Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Crucial Conversations" Book Recommendation

The last few weeks in Alberta have been lovely and hot.  I say that from the perspective of someone who is comfortable with +30 C weather and no air conditioning!  The only issue I have with the heat is running in it.  It's then my stamina gets up and goes home, where it waits patiently for my return.

I outsmart it by getting up early and running before it hits 20 degrees and by making sure I stay hydrated along the way.  This past Saturday held all the promise of a day when every sane person holes up in the air conditioned mall until the cool of evening descends.

To beat the heat I was up and running by 7:30 a.m.  At the moment I’m running an hour in 10 minute intervals; run 10, walk 1.  All was good. 

I was into my second run cycle when I felt something trickle down the back of one knee.  This was odd.  My brain launched into identification mode, “I wonder why the backs of my knees are sweating so much.”  

Another trickle, “They don’t generally sweat this much.  I’ve run in hotter weather than this.”  

A trickle down the back of my other knee was followed by an alarming longer stream that reached the top of my sock and ran down onto my foot.  “Am I peeing a little?!?” (I know all you women of a certain age have asked yourselves this question at one point or another…don’t deny it!)  Quick inventory of bladder.  “No, all systems holding steady there.”

Another long trickle into the sock.  “Maybe I’m bleeding.  Should I stop to check?  But my run’s going so well.  I don’t want to mess it up by stopping now.  There’s no pain.  If I was bleeding there would be pain.  I'll keep running.”

Finally the 10 minute run cycle ended and I had a minute to assess the situation.  No urine, no blood…good.  I pulled my water pouch out of its holster at my back and squeezed it for a drink.  Water jetted from a pin-sized hole in the seam at the bottom of the pouch.  Well, I found the source of the mysterious knee sweat.  Now I had to figure out how to get through the next 40 minutes of my run without my water draining away.

My minute was up so I got creative.  It can’t leak if no water gets to the hole.  I flipped the pouch upside down and crammed it down into the holster.  I was off and running…literally!  Problem solved.

Problems come our way all the time from places we don’t understand.  We can ignore them and hope they’ll go away, but that’s like FEELING the water leak out of the pouch and doing NOTHING about it.  Which I tried for a bit, but if I continued to ignore the problem I wouldn’t have had any hydration for the remainder of the run and my strength would have leaked away faster than the water in my pouch.

Occasionally problems are simply opportunities to make a situation better.  But sometimes they’re bigger and require more effort, more strength, and more time to solve.  Not only that, they’re quite often associated with lousy communication.

I know very few people who actually welcome the tough conversations it takes to resolve some of the BIG problems in life.  So I thought I’d share a book I read this spring that helps navigate those tough conversations.

The book is called “Crucial Conversations”.  You can find their website at . 

I’m one that runs from conflict faster than a turkey flees a Thanksgiving dinner table, but this book helped me identify how I respond in some of these situations and what I can do when I recognize these responses; then how to move forward and address the conversation head on.

There are a number of on-line tools for assessment and practice that can be used in a team setting or individually.  We can all get better at problem-solving through better communication. 

There are still a few weeks of summer left.  Why not add “Crucial Conversations” to your summer reading list.


What problem or conversation have you been avoiding that you need to address?

Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Very Hairy Berry Hibiscus

Every now and then we need a good laugh.  There’s nothing better than sharing a giggle with great friends. 

If you’re lucky what starts out as a giggle morphs into a guffaw, followed by a chortle.  Then it happens…somebody snorts!  At this point it’s all over.  One snort leads to another.  On rare occasions, you might get to witness the ever elusive triple-snort!  Soon you’re doubled over, holding your sides and roaring with laughter while tears stream down your cheeks!

People don’t laugh enough.  I know I don’t.  I tend to take life rather seriously, but periodically something appeals to my bizarre sense of humour. 

Case in point….

A few weeks ago I was on my way back to the office and decided to pop into the Starbucks drive thru.   It was a warm summer day, so I decided to have one of their berry refreshers.

You all know how complicated ordering a drink at Starbucks can be.  All I had to get out were the words “Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher”.  Four words.  Easy right?  Apparently not.  I pulled up to the speaker, confident in my linguistic ability and proceeded to order a very HAIRY berry hibiscus refresher.

My ever helpful brain immediately conjuring up a graphic mental image of a Starbucks cup, personified complete with Duck Dynasty beard, and green eyes peering out from beneath scraggly fur-like hair.

I completely lost it!  My whoop of wild laughter quickly dissolved into hysterical giggling.  A long pause emanated from the other side of the drive thru speaker.  I made another futile attempt at gasping out my order between fits of giggles. 

I finally managed to choke out the words, “that pink berry drink”, then gave up, driving up to the window instead.  The person at the drive thru window was doing her best to keep a straight face, but seeing me hanging over the steering wheel, gibbering helplessly about the “hairy berry drink” was too much for her.  The two of us had a good laugh!

I suspect my little verbal faux pas made her day.  I know it did mine.  Every time I thought about it I giggled hysterically.  Hopefully you are by now, too. 

Remember the next time you go to Starbucks it’s a VERY BERRY HIBISCUS…hold the hair!