Category Archives: Books

Embracing the Discomfort – The Plan

Expand-yourself-Get-out-of-comfort-zone

The 5th anniversary of my 29th birthday is in a little over 3 weeks and I’ve been thinking about things that I’ve learned about myself over the years.  I’m nosy.  I have an extraordinary memory, which passes for intelligence about 95% of the time.  I will probably never be a morning person no matter how hard I try.  I can be very envious and insecure…and I have an absolutely incredible tolerance for pain.

imagesThat last part is going to sound like bragging when I explain it, but it’s really not.  When I know something is SUPPOSED to hurt, I let it hurt.  Case in point: I had horrible dry socket after my wisdom teeth were extracted because no one remembered to give me a syringe and the instructions to prevent dry socket.  So when I was in pain 2 and then 3 weeks later, I just thought, “Well I just had surgery.  It’s supposed to hurt.”  The oral surgeon was appalled at my final visit.  I’ve had the same thing happen to me in the ER on Christmas Eve with strep throat*, from the neurosurgeon who diagnosed those ruptured discs in my neck, and from a different neurosurgeon after the operation to remove those ruptured discs.  “How are you sitting here without writhing and crying?  Why aren’t you asking for more pain meds?  Why aren’t you taking the ones we gave you?” or something along those lines.  My answer is always the same:  “I’m sick, I’m injured, I just had surgery.  It’s SUPPOSED to hurt, right?!  Complaining doesn’t help.”  I just always assume that the amount of pain I’m in is the amount I’m supposed to be in and deal with it.  Evidently some of you are whiny little drug-seeking bitches, though.

That being said, while I do have an incredible tolerance for pain, I have ZERO tolerance for discomfort.  I hosted a bridal shower for my friend Lea many years ago, the weekend Pope John Paul II died (great memory, right?).  I was outside planting flowers in pots for several hours the day before the shower.  It was early April in Baton Rouge, sunny but not hot, and there was a lovely breeze.  It was a beautiful day.  For a week after, my lips feel like they were constantly covered in cellophane and it was all I could do to get out of bed.  I don’t think I talked about anything else for a week except which lip balms I liked and which I didn’t.  In the case of discomfort, complaining does help because it makes others around me miserable too and, seriously, why should I suffer alone?

Me in a room that's too stuffy.

Me in a room that’s too stuffy.

If the thermostat is too hot or cold, I’m dying.  Bug bites and paper cuts make me want to check myself into a mental ward for a sedative.  People have found me in my office before, rubbing myself on a door jamb trying to scratch my back like a cartoon bear.  I really would rather be stabbed in the gut than sleep in a room that doesn’t have a fan.  I’m the whiny little bitch in this scenario and I’m ok with that.

What does all this nonsense have to do with my plan?  Well…summer 2013 is going to be The Summer of Dominique’s Discomfort.  For starters, I’ve signed myself up for a 7:30 am Zumba class on campus.  This isn’t a fun class that I can drop anytime.  This is for credit and I will be assigned a grade.  I don’t need this class to graduate, but it only cost $60 more and for 2 months of Zumba, I might as well.  Did I mention the part about not being a morning person or liking to sweat?  What have I done?  Did I mention also that I’m a former smoker and since my knee surgery 14 years ago I have become about as limber as a rusty lawn chair?

ive-made-a-huge-mistakeAlso, I signed up for one of those Color Runs at the end of June and roped 2 friends into joining me.  It’s a 5K.  I haven’t started training AT ALL yet, and I haven’t run in…EVER.  My whole life I have been able to swim a mile before I could run one, so that’s gonna suck — and I paid money to do this.  Holy shit.i-exercised-once

Once I lose some weight, I want to start biking again.  For now balancing all this heft on my hoo-ha on a bike hurts my hiney more than is worth it.  That will be later in the summer.

I’m going off sugar.  I’ve done an Atkins-esque plan before.  No, it’s not high protein.  No, it’s not all bacon.  You basically eat your body weight in veggies.  Look it up.  I feel a lot better when I do that and I have a lot more energy but that first week is a bear.  None of you are going to want to give me even the slightest criticism on Facebook, Twitter, over the phone or in person or we might both end up on the news.  What is the opposite of the Twinkie defense?

Or you'll do what I do which is to watch all the good food go bad and order pizza.  And ice cream.

Or you’ll do what I do which is to watch all the good food go bad and order pizza. And ice cream.

I’m going to be in school (the Zumba plus another easy class) and working this summer.  At the same time I have plans to do a lot of HR and finance education to make myself more valuable at work.  That won’t be uncomfortable but will be a bit time-consuming.  My summer reading list is already at about 8 books and that doesn’t include anything for school yet.  I’m very lucky to have a cool boss who is grooming me for bigger things.  ”Learn More Stuff” is actually my number one summer assignment.

There is still the elephant in the room with Dad, and considering my birthday and Father’s Day always go hand-in-hand, at some point some awkwardness will have to be addressed there…I hope.  I’ve reached out.  We’ll see.

What has inspired all of this apart from this blog and all of you?  Two friends that I HATE.  Remember when I said I could be envious?  I really can.  And I don’t hate them in the way I hate Al-Qaeda or Gwyneth Paltrow.  I’m not angry at them.  I hate them in a way that you can only hate someone you really love.  The truth is that I adore them both but they have achieved so much while I have been stagnating that it just makes me sick with happiness, admiration and seething, undying jealousy.  They are AWESOME and I am NOT (yet).  They’ve been through the pain already and I have yet to begin.

