My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why I'm Hooked On Grace

If you’re reading this, I am assuming a couple of things about you.  You’re one of those people who is pushing yourself toward something.  Career. Family. Spiritual Growth. Relationships.

And, if you’re like me, you don’t want to settle.  You don’t want to wake up in 20 years and say, “Geez, that was a big waste of time!”

We only get one shot at this life, don’t we?

This intense pressure – to take the best shot at life that we can – may drive us to action.  It just might drive us to step out of our comfort zones, to change, and to grow.

But it can also paralyze us.

After all, who wants to fail?  Isn’t it just easier to settle?  And if you don’t try, maybe you can protect yourself from disappointment.

I was recently reading a thoughtful post by David Rupert titled “Why Do We Stay in Bad Jobs?”  It got me thinking.  Isn’t it fear – and specifically the fear of failure – that holds us back from achieving our true potential?

This is where grace comes in.  You see, I think God already has this whole “fear of failure” thing under control.  Grace means that I don’t have to perform.  I don’t have to have a road map.  And I don’t even have to get it right the first time. 

Someone else got it right for me.  I just have to accept a gift.

I know, this sounds too simplistic.   Some would even argue that grace destroys motivation.  Why try to be the best if you don’t have to?

I don’t know about you, but when someone gives me a gift – especially a gift I don’t deserve – I want to give back.  I want to show that I’m grateful.  I too want to experience the grace of giving.  And when I experience unconditional love – love that isn’t dependant on what I’ve done for you or what you expect from me -- I want to love back. 

Besides, if my identity is secure, I don’t have to worry about proving myself.  I am free to be me – a child of God.  Sure, on the outside, I might look like a mother, a lawyer, a writer.  But all of that could be gone tomorrow.  I’ll be a child of God forever.

Which means I don’t have to worry about whether my writing is good, great or lousy.  Heck, I don’t even need to worry about who is reading this blog (if anyone!) or who is going to post my next Amazon review.  Even typos aren’t the end of the world (ok, they are still really annoying).

Grace has set me free.  And it’s a great feeling.

How about you?


[I’ll be traveling internationally next week and won’t be blogging.  I sure will miss you, but I’m going to give myself some grace, ok?]

Monday, January 24, 2011

Is Good Writing Good Enough?

If you’re passionate about life, good probably isn’t good enough.

You don’t just want to be known as a good parent, a good employee, a good friend.  You want to be great!  Maybe even excellent.

Something inside of us wants to be better than good.  

The problem? 

Some days, we’re not so great.  In fact, we’ve not even good.  We barely get by on average and we hope no one will notice when we really screw up.

I was thinking about this dilemma the other day – not being good enough – in the context of writing. 

Some of us want to be great writers.  But great writing takes time.  It takes talent.  It takes discipline and determination.

The truth is, we can’t be great at everything.  And while I’m far from a perfectionist, some days I just don’t want to settle for good.  Which means I have to make some choices.

Enter the dreaded zero sum game.  Time is finite.  Which means the more I strive to excel in one area, the more I neglect another. 

Do you ever find that good just isn’t good enough?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Is Life A Juggling Act Or a Blender?

I used to think my life was like a juggling act. Truth be told, it’s more like a blender.

Don’t get me wrong, juggling a full-time job, three kids, a spouse, and extended family and friends (not to mention writing and hobbies) involves lots of balls. But sometimes, I run out of hands. I’m even known to drop a few balls in mid air.

Which is where the blender comes in. Forget juggling. I just throw it all into the same bowl and turn on the switch. There are three speeds -- low, medium, and high. I usually run on medium, and I save high for when I really need it – like when I’m up all night with a sick kid and need to be in court the next morning.  But even in moments of complete and utter chaos, I've learned to make a pretty good shake. I’ve even gotten used to the fact that there are no hard and fast lines between my worlds. That’s right, I’m at my best when I abandon the juggling act and just turn on the blender. And I’m not alone.  Integrating life and work is an emerging trend.

In a world of technology, social media, and careers that demand nothing less than a chunk of our flesh, it’s no longer realistic to compartmentalize. The days of “work time” and “personal time” are over.  Every time I try to draw a line in the sand, it backfires. The phone rings when I’m trying to fix dinner and it’s a client emergency. How can I ignore the call?  I’m sitting in an important meeting and my secretary interrupts with a message -- my son is sick at school and needs me. Of course, I run out to get him.

Some would accuse me of lacking balance.

