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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Five of Diamonds

How do you determine the relative worth of something?  You need a baseline for comparison.  Is it better or worse than something else?  For movies, maybe you read the reviews of critics.  If you are purchasing a used car, a vehicle history report can help you assess what you will get for the money.  Restaurants, hotels, and the military use the 5-star rating to designate excellence in products, service, and performance.  Even if you are not clear on all the criteria that is evaluated to get the rating, you know that 5 stars is better than 1 star.  What will it take to make this a 5-star, or 5-diamond week for you?  What are your 5-star qualities?  What 5-star roles can you fill this week?

A chef in a 5-star restaurant needs preparation and presentation skills.  These attributes will also benefit you as you design your menu of appetizers (first impressions), main courses (team dynamics), and desserts (levels, or layers, of discovery).  Stay informed about current events and develop a hobby.  You will always have something to contribute to the small talk that is common when you meet new people.   It is important to maintain a general awareness of a variety of topics.  This will make you a more effective leader and team contributor.  It will help you balance your plate.  Portion control is a key element that applies to more than healthy eating.  A reasonable sized selection of meat (effort) paired with the correct sides, or vegetables (timing) satisfies the appetite for progress.  Garnish the display with sprigs of humor. Laughter makes things taste better.  As you approach the end of a path, take time to reflect on the steps that you have taken to that point.  Peel back the distractions that impact your attention span and cause you to miss the next scheduled turn.

A concierge in a 5-star hotel strives to provide superior service and comfort.  While your stay may be temporary, the amenities make you want to return on a regular basis.  Whether you work for yourself or  for someone else, your goal is to get repeat business.  You want people to request you and refer others to you.  You may have to step out of your comfort zone in order to become familiar with the needs of those that require your service.  When you are known for your expertise in your field and your fair treatment of people, a good reputation is established.  You may have heard the phrase, "your reputation precedes you".  This is definitely a true statement.  Word of mouth is a powerful tool for exposure and growth. 

A 5-star general is a high ranking military official responsible for leadership and defense strategy.  Once you have shared your vision and mission with others, some of them may enlist to help you achieve a successful outcome.  When someone is following you, there must be clear demonstration and direction related to the path that leads to the desired destination.  It is not always apparent that others are listening to and observing you.  Be mindful of how your words and actions may be perceived.  Protect your borders by forming alliances with people whose strengths complement your weak areas.  When possible, negotiate peace treaties with those who are working against your purpose.  However, if you must go to battle, train and mobilize your troops so that they will be in a position to conquer the opposition and emerge victorious.  You are a winner, so think and behave like one. 


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Five of Clubs

 Have you attended a wedding recently?  Who got married?  Was it a family member, co-worker, or friend?  What gift did you give the lucky couple?  I like to get something from the bridal registry so that I know it is something the couple will want.  The 5 piece place setting is often a popular choice.  It can be displayed and provide some insight into the couple's style (traditional vs. contemporary, casual vs. formal, etc.).  Typically, a 5 piece place setting consists of a dinner plate, salad plate, cup, saucer, and bread and butter plate (or bowl).  Each item is designated for a specific function.  The Five of Clubs will be symbolic of the dishes that you need to display the best representation of you.

The Cup - It is not as wide as the other items, but is has depth to hold warm liquids.   What you pour into or out of it makes an impression.  Your accessories are small and may be delicate, but they can make a big statement.  For ladies, pearls can add elegance to an outfit.  For men, the tie clip or cuff links might be the accents that set a suit apart from others.  They keep loose articles from flapping and distracting you from your purpose.  You may not have the physical items, but you can still display the attributes.  Are you familiar with the phrase "pearls of wisdom"?  Turn your cup up to receive wisdom and drink it for mental nourishment.  Use the wisdom to hold things together with style and grace. 
The Saucer - It catches any overflow from the cup and serves as a holder for it.  The saucer is a buffer that absorbs the heat from the cup.  It prevents stains and burns.  Scarves and neckties perform a similar role for your wardrobe.  They provide a splash of color, protect your windpipe, and lay over your chest.  A breath of fresh air is good thing.  Don't let anyone or anything choke, or block, your access to new ideas and opportunities.    

