Kindness

I was recently scrolling through Linkedin and I saw a post my son wrote. The beginning of the post went like this:

Kindness is vastly underrated.

I see so much negativity online and in the world, and so I understand how easy it is to become bitter or jaded. However, the best antidote to hate is love and kindness is an emergent property of an unconditional love and respect for humanity.

A gift of Kindness

As a person who is a big fan of kindness, this made my heart happy. It is easy to forget the people behind posts are just people. It is easy to get annoyed or mad. It should be easy to be kind.

The pillow above was a gift from a program manager at the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation. I spoke at a conference about how I thought it was cool to be kind, and the next day he found me and gave me this pillow. It sits prominently in my library as a reminder.

The other day I was really frustrated with someone and I told a friend “I just hate her right now”. Her response was so perfect. She said “Don’t hate, that is not who you are.” Wham that silenced me for a moment.

So I say all of that to say this- the best way for us to be kind to ourselves is to be kind to one another. 💕

Acknowledgement

A Note I Received Yesterday

I am not the type of person who seeks recognition. I love to be behind the scenes connecting dots, scheming and dreaming (Z- I miss this with you!) and coordinating efforts. That often times means that I just do what I do and move from one thing to the next.

I am very goal-oriented and self-motivated, but once in awhile it is good to have someone just say “I appreciate you.” Yesterday, I was moved to tears twice which is not unusual, I am actually secretly a sap, but it was really special because I was able to see the culmination of several years of work turn into something positive.

The first thing that moved me to tears was a simple text that said “I can’t thank you enough.” It was from someone I had connected with several years ago around a shared advisory board. He has since that time become very dear to me and I have been fortunate to work closely with him on a project that became very real yesterday as we saw what it will look like when it rolls out. A simple response to a Facebook post turned into a journey that has led us to where we are (to be announced soon). He has done a ton of the work along with a great group of advisors, but I was able to open some doors to make it all happen. His acknowledgement in that moment, made it even more special.

The other acknowledgment came from a note I received from a former employee. In her note, she thanked me for pushing her out of her comfort zone both personally and professionally. She is now embarking on a new venture and will benefit, I hope, from our time together. It was a simple gesture, but it had so much meaning for me.

I just want to encourage you to encourage others. Simple notes, texts, and thank yous can go along way to keep people motivated and feeling appreciated. It certainly did for me.

Leadership & the Great Resignation

I have learned so much from bad bosses*. Let me clarify, I have learned how not to lead from managers I have had in the past who were not good leaders. I thought I would share a few lessons learned as we are continuing through the great resignation, reshuffling or whatever we call it next.

Some resignations are going to happen for a variety of reasons. Things like retirement, growth, and change of industry may be out of your control. Pay is sometimes a motivator for people to leave, so my suggestion is to pay as well as you can.

Here is my 2 cents for whatever it may be worth:

  1. Don’t take credit for your employee’s work. This just pisses them off and makes them vent about you to other people as they get on the internet an search for a new job. I had one boss, we will call him GQ, who never lifted a finger and got credit for everything I did. He was good at reading reports so he could act like he knew what was going on. When I eventually left, he was at a loss because he was too busy planning his wedding, taking long lunches, and surfing the internet to pay attention to who our clients were and how to keep them happy.
  2. Listen to your employees. I try to be really open to feedback. Sometimes it is not what I want to hear, but I have to appreciate that someone cares enough to help me to be better. I had a boss in a previous job when I worked in Human Resources who was a complete narssicist. He thought he knew everything. I did find it entertaining though, when he would share something I had told him with everyone at the management meeting to educate them on whatever the topic was. So he did hear me. After I left, he had to resign for harassment. You can’t keep everyone out of trouble.
  3. Micromanagers suck. If you have to be in my space all the time asking if I did something, then you are not letting me do my job. The only exception is to manage a new task or process until someone becomes proficient.
  4. Be transparent. Don’t let the grapevine be the source of information. Be as open and honest about things as possible.
  5. Deal with conflict. Not dealing with conflict just creates more conflict and stress. Don’t wait until review time to give feedback.

I do want to give a disclaimer that being a bad boss is not the same as being a bad person. Both GQ and the Narcissist were really fun to hang out with and be around. They just were not good managers. The Narcissist ran a really tight ship and got stuff done, but he caused a lot of grief along the way. GQ was very likeable and had all of the upper management in the company fooled because he could talk the talk, but he couldn’t walk the walk.

If you give employees the freedom to contribute their ideas, help them to reach their personal and professional goals, and give credit where it is due, they are much more likely to stay with you, or if they leave, to leave well.

*Disclaimer- my current workplace is not reflected in any of the people referenced above.

What I Like to Read – Part 3

I am a sucker for a good romance novel. I am a big fan of people in love and stories with happy endings. I secretly cry watching hallmark movies even though they are pretty much all the same story.

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I think I have read pretty much every book by Danielle Steele and I still find myself in tears every time I read one of her books. For me, they are a super easy read and I can get through them in one afternoon or evening.

One book I particularly enjoyed this past year was the Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab. The book combines history with fantasy, and romance, but not in the traditional sense of the word.

Some of the other books I enjoyed were the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library is a fantasy tale of trying again and again until you get it right.

Anything by Nicholas Sparks keeps my heart racing and The Return certainly did not disappoint. Kristin Hannah masterfully weaves romance into her novels and The Great Alone is one of the best of the ones I have read by her.

There are so many authors I have not yet read in this genre because the authors I enjoy have written so many books and I am in the process of reading them all. I hope to add a few new writers to my readings for 2022. I would love to get some suggestions!

What I Like to Read- Part 2

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I actually feel a bit vulnerable sharing my reading list. Like do I really want everyone to know that I enjoy reading psycho-thriller novels? Well I guess you know now.

Some of my favorite authors in this genre are Ruth Ware, B.A. Paris, Rachel Hawkins, and Lisa Jewel. There are a few others including Alex Michaelides, The Maidens, and Silent Patient, where the jury is still out.

I do find some of the books fairly predictable, especially when I have read every book by the author, but I still find them to be enjoyable as I read towards whatever twist there is in the end. I have always been a fan of mysteries and these types of books satisfy some of that intersest.

It is hard to talk about enjoying these types of books because the topics are generally pretty dark, but the twists and turns of the story keep the reader engaged. Being that these books are often on the top of the bestseller lists, I know I am not alone.

Here are some of my favorites, please don’t judge me I do not advocate for any type of violence.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Ruth Ware

The Invisible Girl, Lisa Jewell

The Therapist, B.A. Paris

The Wife Upstairs, Rachel Hawkins

Behind Closed Doors, B.A. Paris- this one was particularly chilling and horrifying all at once.

My next post will be about a lighter topic- Romance Novels.

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