Tag Archives: Attitude

Go For It and Carry a Hello Kitty™ Lunchbox

There is a constant yin-yang between wanting to fit in and expressing individuality.  We somehow think that we will leave this behind when we cross the threshold to adulthood and finally be comfortable, but find soon enough – drat it all – that this balance is a life-long pursuit in our personal and professional lives.  And balance is probably not the best word because how few of us ever feel that we have found just the right weighting of each element?  (Or even in those sweet moments that we do, how quickly something changes again.)


We progress through life attempting to figure out how to fit in within ourselves and also within various groups.  Do I?  Should I?  How was that?  Validation is sweet.  Small set-backs in one area can ripple through our impression of placement in other areas painfully and quickly.  Seismic moments of uncertainty can make us want to jump in bed, pull the covers up and figure out how to be a hermit.


I have been able to find my way through life, so far, in a manner that has allowed me to sample many geographic areas, various groups – formal and informal, and provided latitude to explore different ideas.  I have soared and I have stumbled, mostly plodded along at a fairly steady pace.  It has helped that my mom shared her infinite curiosity and my dad shared his determination.  These traits have served me well and stand in place of confidence and assuredness when necessary, plus make room for all sorts of adjustments here and there.


About that Hello Kitty™ lunchbox – I am drawn to her calm, serene thoroughly pleased countenance.  But I was too old when she first came into popularity because she was marketed to girls several years younger than me.  Purportedly then, I was much too old when she came back to prominence a few years ago.  But a funny thing had happened in the years between.  I got comfortable enough with my sense of self that I could indulge in the whimsy that Hello Kitty™ offered, despite my advanced age.


When I received said lunchbox as a gift my practical side said, this will be more useful and less wasteful than paper bags; and my creative self said, what a great thing to give me a smile every day.  I was firmly on the leadership track at work by then, but I have never believed that professionalism leaves no room for personal – even quirky – expression.   I am possibly in the minority in this belief.


People from senior management down to entry level didn’t quite know how to react to my new possession.  Even the person who gave it to me might have been surprised that I used it at work.  (I never asked and she never said.)  Some people tried to make me feel embarrassed about carrying such a ‘childish’ item into an office.  ‘About that lunchbox of yours’ they would start and I would jump in, ‘doesn’t she just brighten up your day?’.   They didn’t know where to go after that.


I carried that lunchbox for about 6ish years.  Until she was looking a bit worn and tired.  Another friend gave me a new bag, also with personality, but this time more ‘grown-up’.  The Hello Kitty™ lunchbox was retired.  But she is still in my heart, rooting for self-expression.


© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved


What Virtue in Acceptance?

Pick your battles, my mom used to say.  She was referencing child rearing, but it applies in other aspects of life just as well, certainly at work.  She was right about the child rearing part that is for sure; I wish that I had done a few early things differently.  But I learned, and I started to apply this thought to many things.


How do you decide what to welcome, or accept?

How do you decide what to welcome, or accept?

Virtue doesn’t seem to be a popular word or idea these days.  And yet there is virtue in having virtue since it is a good or admirable quality or property.


We have all heard of the Serenity Prayer, and there is definite power to accepting the things that we cannot change when including the wisdom for knowing what those things might be.  Then again, we should thank our lucky stars for the people who challenge conventional wisdom now and again about the things that we cannot change.  Sometimes we can, collectively, have a go at these things.  Tipping at windmills in groups has been known to affect change when it seemed acceptance was virtuous.  One person’s belief that they can affect change can spread.


Yet acceptance can be calming when applied to things that we cannot change, that are outside of our control.  The virtue comes in saving our energy for affecting change where we do have control.  In questioning the wisdom of everything, not accepting, we become malcontents.  Monday starts your work week and insists upon rolling around every week?  Acceptance of this inevitability is calming.  A rule no longer has basis in reality after the latest round of changes, tip at that windmill.


Do you see virtue in acceptance?


© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

In Our Circles

Growing up, The Carol Burnett Show was part of prime family time each week, bits and pieces of the skits becoming part of our family vocabulary and identifying points.  Madeline Kahn was a frequent guest on the show and one of her skits where she played a pretentious acting coach for Eunice was a favorite for us.  Something that Madeline says repeatedly in this skit, ‘in our circles, in our circles, in our circles’ became part of our family sayings.


Madeline Kahn publicity shot

Madeline Kahn publicity shot

Madeline Kahn was spoofing Method Acting concepts for great hilarity, but this phrase has come to represent both an effort to center myself and a way to be aware of my comfort zones.  Even when firmly in our comfort zones, we can still need to center ourselves at times.  And we really need to be aware of how to center ourselves when we are outside of our comfort zones.


Madeline Kahn had this wonderfully rich, theatrical voice and I can still see her now – head slightly tilted forward, eyes closed and hands circling around as she chanted, ‘in our circles, in our circles, in our circles’.  (Carol Burnett as Eunice lapping it all up and imitating every action.)  This is a great example of how humor can impact us well beyond the stress-relieving immediate laughter.


Remaining centered is a supreme act all in itself most of the time.  Things, events, people are all working quite hard, and seemingly deliberately, to push us off center.  Out of our circle.


Our comfort zones can hold us back from progress – at work, in relationships – because the next thing that we need is beyond the perimeter of comfort.  Out of our circle.


Some people have a fairly easy time adjusting to unfamiliar and making it part of their comfort zone and others really struggle.  Of course capability to adjust can be affected by how much the new thing is wanted, needed or liked – except for people that really can’t deal with change.


Full disclosure – I am actually writing this one for myself because my comfort zones are shifting and I needed to remind myself that it’s ok.  I thought it might be a message that would resonate for others as well, so I’m sharing.


In our circles, in our circles, in our growing shifting circles.


© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

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