The Bread and Butter Plate - Bread is filling and serves as a perfect companion for other parts of the meal.  This dish holds the roll, slice, or pastry and the creamy topping to spread over it.   It can be compared to the perfect bag that is the right size, right color, and right style for you.  That is also a description for a best friend.  Hopefully, you have a go to person that looks out for your best interests.  Equally important, make sure you fulfill that role for someone.  The phrase "bread and butter" refers to something or someone that you can rely on to provide for you.

The Salad Plate - Leafy greens, colorful vegetables, and tasty dressing are a delicious combination to open the meal.  You may have a garden, Caesar, or some other type of salad before your entree arrives.  There are several varieties with different ingredients, but the common denominator is the frame, or base, of greens.  Prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses are the accessories that use frames.  The lenses improve your vision or protect your eyes from the sun.  However, observers do not notice your lenses.  The frames draw their attention.  There are different shapes (round, square, pointed, etc.), sizes, materials, and colors.  One size does not fit all.  Another important frame is your frame of mind.  Select one that accents your personality, interests, and positive characteristics. 

The Dinner Plate - This is the dish for your entree.  It has more room and can hold the meat, vegetables, and garnish that make up the main course.  It reminds me of a belt or suspenders that you can adjust to help your pants fit your waist.  These items may not be seen, but their contribution to the overall appearance of your clothes is significant.  Likewise, the tough times that you survived may not be apparent to others, but they taught you lessons and techniques for overcoming adversity.  You can fit your strengths and experiences to any situation in order to tailor it to your benefit.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Five of Hearts

Have you ever taken the time to notice the patterns, connections, and symbols that govern your regular routines?  Some of them are obvious - alarm clocks, routes to work, paying bills, exercising, and doing household chores.  What about the ones that may not be as apparent?  You may be subconsciously blocking the process for your growth and success.  Do you read something educational or motivational each week and take some type of action as a result?  Do you visit a new place each month to expose yourself to new environments?  Do you listen to feedback from all age groups: children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged people, and senior citizens?  Do you write something at least quarterly to record significant plans, milestones, and impact analyses.  The Five of Hearts this week will represent the five Olympic rings to show the relationship between your various ambitions and endeavors.

The five loops were originally designed to be symbolic of the various parts of the world that participate in the competition.  The colors come from the various flags of the countries that participate in the games.  You can borrow the logo as a framework for your integrated structure of tents and forts.  You need your intent, effort, content, fortitude, and tentacles to overlap in order for you to consistently perform at a high level.  They are required variables in the equation for optimal results.

Your intent houses the thoughts and plans for your next move.  When it intersects with your effort, there is activity that produces evidence, or content, of your vision.  There will be adjustments and detours along the way, so you will need fortitude to keep trying when things are not going your way.  Use your tentacles to embrace a variety of ideas and approaches to reach the finish line. 

 Athletes train for years to compete in Olympic events.  They stay in shape even during the off season.  Even if it seems like things are not happening for you right now, be prepared to get on your mark, get set, and go at a moment's notice.  You are always in medal contention.

Aim + Attempt + Analysis+ Ambition + Association = Appealing Avenues

Friday, September 10, 2010

Five of Spades

As we approach the end of the Summer and the beginning of Fall, we can sense the change of seasons.  There are the familiar signs of shorter days, cooler weather, changing leaves, and other indicators.  Which time of year do you prefer?  Do you like the sun and fun atmosphere of summer?  Or are the harvests and holiday gatherings of the fall more appealing to you?  You may appreciate both of them.  The Five of Spades will be symbolic of your five senses this week.  Let's examine how what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch impacts your ability to navigate through the different seasons in your life. 
Seeing - What tools do you use to help you see?  Your eyes perform the actual function, but there are instruments that can enhance their ability.  Microscopes and binoculars allow you to view objects in different ways.  You can enlarge them or bring them closer.  If you are experiencing a setback, even a small glimmer of hope can help if it is magnified.  Place alternatives under a comparison microscope to evaluate their pros and cons.  Sometimes your next move is not right in front of you.  You many need binoculars to examine what you may encounter further down the road.  Expand your horizon and look beyond your familiar environment.      
Hearing - When you listen attentively, you can often determine what is important by noting what is not being said.  You may be familiar with the phrase, "reading between the lines".  You can also "listen between the lines".  Pay attention to context, body language, voice inflections, and facial expressions.  These tags may fill in the blanks for you when you think something is missing.  Be sensitive to the sounds around you.  They often provide clues regarding what direction you should take.  When you hear ringing, check the identity of people who always have news or a message for you.  Screen your calls to separate distractions from contractions.   Distractions take your focus away from productive pursuits.  Contractions encourage you to push forward and find shorter routes to your destination.  

