Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 11.22 – Game Changing Questions

REFLECTION:
It seems that part of living is learning to say good bye. I bid farewell last week to a former colleague and mentor, Harold Baker, with whom I had worked at the U of S years ago, and with whom I had kept in touch over the years. Harold, as testimonials at his memorial service confirmed, was a kind man, a gentleman, a selfless giver, a mentor, a teacher, and, above all, a community builder.
When I was in my early 20′s, and Harold was already a couple of decades further down this road of life, he and I were teamed up as staff partners at a youth development event. While our assigned group of thirty teenagers chatted and milled around us, we settled into the front seats of our charter bus for a short road trip to an out-of-town venue. As the bus reached the highway and headed for the open road, Harold turned to me and inquired, “So, tell me, young lady, exactly what do you intend to do with your life?”
Now, I’d heard a variation or two on that question before. From the time we can talk, as children, we are quizzed by the adults in our lives. “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” But this was not that kind of question. There was no condescension, no playfully poking fun, no making light conversation.
It was a simple, sincere, inquiry that carried a raft of implied messages – these amongst them. That even at this young age and early stage in my career, he saw me as capable of serious intentions and grand ambitions. That it was not too early – nor too late –  to lift up my eyes and set my sails. That my plans might include a contribution or two to the lives of others and not just focus on my own self interests.
For me, it was a game-changing question. It prompted a conversation that drilled to a much deeper level of thinking. The impact of that question stayed with me through the years. It was a question that popped to mind recently when I read several bits of new research describing the importance of meaningful work in developing a sense of engagement in people’s lives and workplaces.
ACTION:
So, when was the last time you asked yourself – no matter how many years you think might lie ahead – “Just what, exactly, do you intend to do with the rest of your life?” In the end, it’s up to each one of us to set our sights on a meaningful future – to chart the destination, map out the terrain, and gas up the vehicle for the road ahead.
We also share that road with others. Every day, we are in contact and conversation with colleagues, friends and family. Many times, you and I might have an opportunity to introduce a game changing question that will trigger others to think differently about their situations, their prospects, and life’s possibilities. How often do we take the chance, and how often do we miss the moment? (That’s just the kind of a question you could count on Harold to ask.)
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Finding meaning can be more important than finding amusement.” – Marshall Goldsmith
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RESOURCE OF THE WEEK:
Marshall Goldsmith, whom I’ve mentioned in previous editions of Pause, coaches organizational leaders around the world. His recent work is focusing not on what organizations can do to engage their employees – but rather on how individuals can take responsibility for engaging themselves in their lives and their work. You can read a bit more about his latest thinking at: http://tinyurl.com/4ccafx7

Which WayREFLECTION: It seems that part of living is learning to say good bye. I bid farewell last week to a former colleague and mentor, Harold Baker, with whom I had worked at the U of S years ago, and with whom I had kept in touch over the years. Harold, as testimonials at his memorial service confirmed, was a kind man, a gentleman, a selfless giver, a mentor, a teacher, and, above all, a community builder.

When I was in my early 20′s, and Harold was already a couple of decades further down this road of life, he and I were teamed up as staff partners at a youth development event. While our assigned group of thirty teenagers chatted and milled around us, we settled into the front seats of our charter bus for a short road trip to an out-of-town venue. As the bus reached the highway and headed for the open road, Harold turned to me and inquired, “So, tell me, young lady, exactly what do you intend to do with your life?”

Now, I’d heard a variation or two on that question before. From the time we can talk, as children, we are quizzed by the adults in our lives. “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” But this was not that kind of question. There was no condescension, no playfully poking fun, no making light conversation.

It was a simple, sincere, inquiry that carried a raft of implied messages – these amongst them. That even at this young age and early stage in my career, he saw me as capable of serious intentions and grand ambitions. That it was not too early – nor too late –  to lift up my eyes and set my sails. That my plans might include a contribution or two to the lives of others and not just focus on my own self interests.

For me, it was a game-changing question. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines

