Tag Archives: life lessons

Mindset - Performance Management

Assumptions and Roller Bags

On our recent bucket list trip to Australia and New Zealand, my husband Bill and I realized that his luggage rolled more easily and smoothly than mine. When taking a trip of this magnitude, suitcase performance is put to the test.  

Weeks after arriving home, I was working through my to-do, but not urgent list. I started reading reviews and investigating luggage options online. After looking through various models and colors, I selected a highly-rated carry-on roller bag and hit “purchase.”

The next day, two identical large boxes arrived. I was in a hurry, so I brought them in without opening either. “Wow, that was incredibly fast,” I thought. I guess I accidentally hit “two” even though I only wanted one, I surmised.

The next day, another box, similar in size, arrived. Again, I was distracted, so I brought the box in, but I didn’t stop to investigate. I was miffed. Why three boxes? I only remember ordering one suitcase.

Later in the week, I pulled out the first suitcase and I remembered looking at the brand and thinking the plum color was nice, but the reviews weren’t good for that brand, so I didn’t want it. Did I accidentally order it? I checked my online receipts. It wasn’t there. I checked my credit card. I had been charged for one suitcase, not three. Weird. Again, this couldn’t be a priority this week as I had two presentations and I was hosting our neighborhood book club. I was going to need to make a lot of calls to figure out the mystery. In the meantime, I stashed the extras in my car trunk to be out of the way before my guests arrived.

The next day I was working in my office when the doorbell rang. The person was persistent and would not stop ringing. I was deep in a project and not expecting anyone, but finally went begrudgingly to the door. There the very polite UPS man said, “I need to ask you an embarrassing question. Did you receive any packages this week that don’t belong to you?”

“Indeed I have. What size approximately?” I answered.

“The size of carry-on luggage.”

“Well, walk right this way. Let me take you to my car trunk. Could this be what you were looking for?”

He went straight to the labels and noted that the two boxes were not addressed to me, but to a neighbor with a similar last name and the same house number, on a different street. Why hadn’t I checked the labels?

I do a lot of consulting and training about rushing to assumptions, and here it was again. I was so certain in my belief and assumption that I had ordered the suitcases, that I didn’t do the most obvious thing, check the label! When we talk about assumptions we often think about those that put others in a more positive or perhaps a more negative light, but our assumptions can also be time-consuming, costly, or even dangerous.

How do you check your own assumptions? How can you slow down and notice? Please tell me, I need the help!

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Leadership - Mindset

Rainy Days and Lost Luggage

I recently came across a list of amazing quotes by acclaimed American poet, storyteller, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Since I often write blogs discussing the importance of gratitude and mindset in our personal and professional lives, I found it to be a treasure trove of inspiration. I will be highlighting a few of my favorite quotes in the months ahead, and I encourage you to share with me the philosophies and quotes that guide your life.  

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Wow! We have all been there, right? Well, my luggage was lost when I arrived in Vancouver this past January, after traveling all day, with no sleep, and it was my birthday. I was kind to the people I interacted with, but I can’t say I was spreading joy either. I will give myself a B minus. Not bad, but as I said, not spreading love and joy.

In terms of rainy days and tangled Christmas tree lights, I did have a necklace that was completely awry. I saw it as a personal challenge, so if tangled yarn and necklaces are telling, I can give myself an A+.

My advice for situations such as these is to think of yourself as being on camera. Especially in the case of lost luggage, where you may be interacting with someone who is less than helpful, imagine that only your side is being recorded. So no matter how the attitude of others around you may be complicating the situation, try to stay calm, cool, and collected. Be proud of yourself and your response, knowing that you will eventually work through it.

Do you have a story where, in hindsight, you wish you would have handled a difficult situation with more patience, tact, or grace? When you exhibited less than strong leadership? What helpful advice can you give yourself the next time you are responding to a challenging circumstance?

This article is one in a series discussing the importance of gratitude in our personal and professional lives, the benefits of routinely recognizing the good things in our lives, appreciating others who have helped us, practicing gratitude, saying thank you, trying a complaint-free day, taking a gratitude walk, improving attitude, and recognizing fresh starts.

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Diversity and Inclusion - Mindset

Passion Takes All Forms

Months ago I wrote about “Meraki.” Meraki is when you put your heart and soul into your work. I think there needs to be another word when you link something you are passionate about with something that is your gift or talent and then you turn it into your life’s work.  

My colleague and friend, Karen Jacobsen, is known throughout the world for being the voice of Australian GPS. I listen to her every day as she tells me using her lovely voice, “In 3 kilometers, make a left.”

Karen is also a composer and singer. She was inspired by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s iconic 2012 speech to create a musical based on Gillard’s powerful words, in the hopes of ending misogyny.   

I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the Misogyny project from my backyard, along with a number of my colleagues from around the world. You can see the final result below.

Now Karen has gone to a much larger stage and she will be performing Misogyny Opus in April at the Mackey Entertainment and Convention Center in Queensland. If you don’t find yourself in Australia, other opportunities to hear the opus are here.

I find Karen’s commitment to equality, and her ability to combine her passion and talents into meaningful work, inspiring. How does your work reflect your passion and skills?

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