The Business Meeting and the Ego

My world and you need to change to fit it…

Why do some folks believe that the world should change to suit them?  They mire themselves in secret authority to try to convince the world that they alone know what is right and correct in all processes?

When confronted, you may ask them “you would like for ‘them’ to change the process so that your job is easier, but why should they?”  The culprit will flail around with righteousness, “doesn’t everyone see how correct I am?  Doesn’t everyone see that I should not need to work this hard?”

Conversations can be so difficult because of the conceptual depths of the conversation.  Sometimes there are so many sub-texts it makes my head spin.  Each person in the room seems desperate to hang onto their own identity and authority.  Each person wants to present themselves as powerful and all-knowing.  Very few in the room are content to listen and observe, those that are will often pose disdainfully, as if the meeting is a huge inconvenience to their own schedule.

Then there is the struggle: the sub-text of US vs. THEM!  Each and every meeting I have been in, over the entire span of my career had this sub-text woven into all of the conversations.  If it was a management meeting, the THEM = staff members and workers, if it was an administrative meeting, the THEM = the program staff.  You can always count on a THEM.

Often, the most pressing reason for this behavior (US vs. THEM) is to establish oneself as blameless; indeed a tremendous amount of energy is used to prove a victim status – if it is at all possible to do.  It’s appalling to see self-respecting managers work so hard to shift blame from themselves to others.  It is well deserved in the case of an authoritarian leader who enjoys blaming her managers.  If you work in such an environment, then pity is well deserved.  And in that case, blame shifting is a necessary means of survival.  However, for the most part, blame shifting is all about preserving my image of myself as an all-knowing and wise person who rarely makes a mistake.  This is the ego at work, and sometimes, I just want to say, “hey, can you bring your entire self to these meetings so that we don’t spend half of our time soothing your egos?”

The point is, how do we ever get down to the task at hand?  I learned a long time ago, to wrap up a meeting with a summary and a specific list of chores.  Sometimes, even this type of reiteration is not enough to jar people into focusing on the real issues rather than their own personal reality.  Therein lies the frustration, getting to the tasks at hand.  I would rather look to the chores that must be done than to have to attend to the myriad of sub-texts that are in the room, sometimes undetected, often unaddressed and always unproductive.


Some Truth for the New Year

Accept yearning in your life, you do NOT have to fulfill every desire.

Everything WILL change, you can’t stop it.

Will this matter in two years?  Study it, look at it, decide it: if it will not matter in two years, save your energy.  Don’t give energy to the unnecessary.

Don’t imagine that anyone is better than you, they are not.  Much of life is luck, you nor they control circumstance.  Some people will have better circumstances, some people will have terrible circumstances.  This is true.

Memories are nice, but they are not now.

Remember that big companies have proven that they do not want to “save you money” and remember that advertising is highly successful because it “makes you think…”  Consequently, beware, if you “buy into” the concepts that Coca Cola is about love and McDonalds is about home and hearth, then you have been fooled and you will buy products that do harm to your body.  The same is true for the “new” big companies including the “Whole Foods Grocery” stores.  It is up to you to take responsibility for researching reality.

Other people’s thoughts and actions are not within your purview, you cannot control other people.  Accept this idea and make decisions from this knowledge.

Doing hurtful things to others is NEVER okay or correct.  Those who do harm must be restrained.


Some Moments Describe Your Life…

No moment defines it.

A moment in time...

A moment in time…


Kim What’s-her-Name (Davis)

Beauty and love come from unusual places.

Beauty and love come from unusual places.

The Kentucky Clerk who believes she is above the law and can behave badly to same sex couples-
I’m not upset by this horrible woman’s horribleness. Others have said it well “haters are gonna hate”! She can be angry and sanctimonious, I don’t care. She is judgmental and reveals her bitterness by voicing her false belief about her own piety. She is not a pious woman, instead she is one who excuses herself and condemns others. This is such a common human practice! Most people will excuse their own behaviors easily with reasons that they hold dear. The same people will say, “oh, look at that bad behavior”, only when observing others!
This is my upset ness: don’t blame yourself on Jesus or on God. You are not behaving badly, meanly to humans, because you are a Christian. Christianity would never advocate for such treatment of others.
Secondly, “why do I have to see you at all? You don’t deserve a news broadcast, I don’t deserve to have to see you.” Better that I never knew about you and your meanness.
“Please, leave Kim What’s-her-Name out of our next news cast, we don’t want to see her meanness anymore.”


Specificity can be a virtue: Vague generalities are the antithesis of clear communication

To understand the virtues of specificity it’s important to understand the constructs of thinking. Thinking is often a product of belief systems. Belief systems live in our minds and like all living creatures want terribly to survive. Unfortunately, the survival of a belief system means the death of all contrary evidence to the belief system. For example, if I am a long-time supervisor who believes that workers are lazy, I will not open my eyes nor acknowledge energetic and motivated individuals on my staff. I will discount their efforts and emphasize every 15 minute break that they take, even during a 12 hour shift. I will be unreasonable in my blind belief that I am correct and workers – are in fact – lazy.
As I communicate from my belief structure, instead of communicating based on what happens right now, I must cover up the contrary evidence that disputes my belief and this I do by being general and vague about the evidence supporting my beliefs. I will say “look at those lazy people, trying to nap during break time!” I will not comprehend that Tom is napping because he has a newborn at home, I will not comprehend that Debbie is napping because she was up all night with an upset stomach. The point of vague generalities is to cover up the truth of what is happening right now. Only evidence to support my belief will be allowed into my comprehension and conversation.
The other issue of generalities is that they lead to great misunderstandings and generate a need for clarification. If you send a memo to all staff that says “your work is incomplete, please complete ASAP.” You are generalizing because perhaps you are unable to specifically confront those who do not complete their work. The staff that has completed their work will wonder if they have forgotten something, the staff that has not completed their work, will know that you are uncomfortable with confrontation and therefore will not be motivated by these generalities. So, in addition to the issue of incomplete work, everyone knows that work completion is negotiable. After all, if you won’t confront the non-performers, only the self-motivated will ever get the work done. Those staff members who motivate themselves will continue to do so. Those staff that cannot finish the work will eventually cause a loss in morality for others and will eventually have to go. There is no productive outcome here, it is one and the same, generalities do not provide clear communication.
Another way to love your belief system is to ignore two way communications completely. Why have a conversation with another person, when you can make it all up in your head rather than reaching out and talking with the other person? Your vague generalities go unnoticed and unchallenged, and isn’t that the best way to be right – about everything?


