October, 2011


31
Oct 11

Timeline or Deadline? (reprise)

,

In the last blog entry I started looking at the difference between a Timeline and Deadline.

Side Note: If you happened to miss the last entry I would encourage you to take a look at it before you read on.

Today’s entry will make much more sense if you do… but then again, maybe not.  I can be pretty obtuse if I set my mind to it.

.

What started for me as an interesting dissection of two words has turned out to be a fascinating discovery of introspection and word origins.

In the last entry I mentioned that “these words symbolize more than just business or life tools.  The words denote and characterize a philosophy of life also.”

Let’s take a deeper dive into the word Deadline.

I ran across a wonderfully creative video about deadlines.  This is all done with small Post-it Notes.  Take a look.

YouTube Preview Image

.

The video was a fun look at deadlines.

Deadlines… wow.  We are all bombarded with deadlines.  They motivate, sometimes paralyze, and always produce some level of stress.

Deadlines are imposed as an impetus for action.

We throw the term deadline around pretty casually.  In fact, in the purest sense, most deadlines are not really deadlines… they are just goals with a set time for accomplishment.

Here is a dictionary definition for deadline.

2 : a date or time before which something must be done

Did you notice the # 2 in front of the definition?  This is the secondary definition that reflects only society’s current usage, not the original meaning.

When I discovered the primary meaning it TOTALLY changed my perception and mindset regarding deadlines.

Instead of being used as a point to stimulate action… it was used as a caution before action.  The usage meant that the stakes were so high it in reality was a point of destiny not simple inconvenience or consequences.

The original definition is as follows:

1: a line drawn within or around a prison that a prisoner passes at the risk of being shot.

A deadline, is truly a line of death.

A true deadline is the point of no second chances.  It is the line, if missed, the project or opportunity is gone, dead.

There is no question that there are some legitimate deadlines in business and life.

If you think about it, most so called deadlines we face have some float or room for adjustment.

We have tossed it around so much that the casual use of the term has rendered it impotent of its original power and impact.

You want to know how casually we use deadlines?   Take a look at this e-card I found that you can send.

.

.

Side Note: I know, I know… the bullshit term bothered some of you.  I don’t like using it either but it sure nailed my point.

Hell, you would of used it too.  (sorry… I just had to do that)

I don’t know about you but I will be much more careful how I position a simple goal or milestone vs. a legitimate deadline.

Ciao, see you Thursday.


27
Oct 11

Deadline or Timeline?

.

I don’t know about you but the title of the blog is intriguing to me.

On the surface the words look pretty straightforward.  But in true Jerry Rushing fashion I will most likely over complicate these simple words.

Just so you know, complicating things is not my intent… it just happens.  My mind works weird at times.

Sometimes I will see common words or phrases and (who knows why) they will strike me on a different level.  I pause, tilt my head and go humm?

Yes, I know… I probably get a little too caught up in the subtle meaning of words and phrases.  But it’s the way I’m wired.

There is no question these two words have distinct definitions.  And there is a definite need for both in any successful business or life.

But what struck me is that these words symbolize more than just business or life tools.  The words denote and characterize a philosophy of life also.

Think about it.

People tend to live their life in one direction or another.  Their temperament and mindset seem to fit more naturally in one arena.

This in no way means that people who tend to lean in the timeline direction never has deadlines… nor visa versa.

I just mean that we lean in one direction or the other and there are plusses and minuses to each.

Let’s take a closer look at the two.

I know that I cannot do these terms justice as it relates to a life philosophy.  Also, fair warning, I will most likely (but not intentionally) have my personal biases seep in.

At the very least, I hope I will stir your thinking enough to cause you pause.

Side Note: Anything that causes you to pause is an amazing gift.  The pause to consider… a new thought… a different viewpoint to consider.

.

One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

.

.

TIMELINE

Dictionary Definition

1. a table listing important events for successive years within a particular historical period

2. a schedule of events and procedures

To me, timeline is seeing things more as a process than an event.  A single activity is seen in light of the larger, long-term framework.  Context is paramount.

A timeline is used to look backward to see trends and broader meaning.  It is used in forward motion as a series of events to attain a long-term goal.

