Proud to be a Geek

Yes, I am a geek and I am proud of it.  There I said it!

Last week my friend Brad teased me because I was studying for my upcoming fantasy football drafts. He said I was a fantasy geek. I said there is a big difference in fantasy football champion and fantasy football geek.  He said geek. I admit that I was slightly offended and uncomfortable with the term.  The more I thought of it, yes, I am a geek.   If GEEK stands for Gives Everything Excels Keeper, then yes I am a geek.    

I was surprised when I searched for the term geek how many different images and quotes came up. It seems I am not the only one who has a change of attitude about the word.

“The word ‘geek’ today does not mean what it used to mean. A geek isn’t the skinny kid with a pocket protector and acne. There can be computer geeks, video game geeks, car geeks, military geeks, and sports geeks. Being a geek just means that you’re passionate about something.” – Olivia Munn

Merriam-Webster defines geek as 1) a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off of a live chicken or snake [yikes not me], 2) a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked [sometimes me], and 3) an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity [yes me].

I love playing fantasy football and take it seriously. I have played for 21 years. When I started playing, I was the only female. I loved the name “The Ballbusters” because it has a double meaning. Until I can longer bust their balls, I won’t change the name.  In my SportsCom League, I am proud “The Ballbusters” are the all-time leader in winning percentage and have the most championship titles with 5. I also play in Texas League and have placed second several times.  I may write a future blog on fantasy football strategy.

I love learning.  I would be a lifetime student if I could afford it.  I always strive to make good grades, particularly if I am paying for the class. I tease that an “A” is adequate and a”B” is bad. In high school, I preferred the middle section. Now, I prefer the front row. I can see the screen better, and it keeps me engaged in the lesson. For me, it is too easy to be distracted in the back row.

If my name is attached to something, I want to do it well.  I put in the time and effort needed to do it well. Whether it is my career, serving as a volunteer, doing a hobby, or with relationships; I give it my all.  I believe that if something is worth keeping, I give everything to excel at it. Hence the acronym GEEK.

So, after thinking that a being a geek was uncool for most of my life. I am now proud to say that I am a geek.  It is cool and maybe even a little sexy!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on being a geek. Are you one? Do you want your family or mate to be one? Has your opinion of the word changed?

…. And Life Goes on.  Now If I could just find that geeky guy from the front row in high school who is now very handsome, sexy and successful…… big grin. 

 

The Pain of a Layoff

Being laid-off is like having food poisoning, you only really know how it feels when it happens to you! It doesn’t matter if you were personally singled out in a restructure (aka a polite word for we don’t want you any more) or part of a larger workforce reduction – it hurts!  It is personal.

A few months ago, I threw out this topic idea on LinkedIn and was surprised at the number of responses I received.  Here are the most common phrases used during my interviews with other victims: traumatic, complete surprise, devastated, blind-sided, disrespected, betrayed, and life-changing. Regardless of their loyalty to their boss or the company, seniority, ethics, character and work history – it happened and it hurt.

The most important factor in how a person felt about the decision maker and the company itself was in how the message was delivered and how the exit process played out.  Delivering the message with humanity softened the blow.  Treating people, the person being laid-off and their co-workers, with respect and compassion encouraged acceptance.

People who were treated with respect, allowed to gracefully leave the premises, and to say goodbye, generally regarded the company as being good despite having a disappointing ending. People who were treated more like a criminal or like they were fired, generally had very negative feelings about the company.

For many people, they were forced to leave their field or industry, accept a lower title and/or salary, or take a temporary contract.  It was more difficult to find a similar position when the person was over 50.

For me, the unthinkable happened on August 29, 2013.  After almost 10 years with Altitude, I was told that I was being restructured out of a job.  It was the politically correct way for Kim to say that she wanted to bring in her own guy.  Sadly so, my final moments spent at the network that I helped to build were humiliating.  I felt disrespectful and betrayed.  I was crushed. It was not the ending I had wanted, for me or my team.

In addition the anger and sadness, I had an identity crisis.  Since I was 19, I was thankful to be in the sports television business. I was proud of my career and all that I had earned.  In an instant, my title and my great job had been stripped away.  For the first time in my life, I was unemployed. After thousands of tears, I realized that my title and the company I work for does not define me. My talents and my actions define me. They can’t take that away.