Shutter Island

He asked “would you rather live as a monster, or die as a good man?” As he walked towards the death of his consciousness.


It Was my Mother and Father…

They are the two who taught me the difference between emotional intelligence and the intelligence quotient. My father was a genius, my mother not so much, in the realm of intelligence. My mother understood every nuance of human feelings and behavior. My mother’s gifts were not valued and my father’s gifts were valued. It must have been hard for my mother to realize the social significance of her talents – it couldn’t have been easy to hear “what is you, does not count in society”. My father was a member of the cohort that established IQ testing as a scientific concept. He was in the armed forces in the 40s and 50s when the concepts were being experimented with. He was a superstar who always scored higher than others.
It is a bleak reality of that time in our country that my mother suffered so much. It is even ironic that my mother was the more successful of the two of them. It was my mother who got a job with a living income, it was my mother who supported us, not my father.
My father wandered the country eschewing things such as employment and stability, always looking to the next rainbow for satisfaction and happiness.
Now that I am who I am – I thank destiny every day that I had these two to raise me. For whatever reason I ended up with my father’s conflicted brain, but having had my mother as my touchstone, I have a deep appreciation for the emotions and for love. It was my mother who taught me the good of life.
It is for this reason (appreciation for other human characteristics) that I am able to listen to my husband. My husband taught me to reach out to those I love and tell them how important they are to me. My husband taught me to have infinite patience with those who struggle to find their way. If not for the love of my mother and father – both – I don’t think I would be able to value who we are and who we are meant to be.


Focused Consciousness

The way to make things happen out of thin air.


This OR That

I was listening to my friend describe her new man friend and I began to get a bit uncomfortable.  According to my friend, her new boyfriend is a very generous man who gave his home and everything in it to his ex-wife.  He also told her about how generous he was to his ex-girlfriend showering gifts on her that she kept after they broke up.  As proof of his largesse he even showed my friend his ex-wife’s big beautiful house that he paid for.

My friend then proceeded to tell me how her new man friend reported being angry that women “always take advantage” of him.  He said that he is such a great guy and so generous that he gave everything away.  This has made him angry and explains why he has had angry outbursts with my friend…

No, I don’t think so – not any of it.  First of all, if you are generous, that is you giving to another.  Generous people do not get a return for their gift; that would belie the meaning of the word “gift”.  How is it possible to be taken advantage of, if you are giving?  The only explanation is that you expected something in return for your gift.  You expected a return on your investment – which again – is NOT a gift.

That is why I say this OR that, because either you are a generous soul who has given to other human souls freely – or more likely – a person who wants something in return for your monetary gifts to others.


Don’t Give Up Your Body

Your body is yours and nothing changes that.  You own it and you manage it, no matter what.  You cannot say “my job is so stressful that I have high blood pressure”.  You don’t own your job the way that you own your body.  Don’t invite an outside force inside that does damage!

Please don’t say “this job is making my blood pressure go higher.”  Or, “this job is giving me an ulcer.” Or, “Mexican food gives me heartburn.”  The only accurate way to express what is happening to your body is to say “I haven’t made the correct decisions to keep my blood pressure down.”  Or, “I don’t know how to reduce my ulcer pain.” Or, “the way to stop heartburn is to stop eating the food that causes it.”

It is difficult and perhaps very difficult to make our body happy, but it is well worth the effort.  It takes accountability to have a healthy body.  Note that I did not say beautiful or well formed, I said a healthy body.

Part of the challenge of maintaining health is that in our culture we equate youth and beauty with health, but in keeping with the old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover” looks can be very deceiving.  I know young people who have never eaten anything but MacDonald’s and have very well formed bodies.  The well-formed body belies the fact that the body is unhealthy.

Most importantly, don’t surrender your body to any other force.  When you say that something outside of you is forcing your body into an unhealthy condition, you are, in effect, allowing that force to control you.

This is not to say that if you choose, you will be completely healthy forever.  It means that in so far as you are able, it is up to you to maintain and improve your health.  I recently watched a YouTube video with a young man who has Cystic Fibrosis.  He understood his disease and he understood that his role included taking responsibility for completing treatments every single day of his life.  No one can say that he could have done anything to avoid Cystic Fibrosis, yet he takes a very responsible role with his body and his disease.

It is not even possible anymore to blame your weight on the food manufacturing or restaurant industries.  You have to be illiterate and possibly even blind and deaf to not understand the connection between sugar, alcohol, animal fats, chemicals and a loss of health.

I believe that this is why so many people speak a language of irresponsibility – folks do not want to say, oh yes, it is I who have eaten and drunk to the point of disease and death.  Folks want to say, that it is someone else who did it to them.

Don’t be that person.  Be the person who stands up and says, my body belongs to me.  I am in charge of what goes into my body.  I am in charge of how active I am.  I am in charge of the chemicals that I ingest.  You can do everything in YOUR power to make your body healthy and live long enough to enjoy retirement and grandchildren.  Or if not that, then perhaps travel and friendship, it is up to you…All of it.