PAUSE – 11.21 – Rest

REFLECTION:
No doubt you’ve been following the reports on the tragic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan. Apparently, one of the most credible voices offering news updates in Japan is chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano.
Mr. Edano broadcasts reports on the latest developments an average of five times a day – at all hours of the day and night. His listening audience is growing concerned about his health. They’re noting his tussled hair, beads of sweat on his brow, tired eyes, and a growing weariness in his expression. They’re expressing their concerns via postings on Twitter encouraging Mr. Edano to step away and get some sleep.
ACTION:
Thankfully, few of us are facing challenges as severe as the nation of Japan. Still, we may find ourselves concerned about those nearer at hand who are dangerously overextending themselves for much lesser reasons – risking health and well-being in the process. It could be that we even see one of those people when we look in the mirror in the morning.
How about following the lead of the concerned Japanese? Take or make an opportunity to reach out in concern, encouraging time for renewal when none is being taken. Encouragement could take the form of wise counsel, an invitation to step briefly away for rest or refreshment, or an offer to lend a hand and lift the load.
Zest without rest is a short-term strategy with long-term consequences.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Work when there is work to do. Rest when you are tired. One thing done in peace will most likely be better than ten things done in panic….I am not a hero if I deny rest; I am only tired.” – Susan McHenry
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RESOURCE OF THE WEEK:
For more on Sleep Debt, see this article from Scientific American: Can You Catch Up On Lost Sleep? at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fact-or-fiction-can-you-catch-up-on-sleep
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READERS WRITE:
In response to last week’s message, Surviving Mini Marathon, Pause reader YD writes: Interesting epiphany this morning for me.  I’m a trail runner – a long distance trail runner – that’s the sport I love. It’s my frustration burning strategy, my creative / self-connection / meditation / self-love time.  Over the years, I’ve developed ways to take care of my body: proper eating, yoga, stretching, sleeping, massage, taper period, etc.  I’ve developed many routines to get up the day after, ready to hit the trail again.
I’m also a ‘long distance’ runner at WORK. But I realize now I don’t really have effective ways to take care of me – ways to get up the next day ready to run again. And maybe, just maybe, I should cut down on the distance I ‘run’ at work.

imagesREFLECTION: No doubt you’ve been following the reports on the tragic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan. Apparently, one of the most credible voices offering news updates in Japan is Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yukio Edano.

Mr. Edano broadcasts reports on the latest developments an average of five times a day – at all hours of the day and night. His listening audience is growing concerned about his health. They’re noting his tussled hair, beads of sweat on his brow, tired eyes, and a growing weariness in his expression.

They’re expressing their concerns via postings on Twitter encouraging Mr. Edano to step away and get some sleep. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines

Something Different

Royal Dane Mall SThomVI-wWhile most of my sketches and paintings are fairly light in look and touch, this one takes a different direction. It’s inspired by the contrasting light and shadow in the alley way in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas USVI. I worked hard to create the darks in this painting of the Royal Dane Mall, but when the brushwork was done it still lacked something. So I grabbed the chisel point Pigma black ink pen and went to work.

I’m pretty happy with the lively result and thinking I might take this approach again. Hope you enjoy the image.

Posted under Artwork, Travel

This post was written by Pat Katz on March 22, 2011

Tags: , , , , , ,

PAUSE – 11.20 – Surviving Mini-Marathons

Runner-wREFLECTION: Have you run any mini-marathons lately? Not the athletic type – just the plain old challenging lifestyle version.

I’ve just come through an especially active couple of weeks, myself. During the first ten days of March, I was on my feet speaking at conferences and facilitating seminars for seven of those days. Two days each included an opening keynote and three follow up sessions – for a total of 13 individual presentations during that span of time. I usually limit myself to no more than two or three days of presenting each week, so this was extraordinarily compressed.

No one forced me to book this work in this way.  As someone who is self employed, I’m directly responsible for what makes its way on to my calendar. This time around I agreed to this number of sessions because: the travel and timing pieces fit well together, the work itself was very appealing, I knew I could carve out prep time in advance and set aside recovery time at the end of the run, and because I’m aware that an upcoming planned get-away will limit available spring programming days.

Yes, there were surprises – crazy weather and dental emergencies amongst them. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines

PAUSE – 11.19 – Stopping Starting

stop-sign-wREFLECTION: More than one study has confirmed that backlogs are an everyday fact of life in today’s overcommitted workplaces – not to mention on the home and community fronts. Despite the fact that we have an inordinate number of irons in the fire at any one time, that doesn’t seem to prevent us from adding more.

Personally, I’ve got a tall stack of books waiting for my attention. That hasn’t stopped me from firing off orders to Amazon or Chapters for yet another interesting volume or two. I’ve got a number of articles partly written, and program ideas partially developed. That doesn’t stop me from grabbing another scrap of paper and scratching out a few thoughts about yet another fresh idea. Over the years, I’ve registered a number of web domain names that seemed like an inspired idea at the time, and then let them languish for lack of attention.

Anything similar happen to you? Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines

PAUSE – 11.18 – Coping With Change

Farmhouse-wREFLECTION: Last week marked a significant change in my extended family, as my parents moved from their home on the farm into a brand new residence in Saskatoon. My Dad was born in that farmhouse 85 years ago. He lived and worked there for most of his life. My Mom joined him on the farm when they married 60 years ago.

Together they raised a family of six girls, who eventually brought home husbands, grandchildren and more recently great-grandchildren. This last December, 29 of us gathered in that small one-bathroom farm house – all very much aware of the significance of one more Christmas at the farm. The roots run deep and the memories run wide.

The relocation was in the works for a few months. That time was filled with plenty of planning, choosing and deciding. Recent weeks were especially rich in emotion – as years of memorabilia was sifted and sorted – and everyone faced the now near and new realities of a change of place.

We’re definitely not alone in facing change. Every single one of you is dealing with or has dealt with changes of one kind or another – jobs, relationships, living situations, and more. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines