Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stories

I met several people last week to review their Emotional Intelligence assessments. In my one-on-one meetings with them I like to ask questions about their lives and the events that have contributed to where they are today. One kind man I met is dealing with a grown daughter who has just come back home to live with them, along with his 13-year old granddaughter. His daughter is going through a divorce and she has lost custody of her two sons. The man explained to me that part of the reason for her divorce is related to her depression and her depression is related to the death of her first husband and two sons in a house fire years earlier, her daughter is her sole surviving child from that marriage. He said she remarried and had 2 more sons immediately and never fully mourned the loss of her first family. The whole thing was, naturally, taking quite a toll on him.

Another man I met said that on Mother's Day this year, he was home with his wife and kids and had a major heart attack. He collapsed and his wife gave him CPR while the children watched until help arrived. As he said, "She worked on me for 10 minutes until the ambulance arrived. She brought me back."

Meeting these men reminded me to not be so judgmental and have more respect for others. Everyone has a story, some can be incredibly moving and tragic. We all walk around with our own story of how we got where we are. If you have trouble connecting with someone else, ask about their story. It may give you some incredible insight.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Perspective

I have spent the best weekend in one of my favorite places in the world - Sanibel Island. I am an admitted shell addict and the whole experience of a live treasure hunt is thrilling to me. I was there for 3 days and the first day, I picked up every shell I found that wasn't broken or too common; I came home thrilled with my catch. After the second day of shelling, I threw back most of what I found on the first day. My perspective on what a good find was had completely changed. Of course, by day three I wasn't even picking up shells that I would have died for on day one because I had seen so much more, had discovered rarer species and was focused on only keeping the best of the best.

I thought how much that is how we are with people in our lives. Our perspective changes when someone does something that raises the bar and sets the new standard in our mind of what is possible, or what is desirable. There are some dear people in my life that re-set the standards of excellence every day through surprising and delightful acts of loyalty and faith. They are the best of the best.

Just like the great Seinfeld episode when Jerry and Elaine are rebooked to a flight that only has two seats left - one in Coach and one First Class. Jerry askes Elaine if she has ever flown First Class and she says no, so Jerry says the decision is easy who gets it: him. Because once you have flown First, you cannot go back to Coach.