Friday, September 14, 2012

The 80/20 Rule ... Which Side Are You On?

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It's pretty common and can apply to just about any scenario that involves people and getting work done. The 80/20 rule refers to 20% of the people doing 80% of the work. I've seen it action ... from volunteers at school, volunteers at church, and homeowners in my subdivision association (although there it might be more like 90/10).
So which percentage do you find yourself in? The bigger question would be 'why?'. Are you part of the 20% who are active and involved or are you in the 80% that sit by quietly waiting for someone else to pick up the slack? If you're in the 20% do you pitch in and participate because you enjoy what you're doing or do you do what you do because you're worried that no one else will do the task and then it won't get done OR if it does get done it won't be to your liking? The important thing to remember is that whatever you do you should be doing it not because you feel pressured or coerced or guilty, but because you enjoy the task and truly want to make a difference.
If you find yourself in the 80% then there must be a reason why. Surely there are seasons in every one's life when they have more time or more energy or more interest. Perhaps you were voted the #1 volunteer of the year when your kids were younger and in school. If that's the case then you've probably earned the right to take a break. BUT if you still enjoy volunteering, find another avenue that interests you now. Volunteer at your church answering the phones, read to someone at the local hospital, spend time with your grand kids, or rake the leaves for the older man that lives next door and can't bend down to do it because he uses a walker now. There are numerous ways to get involved and make a difference. However, if you're in good health and have spare time on your hands AND you're just sitting home looking for something to do then maybe it's time that you switched sides on the percentage ratio. Take a leap of faith and go out on that proverbial limb. Try getting involved. Everyone will benefit. If you're thinking that you're not needed because it APPEARS that all of the tasks are getting done fine without you ... then THINK AGAIN. There is always room for you and always a need for you.
My best advice though would be 'never volunteer someone else'. I had a funny thing happen this week while attending the high school band booster meeting. The friend I was sitting with asked a question about a fundraising possibility. During the discussion someone on the board suggested that perhaps since she was interested she could look into it for them. Immediately she told the recording secretary 'but I don't want to lead it.' The secretary asked for her name for the sake of the meeting minutes to which my friend (without missing a beat, I might add) assertively gave them my name. Obviously some people there knew me and some didn't, but we all got a good laugh because of her wittiness and her timing. Don't worry though, I immediately corrected the situation and spelled out Laura's name for them.
Just some things to think about before you make your next decision about whether or not to volunteer and get involved.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What keeps you motivated?

If you're anything like me, you've probably set a goal or two for yourself  over the years. My history of completing goals would look like a roller coaster at best. Sometimes I'm up and sometimes I crash and burn. If intentions counted for anything mine always start out good. I set my goal, devise my plan of attack, and go after it with all I've got (well, at least for the first few weeks). I'm one of those people who wants to see results; not necessarily instantly, but if I can see that things are at least headed in the right direction and making a difference I'm definitely more apt to keep making the effort. It's when I work really hard at something and I see little or no results that I get frustrated. But then who wouldn't, right? I mean we are only human.

I'll be honest, this past year or so I've been struggling with gaining weight. My doctor says, 'You're not that bad, really. Just eat right and start exercising.' Wow ... and they needed a college degree to be able to tell me that? Could I eat more fruits and vegetables? Absolutely. Could I exercise more than I do? You bet. But at the same time, I feel like I'm rarely ever sitting down - except for the 9 hours a day that I'm at my desk at work (which could easily be contributing to my problem). Two years ago I trained for a 60 mile 3Day walk for breast cancer. I walked more than 540 miles during my 9 months of training. Did I lose even ONE pound during that 9 months? Nope, not a one. I'll admit that my calves were toner than they'd been in a long time and my tan was pretty good, but my weight did not change at all. Then last year I broke my ankle which limited my exercise and walking for a few months. I know what you're thinking ... excuses ... excuses ... AND you're probably right.

I've tried to make some subtle lifestyle changes ... better sleep ... more H20 ... less caffeine ... always parking further out in the parking lot. BUT I know I need to do better.

Any ideas? I know I need to make myself accountable and it would certainly be easier if I had an exercise buddy or someone who was checking up on me. What keeps you motivated when you're trying to improve on something? It could be weight loss, quitting smoking, having a more positive attitude, or accomplishing something you've always wanted to do. I'd love to hear about what works for you.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back To School ...

Tomorrow is Labor Day which for a lot of people means they have a 3-day weekend. Tomorrow there will be time spent with friends and family, perhaps a BBQ, or maybe even a baseball game. In my case it'll be a local parade. Over the years my kids have marched in several of the local community parades. My son marched in a Sterling Heights parade when he was young with his softball team (they were the city champs that year in their age division). All through high school he marched with his marching band at the Romeo Peach Festival Parade. Now for the last two years it's been my daughter's turn with her marching band. I love to hear the bands play and I laugh when I watch all of the little kids scramble at the curb for the candy that the clowns throw. Labor Day for many is a day for rest and reflection and appreciation. Many veterans will march at the parades and it's a wonderful sight to see people cheer and honor them for all they have given.

Labor Day also says that the summer season is drawing to an end. Yes, we will still have warmer temperatures for a few weeks, but many of us will be so busy we won't even notice. The day AFTER Labor Day (at least for those of us in Michigan) marks the first day of the new school year. The school supplies may already be bought, the football games have already begun, and many of the high school girls are already talking about their homecoming dances.

This year is unique for me. My oldest just got a new job teaching high school chemistry and my youngest is a high school senior. I guess times do change, whether we're ready for them or not. This year will be full of excitement for everyone. Whether you have kids of your own, nieces or nephews, grandchildren, or even have a soft spot for the boy down the street who shoots hoops in his driveway every night til it's dark ... be there for them. Being young and being in school is a special time for every child (no matter their age). Help them to make the most of it. Encourage them. Show them your support. Drive them to a dance class or soccer game. Shout their name from the stands when they score a touchdown or do a cheer. Let them know that this is their time to have fun, experience life, and learn, but it's also important to teach them to be good people.  Kids today face a lot of peer pressure and bullying. Too many times kids feel alone and that they have no one they can talk to. Don't let that be the case. Be a mentor or a coach or just a friend. With everyone doing their part I think we can be ready for another great school year. What do you say? Can I count on you?