Monday, June 27, 2016


Some of the best and worst advice that I was ever given, actually turned out to be one in the same. 

How could that be?
I was taught to respect my elders. They knew more, were wiser, and had lived longer and seen more, so they knew what life was about. They knew what worked and what didn’t, so why wouldn’t their advice be taken and applied? I certainly believed that. And, I’m not disputing that some of the advice was and is still good to live by, but I have also come to realize that some of it might not have been the best, and may have even done more harm than good.

First piece of advice given; don’t make waves, or don’t rock the boat.
This seemed logical to me. If you make waves, you might tip the boat and could drown. Check!
But let’s examine that from a different point of view.

When I am in any body of water, I could do some basic swimming, or lounge on my favorite floaty. I enjoy both. But what I really love is catching a wave on a boogie board in the ocean, and riding it all the way to the sandy beach! While I’m not technically making that wave that I rode, it’s still a lot of fun!

Or, how about these examples:
When I am in an above ground pool, I love standing in the middle of the pool, and while holding onto a big beach ball, I jump up and down. I jump until I make the waves so big that they splash over the sides of the pool. Now, I did make those waves.

Here's a boat scenario since I referred to a boat at the beginning of this post. I find it hysterical to rock a canoe to just before the tipping point. I made waves in more ways than one doing that. (Don’t judge :)) And in case you are wondering, no one got hurt, and actually had a little fun helping me make those waves.Truthfully, they might question my definition of fun, but I am pretty sure that they secretly loved rocking the boat too!

How do my examples have anything to do with the real life advice of “don’t make waves or rock the boat”?
Some situations in life require you to keep things calm, but if you always do that, you can be missing out on some of the things that you were trying to avoid. Things that might not be so bad, and maybe are a little fun.

So my advice is this: Examine the situation and then decide if you should make any waves, or rock any boats.

The second piece of advice that I had to learn the hard way was; keep your head low, or fly under the radar.
While I understand that you might want to stay out of the line of fire, I have also determined that if you stay too low, or too much under the radar, you can become invisible. And even though you may do great work, being invisible is not the way to have the decision makers notice you. So, when tough decisions get made about who stays and who goes, generally, those under the radar thinking that they are safe and out of the line of fire, can find that they are still  vulnerable to a stray bullet hitting them, and then boom, they are no more.

My advice here: Not only do you have to be visible, but you must also be valuable. Stand tall and proud to show people your worth; how your contributions help the bottom line of the firm, and why you should continue to be a member of the team. Do not fly low under the radar,because it doesn’t guarantee the safety that you are hoping to accomplish.

So those are a few examples of good intended advice, not always working to your advantage. But in all fairness, I have received other pieces of advice that are valuable, and to my knowledge cannot be disputed.  I have many examples, but I will end with this one.

Don’t run with scissors.

My final piece of advice: Seriously, don’t run with scissors.

Friday, June 17, 2016


There’s been a whole lot of shaming going on!

It seems like every other day, there’s another story in the news about some tragedy, or near tragedy, and in the end, someone gets shamed. Publicly, with such venom from total strangers who most likely know very little about the actual incident that lead up to the shaming. To that, I quote Gomer Pyle and say, “For shame, for shame, for shame!” Shame on all of you shamers!

If you are going to shame someone, maybe it’s time to start shaming the correct source instead of always the parents; who most likely are already going through hell, and you have just added more fuel to the fire! Thanks so much, fellow humans. I hope nothing bad ever happens to you that you ever have to experience that kind of pain.

Before any other parent gets shamed, I want to offer a suggestion for those of you heading to the beach this summer.

If you choose to go into the ocean, you should know that the ocean is home to many different species; some nice and harmless, and some not so nice, and most definitely not harmless, especially to humans.

A few critters come to mind that might hurt you, but the biggest one that everyone is afraid of is of course, the sharks. And with good reason too. I mean, how many movies have been made about them and their stealthy ways of attacking. Movies meant to scare the swim suits off of us! And, keep some of us out the water for a while. “Ssssssshhhhhaaaaarrrrrkkkk!” (A line from Jaws in case you didn’t know)

Let’s review what we know about sharks:

We know that they live in the water by the beach, they are predators, and we know that they have lots, and I mean lots of very sharp teeth, and we know that they know how to use those teeth. They get hungry too, just like us humans, and sometimes they mistake humans for their next meal, or maybe they are just feeling the love that day, and want to give you a love bite.
"Whoops, sorry, guess that love bite was a little harder than intended. Eh, just grow another limb. You can, can’t you? No? My bad..."

No worries though, if they lose a few teeth in an intended or unintended bite, they can grow more. That’s just how they role, or ...swim.

But how dare they take a bite of us humans! We are just enjoying the lovely warm waters, relaxing, surfing, and my favorite, boogie boarding. We're on our perfectly planned vacations, don’t they know that?! How dare they infringe on our time!

Shame on you sharks!! Shame on you for ruining our vacations. Shame on you for being a terrible shark and not paying closer attention to your hunger, strength, instincts, and teeth! And what the heck do you need all of those sharp teeth for anyway? Can’t you find somewhere else to swim, some other fish to bite. I don’t care if it’s your home I am swimming in, you are an awful shark and should be put in shark jail for being so careless with your sharky self! I hope you rot in shark jail! You had no right to be so insensitive to me and the other humans here in the water. Jeesh!

Shark shaming.  Shame the sharks if you must shame. They have thick skin, lots of teeth, act like they don’t care what anyone thinks, and mostly, they won’t ever read the hurtful comments sent their way. They're tough, they can take it…

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Communication comes in many different forms, both verbal and non-verbal, and each one is critical for all living beings, yet, even though there are so many ways to communicate these days, there seems to be too many times when we just can’t seem to communicate with each other in the most effective and sometimes, simplest ways.

