Posts Tagged ‘ Preparation ’

The Many Benefits Of My “Diary”

I have been a journaler since I was a sophomore in high school–going on 15 years now, I guess–and it never fails to amaze me just how much better a communicator I have become by doing it.  Despite my brother and sister chiding me for keeping a “diary” since I started, the benefits are many, and here’s why.

I have learned over the years that I am terribly inartful when I react to something.  The first example that comes to mind happened only months ago, in a class I took when I first joined Keller-Williams. 

We were put into teams, and we had to complete activities to achieve certain metrics for this competition we had going.  Our scores were based on the number of people in the group (we added our numbers together, then averaged them, since the teams in the class had different numbers of people on them).  Well, we had a team member added after the competition began, and she was only there once the entire rest of the class.  It was hurting our numbers terribly to have them averaged by one more person (who was not contributing at all), and nobody on the team thought it was fair.  (It wasn’t.)Image

I raised my hand and, instead of saying something like, “We have a teammate who was added after the fact, and isn’t contributing…do you think we could find a way to make this a little more fair?”  Nooooo, not me.  I said simply, “Is there any way we can shed the dead weight?”

Some of the other students audibly gasped.  The (seasoned professional) teacher negotiated my request pretty diplomatically, but I learned something that day:  She asked me, “Wouldn’t it hurt their feelings if they foudn out they were cut from the team without having any say in it?”  My first thought was actually, “Who cares,” but I replied, “If I was doing what she is(n’t), I wouldn’t think it was fair that a team be held up because of me…”  I learned that there were two kinds of people in the room–those who worry about peoples’ feelings in the midst of a competitive situation, and those who focus on the goal and work to get it done.  I found out that I am one of the latter.  After all, fair’s fair, right?

I told you that to tell you this.  

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Not mine, but it’s close. I DO still write in cursive…

The point is that I am sometimes so terrible at reacting to things in a social setting that I find it more helpful to write about it first.  The main reason is because it forces me to really analyze what it is that I’m getting ready to write down–something about putting it on paper is a little more committal than simply blathering out whatever comes to your mind.  Not only that, I find it to be an enormous waste of time to write the thoughts that I might blather on about.  Because of this, before I’ll take the time to put it on paper, I actually sit and distill it down in my head first, so that what I put on paper will come across accurately to the reader later on (even though, who in the hell will read these, anyway?).  Once I’ve thought out my stance on a subject, and if I’ve written it down already, when the topic comes up with someone in person, it works to my advantage:  I already know what I think, why I think it, and what I plan to do next in relation to it.  

I never meant to make it sound like I’m planning my whole life like I’m preparing for a debate, but writing works with my own natural proclivity to want to be prepared for any situation.  (I hate looking like a fool due to a simple lack of preparedness, and actually try to guard against it.)

In any case, the benefits of writing are many.  Of course, there’s the ability to look back on yourself and see what has shaped you–which is always a source of introspection for me–but it’s also cathartic to vent your most secret/shameful/socially unacceptable thoughts and feelings without any fear of retribution.  It’ll literally make you a better communicator.  And yes, you do need to become a better communicator.  Everyone does.  

Pick up a pen, and put it to some paper.  It’s not as hard as you think, once the thoughts start flowing.  As a sidenote, I don’t have the money yet for an uber-expensive fountain pen or something, so I’ll tell you this:  Pilot’s .05-width tip ink pen is wonderfully smooth, accurate, and never skips, no matter the temperature.  (Don’t bother with their click-type retractable gel writers–they skip like crazy, which really serves to piss me off.  I spend four or five bucks on a pen, I better not have to say what I’m trying to say three or four times!)  Targhetto usually has them in stock, though I have seen them sold out several weeks in a row before.

What pens do you guys use?  Do you have high-quality brands that you’re fond of?  Definitely share them and why you like them–I’m in the market for a good one! 

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When Preparation Meets Opportunity…

  There’s an old adage that says, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”  I tend to like this saying a lot, particularly because it is so apt at this point in my life. 

I am a rabid reader (I get it from my Dad), constantly studying and applying to do things that will make me grow in one fashion or another.  I have read many, many books on leadership, management techniques, how to develop a rapport with your peers, etc etc etc…and finally, I have a small (yet important) opportunity to prove myself to the boss (who is also the owner, in this case). 

Finally, finally I can use my god-given gifts of fearless extroversion and people-skills, and put some of the things I’ve learned in these books to work.  This a vehicle of growth for me, and it will help me get a seat at the table.   

It is from these next few months that I hope to glean some of the skills I’ll need to get from the table to being the guy in the tie.  I think this is definitely the right outlook on this situation…after all, I’ve read about it plenty of times, and I’m a quarter Irish.

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