Monday, September 19, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Ninety-nine

Day 99 - Sleep
Some days are harder than others.  It’s a part of life’s ebb and flow.  
I’m glad I am able to sleep - I feel for those who cannot nap, or cannot get a full night’s sleep.  I am grateful for the rest from conscious worry and toil.  And although it is possible for me to get too much sleep (and mess up my nighttime sleep patterns), I am glad I can sleep as easily as I usually do.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Ninety-eight

Day 98 - Self-Determination
I had a quiet day today, which was both welcome and probably necessary for my sanity.  To quote my friend Virginia again, I’ve been going 100 miles per hour lately, and haven’t had a rest.  Over the past week or so, I’ve tried to slow things down just a bit, and while that effort has been unsuccessful most of the time, the ability to focus on the priorities first has helped.
Today, though, was a breather.  I never left home.  I picked up all the clutter that has accumulated during the past months of frenetic activity - paper put into the recycling or shredded, documents and letters filed, receipts put away or thrown away, magazines read and flagged for future use or recycled.  My work space is finally tidy again, and it relaxes me.  As I said to my daughter once, the clutter and stuff creates “visual dissonance.”  Now I see harmony.
I cut my hair short again today.  I know some people don’t like it as well as when I had it longer, but I love it.  There are times when I think of the Crissy doll of the late 1960’s and early 70’s that my friend Karen Knapp had, whose hair could be lengthened or shortened with a push of a button (and a gentle tug) - wouldn’t it be nice to simply push a button and have a different length?  If it were that easy, I’d probably enjoy it more.  But anymore, I simply cannot be bothered with the daily efforts of straightening and styling.  I don’t have the time.  
I enjoy how my hair - and head - feels with a buzz cut.  I like the look, especially in combination with a full beard.  I appreciate the fact that some of my friends and family are comfortable enough with me to simply blurt out their opinions; the fact that they trust me to understand their motives for saying what they say is a compliment.  Ultimately (and I don’t mean to sound harsh), others’ opinions are irrelevant.  I remind myself (and sometimes them) that since I’m the only one responsible for dealing with my hair (which has a mind of its own), I’m the only one who gets to choose how it is styled.  
I get to choose.  Not just my hairstyle, but my life, really.  I get to choose what I do with anything within my control.  I can control how messy or tidy my room is.  I get to choose which days I work 14 hours and which I work only three.  I can go to the gym five times a week, or not at all - it’s up to me.
I may not have control over everything in my life (like when a company will fill a position), but I’m grateful to have the freedom to determine for myself what I want and what I go for.  It’s empowering on some level to know I’m accountable to myself.  It is encouraging.  And a relief.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Ninety-seven

Day 97 - Priorities
I had to postpone a networking coffee date with a guy I really respect.  I wasn’t able to get everything done this morning that I needed to do (like preparing Catherine’s birthday card for mailing) and still meet with him.  I felt bad, but he let me off the hook pretty easily.  We’ll touch bases over the weekend and hopefully get together on Monday instead.
I did get most of my tasks accomplished this morning, which made me feel better.  My one meeting today was the Job Finders Support Group.  Cleon Cox has a lot of experience facilitating groups, and is becoming quite the mentor to me (I wonder if he knows that).  I’m learning a great deal from him.

(As I write this, there are certain things about him that remind me of my dad.  Hmmm... there's something to ponder.)
As I was addressing the group about my current efforts (including finally coming in first for a job, but having it delayed until next year), I realized that I’m really beginning to spread myself too thin with the non-income-producing efforts I make, and I’m going to have to prioritize my time.  It’s nice to have to make choices instead of doing everything I can just to stay busy.  I’m having to choose those activities that actually bring me some value.  It’s nice to have to choose between good things.
And the support from the group was invaluable.
I hope I’m choosing my priorities wisely, and grateful that the choices are mine to make.

