7th Inning Slump

Ugh, it has been a tough week so far as getting out and moving is concerned. One of my biggest struggles is putting myself first when it comes to exercise. I fool myself with the early morning thought and plan that I will get to it after I’ve had a cup of coffee then when that doesn’t happen, at lunch which turns to I will get to it before dinner then after dinner… Before I know it, the day has passed and I have not exercised. Typically, I’ve gotten a lot of other stuff done just no exercise.

The other night I had a dream that I was running again. Fortunately, in the dream, I wasn’t running away from anything rather running for fitness and pleasure. It felt great. I woke up pondering if that was a sign that it was time to get back to it. Then I finished a book on Kindle and was looking for another in my library to start seeing that one of my unread downloads was A Beautiful Work in Progress written by Mirna Valerio, a unique and inspiring ultra-distance runner. The desire to run again is bubbling right at the surface – now to put desire and action together.

A good thing, health and fitness-wise that has happened this week, is that I have started a 12-week program focused on nutrition and movement aimed at women 40+. The first week has started with writing down foods consumed. What I have noticed is that I am sorely lacking in fruit and vegetable consumption! It’s amazing what we find out about ourselves when we start paying attention to our patterns and habits.

The building desire to run again plus the 12-weeks program hitting together will hopefully help to bring me out of this current fitness slump, moving me in a healthier direction which if the stars align and the gods are on my side will help me shed some of these extra pounds! To be continued…

 

Walking with a Broken Heart

Alicia Keys has this beautiful, sad song called “Sleeping with a Broken Heart.” During times of heartache and pain, it flows through my head on repeat which is at once comforting but also further exacerbates my feelings of sadness.

Today, I was walking with a broken heart. My boo and I had a disagreement yesterday then he cut off communication with me, not sending a good night or replying to the one I sent, not answering my phone call, then waiting until mid-morning to call me back.

Needless to say, my sleep last night was punctuated with multiple awake spells where my brain was running away. Fortunately, I had a book that I would read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any more then fall back asleep until the next jolt of worry, sadness, anger, anxiety shook me awake. And, of course, around 4 am there was a catfight in my driveway!

Disagreements and hurt feelings are part of most any relationship whether it is parent-child, sibling-sibling, friend-friend or boo-boo. We have had our share of disagreements here lately which he and I approach differently though in the end have come back together for a resolution. Today, I’m not feeling confident about our walking toward one another and meeting in the middle for resolution. It remains to be seen. I’m hopeful that we will because I do love him dearly.

One of the best ways for me to stay sane during stressful times such as this is through physical activity. It would be easy for me to allow myself to slip into my black hole of depression and anxiety but I’m not going to do that this time. I felt the draw of the couch this morning, thinking a day of mind-numbing movies would be the thing but instead of giving in to that, I put on my walking shoes and went for a brisk walk. I am still sad, confused, and hurt but I feel a little bit stronger and more capable after taking myself on a walk.

What will be the outcome of this? Will I continue walking with a broken heart for a while? I don’t know. To wrap on a platitude, it will be what it will be. I know, either way, I will eventually be fine and keep moving forward.

Bloodletting

Yesterday, I gave a double donation of blood affectionately called a “Power Red” by the American Red Cross. Being a ginger, I know in my heart that this is my superhero name and that giving life through blood donation is my superpower! Aside from donating an organ, donating blood is the next best way to save a life and has a shorter recovery time plus the post-donation snacks are usually on-point. Though this time, there were no Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookies…

If you’ve never given a “Power Red,” it’s a cool process where you’re hooked up to a special machine that takes a pint of blood separates it into whole blood and platelets then when the whole blood bag is filled returns the platelets mixed with saline. It takes you through that process twice. The benefits of this include giving a double donation in one sitting, more time in between donations, and the blood is partially processed making it ready for donation sooner.

Donating blood is something that I consistently do and feel is an important way to give back. To date, I am only a pint shy of having donated 2 liters of blood! There is always a shortage and crisis when it comes to blood supplies. I routinely encourage people to donate, in turn often hear a variety of reasons they don’t give. One is that they don’t’ like needles…I don’t particularly like needles; I can’t stomach the look of the needle going into my arm. I look away when they are sticking me and I ask that my arm is covered once we get things going. People are also afraid that they will pass out. Only twice have I felt like that was going to happen – both times I hadn’t eaten enough prior to the donation. The donation team works fast when a person indicates that she feels woozy – legs are popped into the air, above the heart, and apple juice is quickly administered.

According to some research, there are also personal health benefits to donating blood that I hadn’t previously realized. To donate blood, you have to have a certain level of iron in your blood – not too much or too little. Donating regularly can help lower your risk of elevated iron levels which can wreak havoc on your system putting your liver, heart, and pancreas at risk for a myriad of issues. Check out this blog post from brms on the health benefits of blood donation.

