…If you smell something, say something…

While not an avid, nightly, Daily Show with Jon Stewart watcher, I enjoyed watching him from time to time. I barely have the time to watch the few shows we do DVR, so adding a nightly show to the mix is not in the cards for us. In any case, the man is an inspiration and is hilarious. I am sad to know his show is over. In all the pleas from his fans to not end his show, I came across this quote:

“The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.” – Jon Stewart

Ah, well put, Jon. Well put. I love it. I am a fan of saying something — always. I am that person that 99% of the time is going to call you out on your bullshit. Why live life without being honest, transparent, and authentic? That does not mean it is always easy for me. Most of the time if I do not say something it eats away at me. While I am not yet a parent, I know all the times I have been told by my own parents, or in childcare situations, that if you let kids get away with something and you let time pass then the teaching moment is over. In most cases I agree. However, what matters most is that you say something.

Be it your spouse, your friend, a family member we so often let things sit inside and agonize over them. We get frustrated, we get angry, and often if we were just open and honest with the other person it resolves itself. They might respond by telling you how grateful they are for your transparency, they might be angry (and really that is their thing to work out), or they might even laugh at you thinking how absurd that such a thing bothered you. Whatever the result, it is good to get it off our chests and not let it fester inside.

Thank you, Jon, for your wisdom and for making us laugh for the past 16 years.

I love me some good people

Ah good people. I love me some good people. Do you know when you have those times when you have the opportunity to be surrounded by someone (or sometimes more than one someone) who is just so present, so clear in their thinking, and listens so intently that you feel completely heard, inspired, and appreciative of what they bring into the world?

Last night I had one of those times. Maybe it happens often for you (yes I feel that way in the presence of Chris). It also nice when it is a good friend, who maybe you have not seen in years, and you feel the conversation flows so easily from one thing to the next. This friend lives on the other coast from me and I do not see him and his wife often, but I am always grateful for the time we get to spend with each other.

I also think it can sometimes be rare to have these individuals in your life. The ones who are so attentive and care so much for what is coming out of your mouth. It is a give and take, a flow of ideas, it is a collaboration of sorts. A banter between minds that are constantly evolving and thinking. Looking together at how to grow and be better individuals.

For those of you in my life reading this, who do this in my life and in the life of others, I thank you. I really do. These are the kinds of conversations I want to have. I want to grow and learn with you. I want to be challenged. I want to try my best to make each individual encounter in my life make things better for others. Regardless of how you receive me, (my directness and transparency might make you uncomfortable), I do it for the bigger picture. I do it for all the good people out there who are present.

Ah, I love me some good people.

Workplace: Fewer or more walls?

The world moves and changes at a rapid pace and when I see folks that work in larger companies struggle with on a day-to-day basis is their personal space. As companies grow the trend seems to be moving towards open office environments. Is that the best way or does it look great? This is a recent article from The Washington Post titled: “Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace” and it is definitely worth a read.

I work in an open office environment. Some days it works and some days it is hard to focus. It is fun, there is transparency, but I am not always sure that everyone is truly as productive in an open environment. Plus it can be highly distracting.

Does the open environment matter based on the individuals that sit in the space? Yes. If you do not get along, you do not necessarily want to have walls down. If you do, it can be so easy to talk and banter with those that sit close to you that you might look back on your day and think about what you really got done. This quote from the article says it all:

“If employers want to make the open-office model work, they have to take measures to improve work efficiency. For one, they should create more private areas — ones without fishbowl windows.  Also, they should implement rules on when interaction should be limited. For instance, when a colleague has on headphones, it’s a sign that you should come back another time or just send an e-mail.  And please, let’s eliminate the music that blankets our workspaces.  Metallica at 3 p.m. isn’t always compatible with meeting a 4 p.m. deadline.”

Private areas to meet when necessary. A place to make private phone calls if needed. Agreed upon rules on music and definitely ones that respect the use of headphones. Maybe we need little “Do Not Disturb” flags at our desk? I wonder if there is an app for that. I do not desire at all to move back to cubicle land, but if you have an open environment there needs to be a thoughtful approach to how it caters to those of differing needs. We are not one size fits all.

Mechanics vs. doctors

A group of neighbors got together over the weekend and while a few of us were talking the topic of mechanics and doctors came up and I had an aha moment over something one individual said. We were discussing a plethora of topics, but this one comparing mechanics to doctors was so spot on.

Think about this. You take your car in to get fixed, whether for its regular tune up or because you heard an odd sound. They take some time to explore the issue, and then before they do any work they let you know what the issue is, what they will have to do (if it ever makes any sense) and how much it is going to cost. You know right then your doom. Do you walk away with the cost of an oil change, or is time to get a new car? You might need new brakes, a new engine, or some other strange part you have never heard of.

Juxtaposition that with going to the doctor. You go to the doctor for a check-up or because something specific is bothering you. They tell you they need to run a bunch of tests. You wait for the results (days) and you then wait much longer (often weeks to months) to find out how much it is truly going to cost you. Even with good insurance you often do not know how much the different tests will cost you. Additionally, it depends on who does the tests. I have found that some places charge vastly different amounts for the exact same test. I guess a mechanic is similar in that different mechanics can charge different amounts for the same work. However, if all the doctor or lab is doing is taking our blood, and testing it how can there be such a vast different in cost? A lot of the costs have to do with what your insurance company will pay, what your specific plan covers, or if you hit your deductible.

How is it that you can get your car diagnosed and you can get the price, but you cannot get the price for what it might take to fix you? There should be more transparency of costs. Sort of like when you go to a restaurant and they show the calorie and fat content, the cost details for tests and doctor visits should be available to patients.

Would a change in this process start with doctor’s offices or with the insurance companies? What do you think?

Being Open

I am as transparent as they come. I have mentioned before that a colleague calls me “TMI” instead of Tami. Well jokingly at least. If you know me you know that I have few filters and I have no problem telling you what is on my mind. It might mean I offend folks at times, but honestly at least you know where you stand with me. Right? Part of being transparent means you have to be open. The funny thing is that is not always the easiest thing for me.

Why? I am a planner. I like to think things through, have backup plans, and ensure that I will be prepared for whatever might occur. My childhood of disconnected utilities, no food on the table, and no money in the bank probably made me overzealous about ensuring that I would never have to worry about the lack of electricity, food on the table, and to make sure my family never lacked the basic necessities. Those moments were integral to my development and extremely poignant as to who and how I am today.

So when I found this Daily Om: “Softening and Expanding” it resonated with me. I think often about being open and how Chris and I talk about it extensively, but that does not make it easy to do in our day-to-day life. Whether you believe in God, a higher power, or the universe, I do believe that there is something at play in our daily life that directs our thoughts. Being open allows us to let go of what we really want, and gives us the space to ask, “How can I best bless? What do I need to do today to be present and listen for which conversations to take part in, and when should I speak up?” I truly believe there is something (whatever you may call it) guiding us for what we need to know. Here is the excerpt I wanted to share from the Daily Om:

“In order to get what we want in life, we have to be willing to receive it when it appears, and in order to do that we have to be open. Often we go through life with defenses we developed early on in order to protect ourselves. These defenses act as barriers, walls we needed at one time to feel safe, but that now serve to shut out desired influences, like intimacy or love. So an essential part of being receptive to what we want is to soften these barriers enough to let those things in when they show up.”

How do you react or allow yourself to be open? Are you receptive to the voices that tell us not to react, not to respond, or to jump for joy at an opportunity?