I was taught that if you worked hard with good ethics that you could be anything you wanted to be. I was taught that how you work is more important than the work you do. I was taught that loyalty to a company will be rewarded and returned. The reality is that these things are important and should be honored. The harsher reality is that the scales of your fate can be tipped by economics or simply by the choice made by someone else.

If you know someone who has been the victim of a layoff, be kind and compassionate. You don’t know how it feels unless it has happened to you. Being laid-off is the dramatic ending of a relationship. People need time to go through each stage of grief. Each person deals with it in their own time and in their own way. Remember that it could happen to you too. No title is sacred and no person is immune.

Everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for each of us and we are in the place He wants us to be.  I pray that God will continue to heal each of us and our families from the the pain caused by the layoff.  I pray that we will have better and more-fulfilling jobs.  I pray that we will have a better work-life balance.  I pray that we will be able to remember the good times at that company and to forget the bad.  I pray that it never happens to us again.

And life goes on……

My To Do List

It’s time that I put ‘me’ and ‘enjoy the journey’ higher on my to do list.  My guess is that this is true for many of you!  Do you feel guilty when you want time for yourself?  Do you feel like you will never get through your to do list?  When is the last time you – Relaxed? Took a nap? Called an old friend? Let the chores go undone and just had fun with family and friends? Smelled the Roses?  This blog was inspired by the song “My List” performed by Toby Keith, lyrics are in italics.

“It is time that I make time for that.”  I am a type A, get ‘er done personality.  My son teases me that I make lists to make lists.  I am one of the most productive, efficient and organized people I know.  I love to volunteer and willingly do things for others.  I am a ‘give it my all or nothing’ kind of person.  For most of my adult life,  I have gone through the hurried motions in life’s journey as if it were a race. Looking back, I wish I would have allowed myself to simply enjoy the journey more often.

I need to make it a priority for the things that make me happy such as building relationships,  travel, photography, and to check things off my bucket list.   I will still do more in a day than most.  The difference is now I want to embrace and enjoy this journey with the same importance.  Life is short, let’s make the best of it while we can.

Last Saturday, I had a first date for lunch and a trip to the zoo.  It was great!  I got to know him better, took photos, and enjoyed God’s creations. We loved the different colors, smells, build, and behaviors of the animals.  He held an umbrella over my head so that my camera and I would stay dry.  I am glad I didn’t have a plan or a list, I simply allowed myself to enjoy this journey.

“Look up a long-lost friend of mine.”  With very little effort, old friends become current friends again.  It is time well spent.

I am still a list person and always will be.  I found a great free app called Wunderlist. You can set up as many lists as you want, all of the data is in one place.  I have lists for groceries, home projects, work, weekend chores, blog topic ideas and a bucket list.  I just added a new one – My Journey list.

“Just start livin’, that is the next thing on my list.”   What should be on your list that isn’t?  What is on your list that should be removed or can wait?  Do you allow yourself to simply enjoy this wonderful journey called life?  How?

…… And life goes on.

Courtesy: “My List” was written by Tim James and Rand Bishop, Performed by Toby Keith.

One Call Away

Yesterday has passed and tomorrow is a gift not a promise.  This edition was inspired by Charlie Puth’s song “One Call Away” lyrics – “I’m only one call away, I’ll be there to save the day, Superman’s got nothing on me, I’m only one call away. No matter where you go, you know you’re not alone”.   The simple act of making a phone call can make a big impact to strengthen a friendship or a professional relationship.

In today’s world of electronic communication, often people will send a text or an email.  This works well for many types of communication.  However, the act of a the personal connection from a phone call will make a longer-lasting impression and have a greater impact.

One day last September I was in the darkest place I had ever been in my life.  I was angry, sad, heartbroken, afraid and lonely.  I truly felt the crushing impact of disappointment, distress and despair. Then my dear friend Kathy called.  Just two simple words “Hey Girlfriend” made a world of difference!  Just hearing the sound of her voice, her laughter, and the memory of her beautiful smile brought me out of the darkness and into the light.  I never told her the depth of what I was feeling moments before she called. We talked about many other things in life – our families, my work, former colleagues, holidays and sports. We shared stories about her late Mother, Theresa, whom I adored.  This put a huge smile on my face and warmed my heart.  We only briefly discussed the man who caused most of my pain.