Personally I tend to fall in the timeline camp.

I like context, patterns, and the big picture.  I see life as a flow and process vs. isolated events.

But… Yes there’s a big BUT.

But there is a dark side to timeline thinking.

If not careful, the sense of urgency slowly evaporates.  The process takes a life of its own and it is very easy to let dates and activities float.

You let this happen long enough, eventually we find ourselves left in the dust of progress.

Monday I will take a close look at deadlines.  I discovered something about deadlines that was absolutely fascinating.


24
Oct 11

A Lesson in the Leaves

.

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day.

It was one of those crisp fall days where the sun was bright and the sky a piercing blue.  It was the type of day you want to sit back, relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.

But NO!

Typically it goes something like this.

You stand outside with your head raised toward the blue heavens drinking in the beauty.   Your face tingles with that unique combination that only comes in the Spring and Fall – the simultaneous sense of warmth from the sun and crisp coolness of the air.

This ritual continues as your eyes float across the horizon absorbing the beauty.   But eventually, the eyes begin to settle and drift down to the reality of the moment… LEAVES.  Lots and lots of leaves.

The problem with a day like I described is that all is well as long as you look up and around… not down.

Frankly, I wasn’t in the mood to do the leaves.  But I’m glad I did.  I had one of those special life insights that serendipitously capture you… but only if you are open to be captured by the moment.

My plan, I’m embarrassed to say, was to do just enough.  My rationale was that more leaves would fall so why put forth the effort.

So I dutifully gathered my tools and began raking the areas where the leaves were most obvious to the passers by.  This worked pretty well and I was pleased that it was looking pretty good without much effort.

But I made a fatal error (or in reality a blessing in disguise).  At the edge of the easy open areas were some plants and bushes.  I thought that I would quickly extract a few of the leaves from around the edges.

Side Note: No, I haven’t gotten to the special life insight yet.  Patience, patience, I’m still workin on the leaves.  I’ll get to it shortly.

.

Well, I found that raking around the bushes is similar to touch-up painting.  You do a little touch-up and the surroundings looks so crappy you end up painting the entire room.

After I saw how good it looked I kind of wanted to kick some leaves back under the bush, but I knew that wasn’t an option.

Then the point of decision… continue or stop – do it half-assed or do it right.  I knew that if I did do it right it meant that I needed to do around the sides and back of the house.

The day was nice and I was kind of in a rhythm so I decided to go for it (And the crowd goes wild!).

The Life Insight (finally… I thought he would never get to it)

After I made the decision and well into the project I noticed that I was feeling pretty good about myself.  It was a nice feeling.

Then it hit me… there is a big difference between making yourself feel good and feeling good about yourself.

Side Note: I can see and hear you now.  People reading the last sentence fell into one of three groups, each with a different grunt.  It was either a, Huh? Duh! or Humm….

.

Now this insight wasn’t totally new news to me.  Like most meaningful insights they have a way of poking around the edges of awareness for a long time but something happens to crystallize a different or deeper dimension.

Think about it.  Natural human default is making the body feel good… sit and take it easy… it can wait… have another helping of potatoes… don’t strain yourself… buy it now.

If you look at the things in life where you feel the best about yourself, it always means that somewhere along the line you had to do things that didn’t make you feel good in the moment.

The cost for feeling good about yourself is not making yourself feel good.

I hope the blog elicited a Humm of consideration and not a huh? or a duh!

Ciao… see you Thursday.


21
Oct 11

The best plans… scattered by the wind!

.

Wow, have you ever had a day that is all planned out and you think it’s going to be pretty predictable and then… slam!?  That was my day yesterday.

I had my day all planned out to my liking.  Yesterday morning was nice and leisurely with the expectation of heading to the office, write my blog, handle some client needs, and finish the day early with a couple of easy meetings.

Well, it is Friday morning about 7:30 and I am just now writing my blog.

Most plans are just inaccurate predictions.

.                                                           -  Ben Bayol

.

In reference to the quote above, I say… how true… how true.

As I reflect on yesterday morning I am experiencing an eerie awareness.  It’s the kind of awareness that only comes from the hindsight of reality.

