Try This Mindfulness Technique?

aa-meditateLike many people, I have created problems in my life by overthinking. As a driven, Type A personality, overthinking comes naturally…unfortunately.  And, unfortunately (again), what we hold on the inside is manifested in our outer world.
Living in the past can create regrets or blocks.  Living in the future can create fears. Neither situation allows you to live to your potential in the present. You must be present in your present to create the life you want. One way to be present is to focus on mindfulness. Mindfulness is living in the present. It is putting the past behind us and not letting it poison our present. It is stopping the worry and dreams or fears of tomorrow where you are not yet. Letting your ego control creates anxiety. Being in the present will bring peace. This inner peace will manifest outer peace where all we create comes. Are you struggling in your outer world?  Finances? Relationships?
Controlling negative self talk and worry is hard.  The conscious brain is constantly sending thoughts which should be controlled. Mindfulness techniques control our thoughts and provide inner peace. Meditation and mantras train us to focus and control our thoughts providing inner peace.  The practice of meditation is just that – a practice. Just like a pianist is not a concerto performer without practice, a person will struggle to control their thoughts during meditation initially. Start easy. I like to start with 10 minutes focusing on breathing in through my nose slowly, feeling the air on my nostrils, and then out through my mouth, again feeling the warm air exit. With my thumb, I press my index finger and say ‘Peace.’ Then I press my thumb on my middle finger and say ‘Begins.’ Next, I press my thumb on my ring finger and say ‘With.’ Finally, I press my finger on my pinky finger and say ‘me.’  I repeat this as I breathe in and out and focus on shutting down any worrying thoughts or memories. Try it.

Any comments you would care to share?

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Namaste

Lesley

“She Is The Engineer!” And Other Things I Have Heard.

16832309_749831081872916_7132290927926339381_nWhile working on my Civil Engineering e-book, I remembered a funny story that happened to me.  As a structural engineer working for a large municipal government, I worked closely with Building Code Enforcement inspectors and Public Safety officers regulating deteriorated and/or abandoned buildings in the downtown core. Once day, I drove by an abandoned  three-story brick structure downtown and noticed that the front parapet wall was separating from the building and leaning precariously over a busy sidewalk.
I pulled over and upon inspecting the structure, determined that a collapse of the brick work was imminent.  I called our building code inspectors and public safety officers out to meet me. We had to determine how to shore up the structure and close the sidewalk. Shortly, a team of code inspectors and public safety officers started arriving at the building.
I eagerly began describing the issue and pointing out the problems. One male public safety officer stood idly by ignoring me. A building code inspector and good friend of mine from my department joined us.  Getting nowhere with the public safety officer, I left my friend with the officer and went to the other end of the building to show other newly arrived inspectors the danger. My friend stayed back with the public safety officer. She calmly asked the officer, “Aren’t you going to listen to her?”  To which he responded, “I’m waiting for the engineer to arrive.” At that point, my friend chuckled and said, “she is the engineer.”
Although this story is amusing, it is also an issue I faced repetitively as a female in the male dominated field of engineering.  I am sure this is not restricted to engineering either.  Sometimes, I let the other party think I was just an inspector or whatever they thought I was. Often, I obtained good information about the event I was investigating. But that mentality limits the talent pool and growth that women can provide to the fields referred to as STEM. Women remain underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce contributing to 29% of STEM jobs but only 15% of engineering jobs (https://ngcproject.org/statistics). Moreover, women in STEM fields earn approximately 33% more than non-STEM careers.
What can we do in today’s marketplace to improve conditions for female engineers?

Any comments you would care to share?

If you like my writing here, please like and share! I welcome your comments and advice for future topics. Information helps us all.

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Namaste

Lesley

Melanoma: My Public Service Announcement.

Recently, I celebrated a milestone birthday which made me make some more grr2017 2
conscious health resolutions.  Completing my second Gate River Run was one of these resolutions.  And, although I did not beat my time from 2016, I did complete the race within mere minutes of my previous time. Ya me!

Other resolutions I have made involve eating healthier (a no brainer for all of us!) and taking better care of my skin.  As a lifelong coastal resident (both left and right, or right and wrong coasts depending on your view!), I have been guilty of deeply bronzing my skin. I was a St. Johns County Lifeguard in the late 1980s before spray tans existed.

