Judging a book by its cover.

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Chronological Blog

The Roller Coaster of Life Called Sigmoid

Dear Reader, meet Sigmoid. Sigmoid, meet a world of people struggling to change or deal with change. I’m getting to know Sigmoid well these days as I realize how much insight his snake-like curves have into my life and my workplace. Sigmoid can teach us how to maintain a successful path in life, as well as how to avoid an unintended roller coaster ride. Sigmoid teaches us how to live with life’s little — and big — ups and downs.

Sigmoid, better known as the sigmoid curve, can be used to represent life-cycles of growth — personal growth, a company’s growth, a society’s growth. As you can see by these graphics, a single, steady path will only take you so far. At some point, without making changes and improvements, the upward momentum will slow, level off and then take a downward turn into decline.

Just when we think we’ve figured how to do something successfully, various external and internal factors in this ever-changing world come along, and before we know it, our methods aren’t working any more. This is why societies grow into great empires and then fall. It is why love relationships flourish and then often fade into dissatisfaction.  Continue reading

Books & Article Links, Chronological Blog, Feeling Stuck, Getting Unstuck at Work, Shifting Your Perspective , , , , ,

Best-ever words of advice for the terminally stuck:

This one’s for those stuck in the rainy, snowy, sleety zones this June. You know who you are! Click here.

Chronological Blog, Feeling Stuck, Miscellaneous, Shifting Your Perspective

Weekly Challenge Check-in: 66 Days to a New You

Getting unstuck in life most likely means shaking things up and breaking old habits. And as Weekly Challenge No. 6 (66 Days to a New You) outlined, breaking established patterns can be harder than once thought — even if we KNOW the bad habits are detrimental to our health and happiness.

Since the challenge, it’s been more than 66 days — the average time period to establish a new habit. I said I’d report back on my experiment to test the research. Here are my results:

I had pledged to fight my night owl tendencies to get up an hour earlier in the morning. The first few weeks, I set my alarm earlier each day. (Actually, alarms — plural.) At first, I felt like I was constantly failing at my attempts… The alarm would go off, I’d hit snooze, I’d hit snooze again, wondering if I was blowing the experiment so solidly that I was going to have to report back that I couldn’t do it — as simple as my personal challenge seemed. The attempts were failing, I was barely stretching my morning out, and I was annoying myself quite well with the nagging alarms.

Good thing the iPhone has some alarm choices to shake it up a little. A couple dozen electronic-robot, guitar-riff, old-car-horn, and crickets-chirping alarm jingles later, I was actually beginning to wake up — and get up — earlier. Today, even on a lazy stay-at-home vacation, I’ve been waking up early without an alarm.

I can’t tell you at exactly which point in the 66-day test the turnaround happened. I was aided by several extra morning meetings and caretaking duties within that period that provided some extra impetus. Whenever and however the turnaround happened, in the end, the persistent efforts paid off. Success.

How did it go for you? If you joined in the experiment, tell us how it went. If you haven’t tried this yet, it’s never too late. Make your pledge to yourself today and don’t give up until 66 days have passed!


Capacity to Change, Chronological Blog, Weekly Challenges

Risk and Reward

In the stock market, the biggest risks offer the greatest opportunities for reward. Big risks that work out might lead to millions in the bank. Big risks that fail might lead to people jumping from skyscrapers.

If you do any personal investing of savings or retirement funds, you’ve probably seen or taken the online surveys that ask you to figure your tolerance for risk in investing (like this one at Kiplinger.com). I wonder where the online surveys are for figuring one’s tolerance for risk in making big decisions in life?

There’s a part of me that believes that being stuck involves being afraid to take risks. But what happens when the right risks don’t appear? What happens when every bit of local and world news say it’s not the time to take risks, anyway?

Do you stay stuck? Or do you leap and expect the net will follow? When is it time to take a deep breath, jump off that cliff and hope that the parachute opens on cue? When is it time to take a huge risk and trust in yourself to make  the opportunities appear — even if they aren’t appearing while staying stuck in the same ol’ same ol’?

