A Blessed Christmas to You and Your Family

Whoever drinks the water

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Merry Christmas To All

Merry-christmas-wallpaper-8

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
--Luke 2:11

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Independence Day Tribute: 2011

Thanks to the U.S. Navy for this terrific production created for Independence Day:

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Merry Christmas!

Christmascard

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So How Was Your Family Holiday? Since You Asked. . .

I've written previously about the stress and nuttiness that can accompany family gatherings, particularly at special times.

Like Christmas.

So when our daughter mentioned to her grandfather (my dad) that it looked as if he had an unusual mark on his face, he replied, "Oh, yes, that's cancer. I didn't want to say anything for fear of upsetting anyone."

This prompted a moment of silence followed by a torrent of un-sanctified responses that might have prolonged the arrival of the actual baby Jesus. Since we consider this a family blog we'll omit those responses and pick up at the Disney-approved dialog:

Daughter: Poppi, what's that mark under your eye?

Grandfather: Oh, it's a spot where the cancer begins.

(Non-Disney reactions, accusations, characterizations, and more than a few references to heritage and ancestry)

Me: Uh, when did this start?

Grandfather: When I was diagnosed by the dermatologist in October.

(See previous parenthetical phrase).

Me: What did he say was the diagnosis and  follow up?

Grandfather: He wanted me to come back and have it removed, given the biopsy. But I don't want a scar all the way down the side of my face like some pirate.

Me: So, when is the appointment?

Grandfather: I haven't gotten back to him yet. Who wants to look like a pirate?

Note: My father lives nearby in a wonderfully staffed and operated assisted living home and has what amounts to an apartment with a nursing station 20 feet away. He is 100% lucid, rides around on a scooter (having lost a leg to diabetes) and is the "mailman" for the facility. He'll be 89 years old soon and survived the Normandy invasion unscathed. Further medical investigation today has revealed that the "pirate" fantasy is just that. The procedure, assuming that the lack of attention hasn't changed anything, would require two or three stitches. But we still need to get him back to the specialist quickly.

Why Am I Writing About This?

1. I wanted to let readers and @steveroesler Twitter folks know why I'm  under the radar screen right now. We're following up and doing whatever it takes to make the right things happen as fast as possible, especially given the two-month lag time. 

2. I deeply value the All Things Workplace community and wanted to let you know that I'm not just slacking off and cavalierly forgetting our ongoing connection.

3. I know my dad and family would value your prayers and thoughts.

In the meantime, thanks to all who have commented here over the past week or so. I'm heading to the comment section to get caught up with responses. As soon as the family feels that we have accurate info and the related follow-through in place for my dad, we'll return to "our regular broadcast schedule."

Warmest regards,

Steve

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Merry Christmas!

Card_dove


source: http://gnfc.org.uk/shop/christmascards.html

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The Business of Forgiveness

This originally appeared here in July, 2008. Since the human condition hasn't changed since then, I thought it might prompt some much-needed and quiet reflection at a time of year that epitomizes the hopefulness of reconciliation.

Downsizing. Corruption. Bullying. Harassment. "Do more with less." Reduced benefits. Add to that list some of the people with whom you have to work every day.

There's a lot of opportunity for anger and hurt on the job.

Where you find anger, you find the need for forgiveness.

Why?

It's good for you. For your physical and mental health. For your relationships. For your ability to move on peacefully and productively.

Forgivenesslogo Why forgiveness instead of revenge?

Christina M. Puchalski, M.D. is the Founder and Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. She says:

"On a personal level, forgiveness of self can help us achieve an inner peace as well as peace with others and with God. Wrongdoing against others and ourselves can result in guilt and resentment.  This can then lead to self-recrimination and self-loathing; it also can create a distance or disconnect from self and others. Resentment can give away to hate and intolerance. Forgiveness is the first stage of self-love and acceptance. It is also the basic building block of loving relationships with others."

