It’s Not the Kite, It’s the Air

I love the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams! I can’t help dancing every time I hear it! I like it so much, I bought the song for my iPod and the video for my iPad. Once, the song came over the intercom while I was eating dinner with three friends in a restaurant. All four of us started dancing in our chairs. The song just makes you, well … happy.

I watched an interview with Pharrell Williams on CBS Sunday Morning. During the interview, Pharrell said something I’ve been thinking about a lot. He was asked, “Are you afraid if you give yourself too much credit, it would all go away?”

Pharrell’s answer, “For sure. You see people spin out of control like that all the time. I mean, those are the most tragic stories, the most gifted people who start to believe it’s really all them. It’s not all you. It can’t be all you. Just like you need air to fly a kite, it’s not the kite. It’s the air.”

What a perfect?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? metaphor … “It’s not the kite, it’s the air.” Ego check. Happiness and success are rarely achieved alone. Each is produced with the help, support, and patience of the people around you. You should thank them for it from time to time.

I’m posting this the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. A good time for anyone to look at their life and assess. As I look at my life. Let me tell my wife, family, and friends … THANK YOU!!! … for your help, support and bountiful patience! If I’m a kite … they’re the air. Thank you to my readers as well. If this blog is a kite, you’re the air!

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Restaurants and the Bathroom Test

blur shot of a person in a restaurant
Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

I eat in restaurants often. I like trying new restaurants, especially when brunch is served. I never worried about sanitation in the kitchen or if my server washed their hands. I just enjoyed the food.

TV shows change all that. Try watching shows like Restaurant: Impossible on the Food Network,  Hotel Impossible on the Travel Channel or Bar Rescue on Paramount Network. I was shocked at all the unsanitary hotels, bars and restaurants out there. I always knew there are unsanitary places but seeing it on TV brings it to life. How can you tell when you walk into one of these places?

I got up to use the bathroom on one of my restaurant visits. It was awful. The floors were dirty, the paper-towels had run out, and the soap was empty. It hit me, if I can’t wash my hands, my server can’t wash their hands either. Then I realized, if a restaurant doesn’t take the time to clean and re-stock the bathroom, why would I think they clean the kitchen? If I see roaches or other critters in the bathroom (and I have), I bet there are critters in the kitchen as well. I decided a dirty bathroom is a good sign I should get out of there BEFORE I eat a meal.

Why worry about the restaurant’s bathroom? Bathrooms are used by customers. Some restaurant managers don’t care or are too busy to make sure the bathroom is clean and stocked. If a place customers see is a low priority for cleanliness, what’s the priority for places NOT SEEN by customers. It’s a red flag at least!

My sister-in-law works in the restaurant industry. She has another test. Look up at the air vents in the dining room. If they’re dirty, so is the kitchen. Do you have a test? If so, please share …

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Start the Next Chapter of Your Life (Quote)

599a4e251b6623aa46e7409004b38f18You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” – Unknown

It’s a great quote because it explains the concept in simple terms … reading and chapters. It’s easy to translate to what I think is its true meaning … thinking forward or thinking backward.

Are you a backward thinker or a forward thinker? Re-reading the last chapter is focusing on the past and the mistakes you’ve made. Stop that! You can stay stuck in the past or move on. You can’t change the past, so the choice is clear … or it should be. Be a forward thinker. What are your GOALS, not your MISTAKES? Where do you want to be in the future? How do you get there? Make a plan. Focus on that.  Start the next chapter.

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I’m a Proud Member of the “Swoop In” Club

dreamstime_m_128365221Let me start by explaining what the “Swoop In” Club is. I was a member of Toastmasters International. As a Toastmaster, you have to give speeches in front of the club. The first speech all new Toastmasters give is called “The Icebreaker.” It’s one of the most comfortable speeches because it’s short and you talk about yourself.

A woman joined the club. She talked about her divorce for her icebreaker. She described how she survived divorce because her friends “swooped in.” I remember thinking that was powerful! No one wants to go through a divorce, a death in the family or any other crisis. Unfortunately, a crisis happens to all of us at some point. Will your family “swoop in” to support you during a crisis? Will your friends?

A few years ago, my wife and I were living and working in a group home. It was hard work, but we enjoyed it. The crisis came when we lost our jobs. It’s risky to live and work in the same place. If you lose your job, you lose your home at the same time. That’s what happened to us. We lost our jobs and had to move within three days. That’s short notice when you have a house full of furniture and personal belongings.

My wife and I got the news on a Thursday afternoon and had to be out of the house by Sunday night. We sat in the house for about an hour recovering from the shock. Once the shock was over, we started making calls. I called my parents and friends. She called her grandmother, brothers, and friends. It was the same story told over and over. “We lost our jobs. We lost our home. We’re not sure what we’re going to do. We’re not sure where we’re going to go. We have to be out by Sunday night.” It could have been terrible, but something else happened … PEOPLE SWOOPED IN! Our family and friends said over and over, “I’ll be there!” It was wonderful!

We spent the next day arranging for a storage unit, renting a moving van, buying moving supplies and getting the house as ready as possible. Saturday morning, with almost no notice, people showed up. We had a crew of family and friends helping us pack the house and get us moved out. One friend canceled a planned weekend vacation to help. By Sunday morning, most of our stuff was in storage, and we were living with a relative.

My point is not the story of our crisis. My point is I’m now a member of the “Swoop In” Club. A proud member! I no longer have to wonder about my family and friends in a crisis. I know if a crisis hits, they come running … and that’s an awesome feeling!!! Are you a member of the “Swoop In” Club?

