Fingertips

Your fingertips were raindrops
On a hot summer morning,
Cool, calming, relaxing
On a heated day
Coming down on me
Raining down
Raining down
I didn’t have to strain
Or stretch my neck
To come and attain
The minute pecks
Of the dew drops upon
My face
My shoulders
My body
As I learned skin-sploration
The art of feeling someone
Without hearing a word
Or speaking them toward
Simply felt the language
Felt an ease
Felt alive
Felt appeased
Felt at peace
Like cooling raindrops
Softly falling
On a hot summer morning.

Pollyannism

Today was a strange day, for me, as for the first time in as long as I can remember, I got yelled at in front of my peers for being too “Pollyanna.” ([1] [2]) I hate to admit this, but I had to ask someone what that meant. After letting the rude comments set on my mind for a bit, I decided that being referred to as Pollyanna isn’t such a bad thing. For one, I get along with everyone, and I believe that if someone has a problem with me, it’s their problem, because I would never do anything to intentionally get on someone’s bad side, unless of course what they’re doing is just not right. I see a lot of this optimism in the people I choose to be around, and I find it refreshing that there are other people out there who dare to bear such a positive outlook. Unfortunately, these days, this attitude comes few and far between.

I dare to be different, this way, because it’s needed. If I am to lead or to serve, I know from miles and years of experience that it’s always best to be optimistic. Everyone feels better in the end. I will not change my philosophy because a few people don’t like it. I will not become mediocre because a random bitter soul thinks that their position in life is to earn money and go home. Life is too precious to be rote, though in business, the tasks tend to be that way. If you can’t have fun doing what you do, then why the heck are you doing it? I’ve learned what optimism does because I see the results I get in my own life. Go eat at a CiCi’s Pizza — watch the employees there — they have fun.

Optimists display excellent character. Their attitude toward life is almost innate, as they take pride in whatever it is they represent, and they almost always do the best they can because they don’t mind being held accountable for their actions. When people get angry, optimists don’t take it personal, as they see that it’s not them causing the issue, because they are able to (joyfully) respect another person’s differences. They are open to changes and ensure the weight of the tasks is divvied out evenly. Optimists will go the extra mile without a second thought. And above all, and what probably ticks the pessimists off, is that they enjoy doing these things.

Another thing optimistic people like to do is use their knowledge for good. They authentically enjoy helping others in need. I’ve been called OCD because of my keen attention to detail. I want to know everything about what I do, because I know in the long run, it will help me in the future, but I also know it will be of great advantage to me, because I can use it when someone needs my assistance. I will have the tools needed to get the job done. People won’t be afraid to say “hey, Suzie, can you help me with this?” They are already doing that, now. I don’t mind a bit. It can be as simple as filling out a form or as complex as doing a demonstration. If I know it and you need me to do it, I sure will. The gratitude at the end is enough for me.

Optimists are also not afraid of peers, subordinates, and management. If they have an issue or a question, they just ask! There’s no reason to fear the superiors for an optimist. They know that even the president has to put his pants on one leg at a time. It’s refreshing when the president knows that as well. Optimists are able to form long-term bonds with just about everyone, and this is beneficial to all involved.

On the flip-side, optimists also know when to let things go. If I’m dealing with negatives that I cannot control, I remember that I can change three things: the person I’m dealing with, the situation, or myself. I have enough faith in myself to understand I’m usually not at fault, so I’m not going to change. It is extremely rare to change the person, so I usually write that option off. The situation? I consider if it’s worth it to change, and if it is, I figure out a way to do so. If it’s not, I just blow the whole negative influence off, and I’m on my way to more productive things.

All in all, to be called Pollyannistic is stretching it a bit, but devoutly optimistic, yes. I don’t mind displaying good character. I don’t mind having fun doing what I do. I don’t care if I have to work harder to get the job done. I don’t mind if people have bad attitudes — that’s their thing. But I’ll gladly take the former term as a compliment, even if I was chewed out for being so.

“See…What I Was Trying to Say Was…”

I had an interview, today. I don’t want to give away too many clues to the questions, as it wasn’t acknowledged that I can’t discuss the answers or questions with my peers, but since this is a pertinent issue for me, I wanted to clarify one of the answers here, as if the powers that confirm or deny me actually read this…

The issue at hand, here, is, to put a Jeopardy spin on it, what is the root requirement of a pertinent leader?