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Now, I am motivated to take better care of my skin including removing dark spots and wearing sunscreen – something I have never been very good at doing!  I urge the both the young and old to protect their skin and inspect suspicious spots or moles. Melanoma is a serious cancer that can both be prevented and halted. For more information on Melanoma, click the following link:  https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging.html

Namaste

Lesley

Gaslighting & other forms of ABUSE

I have had so many people ask me about this blog post.  Once upon a time, I was in an abusive relationship. If you know me and know how accomplished and successful I am, this fact may amaze you.  I have also been married to someone who had co-parenting responsibilities with an ex-spouse and communication was not always easy.
PHYSICAL ABUSE is not the most common form of abuse. Nor are abusers all MALE. Abuse is gender neutral. I am a master at seeing red flags now and hope I can shed some light by sharing this interesting post I found –
Note- Gaslighting and emotional abuse affects men and women!   For men, see:

#InternationalWomensDay Think On This!

Suppose you are in a staff meeting filled with engineers and technicians working on projects. Now, suppose two engineers, vying for a promotional position, clash over a problem project in front of a new leading director.

The problem project managing engineer, upset over having an independent engineer review his work, lashes out at the independent engineer. The independent engineer stands up for his comments regarding the problems with the project. The managing engineer later follows up with emails to the new director. The independent engineer offers to meet and discuss the problems in the project, but he is ignored.

Now, suppose you know that a junior technician had asked the independent engineer to review the managing engineer’s project because the technician’s concerns were not being heard or addressed by the problem project managing engineer. Suppose, instead, the managing engineer accused the independent engineer of overstepping his position. Suppose that the new director did not do a review of the problem project. Later, the problems, not being addressed, do indeed affect the project negatively. The independent engineer’s comments would have resolved problems and saved the project.

In this scenario, do you side with the independent engineer?  The independent engineer was attempting to help a concerned technician communicate problems that would derail the project. The independent engineer is the HERO, right? Did the director show good leadership judgment by letting the managing engineer not address the problems and review the project?

Now imagine that the independent engineer is a female and of a higher level than the problem project managing engineer and equally likely to get the promotional position. Who is the hero now? It should still be the independent engineer whom attempted to solve constructability problems and save a project, shouldn’t it?

16832309_749831081872916_7132290927926339381_nUnfortunately, this is not always the case. And, as a matter of fact, this exact scenario happened to me. A junior, male engineer lashed out at me during a staff meeting with a new director for speaking up regarding problems in his project which his engineering technician presented to him and was ignored. The managing engineer made a scene. But, was I considered a HERO? No, the new director considered me “unprofessional” because I stated my professional opinion that the project had problems. I have to wonder, on #InternationalWomensDay, would I have been the project hero if I was a man? I think so.

Until we resolve these gender disparities and discrimination, we will continue to suffer problems!

Post Script. The problems in the project were not discussed or resolved. The problem project manager did not get promoted. He eventually retired and moved overseas. The problem project engineer and I have resolved our differences and respect each other. I also did not get the position. I resigned to pursue better opportunities.

Any comments you would care to share?

If you like my writing here, please like and share! I welcome your comments and advice for future topics.

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Namaste.

Lesley

 

 

 

Use the DUCK Jar!!!

duck bestOnce upon a time, I had a reputation for having a rather loose mouth.  I worked in a male-dominated, construction-related field where everyone kind of had a loose mouth. Of course this is no excuse. I was known to throw an F bomb just as fast as the next guy. However, let me clarify that I was never one of those angry people who would curse at someone or make a scene in public. My cursing was usually just to vent some frustration or as a joke to get a laugh.

