Talents


Each human on this planet is born with talents that are uniquely theirs.  That’s not to say others don’t also possess the same talent.  But, more to say that each of us has our own “talent grouping”.  While many people may be good at something – not everyone has the exact same talents.

I fully believe that we are each created to do something special.  The ‘special’ doesn’t really have to be something that everyone you meet sees as special.  But, my thoughts are – God has put us all together to do something specific for His kingdom (even those who don’t know they are doing it for His kingdom are contributing and that thought makes me smile a bit).  Someone may be put here to run the government of their country.  Someone else may have been put here to sing.  And, yet another someone may have been put here to write a book.  Any and all of those are talents.

But, there are lots of talents that we overlook on a daily basis and people never really get credit for excelling at them.  Today I read a blog about running the race God has set before us.  And, not only using our talents, but also recognizing them.  It really struck me.  And, the interesting thing is that this isn’t the first time it’s come up recently.  I’ve had a few discussions with the kids over people’s talents and what it means to have a talent.  I’ve challenged them to make a game of noticing their classmates or teammates talents and seeing what they can find out about those around them.  I’ve also taken a few personality tests for work and other things that weigh in on this area too.  So, the whole ‘realize your talent’ thing is just where I am right now.

A few talents I see daily that I’ve noticed and yet haven’t made a point to praise are:

  • Friend of strangers Those people who walk up to random strangers and start conversations.  They’ve never met a true stranger, and they think nothing of making new friends any place and any time.  They start conversations with people in line in places like Target or the airport.  How many people can truly do this without concern for feeling like they are being a weirdo?  Not many.  This is a SKILL and should be recognized as a talent.  They never leave the new person to themselves and they are great at just making everyone feel like they are a part of whatever is going on.
  • Sitting quietly while listening (TRULY LISTENING – not thinking about your to-do list while someone else talks) Kudos to you!  I am not gifted in this area.  I want to be multi tasking at all times.  I am constantly impressed by those who have the ability to simply listen with interest.
  • Go with the flow These people do not need to force their will or agenda on anyone.  They are willing to help reach other people’s goals.  They are agreeable and generally the center of every team because they can be depended on to help, but not to overrun.
  • Being a friend The person who remembers to call you when your life is too busy to call them first. The girlfriend who notices you are a little down and drops you a note.  The one who takes the time to memorize all your favs and all your dislikes just because it comes natural to them.  These people are amazing.  Everyone needs at least one in their life and I am so blessed to have many!!
  • Cheerleaders Those who have no desire to rush out and change the world, but who willingly sit and cheer everyone else on.  They are outstanding ‘words of encouragement’ people and truly desire to see everyone else succeed.
  • Organizers Not just the people who keep things and events organized, but those who do it as a blessing to others.  Those who see one of the go-getters going out to get things done and steps in behind the scenes to simply organize the charge.  They don’t seek glory or praise.  They’re gift is that they can do it without needing any of that.  It’s just their natural talent.
  • Nurtures Those who simply care.  They share their heart with others because others NEED that.  They aren’t afraid to give a little tough love, but they also take the time to share some sweet, kind, and squishy love too.  They mentor others, they support dreams, and they think of ways for others to accomplish them.
  •  Decision Makers Believe it or not – not everyone is good at making decisions.  We all like to pretend we are, but the truth is that most people only want to make decisions that specifically affect them – not everyone.  Great job for sticking your neck out even when you know it won’t always be comfortable!
  • Dreamers The people who take the time to sit in a field of flowers and just enjoy thinking and dreaming.  They show us what it’s like to actually stop and smell the roses.  They think of impossible things without fear.  They don’t worry about how they will accomplish those things – they just enjoy thinking them.  That is NOT me.  I’m constantly impressed by people who dream well.
  • Positive People Those people who only see the rain for a few seconds and then come away with a positive spin.  They find the rainbow in every situation.  Not everyone can do that.  It’s inspiring!

There are so many more.  But, what I have had pointed out to me many times recently is that we need to recognize these talents (and all the other non-recognized ones) and celebrate them.  Let’s teach our kids and our friends that we KNOW they are special.  We know we are unique and we are perfectly made.  Keep up the great work of being YOU.

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What about the old dog’s tricks?


When each of my siblings and I reached about the 6th grade we went to work for my dad.  (One of the perks of owning the business, apparently.)  My personal experience was that I showed up after school to work and my dad pointed out two people who would teach me what I needed to know.  It was presented as an opportunity to learn something and increase my personal value as an employee.  Maybe I’m weird because I bought into it, but many years later I can look back on it and see that it was, in fact, valuable to learn to take direction and to appreciate their on the job experience.

I’m not sure when or how the appreciation of experience disappeared.  (Yes, I realize teens for-basically-ever have believed they know everything that could ever be known, but I’m referring to adults.)  Maybe it’s just not in fashion right now?  I’m really not sure.  But, what I do know is that it is totally annoying.   I find it difficult to watch others make mistakes that could easily be avoided if they simply listened.  Remember the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?  Well, sometimes you can’t teach a new dog the old tricks because the new dog is an annoying know-it-all.  Those old dogs have already learned to work smarter not harder.  What would it hurt to sit and learn a bit of that?

