Take a Chance

The next time you doubt yourself, I want you to think about someone else. There’s no question that your days are hard and you could use a break. Can’t we all? But when you’re having your worst day, I hope thinking about someone else inspires you to keep going.

grace-murray-hopper-demure

Take a short journey with me: Imagine being Grace Murray Hopper, born in 1906, the oldest of three children. Can you imagine a young girl living in the 1900s in New York City? Would you expect her to marry, stay home and raise the children? Or maybe she would work, most likely as a teacher or a nurse.  What are the odds that she would be not just a mathematician, but one of the leading computer scientists of the 20th century, a United States Navy Rear Admiral and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom? How many times do you think she heard the word the word ‘no’? How many times do you think she wondered if it could be done? How many times do you think she took a chance?

grace-murray-hopper-programmerMy dad brought me a couple of books when he visited last month, one of which was Computers: Their History, Present Applications, and Future by Shirley Thomas. Dad pointed out Grace Hopper’s role in computer programming, including her time at UNIVAC (now Unisys), where dad also worked. Among Ms Hopper’s accomplishments:

  • Attended Vassar despite being turned down the first time she applied.
  • Served in the WAVES (a branch of the US Naval Reserve), despite not meeting their physical requirements.
  • Developed the first compiler, despite no one believing it could be done, leading eventually to her work developing COBOL, the most ubiquitous business language to date.
  • Worked for the Department of Defense until she was 79, despite the mandatory retirement age of 60. (Congress had to approve her active duty status.)

Is it any wonder that she became known as Amazing Grace?

My favorite Amazing Grace quote is:

“The most important thing I’ve accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, ‘Do you think we can do this?’ I say, “Try it.” And I back ’em up. They need that. I keep track of them as they get older and I stir ’em up at intervals so they don’t forget to take chances.”

The next time you feel overwhelmed, I hope you remember Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and all she accomplished. I hope you remember to take a chance.

grace-murray-hopper-rear-admiral

Forever and Ever

Woohooooo, it’s Friday!

Do you need an antidote from all the drama this political season? How about a throwback song? Randy Travis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (finally!) and I think we should celebrate with his Forever and Ever, Amen. “I’m gonna love you forever and ever, forever and ever, amen.”

forever-and-ever

May you have a glorious weekend with someone you love. 😉

Listen to Understand

GM and welcome to the working week!

How was your weekend? We’ve wrapped up the dog days of summer, kids are going back to school, we’ve rounded the midpoint of August and are starting to fantasize about another 3 day weekend. While we enjoy the last of the long summer days, please keep the folks in Louisiana in your thoughts. Xo

Listen to understand

I’m so proud of our community, of our principles, our integrity and our willingness to invest in each other. One way we invest in each other is taking the time to listen, without interrupting, without judging and with patience and respect. Even when we don’t agree, we can listen, can’t we? Can’t we? I’ll be the first to admit it’s sometimes a challenge but that’s what practice is for. 😉

How about you? How well do you listen? Do you listen better to those who agree with you? How about we all practice listening better in conversations where we don’t agree?

Here’s some advice on listening and leadership from Forbes:

  • Be empathetic and don’t judge.
  • Challenge your assumptions.
  • Don’t interrupt, be respectful.
  • Engage and care.

These principles remind me of friendship and parenting, classic cases of where we’re invested in the relationship. Imagine what we could do if we invested in relationships with those whom we disagree.

Time to get Monday tasks done – have a great week!

Caryn

Bring Out the Best

Welp, it’s Monday! Are ya ready??? I hope so, ready or not, here we come!

Y’all have heard me talk about bringing out the best in each other, right? This means that we look for the best in each other, we accept each other and we find ways to be better together. Last week I read about this philosophy in action.

Some of my team has had the privilege to work with Clearlink. They are a very successful sales company and I believe it’s because of their inclusive culture; their mantra is ‘create and maintain valuable relationships’. Named One of the Best Places to Work by Outside magazine (2013), Clearlink’s vibe is so strong that you can feel the energy every time you step in the door.

Recently, Jordan Jarvis, one of Clearlink’s sales managers, posted Losing Everything to Find Myself, a story about his personal struggles and journey to overcome them. In it, he talks about Aaron Hansen, VP of Sales and how Aaron invested in him. Instead of seeing Jordan’s struggles, Aaron saw Jordan’s opportunities and gave him room to grow into them. If you’ve worked with Clearlink, you’ve witnessed their positive approach. Many of us have been lucky enough to witness this firsthand. Whoot!

Winner loser one more time

Do you have someone who has done the same, who has invested in you? Do you do this for someone? Jordan’s story reminds me of one of my favorite books – Leadership and the Art of Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box. It’s all about expecting folks to succeed and not assuming they’ll fail. It’s a great read if you want to explore relationship building. If you want some concrete steps to bringing out the best in each other, Fast Company’s Six Habits of People Who Know How to Bring Out the Best in Others is a good read.

Make the week great!

Caryn