Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Grammar Cop is Tired

OK, I don't remember asking to be the grammar cop. Just like I don't remember asking to be a perfectionist. But I just can't seem to help either thing. (And I guess they are related, so it would make sense.)

What am I supposed to do when I find typos on people's websites, or in their ads for jobs or in other public places ("Our company is celebrating it's 50th anniversary" or "Illegally parked cars will be fine")? Or how about when I hear people say, on a regular basis, how "me and her went to the store" or "I seen you yesterday at the restaurant"?

I just can't help seeing or hearing those things when they pop up (and they seem to be popping up more often). What's a grammar cop to do? It's like having perfect pitch and hearing music out of tune.

In fact, I was pleased that Karen, my friend and fellow typo sighter, found it in her heart to give me this article about a service trip two guys took to rid the world of misplaced and missing apostrophes and other typographical errors and misspellings. In their 3-month trip, these guys found (and pointed out) more than 400 violations in everything from church signs to event posters.

The thing I'm inspired by with these guys is that they actually took action on something that they could have just complained about (which is what I realize I'm doing with this blog post, ironically). According to Jeff Deck, the guy in the photo (left), their mission is to raise typo awareness—after each stop Deck has blogged about the goofs found and the typos corrected.

"I've always noticed typos," he said, "and one day I just decided to take action. I thought it would be great to go national and see if there were patterns." He said he detects a general erosion of good grammar, from coast to coast, region to region. "If we can inspire enough people to carry Sharpies and help out, then we will be satisfied and happy."

Men after my own heart. Maybe we could start a local chapter of TEAL (Typo Eradication Advancement League), Deck's self-founded organization.

But I fear I may be the only member.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What do you value? Pass it on!

If you travel by car like I do, you've probably seen this billboard or others like it along the highway. I'm always really attracted to these messages, but can never really see where they are from - the small print is too difficult to read when I'm speeding along the highway!

So tonight I paid attention to a commercial that came on TV from the Foundation for a Better Life and did a little research. Here's from the "About Us" section of the website:

The mission of The Foundation for a Better Life, through various media efforts, is to encourage adherence to a set of quality values through personal accountability and by raising the level of expectations of performance of all individuals. Through these efforts, the Foundation wants to remind individuals they are accountable and empowered with the ability to take responsibility for their lives and to promote a set of values that sees them through their failures and capitalizes on their successes. An individual who takes responsibility for his or her actions will take care of his or her family, job, community, and country.

How totally cool is that? It's so great to see what people can accomplish when they just act on a great idea!

What does this inspire you to do? Pass it on!!

Is YOUR Genius at Work?

Really - is your genius ... your higher self, your guiding light, your heart of hearts ... at work in your life? Or, once you discover it, can you really put it to work at work?

These were some questions we explored here in Fargo on Tuesday and Wednesday at the third annual Bigger Small Talk Summit and Genius Workshop with the irrepressible Dick Richards and his lovely wife Melanie.

I learned a lot about myself over the past week ... things I probably SHOULD have known but either forgot or just didn't put together. Things like the distinction (if there is one) between religious fervor and evangelism and fervor for higher awareness and business effectiveness, and the distinction (if there is one) between motivating someone and inspiring him/her, and trusting intuition to guide me to my genius.

Dick reminded everyone that the concept of genius is a journey of self-discovery, and not an inventing of new entity. We learned about different cultures and spiritual traditions and their definitions of "genius" and how "genius" differs from "purpose."

The genius workshop provided a chance for people from all careers and those building new careers to examine their current worklives and get some ideas for bringing their natural power and energy to their work, whatever their work may be. Dick calls that natural power and energy genius.

The energy in the room when people are allowed an entire day to explore, uncover, contemplate, share, and be with others with similar intentions is probably something few of us actually get a chance to experience on a regular basis.

Dick's wonderful style and guidance allowed people space to work on their own genius discovery process, but also pushed us to go just a little deeper beyond what our past conditioning would want us to come up with and uncover what is already there waiting to be discovered.

Tuesday was also a wonderful day as people gathered in Open Space to create dialogues with others about topics that matter to them. We supported each other in achieving plans of action that have been tapping at the door of our consciousness for a long time, but which just haven't ever made it to the world. It was a safe space to explore new ideas and call up old ones and declare them to a group and get some accountability to begin acting on those dreams and plans. The last session of the day was a singout, led by the fabulous Barbara McAfee. We learned African tribal songs and sang together and it was magical.

Plans are underway for the Fourth Annual Bigger Small Talk Summit in Fargo in mid-June 2010. If you're searching for something but you're not sure what it is, either in your work life or in any other aspect of your life, you just may find it in Fargo next summer.

See you here!

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Insight Without Action Makes No Difference

OK, so if we already know this stuff, why is it that we don't always create consistent results?

This was a question that came up in my Master Mind group today. We were talking about those moments when everything is clicking and we're on a high and all is well with the world. We talked about noticing how we're feeling in those moments and then tracing back to the thought that immediately preceded the feeling. It is possible, we all know, to recreate that experience (or produce one equally as rewarding) yet we still seem to find ourselves in the space of inconsistency.

So it's true that knowing doesn't necessarily equate to doing, which doesn't always produce desired results.

However, as we talked more about this phenomenon, we realized that perhaps the results we are in the process of producing are really at play at a higher level simply because we are aware of the process. In essence, instead of letting our lives run us, we are aware of the fact that we can have a say in the results.

We reminisced about times in our lives when we were on autopilot, or what I heard Seth Godin say today on Dr. Oz's XM radio show, "sheepwalking." According to Seth, this is when we do things that others tell us because others tell us to without thinking, coupled with being somewhat braindead, especially at work. (Read more about sheepwalking on Seth's blog post here.)

Before we knew any better, we would muddle through our lives, frustrated and, more often than not, carrying a heavy dose of victim mentality, mindlessly giving up all control of our own outcomes to some unknown and unnamed "them" all the time perpetuating the same results. The best we could come up with for a payoff in those cases was that we could at least be right about our belief that "we" were right and "they" were wrong which, at least in my case, I was able to prove by bringing it up to anyone who would listen and agree.

At least now when we notice the results being less than what we want, we know there is another way. It's almost as if there are two of us: the one who is having the experience and the one who is watching the one having the experience. The one who's watching has a much broader view and can much more easily point out alternative ways of thinking and being.

Today's "aha" came in the realization that it's actually being in the feeling space - FEELING the feelings and not pushing them away, no matter how "bad" they may be - that allows the feeling to dissipate. What we resist persists and, although we "know" that in our conscious minds, it's not until it penetrates the old familiar "gotta be right," or what I notice for myself as the "yeah, but" space that it has a chance to turn into a new action. New actions produce new results.

Sometimes I feel like a really slow study ... but it's not because I don't know better. Knowing and doing are definitely not the same thing, and knowing and pointing out to others the doing doesn't produce results for me either.

So I'm still in the space of teaching what I most need to learn. But the good news is that the lessons are much more evident and more quickly absorbed these days.

Where would you like new results in your life? Consider getting in some sort of Master Mind group where you can have a chance to practice new ideas in the safety of a group of likeminded individuals gathering for a definite purpose of support and challenge.

"A year from now you may wish you had started today." -Karen Lamb

(And to prove I'm trying something new, I found that quote using Bing instead of my beloved Google. Don't tell Blogger!)

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