Find Another Way

How do you respond when things go wrong?

Note: I first started writing this post over three years ago. At the time I was not in a good place, and I drafted something with lots of anger in it. Since then I’ve played with the draft many times and never managed to get the balance right. This week I took another look and I think I have finally managed to position things in a way which is helpful to me – and hopefully for you too. Thanks for reading.

I’m having a great week. Meeting interesting people, having interesting conversations, doing work I enjoy and which I believe makes a difference. Learning to appreciate myself and others more, trying to make good, better. This week I’m on a roll and I am grateful to everyone who is helping me right now. I hope you’re having a good one too.

But what happens when the opposite is the case? Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and when that happens, it is helpful to have someone to blame. I do it, and you do it too, don’t you?

I Blame HR

I blame HR, with their pointless annual appraisals, their patronising diversity training and their crappy happy clappy fund raising bake sales. I blame HR.

I Blame Finance

I blame finance, with their stupid budget restrictions, their over complicated spreadsheets and their mind numbing expenses policy. I blame finance.

I Blame Sales

I blame sales, with their cheap suits, their bonus chasing greed and their legendary ability to over promise. I blame sales.

I Blame Facilities

I blame facilities, with their untimely fire drills, feng shui faux pas and their utopian paper free office strategy. I blame facilities.

I Blame Customer Services

I blame customer services, with their call waiting stats, their net promoter index and their ‘I can’t do that, you need to speak to my supervisor’ unhelpfulness. I blame customer services.

You get the picture. But have you ever stopped to think, maybe it’s you? OK, maybe you didn’t cause the problem, but let’s face it, pointing the finger at everyone isn’t much help. The attitude you choose, particularly when things aren’t going to plan, says an awful lot about you. So the next time things go off course, if it’s only a little, then hey – try and enjoy it, maybe there’s another way. If things are way off course, then try and be useful, find out if people need help to get things back on track. Most importantly, try to be kind about it. More and more I’m realising that a little kindness goes a long way. It’s The International Day of Happiness today, so why not push the boat out and throw your best smile into the mix too.

Blame Is Not The Answer

Blame is not the answer. Find another way. Have a lovely weekend.


Sometimes I Just Forget To Look

You don’t get to choose much of what happens to you, but you do get to choose your own attitude, and how you respond.

Burnt Crumpets

Tuesday morning started in a less than ideal fashion. I got up early to attend a breakfast meeting in London and thought I’d make some fruit smoothie to share at the meeting. I was in a rush, long story short, I completely ruined our smoothie maker (more haste less speed). Next I burned the breakfast crumpets (pay attention 007) before checking online to find out that trains into London were delayed and cancelled because of local electrical supply problems. I was frustrated (putting it politely).

Once I knew the London thing wasn’t going to happen I offered to take Keira to the train station for her journey to school (heading away from London). The delays there were just as bad, so I gave Keira a lift to school.

On the way to school we talked, sang and laughed, and agreed that the silver lining of these minor morning misfortunes, was some excellent time together. The smile Keira gave me as we parted stayed with me all day, a day which turned out to be great fun and very productive.

You choose your own attitude, and I often forget to look in the right place before choosing.

Thanks Keira.

Wednesday evening after dinner we each opened a fortune cookie – they were leftover from a recent trip to the Chinatown district in Manchester.

Carole’s read: Each failure takes you closer to success
Keira’s read: You have an important new business development shaping up
Mine read: Bless others with kindness and you shall be blessed.

Later that night, just before I went to bed I received an email from The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) rejecting my proposal to speak at their 2015 conference in Las Vegas:

Dear Doug:

Thank you for submitting a presentation proposal for the SHRM® Annual Conference & Exposition being held June 28 – July 1, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Each proposal was given careful and deliberate consideration. We strive to offer a balanced program of educational sessions at the conference and select the proposals that best fit the overall programming framework of the conference. Please understand that we receive many proposals with several on the same topic. Exceptional proposals are turned away each year for the simple reason that we have limited speaking slots. Your proposal for The Art of Collaboration was not selected this year. However, your interest in offering your skills, background and knowledge is greatly appreciated.

Once again, thank you for your submission.

Letty Kluttz, SPHR, MBA
Director, Conference Programming and Development

Truthfully – although I was a little disappointed to get the Dear John – on reflection I was more frustrated about the crumpets than I was about getting this note. Maybe Tuesday morning’s breakfast hunger was stronger than the hunger to speak at SHRM National? I don’t know – but I do know that this Thursday morning brings another day full of failure and success, business development and blessing. Today I’m looking in the right place – I hope you are too. Have a great day.

I Did Not Choose

I’m at the airport, with time on my hands, love in the bank, and cheese on my plate.

In no particular order…

I did not choose:

To lose my father in 2012
To be born a boy, October 1965
To lose my mother when I was just 18
The genetic sleight of hand that triggers my iritis
To be bullied at work, though maybe I invited it in?
For the wheel on my suitcase to break at the airport today
To be the father of an inspiring daughter, though I am so much better for her
The ability to detect pitch and tone so sensitively, without the ability to replicate it
I did not choose insecurity…………………………………………………………………………..or did I?

Carole and I chose each other, and I choose my own attitude. I wouldn’t have it any other way.