If You Don't Like it, Change the Channel

I know I said that I was only going to post once a week and this would make two. And yet, I just saw something on TV that made me comment. It turns out that a writer on Marie Claire made some comments on her BLOG that require addressing in some manner.

Apparently, Maura Kelly was assigned to review or comment on the show Mike and Molly on CBS. I don’t know if you have seen the show yet, which is why I include the link. It is cute and it deals with the obesity epidemic head on. People who are overweight and obese will joke about their situation. I am not skinny, nor do I want to be a size 0. I can relate to their struggles with weight or feeling uncomfortable with the idea of breaking a piece of furniture because of their size (OK, I have yet to break any chairs or tables, there is the fear though).

The sad thing is that Ms. Kelly’s blog starts of with some very valid points. She starts by talking about our unhealthy obsession with perfection and the cost to our economy of the obesity epidemic. Mike and Molly are not simply overweight, they are on the obese side according to her statements. However, I don’t see any reason why they cannot have a show. We are surrounded by rowdy and disrespectful “reality housewives”, shows about addicts kicking the habit, teenage pregnancies and others. The same way I don’t think these shows are advocating bad behavior, addictions or teenage pregnancy, I don’t think that is the point of Mike and Molly. I believe the point of this show is that life does not end because you are heavy. And there is where Ms. Kelly missed the mark.

The bottom line for me is very simple: if I don’t like a show on TV, I change the channel. There is a thing in most houses called a r-e-m-o-t-e control. Ms. Kelly, just take it in your hand and change the channel.
Now, in the same link where the article is, you will see her apology for being insensitive. I found her apology interesting because if you read it all the way through, she seems to be justifying her very simplistic view of the issue of obesity. Let me be clear with all of you: OBESITY is not about food. You can eat healthy and exercise for the rest of your life. If you don’t deal with the issues that made you gain the weight in the first place, you will never be a “normal” size.

Ms. Kelly mentioned that her review might be colored by her background with anorexia. I have been on both ends of the spectrum. When I was young I was anorexic and now I’m battling for my health (my weight is of no interest to me, my health is). I don’t pretend to guess what drove her to make the comments she made. I do believe that her view on the issue is all about the food and the exercise. That is not enough. There is an entire psychology and body issues that has to be addressed if people want to get rid of the weight. I will give her and the magazine props for having the guts to apologize publicly. That is not easy to do and most people don’t bother doing that. If nothing else, her comments have opened a debate that is important. I hope the debate continues and I do encourage Marie Claire to keep the conversation going.

Taking a Week OFF!?!

Could that be right?  Am I really taking a week off?  Now that I finally have some readers I decided to take a week off?  What could possibly be so important that I am taking a week off.

As you may know (if you read this blog frequently), I am in the process of getting my business working here in Florida.  In order to make that happen, I have had to go out and get some business licenses.  I’ve also gone job hunting for a part time to cover the start up business expenses.  I am also working on building a new website.  And to be honest with you, I am exhausted.

I need a few days to recoup and get my energy up.  Just like I preach, I have to put me first in order to serve you better.  So, for the next 7 days, this blog will be made of a question, and I am hoping that those of you who are brave enough, will answer it in the comments section.  I will be answering any comments you leave.  I just will dedicate my energies to the other things I have to do in order to do this right.

Go ahead and make suggestions and leave comments below.  Thank you.

Last Lesson for the Week

So, I’ve shared with you some of the lessons a particular experience in my past taught me.  The most important lesson of all is that when one thing ends, another begins.

When I left that company, I felt my life was over.  I loved that job, I loved what we did and I felt that I was the job.   I learned to separate the person from the job in order to survive those first few weeks.  Then, I thought about the time I had “wasted” devoted to this company.  I now understand that it was a great learning opportunity and there is no such thing as wasted time.

The best part was that less than 6 months later I had a better job with better prospects.  And now, I am starting my own thing.  In the end, life is what you make of it.  If you act defeated, you are.  If you act positive, you grow and you are better off.  It is totally up to you.

Lessons Learned 3

Lesson #3:  mental fatigue is just as bad as physical tiredness.  Both are just as important and necessary for the success of a company.

I have been struggling lately with moving my business forward.  I was just telling my partner today that I was finding it difficult to move forward and I did not know why.

As I look into my past to fix my future, I remembered something.  When my boss stated in that fateful conversation that the staff worked more than I did and they deserved to take more breaks, I was confused and devastated.  In time, I realized my boss had fallen victim to the oldest problem in business.  Just because one job requires physical stress and the other takes mental dexterity does not make one harder or more important than the other.  And just to help you a little with this story, if I did not keep my eye on the computers that made the system work, they would not have work to do half the time.

Even more important, even though I had a set workday, I went to work two hours earlier every day to make sure everything was set when the staff came to work.  I was a workaholic.  I loved my job and I did not mind pouring my heart and soul into it.

