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Archive for May, 2014

Mastering the Art of…Quitting

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

OK, just finished the book by the blog post’s namesake.

“I think I can I think I can…” how many of us have been indoctrinated by the little engine?  Perseverance trumps talent.  Never, ever, ever, ever give up.  Blah blah blah, ad nauseam.

How many of us have heard these phrases over and over again?

Well, after reading this book, and coupled with being obsessed with failure of late, I’m not so sure the perseverance IS the course in every case moving forward.  But, what’s most interesting is–when is it OK to keep moving forward and pushing your idea/plan/goal, and when is it OK to finally cut bait?  Who truly has mastered the art of knowing when to choose which path?

This book helps somewhat with the lines, but they’re not exactly black and white.

When your values are incongruent with your goals = that’s an easy one.  You should quit on that scenario, as your values should be core to who you are.  As I’ve said here before, without your values, you have nothing.  To thine own self be true is an adage I CAN get behind.

The trickier part is in the gray areas.  Like, when your whole life and identity have been wrapped up in one thing, but that thing isn’t making you happy anymore or you don’t know what will be next if you leave that thing behind.  Or, if you have two conflicting goals. That’s harder.  I don’t have better answers here, just more questions.

What I do know for sure is that our society LOVES a good little engine that could story.  We want positive outcomes after hard work, toil and sacrifice.  We love the David winning story.  But, after reading this book and thinking about this a lot lately, I’m not so sure that never giving up is the right answer.  After all, never say never, right?

Right.

Life is messy and complicated. I think the best we can do with determining whether or not to quit is to just listen to our guts.  I’ve discussed this here before.  There’s neuroscience in our guts.  We just have to listen to it.  Don’t ignore the inner voice…

That’s all I’ve got, today.  That, and a whole lot more questions…

The Marshmallow Test

Friday, May 30th, 2014

I’m reading a book by Peg Streep and Alan Bernstein right now called Mastering the Art of Quitting.  (This is part of my ongoing obsession with failure of late.)  Anyway, I got to the infamous Marshmallow psychology test by Mischel et al from the 1960s…(you probably know the rest of the story…as this has been in several books I’ve read before…)

(In case you haven’t…) researchers put a single marshmallow in front of individual 4 year olds. Researchers then stated that if the 4 year old could wait until the researcher got back into the room, s/he could have a second marshmallow.  Researchers waited 15 minutes before re-entering the room with dos marshmallow.

So…you get it, this is a test of self control.  (And if you’re curious, about 30% of the 4 year olds waited it out for that second marshmallow.  Smart, in my book.)

As I shared, I’ve read this before several times.  What’s new in this book is the follow up studies they did on these 4 year olds all grown up.  What did they find?  Well, I’m not going to give it all away here, but suffice it to say that 30% with the self control served themselves well, as they could plan better than the other 70%.  They fared well on other abilities too – but go read the book – I’m not going to steal the authors’ thunder here.

The writers call the readers of this book to conjure up the inner 4 year old to ask – would you be part of the 70% wild child that just goes for it and grabs that first marshmallow, damn the torpedoes…or would you be part of the other 30% who can stick it out for the promise of that second marshmallow?

I’ll give you time to talk to your 4 year old inner self now…

#SMDames14 June 24, 2014 in Ft. Wayne

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Ladies!

Did you get your tickets yet for #SMDames14?

Ode to the Work Computer

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Dear Work Computer:

I know you’re tired.  I know you’re stressed and overworked.  I also know that you’re on the brink of a meltdown.

Please don’t meltdown until after June 6th, 2014.  I have a spa appointment set for you at IT the following week for a diagnostic, facial and massage.  But until then, we just need to keep. Working.  The universe and I would greatly appreciate your perseverance until then.

It will be OK.  Just hold on.

Sincerely,

e

Girls, Unicorns and Birthdays

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Today was my birthday. Happy birthday to me.  Which one?

Who cares, after 29!

