#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.

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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.

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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!

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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!


Meditation Epiphanies

aa-meditateOn my journey to change my life into the life I deserve, I have several resources, coaches, and tools I employ.  One such tool is meditation.  Meditation helps me connect to my creative, passionate core.  Focus, motivation and deep profound peace comes from my meditation and, often, an epiphany.  Today’s meditation brought me peace and calm and ideas for my product development goal.

Last month, I highlighted some of my passions.  Today, ideas on how to merge my writing passion, real estate expertise and engineering experience together emerged.

And, to mark progress, I have almost completed two tools I believe I need; Camtasia Studio 9 software for filming and editing content for e-learning courses; and a website design course.  Truth be told, I may hire out the website design as it is not really a passion for me.  Next to do list items are poll my target demographic and beta test my ideas.

Wish me luck.

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Lesley Davidson

A Healthy Network Is An Expanding Network

post-socialmediaDo you still avoid Social Media? Do you think LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram are a waste of time? Do you realize the consequences? Social Media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, allow network expansion beyond your usual connections for good reason.

You may be content with your small network, but do you realize you are limiting opportunities you may receive? Think about when you are looking for a job or for a candidate for a position. You may think you find the best opportunities from your close friends, but studies show that loose connections actually present more opportunities than your close connections. Close connections are typically sharing the same information network, particularly a tight niche field, and, therefore, learning about opportunities at approximately the same time you do. New information usually arrives from beyond your network, through loose connections. If you want a message to go outside of your regular trade, develop your loose connections. For instance, say you are in the financial field and you develop a training program which may be used in multiple fields. Working your loose connections in other fields can send your training viral. Likewise, if you want information on new opportunities, reach beyond your small network and develop your loose connections.

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Taking First Steps

journeysEvery journey begins with the first step. This year, on January 1, I took my first step. Here in this blog.  I have had trepidation about making a bold statement (and announcing it publicly!  Trust me, even on a blog with a small following, writing and putting yourself ‘out there’ for all to see is stressful and gutsy!) about my life changing goals this year seeking my passions and ways to monetize them to build the life I imagine. Although I have never had the dream of what I wanted to do like so many kids who say they want to grow up to be a fireman, a doctor, or the President of the United States of America, I do know what I don’t want to do.  Once I used that knowledge as a compass to move things that didn’t please me out of my life. Now, however, I realize I must make more proactive moves than passively eliminating things from my life.  I must apply some GOYA!  GOYA is, in short, Get Off Your Ass.  You must identify your passion and take daily steps toward building the life that feeds you.

After several difficult weeks fraught with deep thoughts, questions and uncertainties, a few epiphanies appeared.  My passions, I realize, are:

  1. Being a mom.
  2. My loved ones and family.
  3. Helping and teaching others with real estate questions and goals.
  4. Helping others with my structural engineering expertise.
  5. Writing, blogging and sharing.
  6. Learning, and,
  7. Exploring the world.


Now, I know you may think that 1 and 2 is a real DUH, but I thrive on helping my loved
ones.  I would hope we all do!  I love being a mom.  If that sounds petty, too bad. You may think 1 and 2 may not answer my monetization goal, but I beg to differ.  If you follow your passions, you will be successful.  I can help my loved ones by supporting their initiatives with my skills. I’m blessed with the relationships I have and I am focused on improving relationships in my life which will in turn improve my life.

Now, 3 and 4 are traditional 9 to 5’er type career skill sets.  But I am not trying to replace a job with another 9 to 5 trading my time for money position.  Instead, I want to focus on using these skills to generate multiple streams of income.  And, now here is the real genius, I want to merge my engineering, real estate with my writing skills to help others. Sort of a melting pot, eh? Unique, maybe. Doable, definitely.

In the weeks moving forward, I will be researching hot topics and methods of distributing knowledge content, primarily digital and publishable products.  Any ideas and guidance are welcome.  As attributed to Buddhist proverbs, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!” Mentors welcome!




Happy New Year and Happy New Goals


Every year, I make a list of things I want to accomplish, places I want to go, and other goals I want to meet in the general categories of health, wealth and happiness.  This year is no different with the exception that I am launching a paradigm shift regarding how I am living my life. Making BOLD NEW CHANGES and tackling the ‘What Am I Passionate About Doing (for a living)’ question, a deep dive that may take some time as I explore what feeds my soul.  Literally, what feeds my soul and puts a roof over my head! I ask you to bear with me in this journey and, perhaps, we can both learn and grow in the process.

Conditions meeting this target include creating multiple streams of income, both passive and investment rather than trading hours for dollars, allowing me to take control of my time while freeing me to enjoy the life I want – with loved ones, family and friends. The life I want includes travel, enjoying certain luxuries, and helping friends and family while working from home or anywhere whenever I desire.  Obviously, this requires a substantial income. Reaching this goal, I believe, will require me to determine;

  1. What am I most passionate about?
  2. How do I monetize that passion into a product or service that adds value? And,
  3. How do I launch, market and promote this product – successfully?

Popular management theory promotes making SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. My paradigm shift will be DIRTY: Done In Response To Yearning! I have no specific topic yet, no idea how to measure my progress, although I know the end result I desire. I know my end result is attainable, but I haven’t fleshed out the how or, necessarily, the when I will arrive. All I know is what I have been doing and how I have been living has not fed my soul. I have to flesh out the passions from the interests. There is a lot I don’t know, but what I do know is that I have broad interests, an excellent education, and expert skills which I know are transferable. But so far, I have not applied those skills to a passion.


So…onward with the journey.

Check back later for progress updates!