A year of Gratitude - Day Ninety-six

Day 96 - Friends to Keep You Smiling
This was another long day, and it had some good moments.  I met a wonderful friend for coffee (though I was late due to some building construction that had a lane closed unexpectedly, creating a horrible bottleneck, and then I made the mistake of driving on 5th Avenue where we only have one lane - the other two are reserved for buses - and waited through four cycles of the traffic lights just to move one block).  My friend, Brenda, is a vision - a gorgeous woman who works hard at being fit and healthy.  She’s an inspiration.
Then I met with the moderator of a networking group to discuss the basics of my taking it over - it appears I’ll be moderating the Breakfast Club starting next month.  I wonder what I’m getting myself into....
Then I went to the glass school, and Don (one of the partners) demonstrated to me how he does flowers by implosion (I’m not going to define that here).  Needless to say I need a lot more practice for mine to look anything like his.  It sure was fun to try!  I also did some work for the school, and then laid out two new pieces to fuse to create some sushi platters to match the rest of the set I’ve already made.  
Then I went to Red Cap Garage to meet with my dear friend Randy for happy hour.  I got there early, so I decided to check my email while I waited.
I got a message from the HR director at ClearEdge Power - the company I interviewed with on Tuesday for a job I really want.  In the email she told me that I am her “first choice” for the job, but they have delayed filling it until Q1 of next year for “business reasons.”  Naturally, I was disappointed.  In fact, I wanted to cry.
After a few emails to and from supportive friends and family, Randy showed up.  I was afraid I may be dreadful company after this news, but Randy pulled me out of it.  He made me laugh, and we talked about all sorts of things.  (Turns out he has job worries of his own, which I can totally appreciate.)  He kept me smiling all evening, which is exactly what I needed.
I am lucky to have friends who keep me smiling.  Thank you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Ninety-five

Day 95 - The Patience of Others
I am so grateful that the people who care about me, and whom I care about, have patience with me.  I know I am not always easy to be around, especially during this period of my life.  I can be cranky and distracted, and I’m lucky to have friends and family who will put up with my less-than-wonderful days.
I’m not going into detail.  I just want to publicly say “Thank you.”

A Year of Gratitude - Day Ninety-four

Day 94 - One More Chance
I had a really good interview today.
At least I think it went well.  It’s a good job with a good company of good people making a good product.  In fact, every one of those things might be great!  I don’t know yet.
I’m having a tough time getting excited - not because it’s not exciting to have interviewed there, but rather because I don’t want to get my hopes up too high in case it doesn’t come through.  
Then the thought comes into my head to celebrate as if it is already real.  Visualize what this success would look like.  Feel how it would feel to be working there.  Make it real in my head so it will become real in my existence.
Ummm... I haven’t been very good at that in the past, so I hope the universe will help me along with this one.
I need this job.  I’m grateful for one more chance at getting it.  ...I don’t mean for that to sound like this is my last chance, just another chance at a good job.  I’m not asking for much.  And I’m grateful for what comes my way.

I'm also grateful to my friend Ellen.  She is amazing in her ability to encourage and validate; she is fun to talk to and be with.  We laugh a lot.  She has great stories to tell.  She is a wonderful friend.  She treated me to dinner, and I had a blast.

A Year of Gratitude - Day Ninety-three

Day 93 - Something to Count On
I had two regular networking meetings to attend.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m truly getting anything out of them more than moral support - they don’t seem to be leading to work.  
But then I realize it’s good to have something to look forward to doing in a regular fashion.  At least I enjoy attending the groups - I like the people - and it’s something positive to do.
This may not be much, but it’s something to be grateful for.  As I like to say, “There is security in a lack of change.”  While this may not be the “lack of change” I’m looking for, the security feels good on some level.
At least I have something to count on.

A Year of Gratitude - Day Ninety-two

Day 92 - Good Service
It was a beautiful warm Sunday - the kind that makes “Indian Summer” something to look forward to.  I was early to Randy’s birthday party at a great little restaurant in NW Portland called Cha Taqueria and Bar - a Mexican-inspired menu and a fun atmosphere.  They had a whole bunch of miniature (two-topper) picnic tables set outside their pony wall on the sidewalk, so I sat down on one of the benches to wait for our group.
As I was sitting there, a pretty young woman came out to ask if I needed help.  I told her I was early for a birthday party, and she went back in to check on it.  Yes, it was confirmed, though no table had been set aside yet.  She asked if I wanted something to drink while I waited for my group (water, thanks!).
The group arrived, and we needed to push three tables together to accommodate us; we wanted to sit outside, so we had to wait for a table to clear.  Leah helped us every step of the way, seating us at two of the tables and then instantly clearing the third when it emptied.  She ended up being our server, too.  
Leah explained the menu, offered advice on choices, and throughout the meal she was attentive, helpful, and fun.  She helped with the birthday cake - offering a tea light candle since she didn’t have any birthday candles available - and was a delight.  It turns out she is only there on Tuesday and Saturday nights, and just happened to have taken the Sunday shift.  We were the beneficiaries.