Some days I wonder if the reason why I’m having this struggle to get going is fear that I will go back to the days when I did not have a life.  I guess we will have to wait and see.

What do you think is stopping you from getting your goals?  Leave me a comment below.

Lessons Learned 2

This is the second in a series of posts inspired by something I read recently.  If you missed the first entry, click HERE and read the full story.

Lesson #2:  There are always two or more sides to a story.

One of the issues that I read about in the diary was how two employees had “complained” that I ask them to stop receiving visitors in the department.  I guess because there were two complaints, my boss automatically assumed I was being unreasonable.  Then, according to my notes, I explained that one family member was disruptive of the department and the other one used our office as her personal phone line during lunch hour.  Needless to say, when my boss heard why I asked them to leave, she changed her mind about my behavior.

I honestly don’t remember much about that.  In the years since I left that company, something else stayed in my mind and that part of the conversation had not even made a dent on my consciousness until I read it.  It does raise an interesting dynamic:  there are always as many versions to a story as people involved in a situation.

When you are working with people, there are always going to be situations.  We are all humans and we have different human experiences.  We strive for getting along.  In the best of circumstances, there will always be issues.  The important thing is how we handle those issues.  In the case that I described above, my boss was upset that I had “kicked some people out”.  When she heard why, she knew that I had the best interest of the department in mind and that I was acting appropriately.  Had she not listen to me, she would have had a very different impression of the events and her decisions would have been affected by a story that was missing a few pieces.

I often wonder what makes people act in certain ways under certain circumstances.  For example:  why did these two people tell my boss that I asked their friends to leave, and yet, conveniently leave the reason behind?  It would seem obvious to think that they wanted the sympathy.  Maybe they wanted me fired.  I am not sure.  I have a feeling that they thought I would get reprimanded and that would be the end of that.  Oh, and their loved ones would be welcomed back to interrupt the work any time they wanted.  I wonder how that turned out.

We never know what motivates people to act the way they do.  I heard the US Vice-President say that we should never question other people’s motives.  We might agree or disagree with their actions, but not their motives.  I do believe that our motives vary depending to many factors:  upbringing, peer pressure, education, etc.  All those things color our motives and our perceptions of reality.  Maybe these two people just did not think the reason why I asked their family and friends to leave was not relevant to the conversation.  The bottom line is that we will never know why and that’s ok.  We should focus on keeping this in mind:  there will be several versions to every reality, based on how many witnesses you have for that event.  Learn to deal with that reality and you will be a great leader.

If you have an example of a similar situation, leave your comments below.

Lessons Learned Through Experience

As I was looking for some documents during the weekend, I found a diary entry from a few years back.  It tells the story of the events that lead to me quitting my favorite job.

I like looking back at old diary entries because it reminds me how much I’ve learned in my life so far.  This week, I would like to share some of those insights with you.  Inspired by those events, I hope that if you ever encounter similar  situations, my story will be of service to you.

Lesson #1:  I’ve always have high standards, I don’t apologize for that.  I have to remember those standards might not be the same for someone else.

As I now start working in my own company, I’ve noticed that my need for perfection has helped me and stopped me on occasion.  I’ve learned to focus that need to have things just right in offering the best service possible.  There are other things that don’t need to be that perfect.  For example, in this blog, the most important thing is the message, not the perfection.

Back in the day, my boss expected great results from the department while keeping the environment relaxed.  I was a middle man between the staff and her.  Her standards were very different than mine and eventually, that became an issue.  Now, I am not saying that one of us was right and the other was wrong.  What I am saying is that now I can look back and see how better communication would have helped us see where our styles were different.  We could have reached an agreement on what a good campaign was.  You see, when she asked for a good campaign, I always did what I had to based on my standards of what a good campaign was.  If there would have been some ground rules set, everybody would have been happier.

I do not apologize for wanting the staff to do better.  I truly believed in their talent.  Now that I know better, I wish we would have had that conversation.  Have you ever had a difference of opinion with someone you worked with?  How did you handle it?  Make sure and tell us your story on the comments section below.

On Bad Ideas

On bad ideas and the people who make them…usually, I would rather see a bad idea than no idea at all.  I would say that about most people, except politicians.  The reason is simple – all they want is to win elections and they don’t really pay attention some times.  This is the case with the current President of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico.  This woman wanted to bring a casino style game machine to all bakeries and businesses  in Puerto Rico to make more money for the government.  Her latest idea:  to approve well-fare cards to be used in fast food restaurants.

We have an obesity epidemic here and there as well.  Could it be because she is obese and does not see anything wrong in that?  Maybe it is because the owners of some franchises paid for her campaign?  I really don’t know what that is about.  I think some times, politicians need to take a step back, stop thinking about their political futures and concentrate on the good of the country.  This idea is not good for the country.

Maybe I am changing my point of view on bad ideas.  Maybe people like this woman are proving that it is better to have no ideas than bad ideas, specially if you have the power to implement them.

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