It's not the offense. It's your response to it.

I confess, I'm not always a quick-to-forgive person once I've felt "wronged". I give people a very long leash and a long time to "get their act together" if things aren't going well. But there is some point at which I just say "that's it" and cut them off from my life. It is very infrequent, but the pattern is always the same. I decide that the differences are irreconcilable. So, the relationship in its present form is finished.

Does that serve me well?

Only if I genuinely forgive. It is both possible and imperative to do that and, at the same time, acknowledge that the nature of the relationship may not be productive. This is the harder part, I think. It begs the nagging question, "If I can forgive, why can't I just continue?"

Sometimes it's possible. More often, it becomes apparent that I wasn't seeing clearly to begin with and that continuing the relationship--without changing expectations--would not be peaceful or productive for either of us.

Dr. Frederic Luskin specializes in Learning to Forgive. He explains that:

"The practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt depression and stress and leads to greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and self confidence. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthy relationships as well as physical health."

Dr. Luskin's 9 Steps to Forgiveness

1. Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate what about the situation is not OK. Then, tell a trusted couple of people about your experience.

2. Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better. Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else.

3. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you, or condoning their action. What you are after is to find peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the "peace and understanding that come from blaming that which has hurt you less, taking the life experience less personally, and changing your grievance story."

4. Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you two minutes--or ten years ago. Forgiveness helps to heal those hurt feelings.

5. At the moment you feel upset practice a simple stress management technique to soothe your body's fight or flight response.

6. Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do not choose to give you. Recognize that "unenforceable rules" you have for your health or how you or other people must behave. Remind yourself that you can hope for health, love, peace and prosperity and work hard to get them.

7. Put your energy into looking for another way to get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt you. Instead of mentally replaying your hurt seek out new ways to get what you want.

8. Remember that a life well lived is your best revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you.

9. Amend your grievance story to remind you of the heroic choice to forgive.

If you would like to explore other resources, check out The Forgiveness Web  and Forgiveness Net.

Think about this today: Your workplace is a web of relationships. Being at peace with them can only make your own life a lot more satisfying.

photo attribution: www.thirdway.com 

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Holidays At Work: Reduce Stress, Increase Joy

If you are experiencing stress at the very time you are expecting joy, you aren't alone.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that:

  • 40% of workers report their job is "very or extremely stressful".
  • 26% of workers report they are "often or very often burned out or stressed" by their work.
  • 29% of workers report they feel "quite a bit or extremely stressed at work".

Stress Levels Rise During the Holidays

Why do stress levels rise?

Joy The statistics show that 40% are already stressed out before the holidays arrive. In a poll of 600 full-time employees, Accenture’s HR Services found that 66% of the respondents reported additional stress at work during the holidays.

Let's face it. During the holidays you're faced with gift-buying in the midst of an already-stretched financial life; trying to shop while meeting job deadlines and other responsibilities; and thinking about the family dynamics that get played out each year.

I think there's one more big reason as well:

Unrealistic Expectations

For some reason, year after year, we cling to the hope of a perfect holiday, a perfectly loving family, and the perfect balance of work and life during the season. We're surrounded by images of happy families, ads that tell us how much we should be giving, and that joy will reign.

Yet the reality is that work and its deadlines remain (and are often shortened due to the holiday schedule); families continue to be families with all of their inherent challenges; our bank accounts don't allow us to give our spouses new cars or diamonds; and the gap between what we're told to expect and what is actually happening drains the joy from our hearts.

What Can You Do?

Individually:

1. Know that your family and friends don't care if everything is perfect. What they want is a relaxed atmosphere, according to the Harvard Medical School.

2. Money --and therefore, gifts--don't buy happiness. Yeah, I know you've heard that before.  Different studies suggest that, although poverty and low pay can cause unhappiness, once a certain level of compensation is reached, there is not a “significant relationship between how much money a person earns and whether he or she feels good about life” (Easterbrook 2005).