There are a variety of ways that one can donate. An old friend, when she could donate, always gave “peds packs” which is the same amount as whole blood donation put into smaller bags and used in pediatric cases, there are the Power Reds which we’ve discussed, standard whole blood donations, platelet, and plasma donations. All are needed.

If your company, school, or a community organization is hosting a blood drive, sign up! You can also make an appointment at your local blood donation center. You won’t regret the time you spend to give someone another chance at life.

Kindness as Currency

By John R. Nocero, PhD, MBA, CCRP, GCP, CC, ACB & Katherine J. Pryor, MPM

There is no doubt about it, being a project manager is a tough gig! If you are a project manager or have ever thought about jumping into the field, you may have heard it described as being akin to the task of herding cats – feral cats at that. There are competing priorities amongst often disjointed teams that directly impact the budget and timelines; the project sponsor is often guilty of expanding the scope without increasing the budget or timelines; and there is the ever-present issue of project quality and risk mitigation. On top of all that, there are still people out there who do not understand the role of the project manager and foster uncertainty as to the important and positive influence a strong project manager can have on overall project outcomes.

Unfortunately, many project managers are perceived as edgy and hurried people unwilling to listen. Other complaints have been that project managers will not heed their functional lead’s advice or take direction well, and are basically not kind or pleasant people to be around. This perception is especially strong with internal team members where many team members avoid interaction with the project manager. Does it have to be so? My answer is no. Jill Lublin, international speaker and author of The Profit of Kindness agrees. In her book, she discusses that kindness is a type of currency that can be successfully used in business relationships to foster better relationships thereby increasing a company’s bottom line.

It is possible to be an effective project manager AND a pleasant person with who people enjoy working. In fact, kindness is a critical trait for a strong project manager to possess. At the end of the day, effective project management is about relationships – relationships with internal teams, sponsors, any external vendors, and all other players who may present during the project life cycle. In order to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships, one must be somewhat likeable and being kind to those around us is a way to be perceived as likeable. The old saying, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” certainly rings true in the project management realm.

Relationships with internal team members are often the most strained because it is from those internal teams that the project manager must make the magic happen. Internal teams often feel overwrought and underappreciated therefore are most likely to protest requirements and timelines. Taking time to develop mutually beneficial working relationships with internal team members yields positive project results. A relatively painless first step for project managers is to slow down and listen to what is being said by the internal team(s). From these types of interactions, there is likely beneficial insight that helps identify potential risks; provides solutions to tricky problems; or introduces time-saving options.  If none any of those, at least it was a show of respect from the project manager to internal team member(s). Everyone appreciates being heard.

Overall, it costs nothing for a project manager to be kind but the returns for relationship development with internal team members are priceless.

References

Lublin, Jill (2017). The Profit of Kindness: How to Influence Others, Establish Trust, and Build Lasting Business Relationships. The Career Press, Inc. Wayne, NJ. USA

Weinstein, Bob (2017). https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/27360/How-to-Use-Kindness-as-a-Business-Tool Retrieved 20 Aug 2017

 

Charlottesville

Truly, I did not think that the topic of my first “real” blog post would be about racism and violence but with the events this weekend in Charlottesville, VA that topic is weighing heavy on my heart and mind. These are my thoughts, feelings, and observations.

Many of my friends, acquaintances, and I are asking the question “how, in 2017, is this still happening?” Quite frankly, it’s still happening because we have yet to deal with the root causes and the institutionalized racism that keeps us where we are with people growing angrier and more disenfranchised. This latest incident in Charlottesville has yet to spark the level of outrage and action we should expect to see from our president. There are reports of counter-protesters having been beaten yards from the police station with no police involvement to stop the event.

My son is bi-racial. About a year ago there was another event that caused me to actually be grateful that he looks more like me (white) than his dad (black). The thought was unsolicited and passed through my mind in a flash. It shocked me a little bit but I didn’t try to justify it or think something different. I own that I had that thought and use it as fuel to action. No parent should have to fear for their child’s safety because of the color of their skin though it happens daily. A high school friend of mine recently stepped in to help a friends of her sons’ who is black. He had been stopped by the local police and the situation was escalating. This was a “good” kid who is in high school, plays sports, and is in general not a trouble-maker. My friend was fearful for the kid’s safety and said it was one of the most frightening situations she has encountered.

As a parent, I want my son to be able to go places and experience a multitude of things without the fear of being harassed or watched more closely because of the color of his skin. And he can do that. He is a skinny, tan kid with unruly curls and a happy smile. Parents of other races and religions want the same damn thing for their children and why should they not have it??

The Alt-Right, the KKK, and white supremacists who identify with other groups all seek to maintain this sense of control and power. We outnumber them – we have to ensure that we do not let their scare tactics and violence deter us from action and we must act. Silence is no longer acceptable as it shows consent. I will not consent to these people taking away my country.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela

TEACH AND LIVE LOVE – HATE WILL NOT WIN