Tuesday, November 20, 2007

For What are You MOST Thankful?

As we approach the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I'd engage us in reflection on the things for which we are most thankful.

I am most thankful for:
  • My family ... and my close friends who have become family
  • My health -- which enables me to do things I enjoy (including running my business)
  • My circle of colleagues/trusted advisors who keep me inspired (even when things don't go as planned)
  • My opportunities and challenges -- which help me to learn, grow and inspire others

... just to name a few things. How about you?

For what are YOU most thankful?

Spending time to reflect on and acknowledge the positive, helpful aspects and people of our lives can be a great way to reduce stress. It can remind us of our sources of support (both internal and external) for when we're dealing with difficult or challenging situations.

One of my colleagues shared a link to a great site to help you examine your attitude for gratitude: Women of Spirit Online. Please enjoy the site when you have a few moments to truly reflect on the questions that will appear in the introduction.


Friday, November 16, 2007

"You're So Articulate" and Other Non-Compliments

Hey there -- it was very ironic that a colleague sent me a link to today's DiversityInc article containing reader feedback on less-than-favorable compliments they've received. I don't know -- call it the laws of attraction or whatever, but it was a bit weird to have received the link today. Why?

Perhaps it's because I recently had a conversation with a new acquaintance about his comment to me remarking that I was "so eloquent." Our post-comment dialogue was actually quite interesting as he realized that it wasn't the most flattering or informed remark (without much feedback from me). It's rare that people who make the remarks actually pick up on how they might be perceived as offensive.

Or, perhaps it's because I returned this week from a conference celebrating 35 Years of Women at Dartmouth -- which made me recall occasional reactions of bewilderment I've received from people when I've mentioned that I attended the College on the Hill in Hanover, NH. Similar to one of the article respondents: "You went to Dartmouth? WOW, that's GREAT!" It hasn't happened in a while, but it's funny how your mind can free-associate with a certain stimulus.

I recall that I had thought of blogging about these situations when the original article appeared in DiversityInc back in 2006. I must have gotten sidetracked -- or perhaps I chickened out, since it was before the advice I received at BlogHer about being bold online and tackling the sticky subjects.

What occurred to me then, and still does today, is that our response to one of these comments in a workplace setting can sometimes become a career decision -- especially if the commenter is someone who has power/authority over any aspect of our career. I'm sure I've typically fended them off with the right degree of sarcasm or wit. But, who's to say what the real impact might have been -- especially if I didn't choose to engage the person in a Courageous Conversation (per Tim Mulvaney) to expose the elephant in the room.

While I sometimes love to play devil's advocate and challenge people to stretch their views (an oft-undervalued luxury of a coach/consultant), I'm also aware of how challenging that can be -- especially for those of us in employee roles. So, what do you think?

Have you ever received one of these compliments? If so, how did you respond?