My mommy made me a unicorn cake, with a unicorn that will now officially hold my glitter for thank you notes.  LOVE IT.  Also got a new washing machine.  (Yes.  Exorbitant, but practical.  I love that mixture in a gift.)

Anyway, I decided to binge on rainbow birthday cake and…Season 3 of Girls.  If you’ve never watched this important show on the zeitgeist of 20-somethings in the US, you should.  Although, many hate it–or hate the characters.  Just read the online hate-filled reviews.  Or, rather, the rest of us just feel better about ourselves after watching it.

Here’s how it ends in season 3 (spoiler alert)–Hannah gets into the top MFA program in the country…which just happens to be…in Iowa.  The polar opposite of NYC.   The end questions whether or not she’ll go.

Here’s my opinion on the situation (not that anyone asked, and not that it matters, since it’s already written…and not to mention, fictional).  But, you don’t know yourself in your 20s.  One of the most important things you can ID on yourself IS yourself while you’re in your 20s.  That’s why I’m rabid about not getting married until you’re at least age 30 (and even now I question marriage at all, at any age, but I digress).

Part of the reason I do watch Girls is to feel better about my own life.  Trust me, my life is far, FAR, FAR from perfect.  But Girls serves as another important hallmark for us culturally – it’s about women in their 20s and how jacked up their lives can be.  We need to be sensitive to this and cut our younger sisters some slack.  I know this may appear counterintuitive in our youth-obsessed culture, but it’s true.  You can’t know yourself until your 30+…and even then, it’s a challenge.  I speak from experience.

I hope Hannah does go to Iowa. (And if the online reviews are true and U Iowa wouldn’t let them shoot there, they’re crazy.)  I think Hannah would have a better shot at knowing herself through improving her writing.  Writing is something I never really had the luxury to study in depth during my own academic career.

On the other hand, I’m older than 30 and I still have little clue on who I am.

Guess that’s the bit about life that makes it a mystery…and a little…fun?

More Reflecting…on Reflection

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

If there’s one word I need to take away from the Regional ACE Women’s Leadership Conference this week, I think again the keyword for me is: reflection.

Even catching up on my Flipboard reading tonight, I saw this article on great commencement speeches (I’m always a sucker for those), and the very last piece of advice in the article is: return to your alma mater and reflect.

Those of you who know me well (all 12+ of you, anyway) know that I’m NOT high on context. I’ve never been a past-dweller. I move forward, and obsess about tomorrow, rather than worry about yesterday. After all, one cannot change the past….right?

However, after this conference this week, I have to say that I’m going to make a concerted effort to reflect more on situations that happen with me (not to me – as I also need to stop playing victim in my own life, as I often love to do when I start a pity party), and figure out what I was supposed to learn from the event, why, and how I could make the event if it hit me in the face again better.

So–cheers to the past. May it serve as a teacher to us all, once we reflect upon it, in order to create an even better future. And to all who are high on history out there–props to you.

Adobe Made My Life Easier!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Check out this jazzy little trailer I made this morning for the Annual CE program courtesy of Adobe Voice…the coolest new little free app for iPad. And pharmacists in central Indiana…you have registered for this event June 5-6, haven’t you?

The Little Red Notebook…of Reflection

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Never let it be said that I leave you, my faithful readers, all 12-13 of you, in the dark.

This week, I’m at the University of Houston at the ACE Regional Women’s Leadership Forum. First off, all I can say is–wow. Props to U of Houston for hosting this event along with ACE, but I am SO TOTALLY IMPRESSED with their amazing President, Renu Khator (even though she’s technically a Purdue girl – just kidding) and her cadre of amazing women leaders here.

Even more important, I have been impressed by the women here who have dared to have all the awkward, difficult and downright depressing conversations about the lack of women in leadership in higher education, boardrooms and even Congress. I appreciate the allowance of tough questions, with answers that aren’t always easy to hear, but at least we’re having the conversations.