Recently, while engaging in some normal activities, I observed the various methods of communications that were being used, and then determined if they were successful, or not.  My observations reiterated to myself why it is so important to communicate clearly based on the situation and subject.

A weekend of communication observations:

Settling into a very comfortable leather pedicure chair, I felt delighted with the bright pink polish that I had selected to be used on my toes. Yes, pink is just what I needed to get my feet sandal ready!

The nice man greeted me with a smile and a nod while he held up my pink bottle of polish. I smiled, nodded and said, yes, that is the color I want. I knew that there would be a language barrier between us, as did he, but throughout the entire relaxing experience, the communication between us consisted of smiles, head nods, and short yes or no responses. We didn’t speak the same language at all, although I knew that he knew more English than I knew of his native tongue, and yet, that didn’t stop us from having a nice time just using those simple methods of communications.  This was a great example of successful limited verbal and non-verbal communications.

Happy with my pedicure, I headed to my local grocery, which had been undergoing major renovations for months. I dreaded this errand as the last couple of times that I had gone there, I couldn’t find anything that I needed. But this store was more convenient than the others, and I was hopeful that they would be finishing up soon, so I sucked it up and headed to the store. When I pulled into the parking lot I found that most of the lot was blocked off due to resurfacing.  I located the opening for the two rows that were open based on an arrow they had posted, and made my way in search of a spot to park. This is a very large grocery store in need of much more parking than 2 rows, so I shouldn’t have been surprised of the limited available spaces, but I was very surprised when I got to the end of the lane, and there was nowhere to turn around and nowhere to park! After a very tight 5 point turnaround, I grabbed the first recently vacated spot.

In the store, things were still not completed, but I could tell they were getting close. The shopping took me twice as long as normal trying to find everything, and now, I just needed to locate mouthwash. I found the aisle labeled toothpaste, mouthwash, etc., so I turned the corner to find….empty shelves. Really trying my patience! Okay, there had to be a sign directing me to the new location of the mouthwash, but to no avail. I spent another couple of minutes roaming up and down the aisles until I finally found it.  At the checkout, the cashier asked me if I found everything okay. I bit my tongue from what I wanted to say, figuring that she had already heard it all, and it wasn’t her fault anyway so no reason to take my frustration out on her. As I left that store, I thought, if they would just have communicated more clearly regarding parking and where the new locations of items were, it would have saved time and frustration.  This was an epic failure to properly communicate, causing undo frustration, and possibly some customers. A great example of how bad communication, or lack of any communication, can cost you customers, as I questioned if I would ever return after that experience!

Driving on the highway towards home, I was behind a driver going much slower than the posted speed limit. Not able to get around him, I tried to remain calm, although my patience was already thin after the grocery store experience. With most of the traffic passing both of us to the right, I waited my turn to do the same since the slow driver in front of me was clearly not going to move over. He actually seemed oblivious to everyone passing him on the right side! Just as I was starting to get into the right lane, he also got into that lane with no signal advising me of his intent, he just went. He continued to go slower than the speed limit and crossed back and forth between lanes, never putting a signal on and causing some issues with the other drivers. I got around and away from him thinking, they make turn signals for a reason! To communicate to other drivers. Another epic fail. This failure to use a simple turn signal which could have caused wrecks.

The following day was my 4 year old granddaughter’s birthday party.  When I arrived, she proudly showed me how she was a beautiful princess! I adjusted my tone just a bit to match her enthusiasm and watched her take off to play and show everyone else how pretty she was.  I sat at a table with my elderly father in law who doesn’t hear very well and found myself speaking very loudly about the weather, gardens and anything else, noticing to myself how I adjusted my volume in my voice to accommodate his hearing loss. Successful adjusted communication methods.

The next day was a mother’s day celebration with my small family. I watched my grandchildren play, laugh and talk to each other. I watched my daughter’s cats and dog spar with each other, and look up at her, then down to their empty food bowls, and then, without a bark or meow, the bowls were filled. Non-verbal communication at its finest. I think that the animals do communication best.

Returning home from the eventful weekend, I sat on my porch and observed all of nature happening in my yard. I filled the bird feeders and it didn’t take long from the bird word to get out that the feeders were full once again! Around 15 types of birds ate, chirped and sang harmoniously together, while they filled their bellies with the assorted seeds and nuts. Later that evening it stormed. My older cat doesn’t like storms and doesn’t like to be held, so she stayed at my side during the entire loud storm. She didn’t say a word, just needed to be near me to feel safe. Her eyes and actions said it all. Animal communication wins again.

The power of communication is strong and powerful and with just a few examples that I provided, you can see how they can be successful or completely fail.

A quote from Zig Ziglar says “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply”

I think if humans could just learn to adjust their communication methods based on a situation, we would be much better communicators. We don’t always have to speak to get a point across. As a matter of fact, the use of body language, can be much clearer than the spoken word. Think about how strong a smile, frown or an eye roll can be. No words, but you know what is being communicated.

Take a cue from the starlings as they begin their migration. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. Their synchronized movements are a way to communicate the location of food sources as well as a way to create a defense mechanism against birds of prey. Beautiful and smart!

The world is full of different kinds of communications, and all are vital methods in getting ones message across. We have to adjust for the situation, but we can never stop communicating.


Peter Drucker said “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

Listen to the spoken and unspoken word. Read the signs and between the lines, and then you can communicate accordingly and successfully.