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Friday, August 27, 2010

Six of Clubs

Let's continue our discussion from last week.  We covered a half dozen eggs with the Six of Hearts.  Now, we will examine the remaining half dozen with the Six of Clubs.  The different ways to prepare eggs was the primary analogy for ways to handle common scenarios that we might encounter as we take steps toward our goals.  You won't have to worry about these eggs being recalled.

Handle your eggs with care until you are ready to use them for a meal.  Once they are cracked, you need to assign the contents to the proper function as soon as possible for maximum expression, efficiency, and effectiveness.  The following are examples of some tasty dishes that have eggs as a main ingredient.

  1. Omelette - How do you fold in new building blocks to your foundation in order to build a stronger, layered structure?  Do you chop onions (instructions), mushrooms (constructive feedback), peppers (marketing), and bacon or ham (funding) into smaller, manageable pieces?  A tasty omelette is an example of successful product development.  Whether your product is you or something that you create, make sure that it has the right combination for distribution to others.
  2. Eggs Benedict - We talked about poached eggs last week.  If you put them on top of ham or bacon on half of an English muffin and pour on hollandaise sauce, you get eggs benedict.  These are interesting textures and flavors to combine.  Don't be afraid to be different.  It sets you apart from the competition.  
  3. Egg Whites -  What do souffles, meringues, and mousses have in common?  Their fluffy, light tops are due to whipped egg whites.  The whisk breaks the bonds that hold the structure together.  This allows the whites to rise and be molded into peaks or caps.  You have the capability to behave like an egg white.  When you feel like you have been beaten and stretched to the breaking point, prepare to rise to a new levels of endurance and resilience.  You deserve the sweet tastes of triumph and celebration. 
  4. Quiche - This is a dish usually cooked in a pie pan and served in slices.  Sometimes dealing with smaller portion sizes helps with digestion (comprehension).  It can be exciting to look at the big picture and see the prize at the end of the finish line.  However, you are less likely to miss key steps if you divide the tasks into short term assignments.  Also, if your ideas are fully baked, they are more appetizing to others.   
  5. Egg Roll - This a familiar appetizer or side dish that has a crispy crust on the outside with vegetables rolled inside.  The outside is brushed with an egg wash and deep fried.  The egg coating is responsible for the golden brown color.  It is important to develop a strong exterior that can withstand the inevitable bumps and bruises that are part of everyday life.  While appearance is not everything, it is important.  Look like you are having fun and believe in what you are doing. 
  6. Egg Salad - Instead of slicing and dicing ingredients to be included with the egg mixture for an omelette, you actually cut up the egg itself for the salad.  We need the hard boiled egg (processes, communication skills, and people skills) from last week.  Sometimes it is necessary to peel away the process and focus on getting others to understand and share your vision.  Use mayonnaise (relationships) to get everyone on the same page.  Season the team with salt (verbal appreciation) and pepper (written recognition). 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Six of Hearts

   When are you reading this post? Is it early in the morning before you head to work or school? Are you looking for a midday boost during your lunch break? Maybe it is the end of day and you are unwinding from stress. Whenever you take time out of your busy schedule for this blog, I hope that you get something positive from it. I know that there are at least a dozen other things you could be doing instead of reading this right now.  The Six of Hearts will represent a half dozen benefits that you can get from each post.  We will finish the list next week.  Let's use eggs as a symbol for the since they are commonly sold by the dozen.

  1. Scrambled Eggs - If you are not making measurable progress toward something that you want, you may need to change the approach.  Break the core (yolk) that anchors your routine (whites).  Stir everything together, apply heat (deadlines), and continue to manipulate the mixture (plan) until it's golden (productive) with a fluffy texture (results).    

  2. Poached Eggs - When you take the plunge into unfamiliar territory, it may take some time to get acclimated to your surroundings.  When an egg is poached, it is submerged (without the shell) in warm water until the white is firm and the yolk is still soft.  Sometimes our first reaction to getting wet is to seek shelter and try to get dry.  The water is part of your process.  Stay in it until the return on your investment starts to materialize and your purpose starts to seep into everything that you do. 

  3. Eggs Used In Recipes - Many recipes use eggs as a binding agent. They join and hold the other ingredients together.  Develop and enhance that characteristic in order to solve problems and foster collaboration with and among others.       

  4. Fried Eggs - Flatten the competition with preparation, practice, and persistence.  Potential problems will bubble up periodically.  Use the lessons learned from previous successes to flip things in your favor. 

  5. Hard Boiled Eggs - If you have big plans for your future, you will probably need a good team to help you.  Look for people who respond to hot water (problems) with solutions while operating with a solid set of processes (shells), communication skills (yolks) and people skills (whites).
  6. Deviled Eggs - Sometimes you have to smash barriers that are in your way.  It is not always possible to remove or go around them.  However, don't automatically dispose of the rubble.  It may help to go through it and pick out remnants that may be useful to you.  Season your newly cleared path with signs and guard rails.  They will help you make the right turns and not veer off on unnecessary detours.  

