My 12 New Things

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Who do you think you are?

A friend bought me the book, "The Truth About You" by Marcus Buckingham. It comes with a little notepad that you fill in things that you love doing and things that you loathe doing on a day-to-day basis. The idea is that you will become more aware of who you are, what your strengths and interests are and can become better at applying those things in your life if you're aware of them. 

Tonight my friend and I shared what we had in our memo pads. Just for giggles, here's some of what I had down... 

 I felt strong when: 
  • I put my thoughts together and connected a few ideas from my perspective on life for my blog. I love to write and see all my thoughts come together. 
  • I was involved in a meeting in which I was able to provide focus and direction for the conversation to end with follow up steps of who's doing what by when. 
  • I worked with a direct report on creating strategy and an action plan for an idea. We were able to work together to prioritize the action steps and move forward proactively at the end of the conversation. 
  • I led my department meeting and was able to offer solutions and/or give feedback on issues and relate it/ prioritize it back to overall organizational strategy. 
  • I negotiated terms of the publication of a book we commissioned- discussed the concept, the audience, the strategy in which to approach the project and determined next steps. 
General interests and tendencies: 
I like to be alone with my thoughts and thoroughly analyze whatever it is I'm thinking about. I like to come to a conclusion of whatever it is that I'm pondering and can get lost inside my own head for hours. I also like to be alone with a book. I enjoy being with people that I'm close to or really comfortable with. I don't like being around people all the time- I feel like I'm sacrificing something. I recharge myself with quiet time. 

I like to see (and make) things happen. I like forward movement at all times. If I don't have a focused goal on where I'm going in my life, I get into a deep funk. 

I like a finished project/ product or otherwise have a tangible sense of forward movement. I like accomplishment. 

I like to think about the big picture and strategize all angles involving the big picture. I don't like to get into granular details. I prefer others do that. 

I love to learn. I love to read, primarily nonfiction but enjoy some escapism in a novel (chick lit sometimes). I'm infatuated with libraries and anxiously want to read every book on the shelves. I want to just absorb all of the knowledge that the pages contain. I love the democracy of knowledge in this way. Regardless of how much money I do or don't have, I can become knowledgeable on any given subject. 

I like to travel and am exhilarated and in awe of the world. I love maps and studying them in the most minute detail, thinking about the things that happen on that dot on the map, who the people are and what they're like. I don't always get around to traveling, though as I tend to be a little reserved/ conservative and rarely actually get around to it. I think it mostly has to do with my frugal nature. I am pretty utilitarian in most aspects of my life.

I like to see a return on my investment of things that I put my time into. I think this is why I hate cleaning the house and preparing meals- I don't like cyclical tasks. 

Here are a few tools that I've found to be really helpful in determining my strengths and what/ how I should spend my time: 
The idea is that by spending most of your time in activities that make you feel strong, you'll excel even more in all aspects of your life. 

So, who are you? What do you like to spend your time doing? 

What are your strengths and how are you going to use them? 

Are you, today, the person you want to be? 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Blades of Glory- New Thing #11

Tonight I went ice skating for the first time in my life as my New Thing for October. (Of course I know that it is actually November 2, but it will just have to do. Besides, I made these rules; I can bend them if need be).

If you'll remember from my first skiing adventure last December, I'm not coordinated in any stretch of the imagination. Nor am I fond of PDAs- public displays of awkwardness, that is.

A friend told me about a nearby ice rink that was having a free community skate lesson. She had me at "free." I also thought it might be fun. That's the mistake I make every month with these New Adventures of mine. : )

Before I headed to the lesson, I thought I should probably know a little something about ice skating. I did what I always to when I need to know something- I googled it. Wikipedia is a beautiful thing.

I read through the physical mechanics of ice skating, as well as the dangers. According to Wikipedia, "The primary danger in ice skating is falling on the ice." Shocker. Wikipedia also informed me of the dangers of fatality if I fail to wear a helmet. There's no way I'm wearing a helmet. I choose death over that humiliation.

Wikipedia went on to say that "the second, and more serious, danger, is falling through the ice into the freezing water underneath." At least that's not a possibility in an indoor rink. I summoned my courage and told myself that ice skating will be a piece of cake. But just in case, I prayed that I wouldn't run into anyone I know at the ice rink. I prefer anonymity in the midst of impending humiliation.

As the ice rink is fairly new to the neighborhood and I was attending a free community lesson, I had plenty of non-experienced skaters to hang out with. A couple of four year olds and I clung to the side of the rink near the entry way for a little while.

I slowly made my way toward the adult lesson area- on the opposite end of the rink as where I entered and thought to myself how cruel that was. They should stick the three year olds at the far end of the rink. If they fall, they're closer to the ground.

Upon my arrival to the adult group, I unnecessarily announced that I'd never been on skates in my life. Heather, my instructor for the evening, proved to be the most patient and kind person I've ever met in my life. She instructed me to penguin march across the rink. I didn't ask if this was a technical term, but I assumed it was. She assisted me back and forth and then I trekked out on my own. This went on for quite a while. Then, with the help of several kind-hearted twelve year olds- Darcy and Tracy- I "swizzled" (technical skating term) backwards back and forth across the rink. They were very sweet and told me how well I was doing- "You've got it!" (I think they must teach this line to ice skating instructors in their instruction of how to instruct ice skating. I heard it a lot and am fairly certain I didn't ever "have it").

At their first opportunity, Darcy and Tracy ditched me. I didn't really blame them. I went back to penguin marching on my own.

Forty five minutes later, a whistle blew and Free Skate Time was announced. Much to my chagrin, I realized that if I intended on ever getting out of the rink, I would have to skate (I use that term loosely) with the flow of the crowd three quarters of the way around the rink to get back to the entrance/ exit. I got started and after what felt like 20 minutes, I finally made it. I had survived my ice skating experience and I didn't even need a helmet.

My ice skating experience was actually pretty similar to my skiing experience- both involved uncomfortable (and rented) footwear, precocious toddlers zipped by me in both experiences, and I hobbled a lot.

One big, huge, gargantuan difference between my ice skating and skiing experiences- I didn't fall! The crowning achievement of my ice skating adventure was that I didn't fall once!

I (sort of) had a great time learning how to ice skate and am considering taking some ongoing lessons. I like the idea of possibly being proficient enough to one day take my daughter on an ice skating excursion. And lucky for me, dignity is a fairly renewable resource. As with my skiing experience, my dignity returned shortly after returning my rented footwear.