As explained here, it may not sound like she did anything special.  It was how she did it all that made it great.  It appeared that she wanted to be there and was having as good a time as we were.  She seemed happy, not just content to be a server.
Good service is easy when you enjoy what you do.  (I enjoy eating.)  She enjoyed our group.  It was a good meal, a good party, and I will go to Cha again and ask for Leah’s section.

A Year of Gratitude - Day Ninety-one

Day 91 - Nothing But a Dog
The day started with the Portland Leadership Forum monthly meeting.  Cleon Cox presented.  
He began with a story (that I will have to paraphrase) about two old men driving a pickup truck down a rural side road approaching a highway.  The driver asked his companion if he saw anything on the highway coming toward the intersection.
“Nothin’ but a dog.”
With that, the driver didn’t even slow down as he entered the intersection, whereupon he was broadsided by a bus.
After his crumpled vehicle came to rest and establishing that both men had survived, the driver said to his companion, “I thought you said you saw nothing but a dog!”
“That’s right.  It was a Greyhound.”
This would be a fair analogy of my life of late.  I am way too busy.  I am rushing down this rural side road (that seemingly leads nowhere), and suddenly I’m broadsided by something “important” that I have to do.  It may be meeting someone for a networking coffee date, or rushing to one part of town or another for a meeting; it may be meeting four new contacts in one day; it may be facilitating a meeting, or (preferably) going to an interview.  By the end of the day, I feel as if I’ve been run over by a bus.  The problem is I have little or nothing to show for my efforts.  And I am what gets crumpled.
(...I used to think I had too many meetings when I was employed....)  
So this is supposed to be a gratitude blog.  What can I be grateful for as I think about the Greyhound as it approaches at breakneck speed?
That every time I get run over, there is a moment of quiet.  The crumpled vehicle comes to rest.  I get a moment - on occasion - to breathe.  I catch myself sighing from time to time, and realize I’m not breathing.  So I take a few deep breaths, and feel better.
I am grateful for those moments of peace.  

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Ninety

Day 90 - The First Quarter
It is difficult to believe that the first 90 days of this year-long gratitude blog has passed.  I am astounded at how fast time is going, and reminded of the saying that “Life is like a roll of toilet paper: the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.”  I hope I am not nearing the end, quite, but I can tell you a year passes much faster now than it did 20 years ago.
I am not going to think about what I was going through 20 years ago....
I began this blog because I was depressed about where I am in my life and I wanted to change my attitude.  I can say unequivocally that I am much happier now - the first quarter of this Year of Gratitude is over, and so far, I am doing better.  I cannot yet make the direct connection between the blog and my improved attitude; it could be that the recent connections I have made through networking have lifted my spirits enough to think I am not destined to live under a bridge after all.  It may be that the improved weather has had its normal effect on me (sunshine on my shoulder - and on the rest of me - really does make me happy).  It could be a number of things.
However, I have made only one significant change in my life in the last 90 days, and that was to start this blog.
I want to thank everyone who reads my entries and who has made comments - or just clicked “Like” on Facebook.  By letting me know you are reading it, I am motivated to keep it up.  (If it were a private journal, I would have dropped it long ago.)  My finances are no better than they were three months ago (and I want to thank my friends who have taken me out for drinks or meals or movies - unless you’ve been unemployed for a long time, you have no idea how much this helps me).  My job prospects aren’t truly any better, though I do have an interview for a great position coming up next week; I have had many interviews over the past 2.5 years, so this isn’t truly an improvement.  However, my outlook on life has improved, which seems to bring more opportunity.  (I have three consulting gigs in the works, too, along with two or three volunteer opportunities.)
I have never been busier in my life, and I don’t think I have ever learned more about myself than I am learning right now.
So while I hate to admit to anyone they “told [me] so,” I may have to grant this one.  Let’s see how I feel in another three months....  

