Posts tagged boundaries
Pack order

If you have a dog in training, one of the first things a teacher will tell you is to establish yourself as the alpha dog or the pack leader. The alpha dog is the top dog and the one who sets the rules for the pack that all other dogs follow. The alpha dog gets to eat first and gets the best sleeping spot. Speaking of sleeping, the alpha dog sleeps higher than dogs lower in the pack. From a certain vantage point, they are on a pedestal.

I’ve started to notice that in almost everything in life, there is a person, consciously or not, trying to establish pack order.

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Never Enough

“Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place” The Breakfast Club

This blog post was knocking around in my head through the holiday season and resurfaced in the new year. During Christmas, there were many times I felt inadequate. How many gifts is enough? How many holiday gatherings is enough? Should I do more? Can I do more? Worry about all of these questions causes me to miss out on the joy that comes with gatherings and gifts. To abate the guilt, I wait until the 2 weeks (even 2 days) before Christmas to buy gifts so I don’t struggle with whether I am doing enough. And I participate in every gathering.

New year for change

I remind myself every New Year’s Eve that I have more time on my hands on January 1st than any other day of the year.

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Just say ok

From the moment you wake up, you are making decisions.  Thousands of microdecisions are made everyday.  You are either taking action on a decision or processing whether or not to act.  There are likely several decisions ping-ponging around your brain at any given time.  It is exhausting.  

Every person has a process of sending a decision through several internal filters or a personal algorithm.  Those filters include your values, your desire for control and your intuition to protect yourself.

Our decision-making systems can be on overload because companies build their business to give you lots of choices.   To prove this, go into a Starbucks and listen to 10 people place an order.  Or walk down the cereal aisle at the grocery store. 

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Stay in your lane

One of the main reasons I blog is to work through a problem or situation, reflect on an experience, and to have personal accountability when I make a recommendation (which is pretty much every blog post).

One of my personality traits is to make sure everyone is happy.  I am a peacemaker and problem solver no matter where I am.  I don't like people to feel uncomfortable or disregarded.  I don't like to leave a situation in unrest with no plan to fix it.  Trying to make sure everyone is happy comes with the disadvantage of trying to have the answer for everything and be everything to everyone.  

I learned, with practice, how to say "I don't know" and, even more specifically, to say "I don't know everything".  That doesn't stop me from wanting to know everything or following up with "I will find out".  

Here are a few ways I can support someone and stay in my lane.  

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Recipe for work happiness

You don't have to look hard to find a motivational quote. 

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do" - Steve Jobs

How about a do this/get that work strategy.

"Sharpen the saw" by Steven Covey.  Preserve and enhance the greatest asset - you!

There are rows and rows of books in the stores on ways to find happiness in your work -- thousands if you go online.  

The issue I have with these quotes is they address work happiness at the macro-level.   If you love what you do, you will do great work.  Let's be serious, there are always parts of work that you don't want to do.

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No apologies

Apologies are overused, they impose guilt, and drain your time and energy.

Not only are apologies overused, they are often followed by an excuse.  Example: "I'm sorry I didn't get you called sooner, I was [fill in the blank]."  If you start an e-mail or phone call this way, you've just wasted valuable time thinking about the apology and stating it.  Additionally, you have lowered your confidence and self-esteem.  To make it worse - apologies are not effective for either person;  your groveling apology doesn't make you feel better and it has a small, if any, affect on the other person.

Apologies should be reserved for mistakes.  You missed a meeting.  You overlooked a deadline.  You returned a phone call a month after the voicemail.

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Improve your work performance

I'm starting my fifth work week after the holiday season.  December is always slow because my main areas of practice are family law and wills.  It makes sense that, in December, people would not (1) be interested in spending money on an attorney; and (2) start a custody action or think about what happens when they die.  But I digress.

After my 2-week holiday vacation, I was not prepared for the huge influx of e-mails and prospective client requests.  I was, however, excited (and relieved).  Then two weeks later I realized I had hopped on the treadmill of a reactive approach to work.

I let emergencies, not of my own doing, take priority of my plans for a productive day.  These reactive decisions would affect the rest of the week.  When I would finish helping with the emergency, I would remind myself not to do it again.  And then, I did it again.

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When did we start giving e-mail so much power

I was in college when e-mail first started to become a method of communication available to any person who could get on the internet super highway.

Four years later, "in the year 2000",  I started work as a graduate assistant when I began my graduate school education.  As a manger of several groups of people, I used e-mail as my primary method of communication.  Looking back, I don't remember e-mail being used to voice gripes and grievances, probably because I would see them in person that week and it would be awkward for them.  

In 2004, ten years ago, I worked for a non-profit membership corporation.  I was the liaison to several committees which met in person once a year, otherwise, we did all the work by conference calls, e-mail or individual phone calls.  

I remember losing sleep about not responding to a customer or committee member's e-mail to me the same day I received it.  There was, however, no way for me to get through 100 e-mails a day and also get work done.  I tried to prioritize who I responded to, and in what order, by using a colored flag system - red meaning a reply is urgent.

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