The Bus Stop

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He showed up at the bus stop every day. Sat inches away from her, every day. Smiled pleasingly every day, but she was leery. She hadn’t trusted a man in a long time; not for affection, not for protection, not for any kind of emotional support or feelings of belonging. He was on her mind as she sat on the sidewalk having coffee with Susan.

“I just can’t get him out of my head,” she said.

“And why do you think that is?” Susan replied.

“I suppose I’m obsessed with the idea of him,” she said. “But ideas about men have gotten me into dark alleys and unending trouble in the past.”

“Doesn’t mean this one is a bad guy.”

“No, but it does mean I need to tread lightly, wherever men are concerned. I’ve learned my lesson with them.”

They both fell silent for a minute, Lisa tapping her acrylic fingernails against the table first, then her paper coffee cup, and finally her spoon. She was deep in thought when Susan spoke again.

“Tell me again what he looks like.”

Dreamy-eyed, Lisa explained, “He’s tall. Salt and pepper on top with lots of hair. It’s swept to the side. He always has a rain coat with him, though it never rains here. He has a tan-colored brief case, too. No wedding ring; no hint of shadow on his ring finger either, like he’s removed the ring before he approached the bench. He looks like your average, moderately successful businessman on the outside, but when he looks my way and smiles, I can see something else underneath. Like a second guy, someone who is full of light and, I don’t know, glowing. Not really glowing, but radiant, ya know?”

“What does he say?” Susan asked.

“Small talk. ‘How are you? It’s sunny this morning, isn’t it? Are you ready for another week of changing the world?’ He always asks me that on Mondays, without fail. ‘Are you ready for another week of changing the world?’”

“Well, are you?” Susan asked.

“Tell you what, he almost makes me think I could. Almost, but then reality seeps back in as soon as I get on the bus, and another plain, ordinary, uneventful, I-did-not-change-the-world type of week begins.”

“Maybe next time he says it, you should say, ‘I just might believe I could, if I had someone like you in my life.’”

“Be serious!” Lisa replied!

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team-Continued

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So, I’ve been reading The Five Dysfunctions of the Team, by Patrick Lencioni at work this week, per a donation of the book by our new bosses from far-away land.  As I posted about the book earlier, it is a small thing and an easy read.  It is written in a fable format for the majority of the book, but towards the end it provides real life examples of how dysfunction enters into team dynamics and what good leaders (or good leaders in training), can do to help their “reports” find solutions and let go of failed behaviors and attitudes that are keeping them from being productive.

I will be writing more about this little volume in the days to come, but today I was struck by a paragraph on page 208 and wanted to talk about it with you.

First, some remarks about me and my Mr.  I am a critical analyst, who tends to “play it safe” in life.  When I take on a project or job I want to fully understand the parameters of my work, create a system for staying organized in my work space, and be able to produce at a moment’s notice whatever it is others are seeking, whenever that whatever is in my wheelhouse. I pride myself on knowing my stuff and keeping it where I can easily and quickly retrieve it.  I do not like risky maneuvers or questionable outcomes.  I want to know that I know that I know what I am doing is right and proper.  I like rules.

Mister, is a horse of a different color.  He is a risk taker. He has no sense of aesthetics or order.  He is also a pack rat.  He easily laughs and loves to joke with anyone who will go along with his shenanigans.  He flirts, a lot.  He does not overthink his decisions. In fact, he takes short cuts all the time in life, and sometimes pays for it, and not in a good way.  He has a knack for reading people, but he loves easily.  He is not impressed by money, status, or intellect.  He is an emotional thinker and hyper social.  He is black to my white, so when as a young married couple we had the opportunity to buy a house for $18,000, he was immediately ready to jump.  It was a great idea in his mind! A no-brainer.

In my mind——whoa!  Put on the brakes, mister.  Let’s think about this a minute. Can we afford this?  Will we lose our shirts if we do this?  I’m not sure.  Better not take the chance. Something else will come along.  I don’t feel “comfortable” doing this now.  I was paralyzed with fear that we would not be able to keep the house once we purchased it.

As it turns out, I would not feel comfortable doing anything like this for decades!

Here is what The Five Dysfunction of the Team has to say about those who hedge their bets and want with all their hearts to be CERTAIN of something before buying into it.

Writing about the need for certainty, Lencioni says of great teams that they, “…realize that it is better to make a decision boldly and be wrong—and then change direction with equal boldness—than it is to waffle.

Contrast this with the behavior of dysfunctional teams that try to hedge their bets and delay important decisions until they have enough data to feel certain that they are making the right decision.  As prudent as this might seem, it is dangerous because of the paralysis and lack of confidence it breeds within a team.”  Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Whoa baby, can I relate! Talk about repeated behaviors and thinking breeding a lack of confidence in oneself. I could have been the poster child for this type of malady!

A predictable consequence of my lack of confidence meant decades went by while my little family lived in apartments, then second hand trailers, then new mobile homes on rented spaces, all the while needing a real stick and mortar house that was attached to a real piece of real estate that we could really call our own.  This didn’t happen because we didn’t have good jobs, or because we didn’t have money in savings.  Those are two things I forgot to mention about the mister—he is a hard worker and a saver extraordinaire! Regardless, our less than stellar home status went on and on, and on, because I was afraid to take a chance. I wanted to be certain, and when I could not be, I froze.

