Tag Archive | problem

What do you do if you are directionally challenged?

I attended a training seminar today in a different town about an hour from my home. My GPS is, shall we say, less reliable than I’d like. It cannot even direct me to find my house when I am a half mile away. Good thing I know where I live.

Since my husband has a better sense of direction and loves maps, I asked for his help. That was a good thing. He searched Google and printed out a set of maps for me, highlighted my route in orange and sent me on my way. He did an excellent job. I not only found the spot easily, but I made good time – better than my friend who took the turnpike, and she had to pay a toll to sit in traffic. So why, if I had such wonderful help in finding my route am I directionally challenged? I think it has to do with the pride factor. You know what the Good Book says, “Pride goes before a fall.”

Since I had no difficulty finding my way to the site, why should I anticipate any issues coming home? That’s where I went wrong. Enter the no left turn sign at the end of the road where I had made a right hand turn earlier in the morning. Ok, so now what? Turn back and look for signs, right?

“Should be easy enough,” I thought. Except for the fact that I wound up in an industrial park. They don’t make it easy to get out of those; nevertheless, I made it. Hmm, just ask the guy coming out of the restaurant how to get to my route. It’s a main highway so it should be no problem. New dilemma. He did not speak English, and the only other person walking around was across the median strip. So I gave up on asking for directions and drove. I couldn’t really be lost.

I found a road with a familiar sounding name and decided to turn there. I came to a light and a junction for another major thoroughfare. Since the light was red, I rolled down my window to ask the person in the car to my left. Can you believe it, she just yakked on her cell phone while her daughter, the driver, put her hair into a pony tail? (People do really strange things in their cars, but that’s another post.) The woman on the right, however, was alert and told me to continue on my current route. She said that I’d run right into the road I wanted. She was right. Within minutes, I was back on track.

So maybe I’m not as directionally challenged as I thought or perhaps the Lord figured I’d learned my lesson. I’m glad He’s merciful.

Are your eyes open?

“Hello …” you might respond. “I’m reading this post aren’t I?”

Yes, yet I might ask, “What do you see? Just how much of what goes on in the world are you and I truly aware of? We might be cognizant of the world news, though this may also be a stretch. Do we really know much more than Internet headlines? And while we’re talking about world issues, how detailed are we in understanding the impact of these global situations on individuals?

Most of us see what is right in front of us screaming for our attention, and yet while we share breakfast with our family, discuss business over lunch with colleagues, entertain friends over dinner, work and sleep, 16,000 children under the age of 5 will die of malnutrition. Though some of these children are bereft of family, many others live in impoverished countries with caring parents, grandparents and siblings unable to provide for them. In Haiti for example, many children make mud pies – not as child’s play, but to help alleviate the pain of hunger. Do we see them? Do we empathize with their circumstances? What if they were our children or grandchildren?

Some will say, “I didn’t know,” and likely that’s correct, but now we are aware. Opening our eyes is a beginning. Once we see a problem, we can begin to address it.

If you’re ready to do more, click here and watch the video.

What happens when the power goes off?

I’ll deal with the first thoughtful responses to the title question up front.

Although we can join the debate about whether the population spikes 9 months following a major power outage or whether the number of births is well within the norm, that’s not really where I’m headed with this one. I’m talking about the power that runs today’s technological devices we so depend on. What happens when those resources are not available? Here’s why I ask.

During a power outage, I went into a local store hoping to make a purchase. Unfortunately, the clerk did not know how to compute the change needed from the cash tendered without the aid of the cash register. Counting on her fingers, she struggled several times, but I finally had to tell her. She could not get it right.  It was not a matter of being inconvenient to perform calculations by hand. The root problem stemmed from the fact that she had not learned the skill.

Recently, I tutored an extremely bright twenty-something’s man preparing for an entrance exam. He had no problem solving quadratic equations and understood higher math concepts, so why did he need to find a coach? He had never learned how to do long division. He was unable to solve these problems without a calculator, and the rules did not permit using one during the test. None of his elementary teachers had taught him this skill.

There are more benefits gained from using the left side of the brain than mere academic exercises.  Learning math facts like the multiplication tables and grasping other concepts prepare you to think clearly to make other decisions and analyze situations. It also keeps the brain agile and sharp during the senior years. Certainly using technology makes the job easier, but if it’s not available, could you go it alone?

