Friday, May 4, 2012

Coming and Going



Coming and Going

”I don’t know whether I’m coming or going” is another one of those sayings that you hear a lot but don’t know where it originated. While it’s the name of a long-ago hit song by Billie Holiday, it's also a way of looking at things - so it’s really interesting how your view of the things changes depending on whether you’re coming up on something or going away from it.
I was thinking about this while riding the train recently.  I sometimes sit next to the windows while facing forward, in the direction the train is going, and see things as they’re coming towards me; and other times I sit facing backwards, looking at things that pass by and move off away from me.
These are two very different perspectives. In the first – when stuff is coming at me – it’s all about using my experience and instincts, because there’s no time to fully interpret an object or situation before seeing, focusing, acting or reacting.  In the second – an after-the-fact view – it’s more about analyzing and interpreting and getting things into context. The first is like drinking from a fire hose, the second is more reflective; the first is more action packed, the second is more laid back; the first is all about fighting fires, the second is more about managing the heat. Each is important, and each is needed to get things done and to get through life effectively.
So, are you coming or going these days? Are you building things up or straightening them up?  Are you coming to get something done or going to figure it out?  In either case you need to keep your eyes and ears and all the rest of your senses open and sharply focused. Life certainly isn’t easy, and you rarely have control of what comes next around the bend, but if you’re confident and competent enough then you’ll probably be able to handle all that comes and goes. So the next time someone asks, or you ask, am I coming or going, you can answer in a way that lets others know you understand and are good at both.  And that’s good for all.
My message this week is about always participating in whatever you’re doing to the best of your ability:
Arte Nathan“When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962) was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945.  She was a delegate to the UN General Assembly from 1945 and 1952. President Truman called her the "First Lady of the World" in tribute to her human rights achievements while at the UN.
Have you made a contribution today?  You’ll most likely be involved in lots of things today, participating with others either as a colleague or a leader.  Whatever your role, you should focus on being a contributing member of that effort. Because if you don’t contribute, then you’re wasting your time and the time that others put in. Questions may be asked: you should weigh in on the answers.  Points will be raised: you should put your two cents in. Some things may be unclear: you should add or ask for clarification.  Work will be on-going: you should stay engaged and participate fully. Others will do good work: you should complement and thank them. Work may falter: you should help and mentor everyone. Faults may occur: own up.  Kudos may be given: take them humbly and graciously.  And no matter what happens: never cease making contributions or you’ll begin to die!
Stay well!

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