3. Supportive family and friends, on the other hand, appear to be crucial. This comes from Drs. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania and his colleague Martin Diener at the University of Illinois. Both are heavily involved in the study of happiness.. When Seligman and Diener studied a group of students, they found that the happier ones tended to socialize more. “It is important to work on. . .close interpersonal ties and social support in order to be happy,” says Diener. It's all about relationships.

Organizationally:

1. Provide employees with a more flexible schedule to accommodate added demands outside the office. The Accenture study found that 54% of the surveyed workers said that flexible hours during the holidays would help reduce workplace stress. Twenty-six percent said they would like to telecommute once in a while until the seasonal rush is finished.

2. How about a shopping day? Some employers provide one day between Thanksgiving and Christmas to give people a chance to do just that. And they say it reduces angst and is appreciated by the employees.

3. Provide an online shopping catalog and allow online shopping. Plenty of companies offer hard-copy versions produced by firms who specialize in such programs. Why not do it online and save people time?

A Final Thought

Dr. Seligman, arguably the premier researcher and proponent of the psychology of happiness, says that happiness has three essential components:

First: the ability to savor life’s pleasures.

Second: there’s a true engagement with one’s work, avocations, and loved ones.

Third: the sense that one is serving a larger purpose beyond one’s self (“Reflective,” 2005; Wallis 2005).

I think it's the third that we need to attend to.

Whenever we focus on something greater than ourselves--especially the well-being of others--our sense of satisfaction and peace grows exponentially.

So give yourself this year. Your stress and anxiety will begin to melt away. And for once, the people around you will actually get what they want.

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Remembering What Is Important

I hope that everyone who uses today's U.S. holiday to be with family and friends indeed has a day of close relationships and fun.

Memorial-day  I also hope that there is a time in the conversation where a sincere acknowledgment is made of those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom to be together today to think, say, and feel whatever is in our minds and hearts.

Here are three excellent  articles worth reading, reflecting upon, and sharing:

Wally Bock's Have a Thoughtful Memorial Day; Jim Stroup on Worth Remembering; and Mountain State University's Rebecca Robinson offers up not only her family's rich history but how she makes sure they are appreciated at MSU Remembers

And I pause to remember my high school friend and baseball team mate, LtJG Tony Piersanti, killed on his first mission in Vietnam.

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Merry Christmas

Christmas_blue_tree_

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and readers who are celebrating today.

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A Little Help Understanding The Holiday Conversation

It's time to sit around the dining room table, the living room, or the family room and listen to your relatives reminisce. Just in case they (or you) long for the Burma Shave signs on the way to grandmother's house, here's a fun video from the folks at OldBlueWebDesigns.com.

I won't mention which one of the Chevys I owned. . .

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Office Romance? Sometimes It's Patriotic

Talk about an office wedding!

Franklinross Philadelphia's own "Ben Franklin" and "Betsy Ross" tied the knot last night in a ceremony right in front of Independence Hall.

Ralph Archbold (Ben) and Linda Wilde (Betsy) met while playing their ongoing roles in the city's historic district. Both are familiar to locals and tourists. As a native Philadelphian (my family came here in 1683), this prompted a huge smile at the All Things Workplace office.

Here's a video of the wedding; give it a few seconds to get past the commercial lead-in.

Interested in a historical view of the documents of independence? Check out Charters of Freedom.

Chris Guillebeau offers his personal reflections on Patriotism 2.0 . He acknowledges that it may not be happy-making to some, but he's thinking through the issues as he sees them. He's also doing it while making one of my favorite former commutes: the "ferry" between Tallin and Helsinki.

When we pause and look back at history, it's impossible to do it without reflecting upon the leadership involved. Dan McCarthy gives us a topic that will help create some conversational fireworks around the grill today with Defining Leadership--Go Ahead, Try It, I Dare You

Oh.. . exercise your freedom to vote:-) and help by supporting All Things Workplace with a click at Best of Leadership Blogs 2008. I really appreciate it.

