Today's Recipe: A Great Day

I am working with a business coach who is an expert in the health and fitness field. She started writing a blog every day for the first year of her business. My first two months of writing have proven to be very challenging. I have the "I'm too busy" and "I don't have something important enough to say today" mindset right now. It's really time to get over that (because I know that doesn't help me or anyone else).

One of the things my coach said she would write when she felt like she was out of ideas was healthy recipes. I realized that the recipe concept translates well to life. As a self-aware person, I find myself assessing my moods and feelings quite frequently and some days are simply better than others. I have often wondered why and here is my...

RECIPE FOR A GREAT DAY

1. Exercise - Easy ideas I love...walk the dog, quick 30-minute power workout, yoga. Exercise jump starts your serotonin, which is a hormone your brain produces that creates feelings of happiness.  Put your shoes by your bed, or sleep in your walking clothes. It helps you get over some of the early morning hurdles that get in the way. 

2. Feed Your Mind - There are some days I do both 1 and 2 together. This may be something like listening to a podcast that I'm dedicated to, reading a favorite blog site, or even the short exercise of reading the  the Daily Skimm. Do something to get your mind going in a way that interests you after you've woken up your body. I strongly recommend this not be checking email! 

3. Feed Your Body - This is your coffee/tea time, and a great moment to make the right dietary choice for the day. I'm not a health and fitness guru, but I love to start with a high protein breakfast that I know will carry my focus through my morning (along with my coffee). I'm a fan of eggs and cheese for breakfast or a protein shake. 

4. Get Sh*t Done - I have adopted the practices of weekly planning, and daily task making. Try to knock something off your "to do" list early in the day to feel that sense of accomplishment. I'm currently working on a productivity tool that will capture more specifics around how to do this consistently well. 

5. Greet  the Rest of the Day with A Smile - I've found that if I start my day off using this recipe, I have exponentially better days. My outlook is brighter, my energy levels are higher, I feel like I can handle stressors or last minute deadlines calmly. I know I've made a healthy decision in the morning that will help me be a better person and parent and that really goes far when I'm carpooling at 10pm. 

What's your recipe for a great day? 

 

Interview Diaries: Insecure Interviewer

I recently had breakfast with a friend who has been looking for her next career opportunity for a few months now. We live in a "small" big city (Indianapolis). One of the cool things about this city is that it's accessible, meaning it's easy to network in this city. People are friendly, open to connecting, and that helps when you're looking to make your next career move. That said, there are a bunch of interviewers in Indy making some embarrassing gaffs. I know this is not unique to our market, so I've made a deal with my friend that I will share some of her horror stories without incriminating anyone. These entries are meant to prepare people for less-than-perfect interviews. You will have a bad interview some day, and you'll leave feeling confused. My hope is that you can navigate your emotions and reactions with grace knowing that you're not alone. 

Scene: Panel interview (you on one side of the table and at least three others on the other side of the table)

Main Interviewer: A female of similar age to you who has been hired to do a role that she has no background or proper qualifications for. She has likely networked to her position (good for her!) and needs to hire a top notch team to help her be successful in the role she's recently taken. 

Interview: You walk through your resume, background, and qualifications. You articulate your philosophy on [fill in the blank - role specific] and gain confidence that you can add value to this organization. Everything seems to be going well. The lead interviewer is taking notes, the panel of interviewers are engaged and making eye contact (as opposed to sneaking peeks at their phone under the table). Then you see a shift, it's as if the interviewer decides that she's going to go 'off script.' She squirms in her seat, pushes her papers to the side, leans forward to almost standing and blurts, something like this: "Honestly, I NEED people to stay here. You can clearly do this work. You'll be bored. This organization needs help, and I need someone I know is going to stick around. Are you going to do that? I can't hire someone who is just looking for a J-O-B. What are you looking for? Can you commit?" The entire rest of the panel looks down at their laps in embarrassment. They have no idea what to do or how to help you out, and they're not supportive enough of their colleague enough to help her out by rephrasing the question. You squirm, unsure of what to say. 

Candidate Reaction (Internal): That felt on the verge of hostile. What am I supposed to say in the moment? I am overqualified for the role, but I like the environment and I know I can make a positive impact on this organization. I do want a job. I think I may have to help this interviewer calm down. I am pretty sure there is no way I could work with this woman, much less be directed by her when I know she acts like this. I need to get out of here. 

Candidate Action (In the Moment): "I am confident I can do the job."  (Well done on not meeting high emotions with high emotions - Stay calm in these moments)

Candidate Review: After wondering what she did to provoke the outburst, she realized that she might want to gather a little more information about the position and the interviewer. She tapped into her network and let them know she had the interview, and asked for any more info that might be useful about the role or the leader of the role. As it turns out, the interviewer was hired by a friend to do the job. That would be okay IF the woman was self-assured enough to hire a team of qualified professionals to get the job done. Instead, she is panicky and scared about not succeeding. 

Life Lesson: People hire people they like to do work for them. Sometimes these people may not be qualified to do the work that their friend hired them for. Depending on the nature of the relationship, the person hired may or may not feel comfortable admitting that they can't do the job.

