Monday, May 26, 2008

Not ripple in sight

There are days when you feel extraordinarily privileged to be on the water.

We had one of those days last week when we came back from Bogue Inlet. Bogue Inlet is the water between the green arrow and Bear Island on the Google map.

Since it changes all the time, it doesn't look much like the Google map, but you get the general idea.

Bogue Inlet is where a lot of currents meet, and almost all of the time there are lots of waves. There are also lots of fish. The general area is a great place to fish, but navigation can be challenging.

There are days when it is just nice to skim across ripple free water at top speed. The White Oak River in the picture in the post offered us a very smooth ride and a lot of fun.

It was nearly pure fun since there no obstacles in our path because we know that water very well. The passengers, especially my wife, always enjoy a smooth ride.

The one problem is that avoiding the waves often means I am avoiding the best places to fish.

So there is a balance between finding water you can enjoy which supports fish you can catch.

Finding good fishing water with no waves is a little like finding markets where you can be successful with customers who readily buy your products. You can also look at smooth water as taking the easy way and keeping as many people as possible happy.

As is often the case in life, the areas with the most challenges are the places you find the biggest rewards. The bigger the fish, the greater the challenge.

Yet not everyone has to catch big fish. Many of us are happy with what we catch in the much calmer sounds. A lot depends on your stage in life. When you are trying to rise to the top, the risky waters with high rewards are appealing. Later in life, smooth sailing looks pretty good.

You may have fought as many battles as you can take. Perhaps the risky water belongs to others who still have a thirst for the challenges.

As you work the waters of business, sometimes it is good policy to try not to create a ripple because you want to be unnoticed. You just want to do your job without causing any problems. You might want to slide through a particularly touchy area without upsetting anyone.

You need to understand what waters work for you at different stages of your life and how best to navigate them.

The older you get, the more likely you are going to see situations which offer you a choice.

You can make some well-needed waves and still not change a situation. You can ride the waves and sometimes get to where you want or you can slide through a situation without a ripple.

I don't think there are any perfect rules. Now days as someone approaching sixty, I try to achieve as much overall good as possible, and if it can be done, to make sure whatever I do doesn't harm anyone intentionally.

I had a colleague the other day who made a mistake which resulted in some extra work for me.

There were some choices open to me, I could just tell our boss who would then correct my colleague. I could send an email note to my colleague and cc: our boss. Or I could do what I did which was do the extra work and just send a note to my colleague and suggest the problem get fixed before someone else notices.

Everyone who works in an office faces these choices. While there are times to make waves and stand up for what you believe, there are other times making as few ripples as possible is a good decision.

It is nice to out there working in the waves where all the opportunities live, but it can turn out to be a place where a lot of good people get hurt especially in very competitive businesses.

Unfortunately a lot of our corporations believe that internal conflict makes for better employees.

I think most companies are better served with a cooperative and supportive work environment. I have seen both types and the human cost of the dog eat dog inside the corporation is very high. It takes away people's humanity. A lot of people trade money for friends pretty quickly in today's corporate world.

In the end it is better for the company and the customer to have team members working together towards a common goal.

The fishing in that environment ends up being pretty good.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The power of being present

Sometimes you have done something so many times, that it is automatic.

In fact I often do things and then try to remember whether or not that I have actually done them. The more times you have done something, the easier it is to fall in this trap.

I think that is one of the advantages of pushing yourself to try new things. You get out of the rut and have to pay attention to what you are doing.

I actually like being challenged. I like to try new things, but life is not all new stuff.

Probably the most boring thing in life is sitting through a lecture on something that you already know and which is being read from a teacher's book.

I absolutely hate being in a situation like that. My brain immediately starts shutting down and sending signals that I need to grab a few winks.

Because I came close to perfecting the ability to sleep sitting up with my eyes open while in military school, I have to really try not to slip back into my evil ways.

It seems so wasteful to listen to useless material we have already learned. I have plenty of things that need to be done and sitting in classroom that is historically boring isn't the way to make things happen.,

Still I try to focus on the present. Just like when I am having a conversation with one of our kids, I make every effort to hear them out and give them my full attention.

I have found being present opens up many other opportunities for communication. Living in the moment with your brain in gear is one of the way to keep that brain healthy.

A few days ago I managed to tune out for a few minutes while sitting near the beach. It actually felt like I was clearing cobwebs from the brain.

The whole experience was magical. It made me really appreciate living so close to the beach.

I took some pictures before we slipped into meditation. I also posted some pictures of the adventure.