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Memorial Day, U.S.A.

Margraten I received an email from a reader inquiring about the meaning of Memorial Day in the United States. It is a day in which we remember and honor the men and women who have died in service to our nation.

In an era where it is trendy to mock (vs. debate intelligently) the imperfections of our country, it might serve people well to understand that the ability to do that--without reprisal--is a freedom not enjoyed by all citizens of the world. Expression, opportunity, and worship (or not) are three of the American principles for which people are willing to risk and lose their lives.

Today is the day we pause to remember those who did just that.

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Merry Christmas To All!


Peace, Joy, Hope...


Christmas_2

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Treat Yourself to Musical Excellence

We all appreciate excellence, regardless of the arena in which it's performed.

These guys made me wish for more days of Christmas!

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What About The Office Party?

Theofficeparty I'm tired of reading about the pitfalls, legal implications, political correctness, and joylessness of Christmas (Holiday) parties in the workplace.

If it's really such a hassle, don't have one. Give everyone a gift card with a photo of your smiling CEO wearing a Combo SantaHat/Yarmulke/NubianHeadgear/Keffiyeh and move on.

But if you're going to have a party, then have a party!

It is possible, according to none other than recent party attendee Stanley Bing at Fortune.

Here are my thoughts (not rules, darn it. If you're going to have a party, knock off the rules).

1. A party is an opportunity for people to socialize and celebrate. Opportunity is the operative word. If it's a "gotcha" ("Harvey didn't show up for the party; send him to Fargo this winter to do outdoor facility maintenance"), it's not a party.

Oops. I heard you. "Steve, you don't get it. I work for a big company that has a lady with her hair in a bun carrying an attendance clipboard and taking names. What can I do?"

No problem, holiday-oppressed worker bee. Thats exactly why this is  All Things Workplace. You need the official Holiday Party Excuse Generator. Answer a few questions and you'll have a beautifully written excuse that can be emailed to the host(ess) in question.

2. You are personally responsible for your happiness if you choose to go. Really. Happiness is a choice.

In the event that others are not as personally responsible as you, try to avoid dumping on them. Especially if "them" is your boss and you have been personally responsible for consuming the entire supply of Grey Goose. Note the delightful, festive give-and-take between the employee below and her allegedly cheap (soon-to-be-former) boss, Jim:

3. Bosses: Follow "The Natural Laws of Parties for Leaders" from Wally Bock

If you are the boss, then I suggest you follow the suggestions in Wally Bock's Three Star Leadership Letter.

This is the single newsletter that I read clear-through every week. Why? Wally always has something useful that isn't in his blog. And, I can read it in one pane of my email reader. My recommendation: Give yourself a free gift and subscribe. Here's a thought from Wally on holiday parties:

The Natural Laws of Parties for Leaders

It's holiday party time. And, if you are an "official" leader, you need to pay attention to the natural laws of parties and leadership.

Natural Law 1: The party changes when you arrive. It changes again when you leave. What you see is not the real party. It's "the party when you're there."

Natural Law 2:
You're still the boss. Do not suffer from the delusion that you're just one of the team. You're not. Everything you say or do will influence the people who work for you, just like every other day.

Natural Law 3: The people at the party would rather hang out with their friends and relax a bit than listen to speeches from you or anyone else. Let the party be their party. If you must speak, consider a two minute time limit. Thank people for their contributions this year, wish them a good time, and shut up.

Natural Law 4: That odds are high that at least one person who works for you will do something really stupid during the party. (Ed. Note: Please see video above). The odds go up with every alcoholic drink. Consider this a good reason to leave early.

Natural Law 5: You are not immune from Natural Law 4. An even better reason to leave early.

Let us know about the parties that went really well. I'm thinking they are actually in the majority and, therefore, don't make "the news".