Friday, August 13, 2010

Six of Spades

Have you taken your summer vacation yet?  I hope you have taken a break from work and your everyday routine for some fun and carefree activities.  Maybe you did something at the start of the summer, but want to end the season with a quick getaway.  Popular destinations include beaches, mountains, spas, and amusement parks.  Let's focus on the last category.  The Six of Spades will represent the Six Flags theme park this week.  There are multiple locations throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  Do you have favorite rides or attractions?  You can count on seeing roller coasters, water rides, and concert spaces. 

What comes to mind when you think of roller coasters?  They are fast, have ups and downs, and people make a lot of noise on them.  Those same characteristics can be used to describe unexpected opportunities.  Sometimes they appear and go by so quickly that you will miss them if you aren't willing to take calculated risks.  Be aware that you won't always have a lot of time to determine the pros and cons of certain situations.  Any worthwhile experience will have peaks and valleys.  Remember that both extremes are temporary and something new is around the next bend.  You have probably heard the phrase "opportunity knocks".   If it is knocking, there is noise involved.  You hear something to alert you to the possibility of an open door.  When you encounter chaos, don't become so distracted that you miss the chance to make a noticeable impact.

Water rides can offer refreshing relief from the heat of the day.  They allow you to experience a brief splash that will alter your appearance and cause some momentary discomfort.  Once the ride ends, you are usually drenched with your hair and clothes plastered to your body.  While everything may dry out quickly, you have to walk around for a little while with wet shoes.  The sun dries everything eventually.  The same principle applies to encounters that you have with disagreeable people.  You may want to pull out your hair and scream at the top of your lungs.  Just as the sun literally dries up the effects from the water ride, humor can ease the tension caused by a frustrating interaction.  You can roar with laughter instead of yelling in anger. 

Concert spaces provide a stage for performers and seating or standing room for an audience.  While the pavilions are clearly labeled in a theme park, that is not always the case in your everyday life.  If you are not observant and able to adjust to change, you may miss the chance to display your talent.  Think outside of the box and be prepared to work your show at a moment's notice.  There are people who go to the amusement park only for the rides.  They have no interest in the live entertainment.  However, since they are already there, they decide to check it out and attend the show.  You may be surprised at who is in your audience.  If you are versatile, you will have a diverse following that will increase your exposure.  You may not be the main attraction, but you can still generate enough interest for encore requests. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Seven of Diamonds

Have you ever had a 7-Up drink?  It has a tart, tangy flavor.  Several years ago, there was an advertising campaign that branded 7-Up as the un-cola.  The commercials wanted to highlight that the product was different from other soft drinks on the market.  While the spots don't air anymore, the slogan is still relevant as a description of something that is in its own class.  Let's use the Seven of Diamonds to represent a 7-Up with an emphasis on refreshing points of view and characteristics that make us special and unique.

What are the 7 ups that you can identify and use to your advantage this week?

  1. Hiccup = An involuntary, momentary interruption in the normal flow of activities.  When something doesn't go as planned, your first reaction may be annoyance or disappointment.  That is an understandable response.  However, move on to the next phase in a timely manner and determine how the pause can work in your favor.
  2. Supper = The last meal of the day.  Are you cooking at home or going to a restaurant?  Try to have a balance between the two options.  This advice applies to eating as well as other pursuits.  Take advantage of available resources that can help you reach your designated finish line.  It is great to be able to do things for yourself, but sometimes it may save you time, money, and frustration to have someone else handle certain tasks.
  3. Sit-Up = An abdominal crunch that targets the torso muscles.  It takes discipline to do sit-ups.  They are necessary to strengthen your middle, or core.  What serves as the center, or foundation, of the end result that you wish to achieve?  That should be your focus this week.  Do you need to concentrate on building more strategic and effective relationships?  Are there skills that you need to enhance with training or partnerships?  Do you provide a service or product that needs more exposure?  Identify the area that needs to be toned and work on it.
  4. Nuptials = Marriage.  Wedding vows contain phrases like "for richer or poorer" and "in sickness and in health".  You need to have the same type of bond with the tasks, activities, and deliverables that are  part of your master plan to accomplish your goals.  If you encounter budgetary challenges, explore free or less expensive alternatives.  Don't get discouraged and lose sight of what you are trying to do.
  5. Muppet = A fictional, furry children's character.  Which Muppet will benefit you the most this week?  Should you be Big Bird with a gentle and feathery demeanor?  Or will Elmo's happy and playful attitude serve you better?  Most people don't consider the Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch as role models, but their persistence and attention to detail are useful qualities.
  6. Supply = The amount of inventory available for use.  It is important to replenish the supplies that you use.  If you do not restock on a regular basis, you run the risk of something not being available when you need it.  You may often run low on energy.  Recharge by eating well and getting enough rest.  It helps to have a reliable source of encouragement.  I hope this blog provides a consistent supplies you with motivation and confidence.
  7. Tupperware = Plastic storage containers for food.   Your mind functions like Tupperware when it keeps your ideas and plans fresh.  Timing is key to everything that you need to do to be successful.  Sometimes things may have to be postponed due to circumstances beyond your control.  Just because something doesn't work the first time, don't give up and throw away the effort and output.  You may be able to use it later and achieve better results.