Number five – you’re number one!

Today is a sad day for hockey.  The great Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement after 20 seasons with my beloved Red Wings.  As I checked in with my fellow hockey buddies, I noticed a common trend – despite the teams we root for (and I live in Avalanche country), everyone had good things to say about Lidstrom.

He was an incredible player.  He earned four Stanley cups, seven Norris trophies, and played in an amazing 1,564 games.  In addition to his on-ice prowess, he was a class-act, nicknamed the “perfect human” by his teammates.  His combination of skills, humility, and leadership have left their mark in Hockeytown.  But I must admit, they’ve left their mark on me as well.

In this age where people are famous just for being famous, there is a deficit in positive role models out there.  As I listened to commentators, players, and fans talk about Lidstrom – I realized, he is one of my role models.  He takes pride in what he does, he appreciates those around him (from coaches to the guy that fills the water bottles), and he does it all with a smile. I only wish that people can talk about my skills, humility, and leadership in the future.

So cheers to you Lidstrom.  You’ve had an amazing career, and you’ve inspired me to be better.  May you enjoy your retirement and whatever comes next.

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Driven

The one piece of my orange that doesn’t quite fit me, is the lack of long-term, future planning.  This is one place where I fully embrace the ‘Gold’ persona (organized, goal-driven, and structured).  And honestly, it’s a quirk I’m pretty lucky to have.

I’m never satisfied keeping with the status quo.  When I figured out how to manage my grades in undergrad – I joined a research lab.  When I found out how to balance research and school – I took on a leadership position in my sorority.  My drive has carried me through undergrad, graduate school (while working full-time), and keeps me moving forward now.

What’s driving me currently?  I have three goals for the year.  I want to squeeze every drop of learning out of the Leadership Development Program at work, I want to pass an HR certification exam (with a 60ish% pass rate), and I want to keep up the fitness regime I started last year.  Is it hard?  You betcha! Am I going to do it – you betcha (yeah, I’m Minnesotan).

But more importantly – what are you driven to accomplish this year?  It’s about that time when new years resolutions might have failed…but it’s not too late.  In the spirit of leap year – what goal are you ready to ‘leap’ into?  What are you waiting for?

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A little something unexpected

I almost couldn’t sleep last night. A big winter storm was looming and with the expected snow totals, there was a good chance of a snow day (which is rare where I work). At 5:30 this morning, a snow day became my reality. If work not been cancelled, I would have gone in and been productive, but there’s just something so fantastic about the unexpected.

Ironically enough, as I walked home from work last night I watched a video that demonstrated this phenomenon in an incredible way. The following is a Bud Light Super Bowl commercial which will (unfortunately) only air in Canada:

Hooray for the unexpected eh?

What can we learn from all of this? How about surprise people with the unexpected. Honestly, it doesn’t usually take much. A hand-written thank you, a homemade favorite meal, or just a little extra effort on something that is meaningful for someone else. Imagine the impact at work, or at home.

Enjoy the snow all!

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To my personal assistant..

I really thought that after I graduated, that I’d have more time. Well it certainly would have been the case, except I got engaged. Don’t get me wrong – I couldn’t be more excited to marry R, but there’s apparently a LOT that goes into planning a wedding.

Even as we called our family and friends, each asked if we had a date or place set. (In my head I wondered who are these people who have planned an entire wedding before they are even engaged?) And so it began, the searching, gathering information, and visiting possible sites. It was overwhelming to say the least – site fees, restrictions on catering, no dogs allowed, no children, too small, too big, etc. It suddenly felt like wedding planning was more work than getting my MBA.

The one silver lining in this mayhem was my mother (or as she started referring to herself – the personal assistant of the bride). She emailed and called sites, set up tours, and was geared up to negotiate. We’re only three weeks into this adventure, but I know I couldn’t do it without her.

We all get to these points in life and work. Times when we just can’t do it by ourselves. It may not be easy to ask for help, but in my experience, it is always more than worth it. What do you need help with? What are you waiting for?

Just think, it could end up like this.. 🙂

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Detention

In my Junior year of high school, I took a course called electronic fiction.  You basically create a choose-your-own-adventure story  using a computer program.  The incident that lead to my detention took place during electronic fiction on a Tuesday. It’s important I mention Tuesday, as it was the one day a week where I had “late lunch” at school.  Late lunch meant that had to endure a whole other hour and fifteen minute class after electronic fiction before lunch.  As I know I tend to get a bit cranky when hungry, I plotted how to get a quick snack before my next class.

After finishing the story I was working on (with my stomach rumbling), I asked the teacher if I could leave class – five minutes early.  I knew that if I had five extra minutes (in addition to the five of passing time), that I could grab something to fill the void and get to class on time.  Since I was done with the project, I expected him to say yes.  He did not.

My orange was livid.  There was nothing I could do during those last five minutes except stare at my computer screen.  I was facing an arbitrary rule (or possibly a power trip) that I couldn’t comprehend.  So I did the orange thing…  I disregarded the rules (but only because they didn’t make sense), and left anyway.  I got food before class, and was happy – until the next morning when I received my detention slip.

Looking back, I still would have done the same thing.  I am in no way saying rules aren’t important, or that I can’t follow them.  But I’m not sure I could ever follow a rule without rhyme or reason (and I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one).  This week, ask yourself what arbitrary rules exist in your life.  Are there reasons for the rules you follow?

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Doing absolutely nothing

Admittedly it’s been a while. At first it was a result of finals, then it was celebrations and packing for holiday traveling. Now I’m home and I’ve run out of excuses. But here is the problem – I am having way too much fun doing nothing. Since I’ve spent the last year taking as many classes as humanly possible (for the sake of graduating this winter), I haven’t had the time to sit and do nothing – and it feels good.

When was the last time you just sat and did nothing? As end of year approaches and people are on vacation, now is the perfect time to do some nothing (and yes, I understand the irony of that phrase). For at least a few more days, I fully intend to do a lot of nothing. My nothing should help me recharge my batteries and face 2012 with more energy than that which I spent in 2011.

Now back to my family, my vacation, and my nothing…

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Luck and gratitude

I have a friend who doesn’t believe in luck.  While I agree that hard work and determination can sometimes create “luck”, I have to think that something (whether it be luck, karma, fate, etc), has helped me create the life I am so grateful for.  Things are good, and I can’t help but smile.  Judging from the recent posts in my Facebook news-feed, there are a lot of people who are thankful today.  But, to help you fill up your gratitude meter and to celebrate the holiday, here is a Tedx video (thanks Mom) that will put you in the right state of mind.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone – I’m thankful for you all!

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