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-nine

Day 89 - Checking In
The day began with a good experience.  I went in for an interview with the recruiters at Boly:Welch, a recruiting consulting company based here in Portland, and one with a very strong reputation.  I had tried to “get in” there before, but finally a position for which I was qualified came up, and I got the initial interview.  (Maybe they’re too busy just to meet for coffee....)
It was a great conversation - good enough to have them ask me to speak with their managing director of consulting (another great conversation).  I left feeling good about my standing with their company, and hopeful I would hear back from them.
I did hear back - about an hour later - asking me to interview with the client company next week.  Although the company is located in Hillsboro - deep into the suburbia that my whole body wants to reject like an implanted kidney - it sounds like a positive work environment.  That’s something I haven’t worked in since Northwest Hospitality Group lost the contract to manage the Coast Long Beach Hotel.
Then I got to have lunch with one of my dearest friends, Paul.  He was my best friend in high school, and the only one with whom I kept in regular touch afterward.  He is among the smartest people I have ever known, among the most talented, and he has a heart of gold.  Apart from my friend Stephanie, Paul knows me as well or better than just about anyone else on the planet.  There isn’t anything we can’t talk about, and I value his perspective enormously.
I often think of my visits with Paul as a “Check In.”  It’s not just a “reality check” - sure, there is that element, too - but Paul is great at listening, validating, understanding, and making me feel valued.  We talk about all sorts of things (and we are aware when people at neighboring tables begin to listen intently to our conversations).  I always feel better afterward because I get to celebrate just “being” whenever we get together.  I get to “check in” with the way things ought to be with all of my relationships.  In many ways, Paul is a great role model.
I spent part of the afternoon in nature up in the Columbia Gorge, and got to relax my mind a bit - I have been going “100 miles an hour” (to quote my friend Virginia) for so long that I’m needing to slow down a bit just to survive.  And while the afternoon was relatively quiet, it was lunchtime that I consider the highlight of the day.
So here’s to “best friends,” good conversation, and the value of “Check Ins.”  I know I need them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-eight

Day 88 - A Bed
It was a very long day. 
It was not a terribly productive day, at least in the short term.  I am worn out - burned out - and I am forcing myself to write tonight.  I met with four new contacts today; one had a few ideas of people she could introduce me to.  We’ll see if it produces more than the previous introductions have.  
The day ended at a networking mixer, and I had a good time.  Next Level is a regular (biweekly) mixer that I try not to miss - I always meet someone new, or have a “first real conversation” with someone to whom I may have been introduced previously, but hadn’t really connected.  Tonight was the same - I had a great conversation with someone whom I had met at another event, and then met a new person who was a lot of fun to talk to.
I also spoke with my dear friend Will Simonds.  I told him about this blog, and mentioned that sometimes it’s difficult to come up with something for which I am grateful.  Some days just don’t lend themselves to a gratitude blog.  When I explained that I’m trying to come up with something different every day - 365 different things to be grateful for - he suggested I could be grateful for “the bed, the bed frame, the mattress....”  
I laughed.  My first reaction was to dismiss the whole idea, but then I thought about it a little.  In fact, one could make that argument in all seriousness.  Each part of the bed, and the bed itself, perform a function, a service, for which I’m grateful.  I am grateful to have a bed, instead of sleeping on doorsteps in Chinatown or under the Burnside Bridge.  I am grateful to have friends and family generous enough to allow me to stay with them when I don’t have a home myself.
I am grateful for my bed.

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-seven

Day 87 - Work Should Be Fun!
This is my motto.  And although I don’t have full-time work at the moment, I’m working very hard.  Long days have little to show for the effort I put into them.  But at least today it ended with some fun.
I met a wonderful new friend for drinks at Local Lounge for happy hour.  Linda Reed is a delight - boundless energy, always up-beat, funny....  I can’t help but have a good time when we get together.  We met at a networking group for executive level job seekers, and instantly hit it off.  I was hoping she would bring her partner this time, but Judith had a conflict and couldn’t join us.  Next time, I hope.
If I get nothing else from these networking groups, I have made some really good friends.  For that, I am immensely grateful - you just can’t have too many real friends.