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Ask Yourself, How Much Time, Money and Energy?

time-money-energyAre you thinking about starting a new project, joining a new club or learning a new hobby? Are you always being asked to serve as a volunteer, on a board or committee? The first question you should ask yourself is how much time, money, and energy will this cost? Make sure you have a good idea of the actual costs before you say yes.

How much time? How much time does the commitment require? Are there meetings to attend (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.)? How long are the meetings? Are the meetings during the workday, after hours or on the weekend? In addition to meetings, how much time does the average person spend reviewing documents or working on tasks between meetings? You want to make sure you have a complete count of the time needs vs. your availability. Time is valuable. You only get 24 hours daily minus sleep. Protect it! Say no if it requires too much time.

How much money? Will you be required to pay dues, fees or make donations? Will you have to buy tickets to anything (an annual gala, conferences, concerts, shows or games, etc.)? Are there other expenses? Do you have to contribute to a soup kitchen, food drive, shelter supply closet, or team uniforms? Will you have to travel? Small costs can add up quickly. Can you afford it all?

I served on a board once that served a lite meal at each board meeting. The committees took turns providing the food. If it was my committee’s turn, I had to share in the cost. Also, I had to make an annual donation plus the price of tickets to two events each year. Bottom line – try to get a realistic idea of the costs for the commitment. I have seen good people forced to resign or stop a commitment due to the financial burden. Say no if it requires too much money.

How much energy? This is the hardest one of all. Most people don’t think about energy cost. Have you heard the saying, “A meeting of the minds but the minds didn’t show.” Well each of us has a finite amount of mental energy to spend each day. All commitments require mental energy. Sometimes, a lot of mental energy! It’s important to show up to commitments with a clear, well-rested mind. If you’re asked to serve on a committee or board, they want you to do more than show up and keep the chair warm. Don’t forget to add stress to mental energy for a total score. Say no if the mental score is too high.

Why did I write this? There are always needs to serve on committees, boards, sports teams, church groups and the like. It’s a great way to learn, grow, network, give back or make a difference. However, I have seen people get involved in projects and it not work out. In most cases, the relationship failed due to a misunderstanding of time, money or energy commitments. I don’t want it to happen to you.

 

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Do You Know Your VP’s?

the-vps-2A very long time ago, I was given a chance to attend a training class called “How to Set Priorities.” It was a one day class (seminar really), held in a ballroom with 100 or 150 people. It was one of the best courses I ever attended!!!

The speaker covered many concepts. I think the most potent was the VP’s. This idea made such an impression on me that I still talk about it to this day! The speaker said that everyone you meet in your career and in your life will fit into one or more of four types (or VP’s). The VP’s are VIP, VTP, VNP, and VDP.

VIP = Very Important Person – In this context, a VIP is not necessarily the president of your company or a celebrity. A VIP is anyone that is helping you in life. It is anyone that supports you or gives you good advice. The VIP has your best interests at heart. Your family and your closest friends are VIP’s. The professionals that back you in life (your coach, accountant, lawyer, and the head of your church) are all VIP’s to you. These are your supporters when trouble hits or your rescuers when you get into trouble.

At work, VIP’s are all the people who help with your career, such as your business advisor or mentor. Any boss that will send you to training or other professional development is a VIP. Anyone that is “in the know” and can supply you with useful information. After all, knowledge is power in business and your career. All these people are VIP’s.

My point is this … find and keep as many VIP’s as possible in your life! Your happiness, success, and ability to deal with problems are enhanced by the number of VIP’s you have in your life.

VTP = Very Teachable Person – To be a good leader, you must learn to delegate. To be a successful leader, you must learn to delegate to the right people! The right people are the VTP’s. VTP’s are people who are good at getting things done. VTP’s are fast learners, keep their promises and need little supervision. VTP’s are the people you recruit to your team when you get a promotion or call to help get tasks done for a project. Always be on the lookout for more VTP’s.

VNP = Very Nice Person – Everyone has friendly neighbors and friendly co-workers. Everyone has lovely friends you see once a month for lunch. The person who serves coffee at the coffee shop may be a nice person. These people make life more enjoyable. You need people to talk to about last night’s football game or play card games with or go to the movies. Nice people are good to have around.

The thing to remember is you must have a balance. Most people in life are nice. As a result, nice people can easily take up all your time. If you’re retired, that’s OK. If you’re trying to build a career, be careful here! At work, you can damage a promising career this way. If you spend to much time at the water cooler talking to nice people, you can get labeled as a slacker. Remember, VIP’s and VTP’s get it done and get promoted. VNP’s do not.

VDP = Very Depressing (or Draining) Person – These are the complainers, the drama queens, and angry people. Life is negative for them. They come in several forms. The VDP is sad. The VDP is rude. The VDP always has a new problem and wants to talk about it for hours. There is always DRAMA! The real danger is a VDP seeks to recruit you as a VDP as well! They want you to be negative WITH THEM. Don’t let this happen! You must wish them well, hope they someday find true happiness and let them go. To live a successful and happy life, you must keep the number of people in this category VERY small. Don’t let negative people rent space in your head. Their negative energy will bring you down and cause you stress! Stay away from VDP’s!

Well, that’s it … the VP’s. VIP (Very Important Person) / VTP (Very Teachable Person) / VNP (Very Nice Person) / VDP (Very Draining Person).

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Do It Anyway (Quote)

“People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world your best and it may never be enough;
Give the world your best anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.”

– by Mother Theresa