Smelling - Aromas serve as triggers for your other senses. When you smell something appetizing, your taste buds are stimulated and your mouth waters.  If the odor is not very pleasant, your eyes may close involuntarily as your nostrils shrink in reaction.  However, in order to clear the air you may have to handle whatever is causing the stink.  You might be able to wash it to achieve a fresher scent or you might have to remove it from your presence. The point is when something stinks, it needs to be addressed.  If you ignore it, the smell only gets worse.

Tasting - Your taste buds distinguish between five categories: salty (humor), sour (caution), sweet (compassion), bitter (disappointment), and savory (contentment).  These are unique flavors that provide balance when incorporated together in the right proportions.   Don't be afraid to sample new dishes that can broaden your palate.  Feed your appetite for discovery.

Touching -  When you make actual physical contact with something, you get an idea of the texture and stability of the object.  If you are touching something rough or hot, use gloves to protect your hands. This also applies when you find yourself in tense situations.  Limit your exposure to risk by covering your participation with focus on the solution rather than the problem. An item may need to be handled with care if it is fragile. Follow guidelines and use designated tools to assist you so that you don't break anything.  Patience and understanding are key traits for success. 

What sense have you used the most in recent weeks?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.          

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Six of Diamonds

Do you have a favorite insect?  That may seem like an odd question if you are older than 10.  If adults see them in the house, they either kill them or capture them and put them outside.  When we see them outside, we avoid them and don't want them to crawl or land on us.  However, some of them are quite pretty when observed from afar.  A common characteristic of insects is that they have six legs.  We will use the Six of Diamonds this week to represent their legs and mobility.  The honeybee has six legs and lives in a honeycomb which is composed of multiple six-sided units.  Let's see what we can learn from the honeybee and honeycomb.

Honeybees use their legs for collecting pollen, storing pollen, and cleaning their antennae.  Your legs can be used for similar functions.  They are your main source of mobility, but you limit yourself when you only use them for walking and standing.  While you only have 2 legs and not 6 like the honeybee, you can also collect, store, and clean with them.  When you walk, you collect data and images as you move.  This collection can be used later for reference to help you convince others to take a similar journey.  When you stand, you rise above distractions and elevate your point of view.  Remember, or store, how the upright position gives you a preview of where you may want to go. When you kick your legs, you clear the space around you. This helps to cleanse your environment and sharpen your awareness of what is going on around you.

The honeycomb is any interesting structure.  It serves as a storage facility for honey (wisdom) and pollen (thread).   The honeybee builds the waxy, hexagon shaped unit in its nest and uses the compartments to store the things that it values.  What do you construct to house your wisdom and thread?  Some people keep journals to record their thoughts, experiences, and plans.  When things are written down, it is possible to share them with others.  You can also track your growth and identify strengths and areas for improvement.  Wisdom is made up of all these things.

You are aware of the thread that holds your clothes together.  It is hidden from view, but you can see where it joins the material if you turn it inside out to reveal cuffs, hems, and seams.  What may be less visible to you are the threads that run through the fabric of your aspirations.  They might be dispensed from the spool of the media.  If you see, hear, or read examples of success, you can do research to determine the pattern needed to make a similar garment to fit you.  Common threads are perseverance, willingness to take risks, and enthusiasm.  Make sure that you have skilled seamstresses around you to help design and sew the right wardrobe of support for you.