Friday, July 04, 2014

On Freedom: independence isn't a one-shot deal

Today is Independence Day here in the United States. This is the day we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. And today, people will celebrate with parades, picnics, fireworks displays, and more.

When we celebrate important events from history, I'm always amazed by the stories of heroes of the past--people willing to make sacrifices for something bigger than themselves. I close my eyes and try to imagine what they went through. Mostly, I cannot--the sacrifices I've made don't come close to the sacrifices people made in the early days of our country.

We shouldn't take our freedom for granted. Not only did brave men and women make sacrifices in the past, but they continue to do so today. Some sacrifices aren't as readily apparent as others--we can easily recognize that civilians and military members at war are making great sacrifices as are their loved ones at home. But there are many others quietly making sacrifices in an effort to ensure freedom while avoiding war or other conflicts.

Independence isn't a one-shot deal. And it isn't a movie or video game. The sacrifices, both past and present, are real. If we don't continue to protect our freedom today and moving forward, we may wake up one morning to find that we are no longer free.

Sunday, March 09, 2014


It's been awhile since I've written. It is difficult because of my profession, but I can write. And I will.  And I have a lot to say . . .

I will be [redacted] this summer. I don't write much about my age because I don't want to be discriminated against because of it. Some may live in denial, but age discrimination is a reality. To me, age is just a number. I take care of myself, and I feel great--people never guess my real age. My age, for the most part, is a non-issue. For the most part . . .

So what is the issue, you ask? The issues is . . . me. The Army is competitive. And physical. I find myself comparing myself with people in their early 20s. Physically. And I beat myself up over it. Today, when I was running, I had an epiphany. Comparing myself at my age to women in their early 20s is doable, but unfair. A better comparison would be the "me" that I was in my early 20s--11% body fat and super fit, a ballet dancer and weight lifter. I didn't run, but I didn't need to. Running isn't the end-all, be-all of fitness. And running is hard on your joints. I've usually looked to other areas for exercise--and I looked for "fun" rather than "working out." In my mid-30s, I took four ballet classes each week and went on pointe with my teenage daughter and her friends. In my early 40s, I learned to play tennis and played roughly four times per week. Tennis is fun, great exercise, and super social! And guess what? I am fit today. It is harder, I'll admit. And I'm working to compete with those 20-something kids. I'm not OK with the higher fat percentage that tries to creep in with age . . . I will conquer it--yes.

Will I still compare myself to those 20-somethings? Oh hell yes. Little girls, I may not be able to keep up with your run today, but you are far behind where I was at your age, and I dare you to compete with where I am when you reach my current age. Game on.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Don't be a fool . . .

"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain -- and most fools do." ~ Benjamin Franklin

(more to follow!)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Please, have some tea . . .

“In their culture, you can’t just shake hands and get down to business. When they offer you tea, accept the offer. Ask about their family. Build a relationship . . .”
This was taught in a cultural awareness class I attended years ago. We Americans have a reputation for being abrupt, getting to the point, and viewing time as money, but I believe the above statement applies here at home as well as in other cultures. Perhaps not the specifics (drinking tea), but the part about building a relationship is very relevant in our culture.

For example, a colleague once commented to me, “but you get results because you are friends.” To bring my above point home, I wasn't friends with the person about whom we were discussing before working together on a project, but I worked hard to build relationships with the project team members. Building these relationships definitely helped me to get results.

But building relationships in business doesn't necessarily mean becoming friends on a personal level. Rather, it is about building trust. This trust can be vital in uncovering potentially hidden problems and ensuring the “right” problem is solved.

This sounds simple, but it isn't always easy. Relationships in business, like personal relationships, are as different as the people involved. There is a time to get down to business because everyone is time conscious, and there are times when we need to drink a little tea and get to know one another first.

So, the next time you aren't getting the results you want on a project, take some time for tea, and get to know the people with whom you are working. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results that follow!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

On Loyalty

Loyalty: faithfulness to commitments or obligations [Citation]
At the end of March, I said I was going to write a series on loyalty. I began writing multiple times, but loyalty is such a difficult topic about which to write. We can all think of good and bad examples of loyalty, so to approach the subject as if loyalty is always good would be erroneous. And my initial question, "who has your back?" is actually misleading.

Who has your back?

At times, loyalty depends on perspective. How so? If you are planning something that doesn't meet even your own standard, if your own thought process is "wrong," then is a person disloyal for not going along with your bad idea? I'm not just referring to extreme examples such as suicide, homicide, criminal acts, etc. There are times when we all have bad ideas and may make poor choices. Even in the military, I'm not expected to follow an unlawful order.

So, going back to the definition of loyalty--faithfulness to commitments or obligations--what does it mean to be loyal? I believe that loyalty is standing up for what is right and saving the person to whom you are loyal from making a poor choice or bad decision; loyalty is trusting when not all the facts are known; loyalty is a two-way street.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

On Loyalty: Initial Thoughts

" . . . Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away." Matthew 26:33
Peter said this to Christ and subsequently denied him no less than three times. So why am I beginning a series on loyalty with an example of seeming betrayal? Because despite his denial of Christ, there is no arguing his absolute loyalty exhibited by his role in spreading early Christianity.

Peter's loyalty was true, but his denial was a result of fear. Yes, I'm bringing up fear again. Fear can cause sane people to do crazy things, and it can cause any one of us to do things we later regret. So what is loyalty?

I'll begin with what loyalty is not. Loyalty is not blindly following or agreeing. Loyalty is the quality of being faithful, and it requires trust. And trust is difficult to build, harder to rebuild once broken. Therefore, if you expect loyalty, begin by being trustworthy. Hold tight to your integrity--without it, you will have nothing.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Who has your back?

For the past few weeks, my focus has been fear. Fear not, I'll move on to another topic: loyalty. Loyalty is very important to me. What is loyalty? A loyal person "has your back."

Who has your back?