One of my favorite pieces of advice was given to us, along with a tiny red notebook, from the Provost of the University, Paula Myrick Short – who also left us with a challenge. (You can see my LRN over at the Insty-grammy feed.) She challenged us to start thinking and REFLECTING UPON tough choices we have to make as leaders within the confines of the notebook. In our reflections, we need to note what we were faced with, what we did, why we did it, and what we’d do to change it.

But, of course I thought I’d start here with you, because I’m cool like that. Ready?

So, recently, I was faced with an ethical challenge that tested one of my very own top core values. In fact, my number one value – of honesty & integrity. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say I was tested on this value, very strongly, by something else I wanted that was the polar opposite of honesty and integrity. (I know I’m vague-blogging here, just roll with it. The details aren’t that important.)

At the end of the day, after thinking through this test in about 24 hours, I came up with the best solution I could, which was to stick with my core value of taking the high road–and choosing honesty & integrity over the other option.

Even though I wanted the other option to work out, badly (as in, something I’ve wanted for decades), once I found out it was dishonest, I had to ultimately stick to my core value and abandon the other option.

Was it a difficult choice?

It felt very difficult when I first made it. However, now I know in reflection that it was the RIGHT choice, because if you can’t even stick to your core values, what else do you have? Answer: nothing. Without your values, you’re living a fake life–an inauthentic half-life, and ultimately, you’re still going to have to face yourself in the mirror every morning.

Even if the right thing isn’t the easy thing to do, I did the right thing in this nebulous and nefarious situation. I won’t lie, though, it was tough. If given the same experience over again, the only thing I would change is getting to the outcome sooner.

So, 1. be true to your own core values, and 2. reflect on your leadership experiences–both personally and professionally. I of course learned many other great things today – which I’ll share with you in future posts. In the interim, get yourself a little red notebook, and get to reflecting. It’s one of the best ways to elevate yourself as a leader, and unravel the greatest mystery of all–YOU.

PSA on Trusting Your Gut

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

So, I’ve been wanting to write about this for a couple of weeks now when I first heard the data come out on the “second brain” in our guts a la neuroscience, but I didn’t put digital pen to paper until tonight when I was reminded of what it happens when I don’t pay attention to it it in a very visceral, disarming and downright depressing way.

It is this.

Always trust your gut.

There was this article in Fast Company about the neuroscience of trusting your gut, and this tumblr post is pretty interesting on the subject.  But I’m here to give you all a public service announcement in a less scientific way, and as I said by my own error this week–trust your gut.  It’s there for a reason.  And if something feels awry in your gut, there’s a reason.  Go seek to understand, put the moose on the table, and investigate before you do something you’ll later regret.

Lesson learned for me the hard way this week, but I got the message.  Head and gut come first.  Noted, dear universe.  And for the rest of my peeps reading this blog, let my deeply tragic mistake be your hallmark to NOT make the same mistake I did.  Go with your gut.  It’s there for a reason, and it will guide you to safer, far more awesome places than you ever imagined.

Don’t be me and ignore it.

What’s Up

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

I really AM working hard out here.  Thus, the blog has suffered.  Here’s what’s up in my head right now:

1. End of semester.  Really.  Turned in all my grades yesterday.

2. Fiction.  Maybe it’s time.

3. That success and failure are really just two (yet opposite) sides of a spectrum.  Both send you to weird places, but it’s how you return to “normal” and how quickly you return to “normal” carrying your new knowledge from the fringes of both that I think is far more interesting than what happens with success or failure themselves.

4. Taking all the prereqs for the Social Media Residency at Mayo Clinic coming up – excited about this!

5. I have to vote today.  Just yesterday I saw an article in one of our local TV channels stating that the AG was trying to get the Indiana legislature to establish who would be senators in our state, rather than letting the people decide. Huh?!? This is what happens when you don’t pay attention and exercise your right to vote.

That’s enough for now.  I’m just posting to let you know that I’m alive, well, and working…