Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fanatics

I saw this comic today by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Bus Stop

If you’re a writer, or just like books and reading, she is definitely one to follow, her comics are hilarious.

This reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend yesterday. We were talking about the things that we’re good at. She mentioned that I’ve always been really good ad keeping people in mind, considering their feelings and needs, even if I don’t have much reason to. For me it simply boils down to loving people, even if I don’t like them very much, and doing whatever I can to help them to have the best life possible.

I was also thinking about how my friend is incredibly good at pursuing excellence in whatever she does. She’s one of those people who, if they agree to do something, you know will be done better than you’d have ever done it yourself. You also know that once you give her the task you don’t need to look over her shoulder or check up on how it’s going. It’ll just get done, and she’ll even be pro-active and let you know how it’s going along the way. She simply wants to be the best.

But then, who of us doesn’t want to be the best? Sure, I know people who’ve decided to coast along in life, either in their career, family or friendships. They just roll along deciding, either openly or subconsciously, to make one of those three less of a priority than the others. We can’t be everything to everyone.

I know that the people I work with who really strive for excellence are also the ones I enjoy working with the most. They’re the people I’ll actively seek out first for any new, interesting project that I think they’ll enjoy.

The people who strive for excellence in parenting show’s pretty clearly through an innate brightness that comes from them and joy you feel from being around them. I may not be the best, but boy I strive to be seen as the best “dad” by the mom’s at Rachel’s daycare. It was great to get one kid (not mine) to finally eat his dinner, or all five kids sitting quietly outside while we waited for the other mom’s to get out of the restaurant to get their kids. I’m by no means perfect, you should see how frustrated I get with my own kids sometimes, especially when sleeps involved, but I do strive to make Erin proud of her husband for being a great dad.

While my friend really is excellent at everything, not all of us can quite get there. At the same time, we do all strive for excellence in some art of our world. So, I’m really curious, what things do you do where you really strive for excellence?

Mine are probably

  • Knowing the most useful information about current and upcoming technologies, especially around programming and Microsoft stuff. I strive to be recognized as an expert in whatever technology I use, or have used.
  • Delivering excellent products
  • Being the manager that people want to come to when they have a problem or need advice without focus on the corporate bottom line
  • Being the most envied dad by mom’s around me, or said another way, being someone Erin is proud to say she’s married too
  • Looking at everything from a different perspective, and never becoming complacent in the normal
  • Being an example of how others can live

Obviously, I fail miserably at ALL of these. But that never stops me from focusing everything I have on them. It’s really about prioritizing. But by making that list it’s also somewhat easy to see what I value. As my friend said earlier, it’s all about people and making people get what they expect, and more. Making their lives better.

How about you?

Peace,
+Tom

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Creation of Man

Sir Percy Character Study by ~BriarRose86 Erin and I had an odd conversation where we tried to track down exactly when she taught me that if you close your eye, and put eye drops in the corner, then open your eye, the drops don’t bother you. Good stuff to remember for both kids and adults, since I didn’t know until I was 26 or something. The final decision was that I learned this pearl of wisdom before watching The Scarlet Pimpernel at National (or Ford’s) Theater. If you ever get a chance, this is the musical to see, you’ll laugh your tukus off.

Erin always rolls her eyes at this, but one of the best songs ever made is the Creation of Man. Here the Pimpernel describes how great it is to be a man, and how we should live up all the flourishes and dressing styles afforded to us men. Not just plumes in our hats, but “lights in our pants.” The suits they come out wearing are just so outrageous that I could only ever dream of being able to wear something like it to work. If only I’d thought of it for my wedding… This song is hilarious to listen to, and when you’re watching it you’ll laugh so hard you’ll start crying. You should check out the lyrics, and even a video of it on All Musicals. The use of rhyme is also awesome.

Needless to say, this could be my theme song. Living life so outrageously and off the norm that we’re noticed is great. Once you’re noticed, what do you do with that recognition?

I’ll assume you all know where I’m going with “what do you do when you’re recognized” and I wont’ even really go down that road anymore. The real question is, what outrageous things can you do that simply make life more fun?

I love wearing my pink shirt so that I can both express how secure I am in my masculinity, and get people to laugh and smile at it. Rachel loves to match me when I wear pink, and I’d love it if we could get the whole family to do it some time.

Another way to look at is, in what ways do you look at the world and think it is normal? Chances are, that means something needs to change. I love looking at things and trying to see them trough a different lens. The person who’s recently unemployed now has a ton of opportunities to live their dreams for a while, either training for a marathon or developing some Xbox game. The miserably rainy day is a chance to skip mowing or enjoy the anticipation of blooming flowers and budding leaves that the rain brings. The work suit that can be accentuated with a flower in the lapel…  or bright white jacket with dark blue designs, a matching hat and, of course, a cane (or am I thinking of a pimp from the 70’s).

So, how are you planning to look at the norm differently?

Peace,
+Tom