I have a co-worker (from here on out referred to as co-worker 1) who has refused to take instruction from the day co-worker 1 started.  Instead of learning when training was offered co-worker 1 simply ignored all instruction.  Generally, I don’t care if others don’t want to use the experience being offered.  But, when it starts to affect me – it becomes a problem.

Here is a delightful example or two from the past year when co-worker 1 moved into a position to work with me more often:

Co-worker 1 needed to check the work of another co-worker.  The company has a system for this.  We have protocol and procedures to be sure it’s done correctly.  Did co-worker 1 listen when the procedures and protocol are explained?  Nope.  Co-worker 1 instead chose to shrug and do it their own way.  But, then errors happened.  So, I gently suggest “you know, co-worker 2  has been working here nearly 30 years.  And, because it’s been so long they are amazing at that job.  I bet if we asked they would come teach us.”  Co-worker 1 said “I don’t need them to teach me.  I already know how.” For.the.love.  So, I decided that the next time it came up I would simply contact co-worker 2 to give another free example for co-worker 1.  A few weeks later my evil plan came to fruition when the same task was presented.  I sneakily called co-worker 2 and ask if they were willing to come and train again.  While co-worker 2 was sharing their experience and knowledge after a lifetime of being in the same job – co-worker 1 WALKED AWAY.  When co-worker 1 returned I said “Wow.  Co-worker 2 was teaching us how to do that and you walked away mid instruction. Co-worker 2 is more than twice as fast as either of us so since it is now your job it’d be great to learn from Co-worker 2.”  Co-worker 1 said “well ,I don’t need help.  I can do it by myself.”   My mind was blown.  I’m not even sure how someone can have that sort of mindset.  But, whatever.

Then two weeks ago a huge job came in and co-worker 1 was put in charge of shipping.  Co-worker 1 simply had to be sure all 5 volumes of the job were in boxes.  However, when I came in on Monday – I could tell that something had gone terribly wrong.  There were not the same number of remaining documents.  What this meant that somehow the counting to 5 had proved to be too much and the clients would not all receive all 5 volumes.   I was pro-active and fixed the issue.  I again suggested to co-worker 1 that perhaps some training in this new area would help.  Co-worker 1 insisted that they were fully trained, but that counting was confusing.

And, of course, we arrived at yesterday (which prompted this blog entry).  To avoid the counting struggle I insisted on making sure exact amount of documents needed for each client would be left for me to recount.  But, before we could get to that section of the job co-worker 1 needed check the work again.  Two days.  A job that should have taken a few hours took two days.  I.can.not.even.  I didn’t bother to suggest any training.  It would simply be shunned and ignored.  I doubt I will ever understand the mindset that causes someone to think they have no room for improvement or what makes them think they can’t learn from those ‘old dogs’ tricks.

For me – put me in a room with someone who has been doing a job for awhile and I sit and take notes and ask a billion questions until I feel like I can duplicate the task.  I adore learning something new, and I adore it even more when I can learn to do it quickly and well.

But, it’s not just this co-worker I’ve noticed this with.  It’s so many people in this generation.  Maybe it’s my generation?  I’m not sure where the issue is focused.  But, I do know that it’s a dangerous thing to assume that all mistakes should be re-made simply for the sake of learning.  There is a loss of respect and care for those who have worked hard to get where they are.  I do not like it and I’m not sure how to fix it.

Army of Minion


Generally when I receive a unrealistic deadline I break my neck trying to reach it and then finally have to say I can’t make it.  I do this to my detriment.  I also have difficulty communicating it in the beginning because I assume if I push hard enough I can make it happen.  Most the time that is true.  But, not always.

Yesterday, when I told the person who was nearly two days late getting me his documents that his tardiness would make it impossible for me to fulfill his request that I ‘finish early” so he “can get out of here” he offered to help and to bring his staff down to help too.  I was leery. I told him that it would cost a lot to pay them to do my job.  He said it was worth it to make the client happy.  So, within 10 minutes he was back with multiple of his staff.  I have only once had someone who was ‘important’ do that while I’ve been here and it was so amazing to see them all show up.

The best part about them all being in my area was that while I was training them and they were working there were repeated comments like “this is hard!  I’m tired.  How do you do this all day? This really takes a long time!”  YES!  Exactly.  Against all popular belief (which I do my best to instill in everyone) I am not magic.  I do not create these things out of thin air.  Instead, I work as hard as I can as fast as I can to make miracles happen.  It was rewarding.

Here are my army of minion

Passive Aggressive


Recently, I was forced to deal with someone on a nearly daily work basis who is passive aggressive.  Generally, if I notice someone is passive aggressive – I just delete them from as much of my life as I possibly can.  I dislike dealing with people who won’t just come out and say what they want and who try to make the rest of the world feel guilty in the meantime.  I’m sure there are things about a straightforward personality that are hard to deal with, but I much prefer that to passive aggressive.

