When it’s Over, it’s Over

Below, I’ve listed the principles of Open-Space Technology – a process/approach that I love, but I digress… These “rules” were put in place in order to ensure that the lack of formality of an OST event/meeting has a guideline to ensure productivity–in whatever form that may come in.
Once I learned these principles, I started to use it to guide my every day life. It helps to keep me in a present and forward thinking mindset while putting my best foot forward so that the things that happen are most optimal.
  1. Whoever comes is the right people.
  2. Whenever it starts is the right time.
  3. Wherever it happens is the right place.
  4. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
  5. When it’s over, it’s over.

“12 Things Happy People Do Differently”

A coworker just shared this article via Yammer “12 Things Happy People Do Differently

A few months ago I told my coworkers that while others place goals on tangible positions, items or benchmarks, I just want to find ways to be happy each day. I’m not sure that really resonated with many—it can seem as if I’m unguided but I’ve been very successful using this model (and trust me it’s not always easy but it’s ALWAYS beneficial.

I’m not going to post the entire article, but I highly recommend you read. I’ve added my personal thoughts to each step.

Express gratitude: I always try to let people know that I appreciate THEM. Not just the output, but the person actually behind the work or the action. Sometimes I just thank them for being them.

Cultivate optimism: I always say that stress won’t get anything done–much less done well. You are more likely to be innovative when you are positive—even under tight deadlines. You can be honest and still positive. It may be cliché but every problem IS an opportunity.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison: Until I finished college, I was a huge over thinker—I am an only child after all. But I learned that what you see on the outside usually does not align with what is going on. To align this to pop culture, everyone is surprised that Heidi and Seal are divorcing because they seemed like a perfect match. But, you only see what people allow you to see. Rarely does anyone take pictures of themselves when they are sad, bored, broken or upset. We were all taught to smile in photographs.

Practice acts of kindness: I am working on this. I used to be the person that tried to make sure to close the elevator quickly as to enjoy the ride alone. But what’s the big deal of waiting 10 seconds to wait for someone to catch up? Call the customer service operator by the name they introduced you to. Just be plain ol’ nice! You never know who needs it

Nurture social relationships: I’m an only child an enjoy solitude, maybe because I work in such a social atmosphere. But I will say that creating good relationships at work increases. At work, we talk about so many things outside of the realm at work. This way I know a little more about people and its easier to work in teams, get help and give help because I know people’s strengths, they know mine and you are more likely to want to help someone you genuinely like.

Develop strategies for coping: When something ‘craptastic’ happens I just continue moving forward. Complaining has never efficiently fixed a problem—maybe a band aid. But the more open minded I am about a “problem” the better the outcome. Again, I don’t believe in stress—I believe in getting things done (because what other choice is there?!). And, if you can’t find a reason to smile then give someone else a reason to!

Learn to forgive: If you forgive, but haven’t forgotten they you truly haven’t forgave. Being upset usually expends your own energy and if you have to have a relationship with that other person it ruins that energy as well. Talk about it, put in place actionable ideas to move forward. Wasting time thinking about what someone did wrong will usually always defeat you more than it will ever do to the other person. Hate takes so much more emotion than love.

Increase flow experiences: Get focused! Multitasking DOES NOT exist. Multitasking is when you do things for short bursts of time and you have to keep realigning your focus. It is hard to be 100% or increasingly innovated in this mind frame.

Savor life’s joys: I live in the moment and hope for the best in the future. Again, my goal is to be happy because I can do that at any given moment—through a memory or an action. I’m not against people with different goals but when so narrowly focused on something, if it doesn’t happen (and sometimes even if it does) you fail to realize everything else going great around you—and trust me, there’s a lot of great things going on around you.

Commit to your goals: I don’t always agree with this. Commit to your goals but if you see a better opportunity, whether it is a spinoff of the original goal or something totally new, give it a chance! Remember the goal is sometimes bigger than what you think—You may want to be a doctor but if you dig deep you realize what you truly want is to help people. Don’t miss out on diamonds because you are busy mining for gold.

Practice spirituality: Believe in something. You are never alone.

Take care of your body: And, I’m an epic fail at this. Been leaning on my wonderful metabolism too long. But you do only get one body so don’t be too reckless!

Neil Pasricha: “The 3 A’s of Awesome”

I hope more people start to follow this philosophy! I may read the book over the holiday break, and I hope to start using this blog to recognizing the little things that I often overlook as well.

“Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged”

“I don’t judge.”

The moment I hear someone say those three words (four if you break down the contraction), I won’t believe you.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we all judge or at least 99.9% of us do. It’s innate, it’s a survival instead. We see that the sky is gray, we make the judgement that it may be cold outside or it may rain.

Judgement helps us make decisions about every day life. If you don’t judge then how do you make every day decisions?

judg·ment – [juhj-muhnt]
the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.

Most people refer to the “I don’t judge” sentiment in terms of their judgments of other people. People say they don’t judge a woman for going back to her abusive or cheating boyfriend. Some say they don’t judge an overweight person if they get thirds. Others say they don’t judge the person who has their first alcoholic beverage at 10:00 a.m.–hey it has to be noon somewhere, right?