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-six

Day 86 - Twenty-one Years Ago Today
Twenty-one years ago today, September 5th, my daughter Elizabeth Arda was born at 1:30 PM at St. Vincent’s Hospital here in Portland.  And in that intervening 21 years, in spite of a great deal of strife and tribulation, she has become one of the most beautiful, most brilliant young women I have ever met.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her (and to be fair, her siblings, too).  And to say I am proud of her is a gross understatement.  However, there are not words in our language that could come close to describing what she means to me.
I am so lucky to have her in my life.  She was always a remarkable kid; she is going to be a remarkable woman.  That she wants to spend time with me, explore new places with me, talk about important things with me is all added to the blessing that her just being brings to me.  She is simply amazing.
Many fathers are proud of their daughters, and proud to be their daughter’s father.  That may be true, but they cannot compare to my good fortune.  I was granted the very best.
To say I love her very much is another understatement, but the best I can do.  I am a better man for knowing her; I am the luckiest man alive to have her as my daughter.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-five

Day 85 - Unexpected Joy
I received an unusual invitation a couple days ago to attend a drag competition called “La Femme Magnifique” from dear friends who have been involved in the community for decades.  I didn’t know, really, what to expect - I had only been to one “coronation ceremony” in the past, and it was years ago in another state.  I didn’t know anything about this particular event.  All I knew was that I wasn’t going to miss it.
I had to hurry to get there, too.  I had spent part of my day on the Columbia River and needed time to get home, freshened up, dressed, have my dinner, and drive into downtown, and I only had about 90 minutes.  I made it.
As the event began, I saw the familiar sights of a drag show - men dressed and made up as women and lip synching to a variety of music, and most of the performers were quite good.  As the night progressed, it amazed me how much time, effort, expense, and dedication went into it.  Some of the gowns and costumes must have cost a fortune, and these ladies had obviously practiced their performances.  A lot.  
I understand most of these shows raise money for a multitude of charities, and the amount of money the various organizations around the world raise to help others is staggering.  Three charities were benefited tonight.  But few people outside this community are aware of anything except the fact that these beautiful women are actually men.
Yet who can blame them?  In some cases, you’d never know they were men if you saw these individuals on the street.  The riot of color, sparkle, energy and style were nothing short of brilliant.  Many women - and men - would do well to emulate the grace and tenacity of these incredible performers.
What impacted me the most wasn’t the enormity of the Showgirl costumes, or the glitter and workmanship of beads and sequins, or the finely-honed skill demonstrated in makeup or hairstyles.  It was the sheer joy of being on stage, being who they are, and celebrating this wonderful version of beauty that rocked that ballroom.  I can’t express in words how much I enjoyed this night, and I can’t wait until next year to witness it again.
My sincere thanks to Scott Warme and Cicely for including me in this amazing experience.

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-four

Day 84 - A Holiday Weekend
When one lacks a regular, full-time job, holidays are pointless.  From what are you taking a holiday?  I’m not talking about Holy Days - that’s a different topic altogether.  I’m talking about a day set aside by our government to allow us a day off work to contemplate, and honor, a given subject, person(s), or event.  To those of us who are without regular work, holidays lose their meaning.
On the other hand, we don’t need holidays to remember the things for which others need a reminder.  Thanksgiving?  I am thankful for every meal I enjoy, and for the generosity of others without which I would literally be starving.  The New Year?  I think of all the new beginnings I have every month, every week, every day, in the hopes that this new contact, or meeting, or conversation, or mixer might lead to the next chapter of my happiness.  
I celebrate Presidents Day (the mis-guided - IMO - attempt at combining Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays into one, and thus circumventing the need to include any others on the calendar) almost daily.  I am regularly reminded how our early leaders were far more altruistic and socially grounded than anyone currently in political office, or we wouldn’t have a country at all.  (Can you imagine how quickly the fledgling United States would have crumbled had it been led by any of our modern politicians?  I shudder to think of it.)
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day - not only would I not be alive today without them, but I would have died long ago if I hadn’t had their support.  To this day, I would be nothing without their generosity and love.  Independence Day?  Stripping away all the hype and false patriotism vomited by our current politicians, I remember every day how our freedom to choose our own paths is in our control; the circumstances in which we find ourselves may not be of our choosing, but how we respond to them is.  Just as our founding fathers and the citizens who heeded the call to give life and breath to freedom did so of their own will, so too we can give our all for the benefit of our society.
Labor Day....  I celebrate, honor, and revere those who made the Worker our national hero.  I am grateful for the countless employees who, through their hard work, dedication, and devotion to the improvement of our society, have earned our respect and gratitude.  Without them, this country could not have thrived as it has.
All I ask now is to be one of them again - the employed.  Though Monday is officially Labor Day, I will take this opportunity to make this whole weekend a celebration of employment.  I don’t need a holiday to do it, but here it is.  I try not to pass up too many opportunities these days. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-three