In 2008, my daughter pointed out that cursing really wasn’t funny (or smart) and she challenged me to stop cursing. She said, “We need to suck the violence out of your vocabulary.”  (That’s a great line.  Don’t steal it because I am using it in a screenplay one day. More on that later. )  She highlighted one word, since I really didn’t curse with the exception of one word I used to vent frustration.  You know the word.  It rhymes with ‘duck’ but starts with an anger-releasing Fffffffff and ends with a definitive CK!  Just saying it feels so satisfactory, kind of like how Mark Twain’s character Tom Sawyer curses over Aunt Polly’s rules.

cropped djSo as a New Year’s resolution in January 2009, I challenged myself, under pain of Cameron, to clean up my language. We had what we called a “duck jar.” Starts with D and rhymes with something I can’t say. Every time I slipped and said the ‘duck’ word, a dollar went into the jar. At the end of the year we were going to use the money from my slips to go to dinner, or something.  I joked that we would have enough to go on a ‘ducking’ cruise (OK, we live in Florida and have very inexpensive cruises!)  To make me honest, I was forced to tell those around me the rules. This included my closest associates at work. Trust me. They enjoyed keeping me honest!

It was extremely difficult at first.  I would slip up and notice it (or have it pointed out to me!) immediately.  I was super conscious about it. I realized I had to improve my descriptive vocabulary!  Cameron was right. Cursing was a lazy man’s lack of vocabulary skills! Soon, I could see the word in my mind and stop myself from saying it. It made me speak slower as I grasped other adjectives…or nouns, as the case may be.

By the end of 2009, my language was cleaned up. However, I still suffer some of the reputation of being able to sling words like the guys on my construction projects.  I’m not proud of that. And, people I have known for many years forget that I no longer curse and have not since January 2009. But people I meet now know that I don’t swear. Good thing, too, because I no longer work in construction, where it is “acceptable.”

I have been in the middle of construction jobsite fights where a contractor, red-faced screaming and cursing with spittle flying out of his mouth, harangued me to get at my client. On that jobsite fight occasion, I calmed the situation with jokes (about having CPR certification!). For many of us who curse, we know it’s just a way of venting frustration. However, it is simply not taken that way. In the face of misunderstanding, it’s better not to curse.

In my defense, I never cursed or verbally attacked a person. I am not an aggressive, confrontational person.  I think I cursed as a way to get a rise out of people, particularly as a female working in a male dominated and rugged field. Perhaps when I was young, much like teenagers act out, I realized cursing was the one thing that could get a rise out of my mom (since I was pretty much a perfect child. Ask my mom!  I swear it’s true!)  I was usually joking, but as my daughter Cameron pointed out (So smart! Score Momma!), it was NOT cool.

Cursing gets attention, but not the kind of attention you want. Trust me. Now, when I hear someone curse, I cringe. I agree with my daughter.  It IS violent sounding, even if it’s not directed at a person.  If you follow Dr. Wayne Dyer, perhaps you will recall his expositions regarding the sinking energy effect of violent, foul language.  Something to think about.  Very rarely do I let F bombs fly and when I do I’m extremely conscious of it. I’m also aware that something is frustrating me which leads me mindfulness practices.  I practice mindfulness and meditation now to improve focus and clarity and I recommend it to everybody.

So I challenge you put that duck jar next your coffee machine, tell everyone what your costadelmarchallenge is, and see how you do. I swear (pun intended), the duck jar works!

By the way, my daughter and I celebrated by going on a cruise in February 2010. The memories of Belize, Roatan and Mexico will forever replace the pain of the duck jar.

Any comments you would care to share?

If you like my writing here, please LIKE and SHARE! I welcome your comments and advice for future topics.

Bloggers LOVE comments!

Namaste.

Lesley Davidson

Get Greedy…With Your Time

Tonight, I agreed to show a property to a new client although they failed to complete their pre-approval appointment earlier in the day. I know better than to waste my time with someone who is not pre-approved, however I felt bad because we already had an appointment and they feared they would lose the property to another bidder.  Also, I am trying to double my real estate income this year.  So, I acquiesced. Lesson learned.  Possible tragedy averted.

