Do You Reflect More Than You Act?

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Earlier this week, I found myself talking with the chief of staff to the chief executive at a large company. The two of them had been on the road together for four consecutive weeks. I asked how that felt. “It’s brutal,” he said. “But it’s typical. My boss essentially has no openings on his schedule for the next three months.”

Think about that for a moment:

This executive had no times at work when he could just breathe deep and relax for a half hour, nor could he step back after a key meeting and quietly metabolize what had just happened or look forward and muse about strategy. He could not simply wander through his office, talking to people about what they’re doing, in order to energize and enrich them, and himself.

It’s not possible to move from one activity to the next at blinding speed and be reflective at the same time. The more complex and demanding the work we do, the wider, deeper and longer the perspective we require to do it well. It’s almost impossible to do that when we create no white space in our lives.

By wider, I mean taking into account the practical effect an action is likely to have on the full range of people affected by it. By deeper, I mean considering the emotional impact the action is likely to have. And by longer, I mean thinking not just about its immediate consequences, but also its implications over time.

Consider this observation from President Obama, caught on an open mike during a stroll with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain in 2008:

“The most important thing you need to do [in this job] is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking.”

Judgment is grounded in discernment, subtlety and nuance. “I don’t do nuance,” George W. Bush once famously said about his approach to foreign policy. But would that he had. We might have avoided a costly and unnecessary war.

Instead, we too often view the opposite of “doing” as “not doing,” and then demonize inaction. In fact, good judgment grows out of reflection, and reflection requires the sort of quiet time that gets crowded out by the next demand.

There are occasions when our first intuitive judgment is the best one – or at least moves the ball forward – but even then it makes sense to revisit decisions as new facts arise. To reflect literally means to throw light back.

The folks at Google have made a mantra out of “iterating.” They push new products out, even when they know they’re imperfect, and then constantly improve them over time. Rethinking, reconsidering, and even reimagining are built into the process.

Regular reflection also provides the space in which to decide what not to do. At the companies I visit, no topic comes up more frequently than prioritizing. It’s as though we’ve all finally recognized that there is no way to accomplish everything we’ve got on our plates – but we still haven’t figured out how to take anything off them. Time to reflect is what makes it possible to prioritize.

Instead, we keep adding new tasks, defaulting to whatever feels most urgent in the moment, while unfinished business piles up. I can’t help thinking of the classic “I Love Lucy” episode in which Lucy and Ethel are overwhelmed trying to wrap the chocolates that just keep coming at them on an assembly line.

One of the most important vehicles I use to ensure that I both reflect and prioritize is an old-fashioned handwritten to-do list, with a twist. I use it to download everything that’s on my mind – not just calls to make and emails to send, but also ideas I want to explore, conflicts I haven’t resolved, and longer-term projects I intend to pursue.

When I can’t decide whether something is worth my time, I try to stop and answer two reflective questions – a task that ends up saving rather than costing time.

1. Could someone else do this just as well or better than I can? If so, I try to turn it over.

2. Is the time and energy I invest going to produce anything I’ll still consider worth having done a month from now?

We need less conventional wisdom and more genuine wisdom; less sheer output and more insights that add enduring value.


 Source: Smart Brief

Author: Tony Schwartz “More Reflection, Less Action”

Link: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/02/14/more-reflection-less-action/?_php=true&_type=blogs&pagewanted=all&_r=0

11 Yummy Facts About Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout CookieGirl Scout cookies are surely an American staple food. They instantly incite joy and excitement in most people who hear that there are some scouts nearby selling them. You don’t think twice about purchasing Girl Scout cookies. They belong in your life always.

Unfortunately, they can’t always be in your life, since they are seasonal. But fortunately for you, they are in season right now. And with this being the inaugural year of the first gluten-free cookie, the Chocolate Chip Shortbread, we’re here to offer you some more awesomely yummy facts about Girl Scouts that will make you want to go out and buy a box (or three) immediately.

1. Every year, since 1999, Girl Scout Cookies bring in about $700 million in revenue.

2. The whole operation started with a troop holding a small bake sale selling sugar cookies in 1917.

Two Girl Scouts in the 1920s making the sugar cookies.

Then in 1922, a regional director for the Girl Scouts of Chicago created a simple sugar cookie recipe and published it in the nation-wide newsletter, “American Girl.” All 2,000 Girl Scout troops started baking the cookies and selling them.

3. Thin Mints are the most popular cookie.

As of 2011, they account for $175 million of the profits. It could be the glorious mix between chocolate and mint, or maybe it’s because they have the most cookies per a box. The next popular cookies, in order of profitability, are Samoas ($133 million), Tagalongs ($93 million), Do-si-dos and Savannahs ($71 million) and Trefoils ($63 million).

4. Depending on your local council, your Girl Scouts will either call the cookies by their literal or creative names.

That’s because your local council gets its cookies from one of two Girl Scout cookie bakeries: ABC Bakers or Little Brownie Bakers. Depending on the location, each bakery titles the cookies differently. But don’t worry, you’re still getting the same cookie, whether it’s labeled as a Samoa or a Caramel deLite!

5. In 1933, you could buy 44 cookies for just 23 cents.

Also, the girls have have been known to make do with what ingredients they’ve had. During World War II in the 1940s, Girl Scouts started selling calendars instead of cookies due to the sugar, flour and butter shortages at the time.

