anxiety, inspiration, leadership, life lessons, management, mindfulness, motivation, work life

Un-manic Your Monday

We all know what is going to happen when the morning arrives…You’re going to try and hit the ‘snooze’ button and miss, causing the book to fall off the night table, which will jar the dog, encouraging him to nudge you to let him/her out.  The coffee will begin to drip as soon as you push the button…as soon as you find the button through your half-open eyes.  Get the paper, feed the dog, grab some coffee…and then the rhythm begins to accelerate and your ‘musts’ will over-take your ‘wants’.  You’re in gear and to quote one of the crazy characters from “Madagascar” – you’ve got to move it, move it.”

Manic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whoa…hold up one minute.  What would happen if you changed the routine a bit?  If you sat down while drinking your coffee, enjoying the silence for a moment.  Just.sit.still.  Not for the whole morning – let’s not go crazy.  Watch the sun rise – it’s a methodical process and involves moving with determination and inevitability, but it is also slow enough to relish.

Before you jump into the frenetic response to emails that relentlessly poured into your inbox – wait a second.  Make a short list – what unequivocally has to be done today, which employees are you going to make it a point to see, is there a more efficient way to follow up on incomplete items from last week?  Can you pick up the phone and talk instead of beginning an endless email chain?  What is one thing you could do this week to reinforce your effectiveness?  One thing.  If this question was posed to you by your boss, with the additional caveat that you had to come up with a suggestion – what would it be?  This is the thought for the morning’s drive to work, or the moment between conference calls or when you walk the stairs from one floor to the other.  One thing.  Just think of the satisfaction you would derive from adjusting, substituting or introducing one new approach to your day.  I’m not even going to ask what could happen if you posed this question to yourself on a more regular basis.  You might actually enjoy your day instead of anticipating its end.

So – what are you going to do?  Please let me know – and whatever you do – have a magnificent Monday!

friendship, humor, life lessons, love

A Royal Revelation

It’s been a stunning morning – literally.  I was watching the coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and suddenly it hit me.  Bear with me now…I think I am royalty.

I know – it shocked me too.  But frankly, there have been many subtle, and not-so-subtle clues about my true lineage, that when considered in their totality seem to reinforce this belief.  I began to give this more thought in the shower, and as slowly as the shampoo meandered down the drain, certain memories crept to the fore of my increasingly clean head.  Consider the following:

1.  My sister used to tell me I was adopted.

2.  After hearing the story of “The Princess And The Pea”, she put a Wiffle golf ball under my mattress, and…wait for it…I had a bruise the next morning!

3.  My first wedding occurred when I was eight years old.  It was pre-arranged as are many royal weddings, undoubtedly a marriage more of bungalows and favorable real estate in the Catskills, than affection.  That said, Stevie Kurstein was very cute, never hurled spit balls at me and I think we made a lovely couple.  My sister officiated and as I recall all the local glitterati were in attendance.  I wore a tiara  (it’s getting clearer to you now too, isn’t it?), a faux mink stole, bermuda shorts and patent leather Mary Janes.  I remember not being able to find my Cinderella-like clear slippers (which are now a  fashion ‘do’ if you like to dance on the pole, if you know what I mean), so the patent leather had to do.  The reception at the Dairy Barn was nothing short of the event of the summer.  Sometime later the marriage was nullified, though the details are somewhat hazy to me.

4.  Good manners were essential in our house.  How to speak to grown-ups appropriately – mandatory; how to set the table correctly for a multiple-course meal – compulsory.  We were expected to be gracious and arguably were held to a stricter standard than most of our friends.  Even dad occasionally lifted his pinky when drinking coffee.  In retrospect, this was probably part of their subtle efforts to groom me for my inevitable future.  Mom would even ask, “Is this the way you would eat if you were dining with the Queen?”  I mean – could it be more obvious??  I needed to be prepared for my coronation and the festivity to follow, confident that I wouldn’t slurp my soup or hit the tines of my fork against my teeth.  She didn’t want me to embarrass myself.  Sigh…had I only known.

5.  I was taught to sit both English and Western saddles (presumably the latter in case I was asked to go riding with an American politician or celebrity – or both).  True, I never developed an appreciation for the hunt, but I do love dogs and I definitely can put together a beautiful pre-hunt spread.

6.  Our family history meets the criteria of questionable characters and mischief-making.  Unrequited childhood crushes on cousins, marriages, divorces, too much flirting amongst the adults for my sister and I to fully understand (though we knew it was salacious – well, we didn’t use that adjective necessarily, but we knew enough to put a glass up against the wall to try and listen to what was going on), days and nights of reckless abandon (actually that was my entire first two years of college…).  There were some annus horribilus (or is it ‘horribili’)  for us as well – all part of the mantle one wears I suppose.  There were even odes written to my loveliness (ok, that’s not true, they were more like “There once was a girl from Jackson Heights…”).

7.  My mom used to tell me that she never imagined me to be the type to work as hard as I did.  Rather, she pictured me “sitting by a pool, eating bon bons”.  You might take this to mean that she viewed me as a non-contributing sloth, but I think she was trying to tell me that I was supposed to answer to a different calling.

8.  My sons are princes among men.  Brilliant, handsome, charming – who as teenagers also knew how to party with regal flair and flourish.

9.  As a child, I used to tie a blanket around my neck and pretend it was my ermine cape; my baton was my scepter.  I still have the scepter – two actually.  They’re made of titanium and are strategically placed on either side of my spine.  I don’t have any ermine, but my mom’s mink coat hangs in our closet.

10. I love a good handbag, and my nieces used to ask if they would inherit my jewelry when I died.

11. My home is my castle.  True, I define ‘castle’ quite loosely.

12. My virtues are more symbolic than actual.

Ok, there you have it…my mind is just reeling trying to absorb all of this.  I realize the likelihood of my assumption to royal status is a flight of fancy.  I am destined to remain anonymous and one of the people.  Alas, I will take pride in being a mini-matriarch of all that I survey and love.  I am now going to hold my freshly washed head high and drive to the supermarket.