When Is Enough…Enough

This time of year, prepares us to ask “What really matters?”

It’s a tradition to give gratitude as we sit around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Often what we say slips off our tongues without thinking about it. Yes, we’re thankful for our families, our health, a meal to fill our bellies, the team we root for winning the big game.

We stuff the disappointments for this one day.

We leave the “not enough” thoughts on the sidelines.

Yet, they’re there only to be picked up a few days later as we head back to work and school, and start the dash to buying holiday presents and prepare for the parties ahead.

Preparing for anything takes some deep, quiet thinking. When we’re prepared, the peaks and valleys of our daily journey are easier to predict and can be handled with more grace.

How do leaders prepare? How do you prepare for what’s ahead? Here’s a suggestion.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I hear this plaintive cry from executives and middle managers all the time. I hear it from superintendents to elementary school teachers for at least ten months out of the year.

Getting along is what we all want. Right? So, why does it seem almost impossible to get through even a few days without feeling that blood boiling moment of “Not THAT again!” or “Can’t they just zip it?”

I would like to boil this down to some basics for you to think about.

Relationships are hard work.

You can’t learn how to be your best you by reading something that gives you 5 quick tips for happiness.

It’s just not that simple.

Clear The Past To Free The Future: Life Stories Spoken Out Loud Heal Wounds From Our Unresolved Racial War

Charles sat down and wiped the perspiration from his forehead. He looked at the fifteen others in the room and could not decide if he was relieved or simply embarrassed.

Finally John broke the silence by saying quietly, “We really are all truly sorry. Thank you for your honesty and openness.”

That was it.

The moment Charles had been hoping for since he was a little kid. All he wanted was someone to say “I’m sorry.” And now he had fifteen women and men who told him they were sorry for the barbs and taunts and put downs. One by one they had looked at him and said they were sorry.

Charles had just finished telling the story of his life.

The Downside Of Growing Your Organizational Culture

I was sitting having a quick dinner in Manhattan with some colleagues. The place was packed and the noise level high. Just a typical 6:30 p.m. time of workplace decompressing, after one of those typical rush and get it done days.

At the table to the left we heard “No one should be forced to share as much as they do here. They think they are creating a culture of trust. It’s just a bunch of bull.”

To the right, “Why the heck can’t they just get with the program and stop complaining all the time? What a bunch of whiners.”

Another table not far where they were getting very vocal and physically flinging hands around, “They actually force us to admit failure and what we don’t like about ourselves. Nasty stuff! We just want to get our jobs done and get to our beer time.”

One of my colleagues shrugged and said “Not much has changed in all the years we have been working. Still bitch and complain and judge and attack. When will it ever change?”

Blame it on our belief systems, blame it on our parents, blame it on our culture.

Or maybe stop the blame and say, “It will stop with me” or better yet, “It will start with me.”

So, what do we stop and what do we start?

Ain’t It Good To Be Alive

Last weekend we trekked to Manhattan for the season premiere of ALIVE: 55+ and Kicking.

And what a day it was.

Just being in the presence of the executive producer, Vy Higginsen would have been enough. However, the day brought so much that I simply want to stand up and applaud the entire cast and the brilliance of an idea so needed in our world today.

Vi took the microphone before the start of the show and in her vivacious manner said, “The first 50 years of life are for learning, and the next 50 are for living.” And off we went on a musical holiday of song and story about, well just about all of us. It was about dreams gone astray, dreams fulfilled, happy days, hurtful days, and how to get up and get going, no matter what.

I will be interviewing Vy for my book “GUTSY BREAKTHROUGH STORIES” so here is just a snap shot of this mover and shaker. She is an award winning author, playwright, radio and TV personality. She is full of firsts: first woman on New York prime-time radio, first female executive in advertising, and founder of the Mama Foundation for the Arts in Harlem.

How To Help A Toxic Boss Become A Positive Leader

It is a basic fact that water rolls downhill. “So what” you say.

Well, that is an obvious truth. So is the fact that toxic leaders can cause their employees to act badly. However, there is another part to this equation. While people are blaming their bosses for blaming and shaming the same is true of employees who return the blame and point to the boss.

This is a pattern of victimization and bullying that lies deeper than just the way one or two individuals behave. This is a pattern of lack of accountability and everyone then plays “The Gotcha Game.”

Where does it stop? How about with YOU.

Is Holiday Stress Following You To Work?

How do you get year-end work done, prepare for family gatherings and stay in a happy mood when all you want to do in the morning is pull the covers over your head?

That’s a question I get asked starting the day after Halloween non-stop till New Year’s Eve becomes a dull memory in early January.

Why is there so much stress and frustration during this time of tinsel and mistletoe? Is it that way for everyone? So many say it seems impossible for the end of the year to be fun and easy. And yes, that’s just about for everyone.

Here’s a core reason. Most of us either want to remember the holiday season from childhood with rose colored glasses, or if it was a really tough time, we are determined to put those glasses on now to make better memories.

The problem is, reality has a way of coming in and throwing some curve balls. You know like:

The electricity goes out right before Christmas dinner and the turkey is only half cooked.
You favorite sibling brings some friends to camp out at your place for “just a few days” and it’s now over a week.
The forecast for a few inches of snow turns into the blizzard of the century.
Keep reading.