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Panda food, Distinctions and Relating

I’m fascinated with the concept of ‘distinctions’. As a coach, business owner and mom, I realize that the value of interpreting something with some mindfulness can bring forth clarity and often make all the difference between success or an alternative outcome.

Back in the middle 90’s I was involved in some transformational training work and was introduced to the distinction of Excellence vs. Perfection. At that time in my life, especially being a perfectionist in many areas, it took me a bit to wrap my head around what that even meant. In coaching certification school, and later working with my coach, I was exposed to even more areas that could use discernment.

Once I “got it”, I’ve been recognizing, using and teaching distinctions ever since. I find it valuable for clarity and focus. Without recognizing the difference in a scenario or interpretation of something, it could lead to confusion and no objective results.

How could you relate to your situation or another person differently if you had your own clarity first? Please read that question again. Here are some examples of distinctions you may find valuable for use in your life or current circumstance that may assist you in opening up a new possibility:

- Excellence/Perfection

- Nice idea/No kidding

- Solutions/Benefits

- Urgency/Desperation

- Management/Leadership

- Growth/Maintenance

- Feedback/Constructive Criticism

- Having a position/Taking a stand

- Blow off/Choose not to

- Stubborn/Clarity of Commitment

- That something happens/How something happens

- Counseling/Coaching

- Providing answers/Building competencies

- What’s wrong/What’s missing

- Inspire/Influence

- Values/Beliefs

- Beliefs/Behavior Patterns

- Networking/Alliances

Here is a living example of a distinction. My children have all heard multiple times that I want them to know they can depend on me, yet they eventually can’t be dependent upon me. For example, if one would call me with an emergency or urgency, they can ‘depend’ on me to drop or rearrange what I need to in order to be there or handle what I can. ‘Being dependent upon’ (depending on age and abilities) is another matter. Let’s take this one step further to define what is considered to be urgent.

“Urgent” typically also means something very different to me than it does to the rest of my family.  Each of my kids at one time or another has called me in a panic saying, “There’s nothing good to eat in the house” when it was snack time, which is always with teenagers. Yet a full refrigerator doesn’t mean that to me. The “no food” phone call is therefore not urgent doesn’t require action on my part.

This leads to another distinction. If a food in the kitchen appears to come from a live plant and may require cutting or peeling (vs. processed and/or microwaveable), my daughter calls it “panda food”. According to her, teenagers are not meant to eat like pandas and shouldn’t be subject to eating fresh foods, unless they are pre-cut and peeled. I’ll just stop that one here.

Interpretation of needs, wants and desires even in something which one might think simple can cause frustration or potentially a meltdown in a relationship.  How we interpret information may be very different than that of a prospect, friend, child, significant other. Even with the distinctions I’ve listed above, we each will make up or realize different meanings of ideas and words through our own “filters”, which are likely different than that of another.

In an effort to afford you more meaningful, less confusing or potentially less tense interactions with those that matter to you, how can you take some action on this information? What if you even took one of the distinction pairings above to start a dialog with someone you cared about? Or maybe even journaled for your own clarity? Be curious! What difference could that make in your relationship if you offered, “You matter to me. I want to understand you.”?

2009 is a year of relating. Being a ‘lone ranger’ will not get you far based on the way the commerce, personal, family, and service needs are evolving today’s climate. Interdependencies are critical and they don’t happen without some action. Make a point to reach out to someone you haven’t connected with lately - at least daily. It might even be someone living or working under the same roof where you spend the majority of your time. I will be writing in future posts about collaboration, alliances, relationship, etc. In the meantime, NOW would be the time for you to be the inspiration YOU ARE in the world!




What I did on my Recession

I had a meeting this week with someone who wanted consulting about how to set up the sales side of the new company she was launching with a partner. We got to talking about what people do when the economy isn’t what they wish it was…and how some either go back to school or they start a business. There are uncountable stories of companies that started in an economic downturn and have become some of the most successful in history.

She said starting her new business was what she was going to do in ‘her recession’…sort of like “what I did on my summer vacation”.

Yeah….Vacation! Recess! I like them both! As a matter of fact, recess was my favorite subject in school.

Remember what happened at recess time when you were a kid in grade school? All of the classes got out at the same time in the morning and afternoon and everyone ran outside. We got out of our desks (stillness – sort of), became VERY active, played collaborative games, made friends, touched, pushed, fought, made up, created teams, picked the best players to have us win (aka: A Team), won, lost, figured out a better plan, and the list goes on. Who couldn’t look forward to recess?!

I just checked to see what Webster’s New World Dictionary had to say about the technical difference or commonality between ‘recess’ and ‘recession’.

