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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Seven of Clubs

Is there something that your pursue with enthusiasm on a regular basis?  Are you skipping along and singing with glee on your way to work or school?  I hope that you are.  However, I know that it may be something unrelated to those destinations that makes you approach it with anticipation and excitement.  Maybe it is a hobby or dream that has you optimistic and hopeful.  I am reminded of the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  If you recall, these guys were happy and singing as they came home from the mines each day.  The Seven of Clubs this week will be symbolic of the dwarfs and their collective cheer.

Heigh-Ho    Heigh-Ho    Heigh-Ho    Heigh-Ho

One reason the fellows might have been so upbeat is that they had tools, pickaxes and lanterns.  They knew that they needed to use the correct equipment to help them make significant progress toward their deliverables.  It is important to break your big picture into smaller pieces in order to make it more manageable.  Do you have the proper things in your toolkit?  You may need a business plan, business cards, web site, mentor, or additional certifications.  When you are adequately prepared, you are more relaxed and able to execute your agenda effectively and efficiently.

The dwarfs may have also been happy because Snow White made them lunch each day.  Nothing can run on empty.  People, cars, and cell phones are just a few examples of things that need fuel, or power, to make them function.   We have mentioned a few items that you might need in your toolbox.  What should be in your lunchbox?  A balanced meal is important.  Make sure that you have some protein (energy), fiber (flexibility), fruits (contingency plan), and vegetables (clear purpose).  What you eat affects your ability to function at your highest level.  Digest details with your ears in order to identify gaps that your service or product can fill.  Taste problems with your tongue so that you can communicate potential solutions that will satisfy multiple stakeholders.  Your lunchbox should be insulated to protect the contents from fluctuating temperatures.  Surround yourself with people who deal with highs and lows in a productive manner that helps you to succeed.

Another way that Snow White helped the guys was by cleaning the house.   It's a great feeling when things have been taken care of and put in their proper place.  Dust off ideas and plans that you abandoned too early and give them another try.  Sometimes we spend so much time trying to come up with something new that we forget to review items that we already started.  Polish your current presentation to make sure it accurately reflects your message.  Update the resume, practice your skills, and seek constructive feedback from reliable sources.  Mop up spills in a timely fashion so that you don't slip and fall.  Acknowledge mistakes, but do not let them stop you.  Use a sponge to absorb the knowledge and experience you need to exceed expectations.

What tools, foods, and cleaning assignments will you use this week?  Leave a comment and share with others how the Seven of Clubs applies to you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Seven of Hearts

The sights, smells, and sounds of the summer season are here.  You can see kites flying high and painted toes in sandals.  The mouth watering aroma of food being grilled outdoors is in the air.  There is the daily hum of lawnmowers in action and the familiar music of the ice cream truck.  One of the most beautiful things seen during the summer is the rainbow.  The seven colors of a rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.  The Seven of Hearts this week will represent the colorful bands to help us examine the arcs that we project to others.

There are layers to each person and situation.  As they are peeled away, questions are answered and lessons are learned.  Using the rainbow as a guide, think about the different lines and how they apply to you.  After a downpour of obstacles or opportunities, look up and identify your colors.  You may be familiar with the expression "seeing red".  It usually means that someone is really angry.  Let's add layers to the phrase for our purpose this week.  The red band is the outside one in the rainbow and provides a cover for the remaining arcs.  So, when you see red, look through the anger to recognize that it is only the first level, or response.  Remember that there are other reaction options beneath it.  Downgrade the anger to annoyance and reclaim your peace of mind.

Orange is the second color, or layer.  Like a cantaloupe, you have to get past the outer rind, or shell, to reach the sweet, inner fruit.  Have you seen people in the supermarket knocking on the melons?  What are they listening or feeling for when they do this?  They are trying to determine if the fruit is ripe.  You cannot go around knocking on people's heads.  That would not be very productive.  What you can do instead is listen to what they say and watch what they do to determine if their output is hollow.  Assess the maturity of ideas, plans, and activities before offering your support or endorsement.  Likewise, make sure that when you are requesting assistance from others that you have a solid foundation upon which to build.  This leads into the next level, the yellow band.  Be prepared to do your canary impersonation.  Sing, or broadcast, what you want to share in a melodic tone so that it captures the attention of your audience and causes them to pause and listen.  You don't have to literally sing but be able to communicate your message and engage others to participate in and contribute to your vision.