My response?  Balance is out.  Blenders are in.  Why fight it?  I’m not saying it’s right or wrong.  For many of us, it’s just the way it is.  I’m tired of changing my cape every time I switch from home to work and work to home. I’m a passionate mother and a passionate lawyer. Can’t I be both at the same time? Or do I need to take great pains to compartmentalize my life so that no one can ever discover the real me?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Should You Talk About Your Kids At Work?


Today, on Working Mommy Wednesday, we’re answering a tough question:  should working moms (and dads) talk about their kids at work?

Here’s my short answer:  know your audience.

Even though you think little “Junior” is the greatest thing since sliced bread, not everyone cares.  Some working adults don’t have kids.  Some don’t like kids.  Others are just over them (been there, done that!).  Still others haven’t reached that stage in life – and it scares them just thinking about it.

I was sitting down at dinner with a new client the other evening, and he started moaning about all the screaming kids on his flight.  I quickly looked at his hand – no wedding ring.  (Of course, this doesn’t mean he doesn’t have children of his own, but I tend to watch for the signs.) 

Note to self:  I probably shouldn’t lead the conversation with stories about my darling children.

On the other hand, some of us – especially women – make the mistake of thinking that any reference to our personal lives isn’t “professional.”  So we hide the pictures of our children and act like we’re not mothers – just because we don’t want others to think we have “Mommy Mush Brain.”   This too can be a mistake.  As a lawyer and a mother, some of my closest bonds with both my colleagues and clients have centered around my children.

But I still walk that tight rope. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

How To Be Rude During A Meeting

It used to be that the rudest guy (or gal) in a meeting was the guy who never shuts up.  You know who I’m talking about.  The guy who constantly talks.  And talks.  I’ll call him “Talking Tom.”

He’s only interested in himself.   Talking Tom isn’t interested in anybody else’s ideas.

The eyes usually start rolling during one of his monologues.  Somebody really should tell Talking Tom to shut up.  But nobody does.  So he keeps talking.

It makes for a long meeting.

Talking Tom, however, has a new rival.  Her name? “Texting Terry.”

I think you know her.  She’s always texting and emailing on her mobile device.  She even takes it to the bathroom.  And during a meeting, she just can’t stop.  Reading messages.  Sending messages.  Forwarding messages. 

Like Talking Tom, Texting Terry only appears interested in herself.  She’s too busy texting to listen to others.  Sure, when it’s her turn to speak, she’ll put her device down and become engaged.  But it won’t last.  As soon as her part is “over” she’ll zone out again.

It makes for a frustrating meeting.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the rudest of them all – Talking Tom or Texting Terry?

You decide!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Need To Slow Down?

The speed of life is fast.  Incredibly fast.  Maybe too fast.

And one of the reasons I like spending time with my elderly father is because he reminds me to slow down.

What does slowing down look like?  I’m really not sure.  I think it might involve taking a micro-sabbatical.  I also think it might involve drinking more tea with my new hand-made teapot, compliments of hubby. (I didn’t ask for the teapot, so I think it’s his way of telling me I’m drinking too much coffee.)

There’s one thing I do know.  When I’m in a hurry, I tend to step on other people.  I tend to think my time is more important than their time.  I tend to be rude and even a bit self-absorbed.

Shocking, I know.

I was keenly reminded of my need to slow down when I was helping my father set up his new computer.  He was adding a favorite financial website to his desktop, but we couldn’t seem to get his password to work.  He had already called customer service and had been given a “temporary password” but we were still locked out of his account.  And he was frustrated.

So I told him, “Just call customer service back.  I’m sure they can straighten it out.”

He dialed customer service.  He got re-routed.  He tried to explain.  And he got frustrated again.  I could hear a woman named “Lori” on the other end of the phone. 

“Sir, I already gave you the temporary password.  You must be typing it in wrong.”

I could tell Lori was in a hurry, and she was getting annoyed with his repeated calls. 

This old guy doesn’t understand.  He doesn’t know what he’s doing.  I already gave him the temporary password, and he probably can’t type.

Enter Lawyer Daughter.

My blood was starting to boil.  Instinctively, I ripped the phone out of his hands. I tried to explain that the temporary password wasn’t working, but Lori didn’t want to hear it.  She became even more annoyed with me.  (And, no, she wasn’t about to give me her last name.)

After several rounds of trouble shooting and two more calls to Lori, we finally convinced her to slow down and listen.  It wasn’t the password that was the problem, and together we figured out that the account just needed an adjustment.

Lori wasn’t so bad after all.  And I can’t blame her for being in a hurry.  (Heck, she probably gets paid on how many calls she takes a day.)

Some days, I feel a lot like Lori.  Some days, I need to slow down and listen.