Recess: A temporary withdrawal from or halting of work, business, study, etc.

Recession: A temporary falling off of business activity during a period when such activity has been generally increasing.

Commonality: “Temporary”. What do you suppose is the reason we didn’t want recess to end and we can’t wait for recession to end? Could it be that we knew we only had 15 minutes for recess and had to pack all of our fun in….yet we have no idea when the end of the recession will be? What if we didn’t have any idea as kids when the end of recess would be, our teachers never called us in and we could play all day…do you think it would still have been as much fun?

That leads me to wonder: How about deciding on when the end of your recession is going to be? Being in the middle of the Baby Boom generation, I personally don’t know someone who hasn’t had a “recession” of their very own….at least once.

Just yesterday, one of my friends, Mr. Gloom, called to say that he’s not sure that the economy has tanked yet….it’s going to be much worse. I told him to just shut off the media. I explained that I don’t know a single person over the age of 40 that hasn’t had at least one “crisis” that hasn’t affected him or her financially in some way. Heck – 50% of marriages end up in divorce and for many of the (esp. moms) raising the kids, it’s much more than a financial hiccup. How many people have huge daycare expenses, medical bills, care for aging parents, had a job loss, an accident, a legal issue, a business concern or were forced to move for some reason? That’s almost everyone I know! Did their personal family circumstance make the news everyday? Come on!

I also informed Mr. Gloom that people I know recover because at times like that, they reinvent themselves and figure something else out. The difference in what is going on now is there are a number of people that may have not had their own personal recession before, or possibly didn’t recognized it if they had a safety net, or this one is being stacked on a previous one, or maybe now their illusion of a safety net is gone. I’ve been saying since the early 1990’s that everyone is self-employed, they just don’t know it – yet. Now more people are coming to that conclusion, which is very cool. Personal responsibility, compassion and collaborative ways to do things always shift at times like this.

Mr. Gloom understood agreed that he, like me, has had a share of recessions when the rest of the world didn’t. We’ve also made decent money when our country was having a recession. That is very common in my circles, and I don’t think my friends and colleagues are anomalies. Many of them simply think for themselves and don’t buy into the fear-based thinking of the masses. That’s why I like them.

The difference is they also know, that like recess, their personal recession is temporary. Why not decide when yours is going to be done? Be creative. Attract your A team. Decide what game you want to play, get some friends together and go win! Our country and world could use you to be inspired … and in turn, inspire!




Screen time

I had another revelation this weekend. A reason I’ve been up against doing blog postings is because I was thinking, “Who on earth spends all kinds of time reading other peoples’ musings online?” And what would be the purpose of a relatively unknown Cindy Daniels doing a blog? Then I had a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious).

We all know the stats that “face time” in front of some sort of screen has become America’s number one pastime. Wasn’t that baseball when we were kids? Even the television audience is vying for vital “screen time”, now often replaced by people who prefer to be in front of a computer screen instead of watching TV. They are switching from multiple network and cable channels to surfing for what is interesting or curious, news and weather on demand, social networking, game playing, dating, YouTube and all kinds of other exploring, not to mention emailing and work done with a mouse and keyboard.

I thought I was coming of age a few years ago when I learned T9 on my cell phone so I could actually text faster. My kids rolled their eyes when I excitedly "got it". I thought I was a genius. Then, just a few weeks ago, I finally put up a Facebook page. It took off like wildfire. It wasn’t long ago that my kids informed me I don’t need to be on Facebook because they “didn’t know anyone over the age of 32" that was. To their astonishment (and quite honestly mine), I had 100 "old" friends within the first week – many of them being people my kids consider “cool”. Who knew?!

This whole online interest is not news to anyone, yet it's how I got to my revelation.  This weekend my daughter was showing me some videos that other teenagers made and posted. Many of them were of silly antics which I found difficult to believe or understand the purpose of recording, much less posting. The usual highly intriguing dialogue was someone 'talking' into their camera with an ongoing string of, “Yeah…uhhhh…so….yeah (oh, and the thumbs up with smirky smile) ….ok, soooo....uh, yeah.) I’m thinking to myself, “Good God….people actually spend time watching this stuff?” Curiously, many of them had jillions of hits or numerous comments. I’m wondering about my level of sheer ignorance…clearly there must be SOME value that I completely missed.

Ultimately, that’s when it all clicked! It was wonderful. I completely got over my whininess about writing here.  The way I see it, almost anything I post at least has some thought involved.  And for those who like to read long posts, I may just offer some value for those interested my musings.

As I start moving my little blog boat out of this harbor into the vast sea of dumping writings onto the Web, it only makes sense to open to comments now. So…uhhh....yeah…


What got me here...