There are so many logical reasons to stay in a safe situation and so few to take a leap. But what if the leap starts looking and feeling like the brass ring? How much risk is reasonable?

Capacity to Change, Chronological Blog, Feeling Stuck

May 21, 2011

The world lost its sweetest soul, and the heavens gained a shining light. If it was the end of days, God chose well. My dear friend, you are loved, and you will be missed more than words can say.

Chronological Blog

Fear of loss: Weekly Challenge No. 9

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” — Yoda

(Yes, I admit it. I watched part of the Star Wars marathon on T.V. this past weekend.)

Yoda’s words have a lot in common with Buddhist philosophy, and Buddhist philosophy has a lot to teach me. When I ponder my life right now, I realize how much I’m driven by my fears of loss. Loss of loved ones and the fear of the emptiness those losses will leave me. Loss of material possessions, such as my house, and the fear of what would happen if my income were to tank.

I’ve never considered myself a security monger, and yet here I am at a place in my life in which I find myself craving security. Yet the more I crave it and strive for it, the less I feel like I have. It is because of that — and a well-timed line by Yoda — that I offer myself and my readers this challenge of the week.

Let’s ponder what we are most afraid of losing by making a list of the top 5. Then let’s start the metaphorical process of letting go of those exact things.

Chronological Blog, Weekly Challenges


Circumstances have been such that I haven’t made the time to post lately, but I’m back to my blog.

I had a short vacation, followed by a leaky roof, a seriously ill cat, my father in the hospital for a couple of days, and a series of 12-hour work days (thanks to vacation pileup, a special event and training a new boss). It’s times like these that I marvel at single moms and presidents of state. I don’t know how they do it… how they keep their lives together and themselves healthy.

On the bright side, dad’s Ok, kitty’s hanging on, the roof repairs can wait until the snow melts, and new boss appears as if he’s going to bring some great energy, ideas and direction to my workplace. The problem is, he’s smart enough to know better than to just start taking things over before he’s figured out why things are the way they are. So for now, my workload has gone up for a while, as opposed to the immediate relief I’d been expecting. Eventually, though, I am feeling hopeful that the “stuckness” that’s been part of my organization for a while might be able to shift. You’ll certainly be hearing some of what’s going on — at least from an organizational change perspective — in days to come.

I hope you all are doing well.


Chronological Blog

No Shortage of Advice: 30 Books About Getting Unstuck

There’s no shortage of books and resources about getting unstuck, but there seem to be big differences between the resources. Some books and articles focus on getting out of depression or away from bad habits; a few offer a religious basis to happiness; several are based on a psychological perspective; many are about looking at life in a different way; several are career focused; one helps you Continue reading

Books & Article Links, Chronological Blog

Reconnect with an old friend: Weekly Challenge No. 8

In reevaluating our lives and how to move forward in a dreams-fulfilling way, it strikes me that there might be some wisdom in looking back. As kids, we were so pure in our thinking about what made us happy. We had not yet heard all of the societal voices telling us what we could and couldn’t do, what was sensible, what wasn’t. We knew on a simple level what we liked and what we didn’t like.

This week, let’s take a trip down memory lane by reconnecting with an old friend from childhood or college days. Who is someone who knew you really well at an earlier point in your life that you’ve lost touch with? Track someone down, reconnect, and ask him or her a few questions about what he/she remembers about you and your passions in those more pure-thinking days.

This exercise serves two purposes: 1) It allows us to enhance our personal relationships through reconnecting, even if just for a phone call or coffee visit. 2) It allows us to explore those personal values that are most inherent and unchanging over time. Chances are, those deep personal truths can help lead us forward through the clutter of all of the shoulds, can’ts, don’ts and shouldn’ts that keep us stuck as adults.

Chronological Blog, Weekly Challenges