When you see the green layer, consider the ingredients for a nice, healthy salad.  You usually start with some type of leafy green (iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, spinach, etc.).    Other green contributions might include cucumbers, broccoli, and peppers.  You want them them to be fresh and crisp.  We won't worry about the other colored items for this example.  When you go to a salad bar, you can create a dish that is unique to your tastes.  Then you pour on the dressing to complete the dish.  This process can be applied to other things.  If you feel like you're in a rut, shake things up by changing your routine, surroundings, or habits.  It can be as small as changing the time you get up or changing where you shop.  Bigger changes might involve your education, career, transportation, living arrangements, or relationships.  These things are your salad ingredients.  The frequency of and commitment to the fresh, crisp changes serves as the dressing. 

The last 3 bands are shades of blue and purple.  That color combination is beautiful on the ground as well as in the air.  Pansies can be a striking addition to a landscape project or garden.  As you build relationships, try to plant seeds that will yield a diverse harvest of good will, patience, and  benevolence.  Don't keep your blooms in your yard.  Pick them and arrange them in bouquets so that you can share them with others who may need a mood booster.   

Friday, July 16, 2010

Seven of Spades

                                                  How do you label your days?  Most of us call them by the typical names of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  You may use other descriptions that reflect the agenda for the day.  For example, there may be a laundry day, spa day, or pay day.  Getting money and having a massage sound like more fun than washing clothes.  However, don't disregard the value of the normal days with ordinary tasks.  The Seven of Spades will represent the days of the week.  Let's examine how we can maximize each one of them for our benefit and progress.

Money - day
On this day, money will be symbolic of value.  We are not talking about actual dollars and cents.  Instead, the focus is on who/what adds value to your life and how you can add value to your relationships and assignments.   Consider the impact of your words, actions, and encounters.  If a situation improves as a result of your involvement, then you have added value. 

Toots - day
Don't be afraid to blow, or toot, your own horn.  It doesn't have to be done with arrogance or rudeness.  With grace and humility, you can share your skills, accomplishments, and philosophies with others.  On Toots-day, you want to remember the value you identified on Money-day. 

Wins - day
Some victories are easy to measure.  The person or team who scores the most points is the winner.  Other contests are more subjective.  Winning may be measured on a scale that you determine.  Sometimes you are your toughest opponent.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  Remember to identify your daily wins.  If you have an issue with punctuality, each time that you are not late is a win for you.  Find something to put in your win column everyday.

Thirst - day
When you watch television, do you notice all of the drink commercials that air?  There are sports drinks, soft drinks, energy drinks, diet drinks, and many others.  We know that hydration is important for our bodies, but our minds also need liquid nourishment.  Ideas are like iced tea.  They need to brew for the right amount of time and be sweetened to taste.  A good plan that is launched too early and without the proper ingredients may not succeed.    

Friend - day
Your friends are a daily source of support, laughter, and possibility for you.  If you exhibit those same qualities for them,  bonds will be formed.  People will fill different roles in your friendship tree.  Some will be branches that help you climb to the top.  Others will be leaves that identify your characteristics and functions.  There will also be the ones who are the bark that protect you from harmful elements.  Each one has a purpose.  Appreciate them and don't take them for granted. 

Saddle - day
Saddles are used to ride horses.  They serve as the seat that is the buffer between you and the animal.  Where you sit has an effect on your point of view and contributes to how others perceive you.  Like the saddle, make sure that your seat is adjustable and portable.  Don't get so comfortable that you fail to recognize when it is time to move.  There will be another place for you to sit at the next stop on your route.