6. If you get your cookies from Little Brownie bakers, no high fructose corn syrup was used to make them.

And since Little Brownie is the bakery that titled their cookies by their popular names, if your Girl Scout is selling you Tagalongs or Trefoils, you’re in the clear.

7. All of the girls on the boxes are real Girl Scouts.

It’s refreshing to know that those girls are truly happy and real Girl Scouts instead of models.

8. Certain Girl Scouts get special awards at the end of season.

In 1998, the Girl Scout HQ introduced awards for cookie sales as an incentive to close as many cookie deals as possible during the season. Certain badges include the “Smart Cookie,” “The Cookie Connection” and “Cookies & Dough.”

9. In 1985, one 13-year-old sold more than $25,000 worth of Girl Scout cookies.

Note: The cutie pictured above is not actually Elizabeth Brinton.

In Falls Church, Virginia, Elizabeth Brinton sold 11,200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in one season. Her success was presumably due to her rather aggressive efforts — she “stalked” crowded subway stations and lured potential buyers with lines like, “They’re tax-deductible.” and “We take checks.” Once the sucker would pull out a check she would follow up with, “Why not buy a whole case?”

10. There have been a lot of failed flavors.

Each of these flavors have been discontinued throughout the years: All Abouts (shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate with messages explaining the Girl Scouts’ values like “Respect” and “Friendship), Daisy Go Rounds (cinnamon-flavored cookies shaped like daisies), Double Dutch cookies (chocolate cookies with chocolate chips) and Strawberries & Creme (sandwich cookies with vanilla creme and strawberry jam).

11. You can track where and when to buy the cookies on your smartphone.

You can download a “Girl Scout Cookie Finder” app on your iPhone or Droid to track down where your local Girl Scouts will be selling those precious cookies. Good luck!

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Girl Scout cookies were sold at $3.50 a box. In fact, each council across the country sets its own price, based on its needs and its knowledge of the local market.

Article Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/17/girl-scout-cookies-facts_n_4783329.html?utm_hp_ref=food&ir=Food

5 Olympic Failures That Create Great Careers Lessons

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here is nothing more inspiring than watching the Olympic athletes achieve their goals. Slushing, sledding and skating their way into athletic history, they are an inspiration to all of us.

But what we often don’t stop to consider are those who fail, stumble and crash in their quest. Sometimes they are able to overcome, but sometimes they are not. It is those athletes who may also provide lessons to the rest of us when we strive to reach the winner’s podium in our own careers.

So let’s consider some not-so-common inspirational stories of Olympic athletes and what they can teach us.

1. Eric Moussambani Malonga: A swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, he competed in the 100-meter freestyle swim competition in the 2000 Sydney games. He swam alone as both his opponents were disqualified for false starts. Having only learned to swim eight months earlier and practicing only in a lake, he could barely keep his head above water. But he managed to finish the race and set a new Equatoguinean national record. He became a national hero.

Lesson learned: Opportunities can come along when you least expect them, but learn to conquer your inner doubts and finish what you start.

2. John Stephen Akhwari: The marathon runner from Tanzania fell at the 19 kilometer point during the 42 kilometer race in the 1968 Mexico City games when other runners were jockeying for position. Despite dislocating his knee and injuring his shoulder, he continued to run and finished last. Completing the race in a nearly empty stadium after sunset, he said, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

Lesson learned:  No job is done in a vacuum, so remember that others depend on you to follow through on your commitments.

3. Dorando Pietri: In the 1908 Olympic games in London, the marathon began in the middle of a hot afternoon. As Pietri picked up his pace, fatigue and dehydration hit him with only 2 kilometers go. When he entered the stadium, he was disoriented and headed in the wrong direction. Umpires pointed out his mistake and helped him up when he fell a handful of times. He managed to finish first, but was later disqualified for the assistance he received. Still, Queen Alexandra was so impressed with his efforts she gave him a gilded silver cup. He became an international celebrity.

Lesson learned:  Never look at failure as the end of the road. It could be that your efforts will impress others more than the outcome.

4. Voula Papachristou: The Greek triple jumper was kicked off her team for the 2012 games in London after comments she made on Twitter were deemed racist. She claimed her tweet was a joke. But as USA Today noted, “This would have been the first Olympic Games for Papachristou. Instead she’ll be remembered for making history the wrong way.”

Lesson learned:  Don’t destroy your professional reputation with careless and thoughtless online behavior.

5. Greg Louganis: At the 1988 Seoul games, Louganis banged his head on the diving board while attempting a two-and-one-half pike and suffered a concussion. While he went on to win two gold medals, Louganis faced a bigger challenge when he revealed that he was HIV positive. Most of his corporate sponsors dropped him. Louganis has gone on to have success outside of swimming and was one of the first inductees to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

Lesson learned:  Even with great success will come great challenges. But as long as you remain resilient, you will thrive in your career.

– See more at: http://quickbase.intuit.com/blog/2014/02/13/5-olympic-failures-that-inspire-valuable-career-lessons/#sthash.WgVBrlwe.dpuf

Source: Smart Brief

Author:  “5 Olympic Failures That Inspire Valuable Career Lessons”

Link: http://quickbase.intuit.com/blog/2014/02/13/5-olympic-failures-that-inspire-valuable-career-lessons/