I also regrettably taught my sons how to be uncertain too!  Ugh, I hate that and regret it all the time!!

Today, we live in a nice house on a piece of land we own atop a beautiful hillside in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  How we got there—how I got unstuck–is a story for a different day, but what I wanted to say today is that I’m giving The Five Dysfunctions of a Team a thumbs up for readability and content.  When people get stuck, especially when working as part of a team, they need to get unstuck fast.  This book gives some relevant examples of how paralysis can set in, and what we can do to address it and begin to let go of our fears concerning the future.

I’m enjoying the book and will be back to share more about it later next week. Until then, have a super weekend away from the grind and remember:  You’re stronger than you think you are–You can do it!

How has uncertainty about the future affected you in the past?  What one team or personal dysfunction do you most often see in play in your life or the lives of others around you?

 

Old Wounds Dealt With

000woundsI will not get so bogged down in dealing with old wounds that I forget about new growth.   –Courage to Change

I read this quote over the weekend and could not stop thinking about it.

I’ve allowed myself to get bogged down lately, dealing with the wounds I inflicted on myself during my years of food abuse.  I’ve been fixating on the scars those wounds have left on my body and my soul.  I’ve been tired.  I’ve been frustrated.  I’ve been wondering how to escape the funk, without losing my mind.  Today, I feel better and have been reminded of the source of my sanity–my God.

God found me when I was without passion, without parent, without plan, and without partner.  Since that time I have found all these and more.

God is the face of hope for me.

I try not to share too much about my faith here, because this is the place where I share about my fat, and while that involves my faith, it also involves my fellows, my food, my failings, and those changes to “the plan” I make over time.

That’s a lot to write about.

Sometimes I think its grit alone that keeps me moving forward, but it’s not.

Other times I think it’s habit, but it’s not.

What keeps me encouraged on the tough days is faith, hope, and Love, but the greatest of these is Love.

I believe with all my heart that God can restore what the locust have eaten, which is why I keep hoping, keep striving, and keep chasing the kind of change that matters most to me–that change that will eventually make me a different person.

What one change have you made that made all the difference in your life? 

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Transformation Thursday

100 lbs gone!

000transformation ThursdayBack in my heftier days it was tough getting around. I almost never played outside with my kids. Walking any distance meant being out of breath. Forget taking the stairs–my thighs and lungs were burning before I got up one flight.  I was convinced God didn’t care about my weight.

He’d made me “big-boned”.

If He wanted me thin, I would have been thin, right?

Wrong.

I needed to realize that although God loved me when my girth was a problem, he had not planned for my girth to be a problem.

I fell into the problem I had with food because…

1. My mom is a fantastic baker. Sorry mom, but you are.
2. Emotionally, it took a long time for me to grow up.
3. I had not yet found my words, so couldn’t ask for help.
4. I had too much pride.
5. My thinking was futile, especially with regards to my eating.

In those days, I ate…

…to occupy myself when boredom struck.
…to sooth ruffled feathers (there’s always a cookie for that).
…to deal with life and stress (a biggie for many).
…to sate my fears.
…in an effort to fill a bottomless hole in my soul that I didn’t realize was there.

I became a sugar addict.

Then Prayer.

Then Change.

Then Program.

Then Persistence.

Then the Miracle happened.

I have “a ways to go” before I will reach perfection (or the insurance company’s concept of normal), but I am so much better than I used to be. So much. The evidence in right there, just the other side of the camera lens. It’s also seen in increased stamina, less pain, greater hope, and greater confidence in my abilities.

This word helped me so many times while I changing: For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Hope is sooo, sooo important!

What are you hoping for today? What needs to change in your life? How can I help?

Christmas Grace

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Christmas Eve is upon us and with it comes sweet release.

Tonight is the night I exhale.

No more shopping…no more waiting…no more planning, and no more baking.

Everything that needs to be done has been done, and whatever didn’t get done, won’t be done.

It is as it should be.

Tonight, I relax, and I allow His Spirit to transform me from a shopping machine to a willing repository of His grace.

Ahh, Grace.

Grace: that magical, mystical mix of love and caring, forgiveness and restoration, humility and exaltation that builds, and saves, and strengthens. How I love it!

Mindful of grace, I thank my God for:

Unconditional love. I don’t deserve it, nor can I earn it, and yet it is given to me over and over, and over again. Where would I be without Grace?

Forgiveness, without which we are all destined for slavery, imprisoned in cells of self with no hope of escape. Forgiven, I am wrapped in warmth, encouraged to let go…prompted to try again, this time with the understanding that I don’t need to be perfect so long as I’m forgiven. Forgive, as I am forgiven, that is my goal for 2015.

Hope. Hope renews my soul and keeps me from being hardened by a harsh world. It convinces me that there is a path to the place I want to go, and I can walk it in the here and now. Hope helps me formulate a plan, stick to it, and benefit from it. Without hope, I would never weigh myself again. Never journal a single meal. Never look for results from my efforts. Hope keeps me ready to receive the good things in life and keeps me stepping on that scale.

Love. Who can forget love? Love is the glue that holds everything else in life together. Love helps me become open and willing to accept the advice of others. Love guides me. Love affirms me. Love enfolds me. I am loved and in return, I love.

Tonight, I meet with Love and pay homage. Love is the essence of Christmas, and I, its humble servant. Tonight, I exhale. Ahhhh, that feels good!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!