It’s About Honor… - April 27, 2012
I found myself on a business sponsored pilgrimage to my birthplace, Salt Lake City, UT this week. My mom was also born there, and my 5 year old is her namesake. If heart disease did not take her in 1979 at the young age of 59, she would be 92 years old. Salt Lake Hardware was a big employer in SLC. It was ironically founded by men whose origins are Eden, NY where my husband was born and raised, and where my mother-in-law’s family is from for many generations. In 1909 the founders built a Georgian inspired brick headquarters in the shadow of the State Capital and what is now Temple Square.
My mom was an amazing woman. A very successful student, fluent in Spanish as a second language, she was unable to attend college due to family finances, and her amazing brother paid for her to go to secretarial school. She was a record setting stenographer and typist, and was hired at Salt Lake Hardware likely sometime in the early 1940’s. She worked for the VP of Sales, John Doubry until 1954. One of my treasures I recently received from my parents is the porcelain ballerina that John gave her for Christmas. A pretty impressive position for a woman in WWII-era Utah. I hear from my dad and other relatives that she was successful in her own right, and she supported my dad as he attended University of Utah and worked in the mail-room at Uniroyal (where he later thrived for 28 years with multiple relocations landing in Connecticut where he remains today!).
I went to see her place of employment and was pleased to find out that it has been refurbished into office space, with many authentic renderings remaining. I found an ad for tires dated June 13, 1949. She likely had her hand in creating this ad in some way. Very cathartic.
Then I was off to locate the home my mom lived in with her parents until her mom’s death (also at age 59.) It is a tiny stucco 2 bedroom bungalow in the outskirts of the city. While some of the homes were not kept up over the years, you can tell people take pride in their area, and it was still pretty cute. Just picturing her taking care of the grandmother I never knew who suffered from multiple strokes…she was 31 when she met my dad. Sort of borderline old maid back in 1950, but she was the youngest, and the European tradition was that she takes care of the parents.
Next I was off to Hill Airforce Base where my parents actually met. A great story. My mom was visiting her injured nephew at the hospital there where my dad was an orderly.
My dad is a handsome devil and my mom was tall, thin, svelte, fit and stylish in her tailored Pendleton suit. Their eyes met, and they started chatting. She asked my dad if he skied and if he wanted to go. My dad is suave guy, and a wonderful athlete, so he decided to take a few runs on Wild Cat Mountain to practice up and impress my mom, an avid skier. Well, it did not work out too well.
My mom was visiting the hospital to see her nephew she walked by and my dad was laid up with torn ligaments! One thing led to another and they started dating. An 8 month courtship culminated in a fabulous trip to Las Vegas and a ceremony at the Little Church of the West. I LOVE THIS!!
Twelve years later they decide they wanted to adopt a baby. In comes me! She was 43 and 5 months when 6 week old Lori Dee Evans landed in their arms. And as fate would have it, I was 43 and 5 months when I adopted her namesake Kate. You can’t make this stuff up!
I am honored to be learning more about my mom. What a hard life she led, and also what an exciting life she experienced. She was a dedicated mom and wife. And if I can be a fraction of who she was Kate will be a fine woman when she grows up.
Even though I am adopted, and my mom has been gone for 32 years, I have never felt more connected to her. I share this because at my age (48) we unfortunately are dealing with loss, aging parents, or already have lost parents. Yes, it is painful. And also healing energy can result from reflecting, honoring, and walking the steps of those who raised us.
Kathryn LaRue Hammond Evans – I am so grateful for you. God put me exactly in the right place. And Kate is in the right place with me. And you showed me the path to motherhood I had no idea I could walk. And you made it look so easy. Thank you.
Spring: A Renewal - April 20, 2012
It is my favorite season. Fall used to be, but I really have shifted over the years. Maybe it’s because of spring being more generative, and as I get older, that is an energy I prefer. Fall used to represent different things to me, probably hardwired from my youth: Football games, bonfires, and let’s face it – parties. And now, spring has that healing, restorative energy.
I have lived in a few cities and I have to say that Maryland/DC metro is the prettiest display of spring. This year it came about a month early, but we will not complain. Of course my husband bought a snow blower this year, and it remains unassembled in our garage. A sure anti-snow strategy: buy a snow blower.