My eerie awareness is that although I didn’t realize it at the time, I possessed a subtle smugness that everything was under control.

I am not talking about a cocky arrogance that proclaims to life that “I am in control”!  No… not at all.

It is the type subtle smugness below the level of consciousness that quietly seeps in when we forget that life has a way of surprising us.

Yes, there is no question we can influence and impact the little world we live in… our little bubble.

But as we all know (but too easily forget) forces beyond us can take our feeble little plans and casually toss them into the wind to be scattered into oblivion.

In essence, we cannot control our life and plans… only manage them.

Thank goodness, the disruption of my plans yesterday was in reality just life clutter not a boulder dumped in my lap.

My life clutter yesterday was the proverbial domino effect – my car breaks down (in the rain), the towing, dealing with the garage, meetings changing, client demands, etc.

.

What I am pleased about, in hindsight, is that I handled the disruptions pretty calmly and unfrazzled.  I pretty much saw it as the “what is” and went about my day.

I can’t say that I have always been… shall we say… calm when life alters our all important plans.

I hate to admit it, but I have gotten pretty pissy when something as simple as someone pulling in front of me disrupting my plan to catch the light.   Sad.. but true.

As I said earlier, the stuff I experienced yesterday was just life clutter.

My wife and I often say, life is full of surprises.  In other words… don’t hang on too tightly to what you have and what you plan because there are no guarantees.

Yes, we are to make plans, set goals, and pursue our dreams.  We are to step out boldly toward the things we want.

But we must never let the pursuit be our purpose.  The plans, actions, and goals are just the visible path to our purpose.

As we all know… our visible path is easily disrupted or even blocked.

We have one of two choices when this occurs.

Our first option is to hold loosely to the plans we make and flow with the adventure of life changes.

The second choice is to tie ourselves to our plans.  But fair warning… you will get the crap beat out of you when the winds of life start to blow and toss your plans all over the place.

Like everything in life… our choice.

For me I’ll take an adventure over a butt whipping any day.

Ciao… see you Monday.


17
Oct 11

Something’s burnin…

.

Welcome back.

I wasn’t too sure if you would show up after I threatened to put on my kicking boots in the last blog entry.

If I say so myself… they are pretty impressive kicking boots (picture in previous blog entry).  If someone approached you wearing those boots it would most definitely make your butt pucker.

As most of you know, I am generally a feel good, encouraging kind of guy.  But for what ever reason, over the last couple of months I have felt the need to drive home the need for action.

If you start pushing people (myself included) you begin walking a fine line between motivating a person to action and causing them to dig in their heels.

No one likes to be pushed (I sure don’t).  But a shove into the deep end of the pool is necessary sometimes.

Until a person gets to the point where they are self motivated, a push by a person who cares is a God send.  So I care enough to push… maybe not hard enough or specific enough… but I am trying.

The reality is, everyone wants more.  I am not talking about more stuff or money.  I am talking about more out of life.  Everyone wants more and I will prove it.

Side Note: A lot of you hate it when people make generalizations like the one I made in the previous sentence.  I felt the hackles on your neck raise and I heard some of you say, how does he know?  Not everyone feels the need for more out of life!

OK… maybe there is someone somewhere but I just had to tweak your nose a bit to make a point.

.

.

“All generalizations are false… even this one.”

- Mark Twain

.

.

I prove my point not to be snotty or arrogant. I do so to help pierce the shell of the status quo.  But none-the-less I will prove my statement.

I prove my point with a simple question.

What would you attempt, if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

.

Everyone wants more… if they believed it were a possibility.

I would write that book, open that business, move to another place, try that career, touch those lives, get that degree, etc., etc., etc.

This is the sad reality.  Life and life experiences have a way of slowly smothering the more in life.  The embers remain but they are covered by the cold hard surface.

My goal is to poke a hole in the encrusted surface and fan the embers into a flame.  Hopefully something begins to burn deep within.

Hope is oxygen for the flame.  The possibility of something, provides hope which breaths life into a dying flame.

Whether you feel like it or not… things are not dead for you.  There are possibilities if we believe it and are willing to be bold enough to take a step.