My answer is, simply put, the ability to use the resources given to you at any given time so that you may get the job done. Take into account, Captain Al Haynes, the pilot who was able to use every resource he had available to him to successfully bring a doomed-from-the-get-go DC-10 to an adequate runway and save half of his passengers and most all of the crew. Had he taken it upon himself to do only what he knew, the plane would have never made it. He beseeched an instructor, who was flying on the plane as a passenger that day, who knew a lot more about the dynamics of the plane than he, to come up with ways to maintain the plane’s altitude / stability using only throttles, as the stabilizers themselves were literally nonexistent. He let the first officer take care of the controls while maintaining a constant shift between gas and brake, gas and brake. And equally effective, he used his own wits and humor to maintain a semi-calm atmosphere in the cockpit:

Captain Fitch:   I'll tell you what.  We'll have a beer when this is
all done.
Captain Haynes:  Well, I don't drink, but I'll sure as hell have
one.

And on the approach:

Sioux City Approach:  United two thirty-two heavy, the wind's
currently at three six zero at one one three
sixty at eleven.  You're cleared to land on
any runway...
Captain Haynes:  [Laughter] Roger. [Laughter] You want to be
particular and make it a runway, huh?

This is a perfect example of how a leader can maximize resources and keep control of the situation. Humor is a key element in any stressful situation. But as I said before, resource management is the key quality of a good leader.

Capt. Haynes utilized to the fullest extent an element in pilot training called Cockpit Resource Management, which debunks the idea that what the Captain says is Law. CRM was introduced as Command Leadership Resource Management by UAL in 1980. I believe this can be reworded to fit any workplace and would be an invaluable resource in itself to both the staff and leadership of an organization, regardless the level.

…Into the Weeds wrote an article about Capt. Haynes and the notorious flight 232, of which I gleened the quotes above. You can read the article here. Read Capt. Haynes’ article about the flight and five things that happened that he believes salvaged a doomed flight here (warning, pop-ups)…

Another example of resource management is one I take from my own history. I played goalie for a good six years, and three years into my “career,” I was noticing how well other goalies were playing, and while I was doing well, I was still lacking. I couldn’t figure the areas of my fallacies, myself, so I called upon a handful of our veteran players, one of which was a former high school ice hockey coach in Massachusetts. Mind you, this is travel team inline hockey I was playing. Not top-tier, or anything, but we were good enough to travel to some nearby cities and smoke some opponents. The goalie, by default responsibility, has to be some kind of leader, even if she’s the only girl on the team (sometimes the whole league). But if I wasn’t stellar, it wore off on a lot of the teammates — even if we won. So I called upon the vets to tell me what I was doing wrong, and possibly help me see the puck better. What a treat it was to have someone tell me “hey, that’s one thing we can work on.” A quote I’ve posted on here before is “the ability to not know is an essential quality in learning anything.” I live by that philosophy. If you walk into a room acting like you already know the course data, you’ll have wasted time by the time the course is over. It certainly helps to have an interest in the material being studied, but again, if you act like you know it all, you’ll walk away with nothing.

By the end of that hockey year, I was stopping trash-goal attempts by preventing the trash puck from ever appearing; that is, I had learned to properly deflect the puck to the corner. At first, I thought I’d never be able to grasp such a complex act of making my stocky body move as fast as my mind thought for it to. I can think fast, but my feet often cannot keep up. And, up to that time, 90% of the goals I’d let in were trash pucks. Trash pucks are the rebounds that bounce off of me (the goalie) and protrude forward into the slot, where hungry offenders can smack at it again and again while I’m vulnerable and struggling to regroup.

Learning to prevent such attempts was the most valuable lesson I’d learned from my teammates, where I’d never originally expected the knowledge to come from, as they were skating players (i.e. forwards and defensemen). I had to take it upon myself, however, to gain the stamina I needed to match the requirements of the lessons I was given, most of which also required a significant amount of ice time (sic) after team practice sessions. I slaved myself hard and followed a strict diet of chicken, broccoli, spinach, brown rice, and steel-cut oats , along with a keenly-followed supplement program that assisted me in achieving the greatness I was destined to achieve if I were to listen to my new trainers and take away new skills.

These are but two examples. I could come up with dozens of others. It’s all about using the resources around you that make you a good leader.

The Things You See When You Look Away

Oh, how you can be, when you look away
How the nature of the thoughts
Go from white to dark gray
And the shadows are more prominent
The no’s a lot more dominant
What is true, is it the white or the black
That leaves the impression when you look back
Is it the thing that is there or the lasting image
The discoloration of life that’s left you a-grimace
But you smile at what’s before you
Let the bitter thoughts ignore you
Until you’re not close to reality
But left with a fading quality
That stings at your nerves like a bee on a tear
Letting it rip at you, rather than embracing what’s near
Just remember that everything’s not real, what you’ve seen today
Oh, the things you see when you look away

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