Suds - day
You probably see suds everyday.  Whether you are washing clothes, dishes, hair, or your body, there is lather involved.  It is the evidence that cleaning is taking place.  As you are working toward your goals, there will always be things going in the background that are not apparent to others.  However, at some point there should be a visible sign that something is happening.  Look for the suds when you are seeking an example to follow and generate them when it is your turn to serve as the role model.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Eight of Diamonds

What is your favorite shape?  I know that may seem like an odd question, but take a minute to think about it.  Most people have a favorite color, food, or vacation destination.  Shapes are representative of many common items.  The number 8 is composed of circles and resembles links found in a chain. Chain links connect to one another to form a solid unit.  The complete chain can be used for protection (fence), adornment (necklace), or support (tires).   The Eight of Diamonds will represent a champion chain for you this week.  Let's identify your winning links.
Ladders are tools that allow you to climb to new heights in order to obtain things that are ordinarily out of your reach.  As you step on each rung, you are exposed to new levels and points of view.  Your figurative ladder may be a person, experience, or challenge.  Pay attention to the positive impact of your encounters so that you will recognize your next link.

Insurance is something we typically have for our homes, autos, health, and lives.  We pay premiums so that we will be covered if there is a problem.  As you interact with others, the way that you treat them is symbolic of a premium payment.  If you strive to be a strong link in someone else's chain, they will usually reciprocate and do the same for you.

Needles are used for sewing and mending clothing.  There is a small hole at the top referred to as the eye.  It is the place where the thread is inserted.  The needle cannot function properly without thread.  The thread is what holds everything together. Patience, a steady hand, and attention to detail are needed to thread a needle. Those traits will also help you as you embark on new adventures.  Your figurative needle is your mind because it is the trigger for your creativity.  If you have an open mind, new ideas will be the thread, or link, that ties your dreams to your reality.  

Kettles hold hot water.  They are made to withstand high temperatures and sound the alarm when the water is ready.  When you are in trouble, or hot water, you need something or someone to serve as a buffer for the situation.  It is important for your chain to have a vocal link that maintains its strength and functionality under pressure.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Eight of Clubs

What makes a group or organization successful?  Are there common characteristics needed for growth and productivity?  While we could name several things that are essential for a club to function, we will focus on one key element this week.  Members drive the agenda and put a face on the team.  Since we are dealing the 8 of Clubs, let's identify what the membership needs to do to contribute to the overall purpose of the group.

  1. Particip8
    1. Participation is necessary for your voice to be heard.  Your point of view is important.  Show up, listen up, and speak up to add value to the club.
  2. Innov8
    1. Innovation produces fresh ideas and new opportunities.  Whether the group needs to solve problems or provide a better service or product, there is always room for a unique approach. 
  3. Celebr8
    1. It is important to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of the team as a whole, as well as individual members.  Celebrations are designed to boost morale and allow everyone to relax and have fun.  Laughter, food, and games should always be on the guest list.
  4. Collabor8
    1. Collaboration strengthens the club because people are more accountable when they have  a partner.  This builds team unity and establishes a place for everyone.  It also allows people to learn from each other.
  5. Facilit8
    1. Facilitation is necessary in a group setting.  There must be order and structure for the team to function at its optimum capacity.  A basketball team needs a point guard, a football team needs a quarterback, and a symphony needs a conductor.  The facilitator is a key role that should be appreciated and supported.
  6. Negoti8
    1. Negotiation can promote goodwill within the club if the final decision supports what is best for the group.  Objectivity, civility, and compromise can pave the way for a solution that is acceptable to everyone. 
  7. Dedic8
    1. Dedication is an admirable quality to have.  When you are committed to something, you make time for it and give it the attention it deserves.  The bond can go both ways when dealing with clubs.  If you make your fellow members and the team a priority, they will do the same for you.
  8. Evalu8
    1. Evaluation requires use of your listening and observation skills.  Identify what is working well for the group and where improvement might be needed.  Measuring effectiveness on a regular basis will lead to adjustments that benefit individuals and the club.