I wasted over two hours driving 25 miles to the appointment learning along the way d2d6f34575c8212c420d9954240a78e1that the client’s fiancé was going to be an additional 40 minutes late, beyond the hour already delayed.  Our appointment had been for 6pm, but I had let it slide an hour to accommodate the client’s fiancé.  Meanwhile the short winter day was ending.  In real estate, it helps to tour homes in the light of day, particularly if it is a HUD house with no electricity as this was probable in this case.  My trusty GPS app, Waze (if you haven’t tried Waze, I encourage you to do so. I find it seriously impossible to do forensic engineering and real estate without this tool!) sent me down a dark road, then a right, then a left, and then directed me to turn right onto a dirt road flanked with mobile homes on either side.  The dirt road seemingly ended at a utility corridor with massive power line towers, but Waze directions continued to advise me to turn onto a road named Pumpkin Road, I kid you not.  The HUD house in question was not on Pumpkin Road nor was the proper road showing up on my Waze map.  I faced power line easement with GPS spitting out directions, yet no more road to travel.  I pulled the plug immediately.  I whipped my car around and hit my phone speaker to record a text telling the client the appointment would have to be rescheduled as it was dark and my GPS was not functioning.  The client said she was at a house nearby and begged not to cancel because they didn’t want to lose the house.  At that point, I didn’t care.  If they couldn’t bother to get pre-approved, then it really wasn’t that important to them.  I advised the client the showing would require daylight and that she couldn’t bid without pre-approval anyway.

The Pareto principle says 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Tim Ferriss author of Tools of Titans, Four Hour Work Week, and the associated Four Hour Body, Chef and other topics!) uses Pareto Principle to weed out W4W or ‘work for work’s sake.’  John Assaraf says that you need to focus on the revenue-generating activities. And Napoleon Hill asks in his Organized Planning chapter of Think And Grow Rich, “How much time have I devoted to unprofitable effort which I might have used to better advantage? How many times do we have to be told this?  I wasted over 2 hours helping a client who refused to help themselves first by following directions and getting prepared to submit an offer.  Although acknowledging I was responsible for the wasted time, I became angry.  I became greedy, greedy of my time.

Lessons cost you, but save you so much in the future. Get greedy with your time. Last year I made a New Year’s resolution to eliminate activities that suck time and energy while giving nothing.  Some examples of this were my eight year term on a transportation planning organization’s Citizen Advisory Committee.  It was a wonderful and worthy volunteer organization that provided contacts and information when I needed it for my job. But as I moved on from that job years before, I no longer needed the contacts and the information was no longer valuable to me. It was now a multi-hour waste of time once a month.   I was also a Community Advisory Board member for a local television station.  I participated for a year although the meeting schedule was difficult and the meetings were very long. This was an interest-based attempt to get out and participate more in local civic organizations. However it brought no meaningful revenue or contacts.  And it was downright boring.   I resigned and excised both activities from my schedule.  I continued to wipe out meetings and events I felt obligated to attend but did not enjoy.  Now I do have philanthropic activities I enjoy, such as volunteering with my college sorority Alpha Delta Pi for the Ronald McDonald House for families with sick children. Monthly, we provide dinners for the families staying while their children undergo treatment at nearby Nemours Children Specialty Care, UF Health Center, Wolfson’s Children Hospital, Brook’s Rehabilitation, and UF Health Proton Therapy Institute, Mayo Clinic among other medical facilities in Jacksonville, Florida.  I did not eliminate this from my schedule as I value volunteering at Ronald McDonald House; however a difficult expansion program made volunteering extremely time-consuming and difficult and I pulled back my volunteering hours temporarily.   I will continue to volunteer, however at a slightly different level.

In addition to eliminating activities I no longer felt aligned with my goals; I reduced clutter and downsized my house.  I feel freer to pursue interests and passions.  I feel less stressed.  I feel I have time to enjoy my family and friends more.  I have learned to say no.   I have learned to skip meetings or events when I don’t feel like it.  And I have learned to be greedy of my time.  I highly recommend it.  There is a popular saying, “If you say you CAN’T, what you really mean is you WON’T.”   Don’t let “CAN’T” trap you.  And don’t believe “I have to” is any different than “I can’t.”  Think about that.

Next blog, I will apply this to the people who surround you! The “I have to’s” fall away here as well. Be in control of you!

Any comments you would care to share?

If you like my writing here, please like and share!  I welcome your comments and advice for future topics.

Bloggers LOVE comments! Please LIKE and SHARE!

Namaste.

Lesley Davidson

Post Script: I found out the next day that a cash offer had already been submitted and accepted on the property during the previous day!