Visit the wonderful photo source: www.davidfawcett.co.uk

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Giving Thanks Since 1683

For those of us in the United States, today is the officially designated day of Thanksgiving. It's especially meaningful to our family.

Janluken1 In 1683, thirteen Mennonite/Quaker families from Krefeld, Germany, sailed for 2 1/2 months to escape religious persecution and settle what is known as Germantown  in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our ancestor Jan Luykens and his wife, Maria, were among those original thirteen families.

Knowing persecution first-hand and thankful to God for their own deliverance, this small group began the first public protest of slavery in North America in 1688.

It has always struck me that those who experience deep thankfulness in their lives are also those who act on behalf of others who are oppressed. Yet we live in a time when "personal power" and financial power are touted as gods who will lead us into a personal promised land.

The truth of the ages shows otherwise. Thankfulness breeds a humility whose power surpasses any of that manufactured by the human condition. It focuses our attention on the needs of others and reminds us that we, too, have experienced some similar struggle. As a result, our eyes and hearts are opened in ways that allow us to act on behalf of a greater good.

So let us give thanks not only for what we have, but for what we are able to give.

And then give it.

(On Monday, November 26, we continue with the series on Change and look forward to seeing you there)


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Peace To You

Peace_dove

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Macy's Customer Service: "No!"


"NO!" The Gift that keeps on givingCustomerservice

I went shopping at Macy's in Moorestown, NJ, for a Christmas gift for my dad.

I left with the gift that I wanted and a desire never to patronize Macy's again.

Steve: I want to buy these two sweaters. I received your flyer with the discount coupons but my wife has the coupons and is upstairs shopping. Could you swipe one from your copy?

Macy's cashier: "No!"

Steve: Gee, I shop here frequently and have had other cashiers actually offer to do that. Are you sure...?

Macy's cashier: "No! Will that be cash or charge?"

Steve: "Charge. And could I get two gift boxes, please?"

Macy's cashier: "No.We don't have gift boxes. There aren't any in the store."

I wished her a Merry Christmas, took my bag of sweaters, and left the store.

Here's the thing. During this exchange there was no smile, no attempt at apologizing for any inconvenience, and not even a "thank you" at the end. The cashier was simply behaving in the most miserable manner while Happy Christmas-spend-your-money-here music played on the store's sound system.

So I won't go back and give them any more of our money. But I will revel in seeing the smile on my dad's face when he receives the gifts. (He can only wear sweaters that zip up from the bottom because of physical limitations).

Let's Go Do Some Good. Now.

There are people waiting for--and needing--a smile and much more.

So I'm suggesting a click on Guy Kawasaki's post where he lists and describes charities that can help change the world. If you want to do something concrete to make a difference, his is a terrific resource.

One more thing:

If you are so inclined, pause and pray for a peaceful heart for the nameless cashier at Macy's. She is carrying some burden that has overwhelmed her to the point of misery.

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Reduce Holiday Stress at Work

Are you experiencing stress at the very time that you are expecting joy?

You aren't alone.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that:

40% of workers report their job is "very or extremely stressful".

26% of workers report they are "often or very often burned out or stressed" by their work.

29% of workers report they feel "quite a bit or extremely stressed at work".

Stress Levels Rise During the Holidays

Why?

Well, the statistics show that 40% are already stressed out before the holidays arrive. In a poll of 600 full-time employees, Accenture’s HR Services found that 66% of the respondents reported additional stress at work during the holidays.

Let's face it. During the holdays you're faced with gift-buying in the midst of an already-stretched financial life; trying to shop while meeting job deadlines and other responsibilities; and thinking about the family dynamics that get played out each year.

I think there's one more big reason as well:

High Expectations

For some reason, year after year, we cling to the hope of a perfect holiday, a perfectly loving family, and the perfect balance of work and life during the season. We're surrounded by images of happy families, ads that tell us how much we should be giving, and that joy will reign.