Personally, I want to be a person of hope.  I not only want to continually believe there is more for me but to be a purveyor of HOPE.  How cool is that?

This James Thurber quote from one of his writings is how I want to be.

.“He was always leaning forward, pushing something invisible ahead of him.”

.

Ciao, see you Thursday.


13
Oct 11

Oh so tempting…!

.

Hi, Good to see you.

Do you like the picture?  Pretty descriptive huh?

Take a close look because, visually, it is a very accurate portrayal of what I am going to talk to you about.

Now the first thing you are probably thinking is that I am going to talk to you about being oblivious to the world around you and having your head buried in the sand… well… kinda… but not exactly.

I am going to talk about the other end of the anatomy.  Yep, you guessed it.

The person with their head buried in the sand is in perfect posture for a swift, well placed kick in the ass.

I don’t know about you but everyone… I mean everyone, needs a swift kick in the rear occasionally.

Let’s be honest for a moment.  Yes, it is important to support and empathize with people you care about.  It is during those times we want to encourage and hopefully motivate.  

Butt (sorry… I just had to do it) there are times when complacency has set in and inertia is the pattern. 

The person is well beyond the pat on the back, shot in the arm, kiss on the cheek stage.  The reality is… attention to another cheek is in order.

It is obvious that when a person has buried their head they are hiding from reality. 

But there is a sadder and scarier reality.  When a person’s head is buried in the sand there is no movement.  You atrophy and die when there is no movement.

The goal is movement.  You can’t steer a parked car.

I have said this many times and of course I will say it again…

Progress not perfection

 .

There is no progress without movement. 

Someone needs to love us enough to get us moving.  It’s not pleasant, but my oh my, it is life giving.

Now here’s the tricky part for me.  How do I kick you in the rear when you need it?  How do I stir you to action with a blog?

I could make fun of you – You’re ugly and you dress funny.

But that doesn’t do much good… except make me laugh. 

Since I am not there to take you by the ear and guide you to the next step… I challenge you.

I have no idea what has been stirring around inside of you that you need to act on.  But DO IT!!!

There is something that comes to mind that you have been hiding from and now is the time. 

So before you make me put on my kicking boots, do what you know you should do.

I don’t know what it is… but you do.  Maybe it is to make that call, or the apology that is long over due, possibly it’s to write a letter, or apply for that new job, or end the relationship, or to get off your ass and begin the exercise program.

I am excited to see what you end up doing.

I hope to see you Monday.


10
Oct 11

Your point is…?

.

Hi there, welcome back… bubble boy.

In case you’re wondering about this bubble boy nonsense you need to take a quick look at the last blog entry.  It will get you up to speed on all of this bubble stuff.

I may not know much, but I do know that you typically don’t want any sharp objects around bubbles or balloons.

You notice I said typically.  When it comes to fun stuff you don’t want anything to pop your bubble.  We have to guard and protect those things.

We tend to shy away from the sharp piercing things in life because, simply put, they hurt when you bump into them.  They destroy plans or upset your little world.

But there are times when sharp objects around your bubble may be the greatest gift you can ever receive.

Bubbles in reality are pretty fragile.  It doesn’t take much to poke a hole in our protective cover.

But here’s the scary part.  After years of protecting our fragile bubble something sinister begins to take place.

The bubble, without warning, gradually hardens and thickens.  What was once a delightful, colorful, bouncy bubble has slowly transformed into an opaque shell that entraps.

Where once a pin prick could shatter the confines of the bubble, it’s now mocked by its inability to cause enough discomfort or distraction for consideration.

What was once a nice comfortable place to protect ourselves has now become a narrow box that leaves us no room to grow or move.

I don’t know about you, but I have had my share of things that have trapped me over the years and I can tell you from experience… a simple pin prick is much more attractive and tolerable than the sledgehammer required to get someone out of their shell.

Some of you may be saying that you like your shell and you have no desire to get out of your familiar, predictable, tiny, narrow, box.

OK, suit yourself… but fair warning.  Life has a way of taking a sledgehammer to our world.  This is not life’s way of punishing us but releasing us.

Hopefully this blog is a little pin prick for some of you and pops your thin bouncy bubble.