But here’s the more important question. Do you know what the local schools are teaching – or not teaching? Perhaps you should check it out, and don’t stop with just math. You might want to investigate other subjects like history and writing. This would be good to find out before we’re all left in the dark.

What’s the use?

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit a botanical garden like Longwood Gardens in the outskirts of Philadelphia, you know firsthand about the fantastic displays both indoors and out. It is an awesome experience. You make your way through the various buildings and flora-lined walkways, but as hard as you try, you just can’t take it all in on one visit. 

Can you imagine how many people and how much effort goes into making each garden bloom on cue according to the seasons? (You don’t grow poinsettias in April or daffodils in October.)  They do all of this while maintaining the grounds and facility in readiness for a vast number of tourists seven days a week. Think, too, about the challenges these horticultural wizards face between the elements of time and weather alone. It goes without saying they tackle other obstacles on a daily basis. Yet they achieve outstanding results because they continually focus on the plan. To the outside world, it looks easy. 

As we go through various seasons in our lives, we, like Longwood Gardens, must adjust to new expectations. At times, this requires a total makeover. All of this reinvention requires prayer, organization, time and action in order for a successful change to take place while life goes on and business continues as usual. Some days you can remain on task and schedule, while on others it seems you meet obstacles at every turn. When this happens, return to the plan (or make one if you started off without one), refocus, make adjustments as necessary and move forward.    

Doing this may be difficult. You could find a host of people and situations to blame or throw your hands in the air crying, “What’s the use,” but that won’t get you Longwood results.

When the Elevator Door Closes …

What can you say in 30 seconds? 

If you’re like so many others vying to get your message out to land a job or sell your product, you’ll want to master the elevator speech – a 30-second Reader’s Digest version of your resume or business plan. In yesterday’s post, I mentioned 4 S’s to help you focus on your listener and asked you to stay tuned to learn more about technique and content. So I’m picking up on that today. 

The technique sounds simple enough, yet it may require some stiff self-talk and a mini-makeover for you to pull it off. All that’s required is that you look and sound confident. Let your passion show. Do you need to pay closer attention to your appearance or delivery? Practicing your presentation in front of a mirror will help you see what others do.  No worries, though. All of this will fall into place if you’ve done your homework on the content and you’re comfortable with what you have to say. 

First and foremost, keep in mind your goal to engage your listener so that he wants to hear more. 

Start out with the idea of gaining their interest by sharing the benefit your skills, product or idea brings to them.  Perhaps it will solve a problem or address an unmet need. 

Sandwich in how your skills or ideas will meet their need and why it must be fixed sooner – preferably now – rather than later. This may require some home-spun self analysis to hone it down to a few words, but once you think you have it, run it by someone who knows you well to get their feedback.  You may have overlooked your most stellar quality. 

Show how your proposal will succeed to their benefit. Whether you’re interested in employment or selling a product or initiative, they’re interest is in the return on investment. 

Stop talking and listen to their response.  If they ask you questions or for your business card, you’ve got your foot in the door. 

So now I’ll ask myself, “What can you say in 30 seconds?”

Does anyone like change?

I think the only people who really enjoy change are those impacted purely by the results of it.  

For example, think about all of the effort that goes into preparing for a new addition to the family. Before Junior even arrives, you’ve made a huge financial investment. Excluding any medical considerations, a new baby requires a massive amount of equipment, bedding and clothes.  We’re not even talking diapers yet. In addition, adjustments need to be made for meals, sleeping (or the lack thereof) and yes, now we’re talking diapers.  At this point however, the new arrival could care less. He arrives on the scene and waits for his needs to be met.  He’s not the least concerned about the changes made on his behalf.  He’s only interested in the results. 

If we’re honest, we understand that change is not only good, but also necessary. If Junior remained in diapers until age 21, well you get my drift. The problem with change is that it makes demands on your life and moves you out of your comfort zone. For instance: 

  • The weight I want to lose will not come off without serious attention to diet and exercise.
  • The skills I need to move forward won’t come without time applied to reading, practice and some self-reinvention.
  • The entrepreneurial ideas I’d like to see succeed will not materialize without some risk and a lot of hard work.  

I may not always enjoy the process of change, yet perseverance will, more often than not, obtain the results I desire. Does this also mean the sooner I start, the closer I am to enjoying the final product and hence, learning to like change?