Ok, Ok! I’ll write already! Geeeeez! I’ve been getting what I consider to be a fair amount of external pressure to write…and now have a blog. You can see that I haven’t written anything here since I set this up sometime last week although I’ve been toying with the idea of this for a few months.

Last week my friend, Mel, sat me down in his office and said, (to paraphrase), “Log onto wordpress – now – and set up your blog. You need to write.” Being a person who just loves to be told what to do, my immediate reaction surprisingly wasn’t, “Oh sure! Yeah…I’d be delighted!” I had my reaction.  I breathed. I logged in. Thus the first posting.

A few days later, I told my web designer extraordinaire, Brooke, at Cataluna that I’m going to need to add a link to my blog site on my Inspiring Insight website after I make a few other updates, given I eventually need to start to write more publicly.  I promptly received an email back from her stating that I need to get it together and write on my blog because my website now has a nice noticable click on link on the first page.  Great.

Being a wordpress and blog virgin, I also learned that I can shut off comments by my reading audience which I’ve decided to temporarily do until I find out how much time this new adventure is going to take me, get over myself and get though this initial whiny phase.  Thank you for your understanding that I don't need comments while I'm cleaning myself up and anticipate that some of you will be more than happy to give me feedback about my attitude later.

Over the next few – or likely several – posts, I’m simply going to write the history of what got me to this place.   My goal is to eventually write things that will you will find inspiring.

What I need to get out of my system - by DOING this is write.  Vincent Van Gogh said, "If you hear the voice within you say 'you cannot paint', then by all means, paint, and the voice within you will be silenced."  Being in the transformational training world and working as a coach for well over a decade, I know the only way out is through...

Yes, I’m resistant to writing.  I even write quite a bit. Yet the story about my resistance is becoming rather fascinating to even me. You’ve heard of that saying, “What you resist persists”? You’re reading this today as proof that the resistance concept must be a Universal Law, like what we consider gravity on this planet to be, as I’m posting this today from what all started in the summer of 2005. (The story that goes back to 2005 will be posted later when we talk about the ineffectiveness of resistance).

In a more recent past, I decided to Google myself, Cindy Daniels, last summer and I couldn’t find me...until somewhere on page 3 – like half way down on a LinkedIn sight. What’s THAT about?! I knew my company, Inspiring Insight, showed up first on Google then realized there is only one company named that, at least online. I’ve even had the cindydaniels.com domain name parked for years until I get around to figuring out what that site’s going to be about, not realizing I couldn’t even be identified via the biggest search engine on the planet. In my own personal oblivion, I didn’t know how many of 'us' there actually were and how insignificant my identity was to other than my family, friends and colleagues.

Since I decided to blog today, I thought I'd Google me again this morning.  Heck, it's been over a half year.  I was excited to see that Cindy Daniels on LinkedIn was ranked #1.  Then I saw that I was the 23rd Cindy Daniels on LinkedIn.  Sigh.  Next was Cindy Daniels on Facebook.  Not my face.  This isn't a crisis.  It's simply not ok with me. How am I going to be doing my work as an inspirer in the world if I can’t even be Googled, for crying out loud?

After my first Googling incident, I decided to do a survey last fall which included 3 requests. In a nutshell: 1) Why do you do business with me, refer people/business to me or hang out with me? 2) What, if anything, would you find of value for me to write about if I had an active blog? 3) Short testimonials regarding the value of our work together or connections.

I found myself humbled responses to questions 1 and 3 as well as the sheer amount of feedback. I am deeply blessed with the most amazing people in my circle. With regard to question 2, I found myself amused and often laughing hysterically to much of what my friends and colleagues would like to encounter in my blog. (You read that correctly above…my original question said “active” blog...I'm working on the "active" part of it).  The comments ranged from “something shorter than you usually write” (funny, yet not likely) to sales, new ideas, inspirations, marketing, my life, communication, consciousness, humor, business, relationships, balance, write like you talk (love that one), energy, success stories, coaching, wisdom, growth, fun, transformation, goal setting (oh, lord, the list is much longer...you get the idea) to “just write about your crazy life…I like the entertainment!” That said, the story continues later…


Now I'm "inspiring" online

Welcome to my new blog!   Here you'll find all kinds of insights that have come to me over the years - or maybe even while I'm writing here.   My background in sales, coaching, parenting, teaching, dating, hand-analysis, entertaining and business ownership has afforded me a broad spectrum of knowledge, wisdom, humility and  amusement.  I hope that your time spent here is of value to you in some way.  Thank you for visiting.  Cindy
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