“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Friday, September 24, 2010

Life in the Fast Lane

I’ve mentioned before that I commute to Boston for work a couple of days per week. There are tollbooths along the way. Each one has several Fast Lanes where you can drive your car through without stopping to pay the fee or take a ticket – you just receive a monthly bill based on the toll fees you’ve accumulated. I haven’t signed up this convenience yet and the other day, while on my way to Boston, I thought about whether or not it was such a good idea after all. Since I’ve begun to make this trip, I’ve had some quick but very pleasurable exchanges with some of the tollbooth attendants. Most of the time, they’re pleasant and I usually drive away feeling good. I’m familiar with many of them and with some, I’ve even been able to buy rolls of quarters for parking if I was out. I guess I like the personal interaction that I experience by going through the slow lane. And, anyway, when the traffic is heavy, the fast lanes are even more backed up than the pay lanes.

We have so many opportunities these days to forgo the face time with people. We have online banking and shopping, we can purchase our movie tickest at kiosks at the cinema or order movies through the mail. We make donations online, we can even order a meal over the internet. These are all contemporary conveniences designed to make our lives easier, streamlined, and faster.

Yet, I think about my time in Boston and who I interact with, besides my colleagues, on a daily basis: the tollbooth attendants, my friend Gene who raises money for the homeless, workers at some of the local restaurants while I’m waiting for my food, other customers who are waiting near me, a woman who was selling chocolate at the farmer’s market the other day, the security guard at the bank, the wonderful bank teller who I told the other day, “You’re good,” because she was concerned that she was giving me too many options and she apologized with a big smile on her face (she’s a doll and I love to see her), even the meter maids, who most people complain about . : ) No, my days in Boston would not be the same if I wasn’t able to take a few minutes or even a few moments and talk with these wonderful people or just say hello. As trivial as these occasions may seem, they have formed real relationships and they're the best parts of my day because they always bring me joy. Sometimes I believe that these moments are the real reason I’m there in the first place.

Yes, I could sign up for the fast lane but I’m not sure how often I’d use it. Maybe I’ll just continue to take it slow…

Friday, September 17, 2010

See Below...

I was talking to a girlfriend the other day and she was saying that she gets quite a few emails forwarded to her from her boss that on the top line simply say: See below…

She then went on to say that she felt it was time for her to have the authority to delegate, to pass things on, to write “see below”. Today, I was cc’d on an email that said “see below” to the main recipient, and I just smiled.

I have to say, that in the past, I was one of those people that always felt like I had to do everything myself and would never ask for help. Or, in a position of authority, I would never want to assign a task to someone . Some say that’s a trust issue or a control thing. Or maybe it’s because I wanted to feel like superwoman­—like I was capable of doing it all. OK, I’ve gotten over that and in situations where I simply have too much on my plate, I’m not afraid to ask for help. At this point in my life, I know what I really want to spend my time on and if I can get help with some things, it allows me to have more time to spend on the other things. What I have seen by doing this is that not only does it free up time to work on my priorities, it builds relationships. It builds a sense of teamwork; it builds trust; it makes people feel worthy and confident. It also gives me the time to reciprocate. This is one of the best things about it, because it feels great to be helpful, and to feel worthy, etc. And in the end, I think we’re all here to help each other out.

Are you willing to ask for help?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Are You Committed?

Another lesson from yoga – sort of. For about 9 months, I’ve been practicing yoga almost daily at a studio in Simsbury, CT. There are a number of different options for purchasing classes, either individually or in blocks of classes or time. Since I’ve begun, I’ve been purchasing one month at a time for a number of reasons. Another option is pay by the month but to have the funds automatically deducted from your banking account. The benefit of this is that the price/month is much lower than buying individual months, but it requires a 6-month commitment. Today, my month was up and I told the owner, Richard that I wanted to switch to the autopay for 6 months. His reaction: “Oh my gosh, you’re committing!” I just smiled and said, “I thought you would have known by now that I’m committed.”

A couple of hours later, I was talking to a former exercise instructor who told me that a high percentage of the people who used to sign up for one year memberships at her club would never show up.

So where’s the commitment? Is it in the signature on the contract, or in the credit card? No, it’s in the person. It’s in the person who shows up everyday at the yoga studio to practice or at the gym to workout. Not in the credit card payment that goes through and not in the unused gym membership. As always, actions speak louder than words–and ink. And what makes me feel good about my choice at the yoga studio is that even though Richard would have financially benefited more from me continuing to pay by the month, he was more excited that I chose the 6-month commitment. This reaction speaks very loudly to me that he’s committed too. : )