Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Alter the Ending (Part 2)

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Einstein

A few weeks ago, I made time in my work day to attend a seminar on "Time Management & Work/Life Balance."  The speaker, Pam Vaccaro (http://www.designsontime.com/), promptly shared that these ideas were mythical and she really just used them as buzz words to get butts in the seats.  While I really enjoyed her entire presentation, one particular point stood out to me.  To make her case, she shared a story about Starbucks.  And you know how I love Starbucks :)

Long story short, there was a time when Starbucks lost its way. Perhaps they got a little too big, tried to do a little too much and just stopped being what made their customer a customer.  So, they embraced a set of Core Values and EVERYTHING they do can be tied back to these values.  Ask any employee what these values are - rumor is, they're embroidered on the inside of every green apron.  I was struck by the simplicity (and obvious nature) of this notion - with the proper focus, anyone can achieve greatness - even in relation to the smallest of tasks.

So, instead of halfheartedly (pun intended) making a list of resolutions I'll never keep and then feel bad about not keeping, I'm creating my own "core values" for 2012 and beyond.  I can't possibly imagine being good at all or any of these, but I'd sure love to give it a go.  So, in true Rachel fashion, I put on some rather unattractive, snuggie-like socks and while sipping some red wine, made the list below.

  • Go Slow; Take Pause; Be Present
I hope to give up multitasking in 2012. I've tried it for years and at times have been a multi-task master.... but was I really any good at a single task?  Dinnertime has become a particular type of raucous in the D'Souza/Siebert household and really, dinnertime should be protected for enjoying a good meal and sharing one's day.  If someone comes into my office at work, I will shut my laptop (or better yet, come out from behind my desk to sit with them!) and give them my full attention. 

Single Tasking Day is observed on February 21st.  Join me in celebrating!
  • Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Traffic; Crabby sales people; Squirrels eating my tomatoes; Someone who mispells "their", "there" or "they're";  I love to slip on my crabby pants and get all worked up about the small stuff.  But the time and energy I waste on these things is too precious.  So - count to four breathing in, count to 8 while holding, count to 8 breathing out.  And I'll let the small stuff go.
  • Listen To (and love) Your Body
Almost 9 months post-partum, I weigh less today than I did when I met Brian.  In fact, I weigh what I weighed in college.  Thank you heart healthy lifestyle!! And yet - none of my favorite clothes fit the way I'd like. My rump is smaller (as is my bosom) and the stretchy skin on my belly is going nowhere fast.  I sometimes seem to forget that my body carried a chunk of a baby.  I caught myself scurrying from the bathroom to the bedroom one day.  Ever observant, Brian caught a glimpse and said, "honey, are you hiding from ME?" I am probably in the best shape of my life and was still self conscious.  How silly is that?! My body deserves alot of love - if I hadn't listened, who knows if I'd be here now.   So, 2012 is Love My Body year.       
  • Do What You Love *and be good at what you do!
I've had alot of change this year. The upside of this is making time to do the things I really enjoy - in my job and in my "free" time (I sometimes think that "free" time is a myth too!) 

I'm not sure that I've discovered all the things I love to do yet, but I'd like to make time for that in 2012 also!  And, it's never too late to learn something new, so for the things I do that I'm not so good at, I will take the time to figure out how to be better.

  • ...... And, Do What You Avoid
Organizing Clutter. Scheduling maintenance appts (dentist, for my car, etc). Scooping Mowgli poo.  In fact, I'm working on this blog instead of hanging a mound of clothes.  I find that, when I do the things I avoid, I walk away feeling quite accomplished and without a nagging dark cloud floating over my head.  Rather than avoiding, I will *try* tackling the tasks I often leave until they become overwhelming.  And if needed, I'll ask for help.  It's always more fun when you have company (Thanks Virginia, for inspiring this one!)
  • Be the Friend a Friend Would Like to Have
I wasn't the only one who had some unexpected/unplanned/unwelcomed "excitement" in 2011. I am still surprised and feel completely grateful when I think of the people who pitched in to help/support/just be there - as busy as their own lives were. 
  • Listen
An addendum to bullet #1.  Stop talking.  Ask three questions. And listen!
  • Make Time (Trust me, it's there!)
There are 24 hours in a day.  Do you know where yours go?  Sometimes, I find myself sitting down for the first time at 9 or 10pm wondering exactly what I did with my day?  I am going to try to spend my time more purposefully and make time for the things I always wish I had more time to do. 
  • Laugh
When I laugh, Cameron laughs.  And this is the most beautiful thing in my world. What else is there to say?
  • Embrace the Challenge
Adversity is always going to be there.  You can either fight it or go with the flow.  I choose to adapt.  It's not always easy or fun or what you want to do, but I think in the end, you wind up happier. 
  • Savor What Makes You Happy
I'm not sure that I know all the things that make me happy and I definitely wish I did more of the things that do.  Whatever/whoever it is that brings me joy, I hope to recognize it, embrace it, and keep it close (remember Kirsten Dunst in the movie Elizabethtown, taking "pictures" with her hands of the things she wanted to remember?)

So, how daunting does my list look?! I've made it public, so you'll all know the good/bad/ugly when it comes to how I did :) Thank you for being on this journey with me and my boys.  I wish you all -the- happiness- you- can- possibly- have- without- bursting in 2012.

Happy New Year.

"Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." -  Goethe

PS: For those of you wondering, this post and its' predecessor are named for a recent Dashboard Confessional album.  Take a listen :)

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