We just had the mulch put down in the beds and it looks just gorgeous. I stopped this morning and just sttod still. Taking in the beauty of the flowering dogwoods that will likely shed their blooms in favor of green leaves this week. The daffodils and tulips are now gone, and the irises are peaking out, and the bleeding hearts splash pink joy throughout the garden.
Spring has so many possibilities. How can we use this season of rebirth to refresh our own vision for our future?
What is next for you?
What do you wish you could do if there were no limitations?
If you could clone yourself, what else would you be doing?
I am optimistic and energized about what the rest of 2012 has in store. What blooms are you nurturing in your own life right now?
ONE PIECE OF PAPER
The Simple Approach To Powerful, Personal Leadership
By Mike Figliuolo
I received some feedback about my first part of the One Piece of Paper review. Here are more reasons why if you are in leadership you should add this book to your library.
By the time you finish your book, you will be able to declare your non-negotiable maxims on ‘one piece of paper.’
PART THREE – LEADING THE THINKING (p. 83-119)
- “When you focus on leading the thinking you will see new trends, opportunities, and risks before your competitors see them. You can shape the market rather than having the market shape you.” (p. 83)
- “Going from being a doer to being a thinker is a big leap. It requires you to let go of always being the person with the answers and to instead become the person asking the questions.” (p. 85)
Write MY maxims:
1. What are your expectations regarding your team’s standards of behavior? Respect differences; there is enough work out there for all of us; we do not have to be experts at everything, that’s why we have a team.
2. Where are you taking your people? I can’t get there alone. Anything can happen if you let it.
3. How do you want them to interact with you? I am accessible, if you can’t find me yell and I will be there.
Where are You Taking Your People?
“Writing a vision statement requires a great deal of thought and an ability to step outside of your daily grind and into a time beyond the foreseeable future.” (p. 101)
How Will You Foresee The Future – some excellent reflection questions to ask yourself.
1. What is the most innovative or visionary idea you have ever seen?
2. What is the best idea you have ever had?
PART FOUR – LEADING YOUR PEOPLE (p. 131-167)
- “You are a leader. Management and leadership are not the same thing. The difference is simple; you manage things; you lead people.” (p. 131)
- Leadership is people focused. (p. 132)
Write YOUR maxims:
1. What is your natural style?
2. How will you remember to treat your team members as individuals?
3. How will you stay connected to your team’s reality?
4. How will you commit to your people’s growth?
“Authenticity is a simple concept. It is defined as being genuine. Or, in my words, it is a state of being in which what you see is what you get.” (p. 137)
Quote: Don’t bring me problems. Bring me solutions.
How Will You Remember To Treat Your Team Members As Individuals?
The more time and effort you spend on getting to know your people the better you will relate to them. This is not a natural state of being for all people. In my own experience, this is a polarizing concept. Some leaders have specific boundaries they live their lives by. Work is work, home is home. Ne’er the twain shall meet. Well, this may not be the most optimal way to reach your people. Mike provides this story and my personal favorite.
Example: (p. 151) This is a wonderful example of a junior soldier that he managed when he was a platoon leader. The soldier was very unruly and they referred to him as a “problem child”. The one day the platoon leader got sodas for everyone and remembered that this soldier was the only one that drank 7UP. This affected the soldier so much that the platoon leader would take the time to get to know him that he changed his attitude completely. He began to follow orders and pay attention to his work better, because he mattered to the platoon leader.
Maxim: He drinks 7UP.
PART FIVE – LEADING A BALANCED LIFE (p. 179-201)
“To lead a balanced life, you need to put things in perspective. When you get stressed out, your focus narrows and you can lose sight of the bigger picture.” (p.182)
Write your maxims:
1. How will you define your boundaries?
2. How will you keep things in perspective?
3. What are you passionate about?
“When you take things too seriously, you lose perspective. Losing perspective creates stress. “(p. 193)
PART SIX – MAKING IT REAL (p. 211-217)
“Living your maxims on one piece of paper is powerful. Eventually they will change your behavior and you can take massive strides toward being the leader and the person you want to be.” (p. 213)
We can say all these wonderful things about our intent. But it really boils down to our impact, what we do, how we ‘be’ and how we made the situation better for the people we serve. Mike Figliuolo offers the pragmatic framework to get very clear on what is important to you as a leader. It requires us to back those maxim’s up with stories, the powerful ones people remember, and that allow us to step into our ‘powerful, personal leadership.’
To get your own copy click here.