Pen to paper

I have always put pen to paper. For as long as I can remember I have loved words, stories, and the connection and meaning they have on our lives. In elementary school, writing stories came naturally to me. Maybe it was because the crazy amount of books I read. The books inspired me to write and create my own version of reality. Writing for me came in a variety of forms. I often wrote in a journal and recapped my world, my questions, my painful moments, and sometimes the happy times. Although often I found I was lead to write when things were not good, as it was a way to process and formulate my thoughts and feelings.

For a few years in elementary school, I was the class representative to go to a Young Author’s Conference in my town, where you would bring your handmade book and had to read it in front of a group. If I remember correctly there were even finalists from the conference that went to a state version. In fourth and fifth grade, there was the “Little Hoosiers” writing contest, where we were to write about someone in our life that had grown up in Indiana. One year I wrote about my Great Aunt E’Beth, someone I had interacted with only a few times. She was related to us on my grandmother’s side of the family and had an interesting life. I researched her and her husband’s impact on my hometown in the early 1920’s. It was interesting to learn how integral and active they were in the community, and I found out later that I had won second place in Indiana for my essay on Aunt E’Beth.

Short stories, research/historical writing, and journal writing… there were so many ways that words inspired me. Then something happened. Life got crazy taking care of my mom, college, and then taking care of my grandma. Other things consumed me. I stopped writing and processing a world that sometimes did not always make much sense. Eventually I began to write in a journal almost daily. I made notes of quotes that inspired me. I made sure to spend time every day writing. But nothing like I did as a child. I wrote for me, but never really went back and explored the short fiction writing that I did as a kid. I think about it often and even dream about what it would be like to have a book pour out of my fingertips.

If you write, are a writer, or have that urge to let the words flow, I encourage you to write just a little bit everyday. There is something inside me that wants to go back to being that little girl and write all the crazy ideas that came into my head. I know one day my mind will quiet enough to let the words inside come out. For now, and over the last 3 years my writing has morphed into this blog, and I hope the ideas that have escaped my mind have inspired and uplifted those of you that read random olio.

From problem solver to listener

I have a hard time seeing a problem and not trying to find a solution. It is as though my mind works in a different way, constantly filtering information towards a solution. I see a problem that needs to be solved and I go through the library card file in my mind to determine if there is a current solution, or if it is something that I need to bring others in to help solve. There are often problems that have an easy solution, and others that can be easily solved if you bring in your network of resources.

The problem with the way my mind works? Sometimes it is not my place to find the solution. Sometimes what I need to do is guide others to a solution. Take Chris for an example. He might share a problem with me and the last thing he wants me to do is try to solve it. He just wants me to listen. So I take my hands and sit on them, and listen. Or at least I try to. Deep down I am probably still trying to solve it, but keeping my mouth shut. Other times whether with colleagues or with friends, their problems again are not always ours to solve. We can make suggestions or ask questions, but we cannot always solve the actual problems.

As I write this I see how much better I could be at listening — to Chris, my colleagues, and friends. Coaching sometimes means asking questions such as: Have you thought about ______? Or, have you looked at the other side of the problem? Or, maybe even saying: Put yourself in their shoes, would you handle something differently? I know I can do better at listening, I can do better at formulating questions to get others to think more. Maybe that is part of going from managing to leading.

I love the spiral that sometimes happens when you start writing about one topic and have an “aha” moment that leads you to see a gap or a hole in your life that might be a good area to focus on. I could be better about being directive to solve each problem, and take a step back to allow those that have the problems to resolve them on their own. Listen more, ask questions, and reflect.

#problemsolver

Happy belated 3rd Birthday, random olio!

Every year I seem to forget my birthday (not really) but I am fine to let it pass by. This past week was CRAZY and I completely looked past the fact that January 8th (last Thursday) was Random Olio’s third birthday. It is hard to believe that I have been writing every weekday for the past three years.

There have been many times over the course of the year where I have questioned whether I should keep posting a blog every day. I contemplate the time it takes to brainstorm, be inspired, write, edit, write, edit, and sometimes throw stuff away. In the end I do it for you and I do it for me. Random Olio makes me think outside myself. I have to be “on” for work in a certain way each day. Random Olio is the outlet that allows me to put myself out into the world with my ideas, inspiration, and questions. It has nothing to do with being “on” at work, but instead allows me to be free and speak what is on my mind. I wonder at times if I did not write if I would be consumed by work or if in some ways my voice would be quieter.

Thank you to each and every one of you that takes the time to read Random Olio. With close to 800 posts in 3 years, I have had a lot to say. While I do not know how long I will continue, I appreciate each day and post you read and commented on. Keep coming back, tell me what you think, and speak your mind.

Happy Belated 3rd Birthday Random Olio!