I truly believe that the good Lord and Theresa sent my angel Kathy to pull me out of my very dark place.  A text or an email would not have done it, only the personal connection of a phone call would do.

After the call, I promised to make it a priority to call at least one person and to mail one note card each month.  Just to say hello and thank them for being a part of my life. We are all crazy busy and let other things get in the way of our relationships with friends and colleagues. There is no apology needed, only a commitment to do better in the future.  I challenge you to make the same commitment.   I believe that we will be richly rewarded for our efforts.

I urge you to take the extra effort and time to pick up the phone and call the person who has been on your mind. You may their angel, their gift, their rock.   Please do not worry that you are catching them at a bad time; if so, they will tell you. I urge you to buy some note cards and quickly write a note. Twenty years ago, we received far more snail mail than email. These days receiving real mail is such a treat!

I believe the greatest gift we can give someone is our undivided attention. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is the reward from nurturing our relationships.  Take action now, tomorrow is a gift not a promise.

Is there someone in your life who you should be calling now?  Have you had a similar experience when a simple phone call lifted you up?

…..   And life goes on.

 

Link to Charlie Puth’s video for the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxuY9FET9Y4

 

 

 

Be Present In This Moment

This blog is for anyone who is over stressed, over worked, over scheduled, and overwhelmed.  This post may be helpful for anyone trying to be everything to everyone and feeling like they are not doing any of it very well.   I have felt this way many times!!!

Not the Real Me

When Johnathan was in pre-K, I decided that we needed counseling.  As a young single Mother, I needed some help on how to deal with a highly energetic, strong-willed and sometimes angry child. During one of the sessions, the therapist asked me about my typical week.  As I gave the details of working full-time in a very male dominated industry, starting a college degree, helping with Johnathan’s athletics, taking care of my house, and trying to be a good friend and family member.  I broke down in tears.   I was stressed out and overwhelmed.   The more I tried to do, the more I felt like a failure.

My parents told me that I could be anything and everything as long as I worked hard at it.  What they failed to tell me was that it could be exhausting and overwhelming!   I thought I could be Wonder Woman, Super Woman, Betty Crocker and Tim Allen all wrapped in one.  In doing so, I felt guilty all the time.   I felt guilty about work when I was at home. I felt guilty at home when I was at work. I tried to be the best at everything but I felt like I was failing at everything. In reality, I wasn’t.

The therapist said that she thought I was one of the most amazing, talented, and strong women she had ever known.  She said that she wished that I could see myself through her eyes, I only needed to learn one important lesson.  Drum roll please, this is the best advice I have ever received… Be present in the moment you are in.  Be present – give whatever you are doing your complete attention.

It works!  When I learned to focus more on the task at hand, rather than doing it halfway and thinking about a thousand other things at the same time, I felt better.  Sure, I am the Queen of multitasking and scheduling but it only goes so far.   Devote time to each of your tasks, allow time for interruptions, and focus. Then move onto to your next task or role.   In doing so, you will feel like you have accomplished more with less and have greater sense of satisfaction!

Kaden

When I got home from work, I asked Johnathan (and then later his daughter Meghan) to give me 5 minutes to change my clothes, then I would be there for them. I would give him/her my undivided attention for 15-30 minutes.  Then I would get him/her started on a project in the same room I was in – either homework, drawing, or better yet, helping with the household chores.   Children can help do many chores – load the washer or dryer, sweep the floor, fold towels, water plants, set the table, help cook, etc…. Yes, they won’t do it exactly as good as we can do it, but it will be good enough.  They will love being a “big kid”.  I learned the hard way, if I didn’t give him/her positive attention when I got home, they would act out  in order to get my attention, and no good would come of it.  In reality, the same can be said for children, teenagers and adults – often negative attention is better than no attention.

To make it even more challenging in today’s world,  now we have to compete with the electronic leash (cell phone, tablet, laptop and the like).  These are an added form of time consuming distractions!

I believe that the greatest gift I can give someone or something is my undivided attention.  I believe the greatest gift I can give myself is to simply be present in the moment I am in.  I can be anything I set my mind to, just not all at once, and that is good enough.

What is the best advice you ever received?   How do you deal with the stress of being overloaded?

….. And life goes on.