If you truly don’t judge–cheers to you. But if you step outside your door every day, watch TV, read a magazine or interact with people then you may have a hard time selling me on that.

People’s judgments may be right, wrong, well or ill-informed–our judgments are based on our upbringing and societal norms. It’s what we choose to do  after that initial judgment that matters.

If I see someone drinking or eating on the metro, I usually think that the person has no manners or respect. Looking back on that judgment, I realize that I think that because I know there is a rule that there is no eating or drinking on metro. I know that I wish I had the balls to take my drink out and start drinking without a care. I also worry about metro security tapping me on the shoulder and hauling me to jail. My fears and knowledge of the rules lead to my assumption that other people know the rules and have blatant disregard to the law and the rules. When in reality, that person may not know the rules, that person may be diabetic… there are several reasons aside from lacking manners or respect.

It’s hard to look at someone as a blank slate and not attune it to our own experiences, but it’s important to keep an open mind. Give a person the opportunity to show you who they are (when possible) before you categorize them based on YOUR experiences within society.

In a nutshell:

  • Judge (don’t deny it!)
  • Realize your judging
  • Assess where your judgment is coming from
  • Try to create new realities, get rid of your boxes, and open up your world to new people and opportunity.

A Direct Route to Happiness

I recently read Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh for a (mandatory)* work book club. The book was an fast read that felt like an easy conversation with an intuitive business friend. There was no preaching or a one-size-fits all strategy. The author clearly makes it known that this is my story, there are my risks, these are some things I figured out along the way and that (along with a boatload of his own money) is how he was able to create a successful business while delivering happiness to himself, his friends, associates, clients and employees.

What I was able to get out of the book is that we put so much emphasis on goals to make them happy, or money, or someone else’s actions. We create this long route to happiness dependent on so many things. But what happens when you hit the goal? when you get to the top of that mountain and snap a picture from the top? or when you get that promotion? make your first million? Are you happy for the rest of your life now? No, most people just create new goals. And that’s not a bad thing but to associate making goals with happiness can be short sighted.  Once a goal is met, most feel that another goal must be made and met. Therefore your happiness is short term, because your nose is immediately back to the ground trying to strive for the next goal.

When people ask me what my goal is in life, or what I want to do–I tell them I want to continue to be happy. I want a job I enjoy going to, I want to do things I like and value. That is happiness for me. If I don’t make a million dollars, if I don’t get a certain career I know I will still be happy because I am focused on making myself the best person I can be and doing things I enjoy on a daily basis. Nothing can take my my happiness because it is inherent within myself.

Take the direct route to happiness–choose to be happy (it is a daily choice). Don’t do the things just because society says they will make you happy. Choose your own self-satisfying path to happiness.

Influencing a (Productive) Social Work Environment

Great blog post about how my organization uses Yammer to build culture.

DC Nonprofit Use Yammer to Build Culture, Reduce Clutter


And since the blog post was written about NSCS, Yammer has incorporated hashtags which makes tool a much more transparent tool for knowledge sharing. We hashtag all Operations items as #team, so it is easy to go back and find documents, policies etc. that have been posted without having to make that sometime stressful visit to the organization’s shared drive folders.


I think I have told most of my professional friends about Yammer. It was essential to improving the culture within my organization. When it was introduced, as with most things, people didn’t want to really use it aside from my colleagues who chose the new tool. Therefore, it was used for office updates, sharing policies etc. Slowly, the first “good morning” started and people responded back. Not long after the first “thank you” occurred and people throughout our small organization were able to see that Person A helped TEAM 4 on a project. And as those small shifts in how we use the tool was used we started seeing more “I did x, y, z on my weekend”, “Does anyone have any advice on things that should be included in my presentation.”

We started connecting on a more personal level in terms of work as well as the appropriate amount of personal sharing.

Yes, I work in a small office with only about 25 employees but it is just as easy to get lost in your own TEAM and your own work as it was in the larger offices I worked in . Yammer, no different than Twitter, shrinks your organization. If used effectively–everyone can know everyone, and that feeling of a connection with the people you work contributes to a furthered since of organic collaboration and communication.


Sometimes the Answer is Opportunity

At times I will watch individuals that I consider poised and well-spoken, and I wish to myself that I could be like that, but how can that happen if I don’t approach every situation as an opportunity?

Not too long ago I saw this posted on someone’s twitter feed:

“If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?”

Often, I ask myself and others if the right question is being asked, but sometimes regardless of the question we have to look for the correct answer.

Sometimes the “right” answer is in continued opportunity to reflect, reframe and grow.

In the future I won’t wish I was like someone else, I will take the aspects that I admire and write them down. I will read the (ever growing) list daily and create opportunities to develop those areas whether it is asking others to hold me accountable to certain new behaviors and/or just taking the time to sit and reflect on the day and finding missed opportunities in which the new behaviors would have been beneficial–and noting them for next time.