Yet the reality is that work and its deadlines remain (and are often shortened due to the holiday schedule); families continue to be families with all of their inherent challenges; our bank accounts don't allow us to give our spouses new cars or diamonds; and the gap between what we're told to expect and what is actually happening drains the joy from our hearts.

What Can You Do?

Individually:

1. Know that your family and friends don't care if everything is perfect. What they want is a relaxed atmosphere, according to the Harvard Medical School.

2. Money --and therefore, gifts--don't buy happiness. Yeah, I know you've heard that before.  Different studies suggest that, although poverty and low pay can cause unhappiness, once a certain level of compensation is reached, there is not a “significant relationship between how much money a person earns and whether he or she feels good about life” (Easterbrook 2005).

3. Supportive family and friends, on the other hand, appear to be crucial. This comes from Drs. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania and his colleague Martin Diener at the University of Illinois. Both are heavily involved in the study of happiness.. When Seligman and Diener studied a group of students, they found that the happier ones tended to socialize more. “It is important to work on. . .close interpersonal ties and social support in order to be happy,” says Diener.

It's all about relationships.

Organizationally:

1. Provide employees with a more flexible schedule to accommodate added demands outside the office. The Accenture study found that 54% of the surveyed workers said that flexible hours during the holidays would help reduce workplace stress. Twenty-six percent said they would like to telecommute once in a while until the seasonal rush is finished.

2. How about a shopping day? Some employers provide one day between Thanksgiving and Christmas to give people a chance to do just that. And they say it reduces angst and is appreciated by the employees.

3. Provide an online shopping catalog and allow online shopping. Plenty of companies offer hard-copy versions produced by firms who specialize in such programs. Why not do it online and save people time?

A Final Thought on Holiday Happiness

Dr. Seligman, arguably the premier researcher and proponent of the psychology of happiness, says that happiness has three essential components:

First: the ability to savor life’s pleasures.

Second: there’s a true engagement with one’s work, avocations, and loved ones.

Third: the sense that one is serving a larger purpose beyond one’s self (“Reflective,” 2005; Wallis 2005).

I think it's the third that we need to attend to.

Whenever we focus on something greater than ourselves--especially the well-being of others--our sense of satisfaction and peace grows exponentially.

So give yourself this year. Your stress and anxiety will begin to melt away. And for once, the people around you will actually get what they want.

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A Christmas Thought from New York City

Images_8 It's almost Christmas. I am a little sad.

Please hang in there with me. This is not a rant.

Each year I take my family to New York City to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, admire the window displays and decorations, and have family conversation over a nice dinner. This is the 21st consecutive year we've done this.

So what's the problem?

It was clear yesterday that Christmas is no longer allowed.

We walked 5th Avenue from 39th to 60th at Central Park. The window displays at Lord & Taylor had nice, homey scenes of "holidays" past. It was warm and fuzzy but not Christmas. Saks Fifth Avenue continued its recent trend of defying anything remotely related to Christmas and displaying what can only be described as , "Uh, what is that about?!" On to FAO Schwarz for some toys. I love looking at toys at Christmas. There were plenty of toys.

However....

21 city blocks. No nativity scene. No Jesus. Had to search with a magnifying glass for the word "Christmas." And, of course, this has been the case for quite a while now.

It is often said that truth is the first casualty of war. Perhaps this is an example of just that. Perhaps we are in a spiritual war. We are willing to discuss and acknowledge the esoterica of spirituality; we are unwilling to allow the full expression of faith to the extent that there is some discomfort. If someone's belief system appears to have even some small element that we don't understand or like, we declare it "offensive" and therefore a threat. There's enough of that going on in every faith.

The Paradox

Corporations
spend millions trying to get people thinking outside the box. Every change management program talks about the inherent discomfort that comes when confronting a new opinion, fact, or truth. The foundation of diversity  programs rests on the premise that different kinds of thinking, backgrounds, and approaches will create better workplaces and results. Millions more are spent conducting team building sessions designed to highlight the "truth" that "each individual brings something unique" to the group. The battle cry: "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Celebrate your diversity!"

