companies, like Google and Apple, have created entire environments for their employees that have lead to some of the greatest innovations of the century.  Their successes are a direct reflection of how they honor their employees.

Consider a new idea every day and adapt the ones that may show some potential. A new twist on an old system may be the key to unimaginable success.

It’s OK to Ask

Ever since we were young children we have not wanted to ask for help.  Back then, we were trying to prove how big we were.  What is our excuse today? Many of us are probably still hiding behind what we want our image to be; rather than reality.  This altered reality is holding us back.

You and your business will definitely benefit for hiring the help of Consultants.  You wouldn’t settle for less than the best surgeon for your operation or just anyone to fix your car; why wouldn’t you hire a website developer, business or marketing consultant, or an accountant.  These are specially trained people who can complete your project in less time and at a lower cost than you can yourself.  This process is called leveraging.  In part, it is using the time saved from one project to complete another.

Your time can be better spent marketing, or even operating your business than sitting locked in an office trying to do something that you aren’t really qualified to do.  There are qualified people out there who can do these necessary, but expensive jobs and free you to do more important ones.

Now is the time to list the projects that you plan to tackle next year and start doing the research to find the best people to help you.

Bully Epidemic

All local police and teachers are on high alert against cyber bullying and predators on their campus or on the internet, and all parents should be, too. It is time to talk to your children and remind them not to give out any information about themselves or their families to anyone when they are on the internet.  Even if they think they know the other person, just don’t do it.  If someone has a question for them have your kids refer it back to you for answers.

Cyber bullying has also become epidemic It is critical that you have discussions with your children about cyber bullying and how upsetting it can be to the other person. They should not be doing it and should immediately report to if the attacks were aimed at them.. Even if there is no immediate reaction the results can cause long lasting harm, and for a fragile person the results  could be devastating.

It is not really an invasion of privacy if parents monitor their children’s online activities and profiles.  Set the rules in advance so there are no surprises and then regularly review what they are doing.  It is the parent’s job to keep their kids safe and checking that they are safe in cyberspace is an important part of security.

A True Romance

I have to bite my tongue to keep from putting her in her place.  She has some very annoying habits and ways of approaching life; she could give Joan of Arc a run for her money at martyrdom .There seems to be a right way, a wrong way, and her way. She does get points, however, for providing the companionship he so acutely needs.

They spent their teen years together and now they are spending their twilight years together.  They had been engaged 70 years ago, but her brother interfered.  Alas, the brother never told her why her love had vanished; he just let her believe that she had been abandoned.

She went on to marry well and lived a happy and fulfilling life for the next half century. She was able to travel, meet revered and influential people, make music and endow a school library.

For the next quarter of a century she lived alone and was able to cement her lifestyle, and do as she pleased.  Although she didn’t have a full time companion, she did have a myriad of friends with whom to share support, adventures, and life.

Through almost a century of living she still carried him in a special place in her heart.

Meantime, in a parallel world he left her behind and went to start his next chapter. He went to work in the family business and became a watchmaker.  His life was pre-determined and that was just the way it was.

After just a few years, possibly in an effort to escape his family, he joined the Army.  Chaos was reigning and World War II was destroying Europe and unbalancing the rest of the World.  On leave in San Francisco he met his true love.  The past was the past and he had to move on.  The fifth time they saw each other was their wedding day.  They were incredibly happy for the next sixty six years.

Then, unexpectedly she was gone, and he was incredibly lonely and unhappy.

Internet to the rescue. He still remembered his first love fondly. He found her living in Florida; a long way from his California residence.  They became reacquainted on the phone and online. Modern air travel allowed them to visit each other on opposite coasts.  He eventually moved her to California.

A year has passed since they came back together.  They are happy to each have a playmate that cares, is fun, and gives them each the companionship each so acutely needs. Now smile—this is a true story.

Re-Gifting : Just Do It

We all tend to go overboard at the holidays. Christmas brings out this need to impress and surpass the Joneses’. Most people seem to covet all the newest and snazziest stuff, often doing irreparable harm to their wallets.

What did we do in days of yore when necessity over-ruled glitzy? In the first half of the 20th century, gifts were homemade and from the heart. Often they were more practical than anything else. The jars of fruit, vegetables, and preserves from the basement became special gifts for special people. Help with building a barn or fixing a fence were greatly appreciated and not reserved for a holiday. In the cities more people did shop, but they tended toward the useful; the dreaded slippers, a scarf or new gloves were anticipated and prized. We had not yet been bombarded with technology so the big ticket items may have been a trip or a special piece of furniture, original artwork or photographs were treasured.

Maybe you and I should consider going back to those old ways. People really like getting gift that are homemade. Brainless gifts that don’t really match the recipient end up being re-gifted or thrown in the back of the closet.

Speaking of re-gifting; just do it.  It takes a lot of thought to match your gift to your friend.  Something that you can’t use may be just the thing your friend wants; if you have taken the time to really match the gift and the beneficiary. Shopping at thrift stores is also a good thing. It will present the opportunity to find that “something special”.  Flea markets and garage or tag sales may also yield unbelievable treasures.

All this boils down to being mindful when choosing your holiday, or other special occasion, gifts. Dollar signs should not be your guide; think hard about what makes your gift distinctive and how will it make your friend feel.  If you choose the most appropriate gift that matches your friend’s needs or wants they will be truly pleased and you will be warm and fuzzy knowing you have done a very good thing.