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Challenges

  • Watercolor Orchids for Grandma

    I watercolored these orchids for my Grandmother's memorial. After I painted them by hand, I scanned them into Photoshop and made a few minor adjustments before dropping them into the program and thank you card. 

  • Challenge: 10 Things Extraordinary People Say Every Day

    One of my favorite articles of all time from Inc.com is "10 Things Extraordinary People Say Every Day".

    Small things that you can say that can change someone's day. Another way to be an influential leader. I've kept this article close to me because it has a lot of good truths in it. 

    Here's what I'm thinking.
    A way to open up to collaboration and partnership. "Though taking the time to explain your decisions opens those decisions up to discussion or criticism, it also opens up your decisions to improvement."

    I was wrong.
    I learned this one first hand at Foursquare. Directors and managers would mess up and be quick to say they were wrong and that was incredibly humble—and respectful. 

    That was awesome.
    "Praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient. Start praising. The people around you will love you for it--and you'll like yourself a little better, too."

    You're welcome.
    This one I've learned the hardway and am still learning. And I guess that means I also didn't really read this part of the article carefully enough. "
    Don't let thanks, congratulations, or praise be all about you. Make it about the other person, too."

    Can you help me?
    "I promise you'll get help. And in the process you'll show vulnerability, respect, and a willingness to listen--which, by the way, are all qualities of a great leader."

    I'm sorry.
    Another thing that my Directors and Managers at Foursquare were quick to do. When they messed up, if they missed a typo or forced another round of revisions, it always started with an I'm sorry. Good leaders are quick to apologize and own their mistakes.

    "We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, step in, show support...But never follow an apology with a disclaimer like 'But I was really mad, because...' or 'But I did think you were...' or any statement that in any way places even the smallest amount of blame back on the other person."

    Can you show me?
    "When you ask to be taught or shown, several things happen: You implicitly show you respect the person giving the advice; you show you trust his or her experience, skill, and insight; and you get to better assess the value of the advice."

    Let me give you a hand.
    "Be specific. Find something you can help with. Say "I've got a few minutes. Can I help you finish that?" Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. Model the behavior you want your employees to display."

    I love you.
    No, not at work, but everywhere you mean it--and every time you feel it.

    Nothing.
    "Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. If you're upset, frustrated, or angry, stay quiet. You may think venting will make you feel better, but it never does.

    That's especially true where your employees are concerned. Results come and go, but feelings are forever. Criticize an employee in a group setting and it will seem like he eventually got over it, but inside, he never will.

    You'll never recover from the damage you inflict on an employee's self-esteem."

    I challenge you to read these and practice them everyday. 

  • Challenge: 1 Second Everyday

     I read about this 1 Second Everyday app on Scott Clauson's Dad Explorer blog. I felt challenged to try to record just one second every day in February—which, to be honest, I definitely failed a few times and substituted other days. But it's a good challenge to make the most of your day every day, a great way to reflect on what is in your life to be grateful of, and for the artists, I'm constantly thinking of how to make something artistic, creative and clever. 

    Here's my video for February: 

     This app has been a good challenge and I'm going to keep it going this year. I want something to remember every day, and also something that, especially in this time, helps me be grateful for the privileges I have, the people in my life, and the adventures available to me everyday.

    I challenge you to try it now too!

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