The government is made up of elected officials. Campaigns are conducted following demographics and surveys. The principles upon which the country was founded are only trotted out when they make a good sound bite. A person, or group, can claim to be offended at something and thus change the stated position of a candidate. So much for principled leadership.

Two Approaches to Life

1. Fear. When fear prevails we all become defensive. We don't see and hear clearly. We start fighting because we believe there is an enemy. And once the fight starts, we are convinced there is an enemy because we created one. It is self-perpetuating. Pride and self-righteousness erase humility and the search for truth. We try to make ourselves bigger by making others smaller--or eradicate them completely.

2. Love. When love prevails there is peace. With the stillness of peace there is clarity. We listen and we hear. We may not agree but we don't attack. We can acknowledge what is different, listen to new information, and take time to explore what is true and what isn't. Love does not offend. It is a spirit that transcends fear and overcomes irrational anger. We become bigger by actually growing.

What choice are you making?

As I felt my sadness grow yesterday I also realized that I certainly wasn't despondent or empty of joy. To the contrary. I celebrate Christmas daily. The fact that a government or business may choose not to allow that word to be displayed has no impact on its actual existence. It is a futile reaction to fear.

It may be obvious to you that I am probably a Christian. I am, as a result of a personal choice regarding exploration of the evidence and the options. So my heart is invested in the person and teachings of Jesus. It is not invested in "feeling offended" by others or putting down those who may choose to negate Christmas for reasons of perceived profit or votes or their beliefs. I understand all of that.

But I would ask this one question:

"Does the negation of Christmas fill people's hearts with love and joy?"

Ask your friends or even yourself. Is the answer bringing peace, love, and joy in life?

Wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, may you and your family share peace, love, and joy this season.

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Online "Thank You." A Gift That Keeps on Giving

David Maister just posted a "thank you" --using names and links--to all of those who took time to comment at his always-engaging blog, Passion, People, Principles.Thank_you

Is this a variation of something that we should all be doing, regardless of the kind of organization we're in?

What a powerful way to acknowledge customers--by name--and give them exposure as well. Blog comments require an investment of time and thought. Other customers invest their time and money.

I think this is a thought-stimulator for ways to acknowledge those who have contributed to our own success. Maybe organizations who aren't into writing prose could start a "Thank you" blog to recognize customer relationships and contributions.

I like it.

What kinds of ideas does this spark for you?

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Is Every Day Halloween At Work?

If you find the workplace scary on days other than today, here's a fun piece courtesy of Business Week.

Be sure to catch the accompanying slide show.

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Labor Day USA (and elsewhere)

Laborday2 Once upon a time (I always wanted to say that) there was a special day of the year called Labor Day. It was special for a lot of reasons: it honored workers with a day of rest; it gave families a chance for a last vacation fling before the start of school; it brought friends and neighbors together for a picnic or some backyard grilling; and it gave young adults who were headed back to college a chance for a final weekend of partying near home before beginning consecutive weekends of partying on campus. And for years, businesses of all kinds were actually closed. (For those of you with relatives at the University of Idaho I'm thrilled to be able to tell you that despite the day of rest for some cafeteria workers, Jared, Jason, and Brittany will not starve. Please double-click screen shot below.) Idaholabdayhours_4

Labor day clearly is no longer a day of rest--but the other stuff is still going strong. By noon today I had done some banking with a live teller at the bank, worked out at the fitness center where they had slashed their closing time from 11 p.m. to 6 p.m., took the car to a carwash where it was scrubbed by live people, and stopped at the cigar store to score a few Robustos.

We've Made Progress

Work life isn' the same as it was in the 1800's. This conclusion was reached through agonizing, lengthy, in-depth research. . .

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