I finally did it—started strength training. In 2009 my doctor said that my worsening T-scores (bone density results marking the progression of osteoporosis) indicated that I either had to take action or go on medication, but I only got as far as checking out, and rejecting, membership in a local gym—if I didn’t enjoy being there for the five minutes it took for the receptionist to show me around, it was highly unlikely I would have gone three times a week.
For five years I discarded one idea after another—a treadmill in the basement, exercise videos, a personal trainer who thought that anyone over 40 had entered old age. I did take longer walks and tried to follow the exercise program, albeit haphazardly, in a book on how to build strong bones, but I knew I wasn’t challenging myself enough and felt like I was copping out.
What was missing was the right resource.
My daughter and her boyfriend were devastated at the thought of no more music from The Grateful Dead after Jerry Garcia died (August 9, 1995) and so they not only breathed a sigh of relief when they heard that the remaining members of the band were to perform with the San Francisco Symphony—they loaded up and headed out.
The trip from the East Coast was a particularly grueling one. They took the southern route across Texas and Arizona and when they reached the California coast they discovered that El Niño had washed portions of it out to sea, forcing them to detour inland.
They found relief from the long days of driving and nights of primitive camping by seeking out some affluent California town much like the one they came from (Ridgefield, Connecticut) with a gym for bathing and an upscale coffee shop where they could plug into a homelike environment and talk to the locals.
Like most people who live on the outer hook of Cape Cod, where the land juts thirty miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, I've long accepted my vulnerability to howling winds and rising seas, but I’d be less than honest if I didn't admit to thinking a great deal more about it since Hurricane Sandy. When the images of devastation on television look a lot like the beach houses, marinas, and sand dunes you see every day, it's a powerful reminder that it could be your turn next.
So how do you get ready—not physically, but psychologically and spiritually? Whether it’s a superstorm, a professional crisis, or a personal loss, how do you prepare yourself to move beyond your own fears so that you can be a calm and supportive presence to others? What can you do to make it more likely that in a disaster you will be able to offer the best of who you are?
My husband and I own a canoe, but for years the only action we took re canoeing was to talk about how we ought to take it out on one of the marshes or kettle ponds before the summer ended.
But we’d got rid of the car with the roof racks and it always seemed like too much trouble to have to figure on a new way to strap the thing on top, so there it sat, season after season, on sawhorses beside the garage.
This year, however, as the tourists began to arrive, I found myself looking at their kayaks with envy, so I told my husband it was time we went canoeing again.
He went to work, cleaning years of accumulated dirt off the fiberglass shell and fixing a broken thwart, while I rummaged in the attic and located the paddles, the life jackets and the dry bag.
At a local outdoor store we found a carrying kit suitable for hauling a canoe short distances and we bought it and drove straight home and loaded Sacagawea onto the car and took her to Salt Pond.
An editorial cartoon recently appeared in the local paper showing a massive traffic jam. In the picture, one driver is standing on the roof of his car, looking off into the distance at lines of cars that stretch as far as the eye can see. Heads are popping up through moon roofs. A sad-faced man leans against his car and looks at his watch. Another grimaces at the viewer. Plumes of steam rise from radiators. A sign with an arrow pointing down the gridlocked highway reads, JOB MARKET, and below the arrow is written, EXPECT DELAYS.
I saved the cartoon in my clip file because, for me, it makes the emotions that underlie today's unemployment statistics accessible.
As much as I would like to, I simply can't relate to a number like 236,000 jobs lost in September, resulting in a 9.8% unemployment rate with a total of at least 15.1 million Americans out of work. But I do know what it's like to sit in seemingly endless traffic.
In last month’s column I described how a consultative sales approach made it possible for employees who were unaccustomed to functioning as salespeople to be effective in that role.
A consultative sales approach is just as valuable to people who are engaged in work search, whether they have been laid off or have chosen to go out on their own. After all, work search is sales, and many people who find themselves thrown into it feel out of their element.
Yet they can be effective and comfortable in selling themselves if they pattern their work search on a consultative approach rather than aggressively cultivating leads and pushing to close the deal.>
In last month’s column I talked about how educated consumers are bringing about the extinction of the hard-driving salesperson at the same time that businesses are facing unprecedented competitive challenges.
It makes perfect sense for businesses who are trying to stay profitable in this new environment to set the goal of having every employee contribute to the revenue stream. It’s the lifeblood of the organization. But forcing an aggressive sales model onto people who aren’t ready for it is counterproductive. Trying to get “non-sales” people to sell in a way that is not comfortable for them, and is no longer effective anyway, just isn’t going to work.
It leads to the loss of people who have built invaluable relationships with their customers over time, and it overlooks qualities that make them ideally suited for building new relationships that will assure long-lasting revenue streams.