For others, I hope this little speck of dust of a blog turns out to be a tiny seed.

Don’t giggle at the notion of a dust particle seed.  You never can tell what happens when those pesky seeds get inside.

See you Thursday.


6
Oct 11

The Bubble Battle

.

Yep… it’s Thursday and I can sense already that your adrenalin is beginning to pump in anticipation of another madcap blog adventure.

Isn’t life grand!

Before I go any further I need to say, if the first sentence describes you… humm… the clue phone is ringing.

I think you may need to venture out of your room a little more often.

I also have a note of caution, be careful when you leave your room.  If my obscure blog gets your adrenalin pumping you can imagine what will happen to you when exposed to life out of your bubble.

Yes, there is risk in unzipping the door to your plastic bubble and stepping out into the wild.

Bubble you ask?  What bubble?

You’re probably thinking that the last few sentences were meant to just be cute and funny (although my wife does think I am cute and funny… well occasionally humorous).

But no, the reality is, we all live in a bubble to some degree.

Yes… that means you too bubble boy.

The scary thing is we don’t realize we are in a bubble world and secondly we are comfortable in our bubble world.

Think about it this way… there are people in New York City that are terrified of the thought of being in the country; and, there are people in the country who are terrified of going to New York City.

Yep… they live in a bubble.  It’s a big bubble, but a bubble none-the-less.

And to beat the point into my own head and yours (since you’re along for the ride) … that means looking at the bubble we live in too.

Let’s face it, it’s safe in our bubble.  We don’t have to deal with the pesky germs of new ideas or the possibility of contamination of the beliefs we have held so long and so close.

It is only the adventurous type who are willing to step beyond their bubble.

.

It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys.

- Antoine De Saint-Exupery

.

.

Side Note: Doesn’t Antoine De Saint-Exuprey have an eerie resemblance to Mr. Bean?

.

.

.

Anyway, back to the bubble battle… my goal is to encourage you to pop your bubble and break free.

Hopefully I can move you by encouraging you to take the step… but if you want to sit safely in your bubble world I will find any sharp object available and… you guessed it.

POP YOUR BUBBLE!

.

Isn’t that the way we usually get out of our comfort zone, by force.

I think I need to take a closer look at those things that tend to have a sharp point to appropriately move us forward.

If you dare, join me on Monday.


3
Oct 11

Dancing Shoes and a Flamingo Under My Arm

.

Howdy… Welcome back.

The title?  Yes, I know… weird… but creating it made my head feel good.   It was sort of like pop rocks for my brain.

I was dry, very dry.  It has been an extremely busy week and I have been in a day long draining meeting.  The thought of trying to write a blog made my head implode from the vaccuum.  There was nothing.

But I leaned back in my chair and said a short prayer and… pow… the randon title.

Frankly, I am kind of weirded out just writing about it.  But at least words are finding their way from “who knows where” through my finger tips on to this page.

It would have been so easy just to blow off this whole blog thing and veg in front of the TV.  Afterall, I deserved the break.

But some journeys in life are not easy.  If we really want to go somewhere exciting the easy route is not an option. 

The easy route… humm, it sounds good when you’re tired… but I couldn’t do it.

Now don’t get all impressed that I pushed through my tiredness and wrote this blog.  I am not sure why this blog is different than most things in my life, but opting out was not an option.

TRUE CONFESSION

If you want to know the truth, I am pretty lazy.  Historically I have, metaphorically speaking,  preferred the lawn chair to a lawn mower most of my life. 

I am not proud of the fact that I mastered  the art of vegging at an early age.  But it is true none-the-less.

But if you are tired of where you are… and willing to open yourself to a different call (other than the call of the couch and nachos) then life will become a bold adventure. 

In the past I would have never pushed through the tiredness and empty headedness and worked on something like a blog. 

But when you become willing to listen to the constant call from just beyond the wall your world begins to change.

It has been a very, very good thing.

How about joining me on Thursday for some more travels.

P.S.  Just because I pushed through the tiredness doesn’t mean I will write a lot.  Anyway… I gotta fix some nachos and grab my lawn chair.

Ciao.