Cup Half Sunny

Today I learned another great thing about being optimistic: You get to have more fun!

Yesterday on a rainy afternoon, I was ready to bail on a Sunday morning 5K with a 90% chance of rain.

Sally told me that she was OK with not running in the rain, but not OK with not running if the weather turned out fine.  And since we wouldn’t know until the start gun what the weather would be, we decided to go for it.  I stayed overnight, we took the Red Line to Harvard Square nice and early, ran a great race, and had a fun morning together, including a great brunch (don’t do the math, it’s better that way.)

Optimism won the day.  As it often does.

Incoming Lessons!

Yes, I’m still here and still learning and still happy to share what I’ve learned.  So here come a bunch of lessons that I’ve been scribbling down, with more to follow as I find the scraps and can figure out what I meant…

I would like to think that I will now learn to just post as I go, but procrastination when linked with perfectionism is either a perfect storm for lack of progress or a great big lesson to be learned or maybe both.

Thanks for hanging in.  I would love to hear your comments in any format or forum.  But here would be awesome!

First ASK Lessons of 2012

Yet again, the lesson is ASK!

First I learned a lesson the last time we forgot to put the parking pass in the car window at Sally’s apartment and it cost us $50, and we have never forgotten since.

Then Carolyn told me that her friend just told the town she had a pass and forgot to use it, and they waived the fine!   I swear I could have learned just as well if I had known to do this!

Also this week, I asked Shutterfly for a good deal on a replacement photo calendar for a relative who lost hers due to an odd string of misfortunes, and they gave it to me, and shipped it, for FREE!

Pick up the phone!

I have learned, much more than once, that if you have bad news for work customers, make a phone call! If you don’t reach you person, just keep playing phone tag until you connect.

An email just has way too much potential to be misinterpreted, forwarded, both.

You might think it’s the other way around (I did!), but with a call you get to hear the questions and concerns, and address them on the spot.

I am also learning not to kick myself (for very long) when I get it wrong and have to learn something again (and again).

The Greener Grass of Other The Lily Pad

I learned the grass is always greener on the other side of the street if you are wearing rose-colored glasses when you look in that direction.

What a bizarre experience.  I was able to observe two people long for the position of each other, imagining it to be the solution to most or all of their problems, in the face of evidence to the contrary and/or a significant lack of evidence.

I was calling this a Frog-and-Toad story (they swept each others’ leaves – who remembers?) but it’s not really the same plot.  But let’s use their names anyway.  I’m pretty sure they won’t mind.

Frog wanted what Toad had.  Imagined it to be so different, and in just the ways that would make Frog happy.  None of the same problems would exist.  Where Frog didn’t know the details, she just made them up!  She’s had a lifetime of experience in doing that, so it was easy.

Toad wanted what Frog had, and an opportunity to have it came up.  They talked (they aren’t really amphibians, remember, those are just their names for this story).  Frog told Toad some facts, some good and some bad.  Toad pretty much focused on the good, and told about why she thought being in Frog’s situation would be awesome.  While she was at it, she talked what she was leaving.

Frog looked around and said “Wow.  That is another way to look at this deal”.  Now Frog is happy.

Toad?  Stay tuned!

Fail Early

I once had a CIO who had a five core principles of business and one of them  was “Fail Early”.  I learn this lesson over and over.

The entire Agile software development process is based on this.  I’ve often seen the success of showing early results “Is this what you meant?” to get a Yes, or way more importantly, a No.  So easy to change course early, if you just get that feedback!  So much harder if not.

Nowhere, perhaps, is this more applicable than to driving when  lost!  Why not find out if I am or I am not where I think I am, way before I go even farther in the wrong direction?

In my car, I have two separate devices to tell me how lost I am, and to get me found.  Sure, they don’t always work in the wilds of the places I drive, but they definitely don’t work when I don’t ask them!

It’s nice to putter around back roads when that’s the intention.  But I’ve learned (or I’m fixin’ to learn) that when I am really trying to get somewhere, it’s important to know if I’m driving in the right direction.  Or not.