Dry Well

31 August 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

          This year was my turn to host the Family Reunion for my side of the Family. Hence we booked August 11th for the Reunion. Traditionally we have always had the reunion around this date to commemorate my late Dad’s Birthday on August 10th. My Family is comprised of 3 sisters and 2 brothers who all live in Southwestern Ontario. I’m the only one who left the homestead some 40 years ago to pursue my career. It never prevented me from staying in close touch with my siblings. Being the oldest in the Family I was raised to believe that if anything happened to my Mom and Dad I was the one next in line and responsible for raising my brothers and sisters. I took that role very seriously and today in spite of the physical distance between us, I still look over and keep in close touch with everyone. Anyway these reunions are booked at least a year ahead therefore giving everyone lots of time to plan to be present. My one sister came over 4 days ahead of time to give us a helping hand. My other sister made a point of coming one day early to help as well. These reunions are great but end way to quickly to be able to enjoy all family members equally. Nonetheless we make due and usually have a lot of fun playing games, catching up on our lives, eating extremely well and having many laughs. When we were kids, it was common for our parents to entertain where lots of good food and lots of laughter dominated the atmosphere. I guess we learned from our parents and today the same takes place but with a twist. Because we don’t get together as often as we would like to, we love to laugh and kid each other but it is in a form of a roast. If you have ever watched a celebrity roast on TV then you have an idea of how brutal it can get. Once we get going, everyone gets a piece of it. We refer to things that we did as kids, teenagers and adults. There is no malice but just a lot of laughs. Being the oldest I seem to be a very common target or subject.

         Each year there is usually something very memorable about the event. This year was no exception. Our Mother passed away 21 years ago and our Dad left us 8 years ago and that is when we started this tradition of having an annual family reunion. In that time only once did we have rain and had to have the event inside rather than outside. This year following the long drought, we had to have a rainy day for the event. Not a big problem so we held the event in the house and garage then it happened. At 2:00 pm in the afternoon the well went dry. We knew that the well was low because of the drought and advised our guest to conserve water but that did not stop the inevitable. Now we had to shut the water off and sparingly use it when absolutely needed. It was inconvenient but we managed. After all we were raised on a farm. Rain does not stop us from walking in it and with lots of bush on my property, you figure it out.

The reunion as usual was all too short but we enjoyed ourselves and are now looking forward to next year’s reunion hosted by my sister.

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Looking at the toes

28 August 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

       During a recent coaching assignment my coachee was sharing his experiences with communicating with a particular individual who he had to deal with on a regular basis. His comments were “ This person is always so negative and aggressive. I look into his eyes and I can see another argument about to start”. He went on to say that when a person comes at him that way, he braces himself to push back and argue. The results were never in his favour what could he do differently. I suggested to him the solution was very simple. Don’t look at the person in the eyes but rather look at his toes and continue the conversation. He tried my recommendations and it worked. I found out later that not only does he use this technique but he shared it with his Manager who now uses it himself and suggests it to others.

       Sounds like a crazy solution to a potentially disastrous situation yet so common. Let us examine this in more detail. A negative, argumentative or aggressive person is always looking to dominate. To achieve this he/she looks in the eyes of the other person and can read fear or intimidation which is his/her fuel to continue. If the person who is listening responds by choosing to look elsewhere this diffuses the situation. This allows you to still be attentive in getting or giving information but not submitting to the other person’s need to dominate and badger. A second solution is to not respond immediately but to temporarily postpone the communication so that you can mentally be better prepared to deal with this person. The dominating personality loves to catch you off guard that gives them the upper hand.

As attested by my coachee it does work so you owe it to yourself to try it at least once.

What did I learn from this: Simple solutions can yield big results?

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27 August 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

          Once again I find myself embarrassed to ask for forgiveness with my lack of recent blogging. My main excuse is an old cliché that says “ I was too busy “. The last 3-4 months have been extremely busy with new work and assignments as well as taking on some personal projects. All will be revealed in upcoming Blogs.

         One of the many traits I’m told I have is asking what could be a very irritating question. “ What have I or you learned from that experience”. It is a question that I have used since my early career days with much success. It is a question that fits nicely knowing we learn from our mistakes. However it is questionable if some people ever ask themselves this question. I have raised my children with this question in mind and today I see them using the same with their children. Even today my children being adults with their own families can predict when I’m about to ask this question. Part of the theme for my next few blogs will have this component to it.

Enjoy the reading and ask yourself what did I learn from his comments or experiences?

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