As someone interviewing to be a member of the team, you have to trust and feel respected by your leader. A fundamental tenant of leadership is to show respect for others. If an interviewer (who is going to be your boss) makes you uncomfortable, questions you inappropriately, or presses you for answers they know you can't answer in a first interview, imagine how they might treat you later? 

How I Failed: January 2016 Edition

I was with a group of girlfriends this week. We organized a meeting to do "something," but we weren't really sure what we wanted to accomplish. By the end of the two hours we had shared a lot, finished a couple bottles of wine, and gotten some personal struggles out in the open. One of my epiphanies from this gathering was that I avoid doing things because I'm afraid of failing. One way to get over fear is to take action around the thing you fear the most. Here are two things I failed at this month. 

Writing

I wanted to blog daily or at the very least once a week. I posted three blogs in January. Three is better than none, but not even close to my goal. I did write five thank you notes, and I'm  committed to writing 200 this year. I just did the math and I need to send 16 thank you notes a month to be on track for my goal. This means I'm already 11 thank you notes behind for the year.  I have a few choices at this point. I can beat myself up about my lack of discipline around writing (both blogs and thank you's), I can do nothing, or I can look forward and commit and plan around doing better. 

Here are some blogs that I started but never finished: 

  • Writing my Bio...who cares
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? 
  • The secret is out: If you hate your job, people can tell
  • You're not as selfish as you think you are

Exercise

I wanted to get back on my morning gym schedule. This wasn't a resolution for 2016. It was a realization that I had last year. I have a better day when I get up in the morning and exercise before I start my work. Because I have a fairly unpredictable work schedule every week a morning workout stabilizes me by providing me with routine. I exercised in the morning before work five times this month (nuff said). 

January Reflection Questions:

  1. What got in the way of accomplishing what I had intended? 
  2. What will I do differently this month? 
  3. How will I hold myself accountable this month? 

Scratch and Sniff

Think Kit Prompt 5: Scents have the power to take us all kinds of places. What smell takes you somewhere else? Where'd you go?

The smell that takes me back to my childhood is the smell that people naturally possess when they come inside from being outdoors doing any kind of physical activity. I can't exactly explain the smell, but it's likely that you've smelled it. It seems to be a mix of sun, dust, and fresh air on a person's skin, hair, and clothes. I have no better words to describe it. I'll say to my kids, "You smell that you've been outside playing."

The first time I remember this smell was on my grandpa, John Thompson. Every time I get a strong whiff of 'the outdoors smell' it reconnects me with my grandpa for a few seconds. When I was in first grade, I lived with my grandparents. My grandpa had a abundant garden in the back yard that ran along the length of the modest yard touching the white picket fence that separated him and his favorite neighbors. He would spend what seemed like hours out back tending to the garden: watering, weeding, transferring plants, picking fruit, spraying, and talking to the neighbors. When he would come in through the back door to wash his hands in the kitchen sink, I would get a nose full of this smell on him. It's a perfect mix of human and earth! 

 A photo of John W. Thompson my grandpa and dedicated gardener (1920-2000) 

A photo of John W. Thompson my grandpa and dedicated gardener (1920-2000) 

Think Kit 2016: Writing Prompts

Getting into the discipline of writing is HARD! It's work. Thank goodness for Think Kit. For four years the writing masterminds at Smallbox have been generating questions to get us struggling writers going. 

There are four prompts currently, and I'm picking my fave of those four today. 

PROMPTGive us the 30,000 foot view. Or, hone in on a few highlights. Let's bring last year to life before moving on to what's ahead.

2015 Theme: Fortieth Year of Fun

I am a big fan of having fun. For me fun means infusing moments with humor, spending time belting out my favorite songs, dancing with my girls (friends or kids), learning new things, traveling, having meaningful conversations, sipping wine, exercising with a friend, laughing until it hurts, and just generally enjoying my full life with my framily. 

As I reflect on this year, I remember a January team meeting where we talked about resolutions. I consciously went into the year with the intention to be more moderate with my behaviors. Somehow going in with a commitment not to go overboard, resulted in one of the best years of my life. It wasn't good because there were highlights and lowlights. It was a great year because there were consistent positive and entertaining experiences. The less I tried to create meaningful moments, the more meaningful the moments were.  

 One of my favorite ridiculous photos from my 40th birthday party

One of my favorite ridiculous photos from my 40th birthday party

Writing in 2016

I went on a 3-mile walk yesterday and thought about how I might start to write more in 2016. I asked myself: 

"When and how do I write currently that feels comfortable and authentic?"

The answer came easier than I thought. In 2015 I started writing thank you notes following meaningful experiences. I realized that thank you notes don't have to follow favors or events. They are a great way to express my feelings to someone and let them know I appreciate them. Often we forget to thank our friends and family for just being there for us. I will be writing daily thank you notes in 2016 with the goal of mailing 200! 

image.jpg

The first pack of ten thank you cards for 2016.