Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears..Oh My....

Dorothy, on the road to Oz, was afraid of the lions, tigers and bears that might be lurking in the woods, preventing her from reaching home.
We all meet our own version of lions, tigers and bears every day, but we don't need to be afraid of them, we just need to be able to recognize them and work with them.
The lions in our life mimic the behavior of their jungle counerparts. They march around the office, parading their superiority (they are the named king after all). Not afraid to roar when things displease them, they can be heard coming down the halls and it can be a knee shaking experience when there is a lion roaring at your desk or in your kitchen. The thing to remember about lions is that they are inactive for about 20 hours a day, getting their roar on for only about two hours daily and they are not as social as their pride. The rest of the time they prefer to spend time patrolling the edges of their territory keeping it safe from intruders. They are not particularly good hunters, leaving that job to the more agile lionesses.
If you have a lion in your life, it helps to remember that the roaring they do may not be directed at you personally. It is in part to keep the fearful things away from those they feel the need to protect and perhaps to hide a bit of their vulnerabilty and inability to hunt as well as the rest of the group.
Work to the lion's strength, accept that a lion will have periods when he is onguard for mistakes that can hurt his pride. If you can co-operatively provide the "kill" for a lion while not backing down from his roar, chances are that the lion will no longer fear your presence and mistrust your judgements and channel his roar so that you are no longer the recipient of it.
Tigers on the other hand might be even more difficult to work or live with. Their method of operation is to slink around stealthily, constantly observing and moving. They do take time to play but can change direction and pounce on their prey in a matter of seconds. Much like their smaller domestic counterparts they may like to play with their prey before demolishing it. Tigers are solitary workers and protective of their territory however, tigers can be good at sharing their kill with others they trust after the most token displays of resistance . If you have tiger creeping around and playing in your aisle, acknowledge their presence with a wave and smile and recognize that they can be a good coopeative partner and will share information for the common good...And take time to play...tigers get their best work done and then like to play, play and play some more.
Bears...ah those warm and fuzzy animals that slept with us at night to keep away the goblins in the closet! What's not to love about these funny, huggable animals? Bears are big, powerful and clumsy. They are also shy and frightened of people and will usually run in the opposite direction when coming face to face with a person. The exception to this is the mama bear who is guarding her cubs from perceived danger. If you work or live with a bear, the best piece of advice is to tread carefully when attacking a person or a project they have invested time and nurturing on. Understand that you don't have to present real danger to the project... perceived danger is enough to cause the most lovable of bears to rear up on their back legs and give warning growls. Bears also love honey and all things sweet so a thoughtful act or deed does much to turn a menacing brown bear into a cooperative, team teddy.
We all have one or more of these creatures in our life, we all can BE one or more of these creatures. A little kindness, psychology and fair play will allow for peaceful co-existence with the wild things in our life and allow us to reach our

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's Your Brand of Loyalty?

Loyalty...a word that maybe gets tossed around passionately in deep conversations, in shouted voice on the sidelines of athletic events and perhaps flirtatiously on barstools in your favorite pub.
Everyone proclaims some kind of loyalty to something, be it their family, work, city, toothpaste or car.
Loyalty differs not only with respect to what or who one is loyal to but also in the scope of it.
Flavor of the Day Loyalty says I think "this" is a terrific person, team, city, product and I will stay true to it...until the next next terrific person, city, product comes along and offers me more bang for my buck or more games in the winning column. With this kind of loyalty I don't want to tattoo your name on my arm... but I might consider a washable henna tattoo.
Because that is the Way it is Loyalty This loyalty says I am loyal to this because MY parents, family, teachers, ministers, coaches are... so therefore I am too. This type of loyalty is rarely questioned, thought about or consciously chosen. You don't see it emblazoned on anyone's arm either..because parents, teachers and ministers are not usually found with tattoos on their arm... be they ink or henna. This loyalty feels good..because it defines not only what we are loyal to but bonds us to a group we are comfortable with.
Floating Loyalty I will be loyal to a person or a thing over the course of many months and years. Our relationship waxes and wanes, according to what or who else I am currently being wooed by at the moment, and how convenient it is to be loyal. Floating loyalty is open to testing other newer and improved products and people but doesn't replace the old with the new..but instead just supercedes it and positions the old faitful brand down a little lower on the loyalty chain...maybe for now..maybe longer.
Until Forever Loyalty This loyalty plays out best between best friends, lovers, combat buddies and parents for their children. It says "no matter what you do, where you go, and whatever new thing supercedes me in your affections, I will always be loyal to you and know I can count on that loyalty in return from you. I don't need to get a tatto, ink or henna on my arm because this tattoo is etched in my heart and on my soul.
There is room within us for all of these kinds of loyalty, and more besides.
Our lives are multi-colored afghans warmed by past, present and yet to be formed loyalties.
I cherish all the ones from my past, sustain the ones that I hold today and anticipate the fun of future ones.
I look at loyalty a whole new way!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Playing on Team Kindness

Pay it forward...random acts of kindness...
I saw one happen today and a smile was reflected on my face for a few minutes, but the one reflected in my heart wil last longer.
I was at the light rail station with my daughter , waiting to get a ticket to go to the Twins game. The line was long, but people were waiting in a "Minnesota Nice" fashion, despite the sound of the nearing train.
A young man ahead of us in line inserted his card into the machine. He tried several times and was obviously having a hard time getting the machine to read his card. He looked over his shoulder and realized tht line was about 10 people long and took his card from the machine and headed to the end of the line, so he could try again but not make so many people wait.
When it was our turn, my daughter bought three tickets instead of two, and went to the end of the line and quietly handed the young man one of them. He was surprised and thanked her in words and with a smile. ( I was not surprised, this is a young woman who has a very big kindness gene, and acts on it often).
She explained to me that this was not the first part of the story, but that a few weeks ago while riding the train in New York City, she had inadvertenly bought a non-rush hour ticket and was riding during rush hour. A gentleman sitting next to her gave the conductor the difference in her ticket price when he overheard her telling the conductor that she did not have cash but only cards, which were not accepted on that train. She said ever since that happened she has been looking for a way to pass on that act of kindness.
It is very rewarding when you see your offspring becoming a player on the world kindess team.
It also is a reminder to me to become a little more aware of what is going on around me so that I can play on that

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dear Spirit Airlines,

If I carry my lunch onto your plane..but I eat it before we I get a