This person would say the most bizarre things and then once they walked away I would realize that they were totally insulting me.  They would also act like they were trying to be helpful, but were really just annoyed that they thought I should be doing things differently.  Let me give an example.

Passive Aggressive: Hello.  How are you?  I need your help getting this document together.  We need it done as soon as you possibly can.

Me: Okay.  Let me know when you’re ready for my help and I will help you.

<WAIT FOUR HOURS until it’s noon>

Me: I’m going to run to lunch.  I’m still willing to help you just as soon as I get back.

<I get back from lunch.  Passive Aggressive is at my desk doing my portion of the work>

Me:  Can I help you with something?

Passive Aggressive:  Oh…well, I have been waiting for you, but you disappeared.  So, I thought that maybe I should just do this part myself.  I am really in a hurry.

Me: Oh…I told you I was going to lunch.

Passive Aggressive: I didn’t realize you meant right when I needed you.  I guess you didn’t realize this was an important project.

<Passive Aggressive walks away>

WHAT!?!?!  In my mind I’m thinking,  “Well, I did wait for four hours….and I’m allowed a lunch break!”

At first I thought it was me.  I went to my mentor and told her that I was having this issue.  She reminded me to take all emotion out of the situation and re-examine.  I did and thought that maybe Passive Aggressive was unaware that she was being ridiculous.  But, then I discovered that multiple people were having the same issue.  Multiple people were annoyed with the underhanded demanding personality.

This has been my first experience with a truly passive aggressive person.  I’m not a fan.  And, yet – I have to work with this person.  It’s odd.  I can’t just avoid or escape like I normally do. I’m being forced to be an adult.  Not a fan…

Deadline


Recently, I have been struggling with deadlines.  I don’t mean meeting deadlines.  I don’t mean the fact that there are deadlines set.  I mean, I struggle when others set deadlines and don’t meet them.

I am not conceited enough to think that I have never missed a deadline.  I also realize that things happen that make it difficult or impossible to meet a deadline.  However, when the behavior becomes a norm instead of an occasional issue – it’s a problem.  The whole point of a deadline is that it’s something that if you don’t meet it – all efforts are futile.  I mean, right?  Isn’t that the point?  So, if someone is constantly performing futile efforts how are they allowed to continue?

I guess my lesson in this is that I need to make a better effort to be understanding and accepting in whatever is coming my way. I can do my best and simply hope that others do their best as well.  That darn judgemental thing again…I seriously need to work on that!

Construction Junction


I’ve never been a fan of construction.  I like the finished product, but I have difficulty with the ‘in between’ stage when there is trash, extra parts, dust, etc all over.

Our office building is under construction.  I was told from the get-go that this construction would not involve me or the area I sit in.  My office is one of two places that will have nothing done.  I said a silent thank you to the construction fairies and moved on.

But, the first day of rewiring I was informed that all the wires actually are just above my area so the wiring and construction guys would be in my area, bu would ‘be respectful of the work space’  and would ‘keep things cleaned up’.  In fact, they told me I would ‘hardly notice they were here”.  I am sad to say those statements have all been lies.

ADMISSION: I am sure that for my part – I am easily annoyed by people in my space.  Obviously, that does not bode well for the situation.  The signs that say “pardon our dust” are liars too.  There is so much more than dust that needs to be pardoned.  And, it doesn’t matter how good a crew is because their job is to pull everything apart.  It just causes mayhem for a bit and that’s the way of construction.

The past two weeks have been miserable.  I have had people with ladders all over the place.  At first I decided I would just move to the other counters so that my work would not interfere with their work.  But, twice in a row (literally moments apart), when I took the time to move all my work to different counters the people with ladders came behind and blocked access to where I’d moved my work.  The crew was using the ladders incorrectly.  I am not a big Health and Safety person.  I pretty much think that when it comes to being dumb with stuff there is a certain degree of ‘survial of the fittest that needs to come into play’.  But, these guys were jumping with them, walking with them, shaking them when other people are on them, etc.  Yesterday my color machine had no communication with the computers because they’d accidentally disconnected it and they had to figure out where that happened.  Today, I came in and that machine was back online, but all the other machines I use had lost power.  I find this just really bizarre.  So, I notified people on our end who are supposed to deal with such things.  The first response was basically “there is construction happening’.  YES.  I am AWARE that construction is happening.  It’s actually happening ALL AROUND ME.  It’s driving me mad.  Then, when I was more clear I told them that I couldn’t actually do my work because nothing worked.  So, I got some extension cords and started moving things around until I found plugs that worked.  I got the job finished that had to go out the door.  Then, I was informed the kitchen stuff was turned out.  (I am sure I’m being informed because I used to be the person who was supposed to deal with these people.  Not anymore!)  I forwarded the issue to our in office contact and then went to lunch.  When I came back – the microwave had been moved from the kitchen to my area ON TOP OF A GARBAGE CAN.  Um, ew!?!  Also, really!?!

I feel badly because I don’t want to seem unreasonable or annoying or whatever.  I just want it to ‘not affect me’ like I was told.