Day 83 - A New Lead
Today was a quieter day.  I didn’t have anything on the calendar except one networking meeting.  I was able to do some chores, cook a nice souffle for dinner, and generally take it easy.  
Then I got an email from an HR friend (also looking for work) about a training position that was posted by a recruiter.  I sent the recruiter a message via LinkedIn right away.  Then I saw his posting via an HR Network email list I subscribe to, so I sent him an email with my resume attached.
I fight my doubts about my chances.  I try not to allow myself to think about all the other training professionals in the area with more impressive resumes.  I just sent it off as quickly as I could with a cover letter that explained how well qualified I am.  (I’m going to  avoid thinking about how I didn’t talk about my passions and what makes me who I am - important information for a cover letter that I totally forgot to discuss.)
At least I have a new lead.  Thank goodness they come in from time to time.  And thank you, Virginia, for thinking of me.

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-two

Day 82 - Resolution
Back in May, I got a speeding ticket for using my gas pedal and the open left lane to get out from behind a big pickup in order to see beyond the ten feet in front of me that he so generously afforded as he pulled into my lane.  Naturally, the patrolman was right there.  After receiving the notice in the mail, I called the court to ask about procedures (I have never had a ticket in Oregon) and spoke to a very nice woman who suggested that, since I had some concerns, I should plead not guilty and talk to the judge about it.
Unfortunately, I think she was a little optimistic about how that might go for me.  (Or maybe she was playing me like a guitar; I don’t know.)  Suffice it to say, for a “violation” (as opposed to a misdemeanor or felony), the state (in this case, the officer) needs only to supply evidence of my guilt for me to be found guilty.  My word/explanation/intention is irrelevant.  In traffic court, you are presumed guilty unless you can prove there isn't enough evidence (or the officer doesn't show up).
Don’t you just love the “justice” system?
But it’s done.  In the bigger picture, it doesn’t matter, though I resent having a “conviction” for a violation that hundreds of others were committing (the officer admitted the average speed was about 10 miles an hour over the posted speed limit).  I was the unlucky sot who got to pay for it.
The one sort-of-good part was that my fine was reduced almost in half.  I suppose I should be grateful for that, though it felt more like extortion or blackmail, but I guess that’s a plea bargain, right?  Whatever.
This entry may sound negative, but the good news is that it's over.  I’m grateful to have this behind me.  

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-one

Day 81 - New Audiences
Networking is exhausting.
It’s the middle of the week, the last day of August, and I have very little this month to show for all my efforts except the expense report.  I have spent more this month on gas, coffee meetings, meals, and parking (especially parking) than in any month since I returned from Southern California last winter.  I also received two “rejection notices” today about job applications.  Not fun.
Thankfully, I started the day on a high note.  A new networking contact had invited me to present to a gathering of small business leaders he hosts on Wednesday mornings.  As I began, I was a little disappointed that four of the eight people scheduled to attend didn’t show, so I only had half the audience I had been promised.  Still, there were three people present that I had never met, and two are looking at the possibility of expanding their businesses.  My presentation was an excerpt from a program I developed, “Interviewing Skills for Hiring Managers,” and I received some very positive feedback from them.  You never know....
Sometimes I feel like I’m spinning my wheels (especially when the two other appointments I was supposed to have cancelled at the last minute).  Fortunately, though, when I get to speak to a new audience, it expands my reach just a little more.

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty

Day 80 - Jigsaw Puzzles
I had the chance to share a meal with a colleague I’ve only met relatively recently, but for whom I’m building quite an admiration.  She is intelligent, articulate, and intuitive.  We spoke of many things - relationships and dating, interpersonal communication, conflict in the workplace - all over a fantastic (and inexpensive) lunch at Salvador Molly’s in Hillsdale.  
As we enjoyed our salads, I was telling her about a program I want to develop on training leaders (particularly men) on being gender-neutral; I have told several others of my ideas, and during each conversation, a little more of the puzzle seems to come together.  This time, I realized that as I put a few more pieces in place, I am starting to see an image appear.  There isn’t enough of it put together to make sense yet, but I can see a pattern developing and where I think I want to take it.  If it weren’t for this conversation, I wouldn’t have made this progress.
I’m grateful to have access to such insightful people that they help me to develop these ideas.  Thank you, Berry, for helping me put a few more pieces of this jigsaw puzzle into place.  Let’s do that again.