Here they are together.  At once the banes of my existence and my reason for getting up in the morning.

Here they are together — at once the banes of my existence and my reason for getting up in the morning.

Look at the guns on this b...est friend of mine!

Look at the guns on this b…est friend of mine!

Julia** lives in Portland and is raising 2 wonderful boys with her husband.  I lived with her for a while in college and she was never ever fat, but she was not the lean machine she is today!  She’s taken up fitness as her life’s purpose pretty much and she looks amazing.  Even more than the changes to her appearance, though, she has achieved so much.  She has run a couple full marathons, I think.  I know at least one was for Team In Training, so she did a good deed there.  She did an Olympic-distance Ironman, I think.  She routinely does half-marathons and smaller triathlons. Some of that may be wrong, I have no idea.  All I know is she has a shitload of medals and I have an assload of cellulite.  She is in incredible shape and really enjoys what she’s doing.  I’m jealous.

This one used to shun photos like the plague and now he's taking them all the time.  And always smiling!  It's like he knows something that I should be learning.  Hmmm.

This one used to shun photos like the plague and now he’s taking them all the time. And always smiling! It’s like he knows something that I should be learning. Hmmm.

My friend John** lives in Houston and he has recently lost something crazy like…200 pounds.  I don’t know the exact number but it’s a lot.  He was depressed and fat (I’m familiar) and something just clicked for him one day.  He went to a medically-supervised weight loss program, began working out, and now he’s lost all this weight, toned up, and has also been bitten with the running and triathlon bug.  His confidence has gone through the roof.  He’s a fitness evangelist now that makes Jimmy Swaggart look like some stuttering wallflower in comparison.  He is so much healthier, so much more vibrant and a real inspiration.  Again, I’m jealous.

And I know I could do something about it and change my life but it’s just so much easier to sleep in, to watch Netflix instead of studying, to order pizza instead of cooking for myself, and make “easy” choices instead of difficult ones.  BUT…since hopping out of my comfort zone accidentally worked so well earlier this year, that’s what I’ve got to do now.  I’m slowly learning that lesson.  The fact is, this summer is probably going to suck.  Maybe even more than the summer of mental illness or neck brace.  It’s going to be sweaty and uncomfortable and painful but hopefully I’ll be better for it at the end…waist a little smaller and brain a little bigger, or more wrinkly or something.

Growth does not happen in the comfort zone.  I have to remember that.

Growth does not happen in the comfort zone. I have to remember that.

My official motto:  Embrace the Discomfort.  It’s Definitely Going to Suck, But It Probably Won’t Kill Me.

Will keep you posted!  Any words of encouragement would be wonderful, but I’m warning you guys…June 1 and all the carbs are gone.  At that point, any criticism will be viewed as an act of war.

Hope everyone had a great long weekend! – HRGF

*Don’t ever go to the ER on Xmas eve.  The morgue will feel sorry for the ER staff and send up a ham.  Apart from the gross irony of getting meat from the morgue, the ER staff will be overjoyed at ham and will forget about you for 2 hours.

**Names and locations changed to protect friends I hate.  With love.  But then I put up their pics so whatever.

Change Doesn’t Take Time – It Takes Change

My life has been through some great changes recently and I think it’s got me hooked on the whole concept of change now.  I’m jonesing for more change.

A Brief Recap

joanIn May 2011, I was in pain.  I had 2 ruptured discs in my neck and ended up having major surgery.  That summer kinda sucked.

In May 2012, I was in a different kind of pain.  I was severely depressed and having panic attacks and afraid to tell anyone about it.  My family, friends and coworkers knew I’d suffered depression for years but it had gotten markedly worse in April/May and I didn’t want anyone to know that part.  I thought they’d be worried that I’d do something awful and irreparable, even though nothing like that EVER crossed my mind.  I was in pain though and suffered largely in silence.  Last summer definitely could’ve been better.

slothNow it’s May 2013 and life is AMAZING.  I’ve made great progress in school and I can see the finish line, somewhere.  I have a new-ish and fantastic job that is a PERFECT fit for me.  I love the people I work with, I get to wear sweatpants/no pants about 80% of the time, and still be bossy and a perfectionist.  My family and friends are doing well.  My $$$ is doing well.  My depression is under control.  I have quit smoking for a while now.  Life is good.  Change is good.

What Happened?

welcomeDid it take a year for all this change to happen?  No, it’s taken 4 months and 13 days.  How do I know that?  Because I started this blog on January 4th.  Unemployed at the time, I wanted something to occupy my time and learning more about HR seemed a good start since that was my field and I was basically faking it…or that’s how I felt.  Since then, this blog has been received warmly among people who clearly AREN’T faking it.  I’ve been invited to do guest posts for other blogs (will change link to my post once it’s published) and awesome people have assisted with mine.  I’ve met lots of new people, become more involved in my local HR and business scene, and “met” thousands more on Facebook and Twitter.  HR Rock Stars.  I have met some in real life, others I know I will one day, and some have become great confidantes, advisers and friends.  Remember when I said HR was a big ol’ clique?  Still true.  But when I said they were friendly and welcoming, I had no idea what an understatement that was.

The Change Process

How did I accomplish this?  Did it happen naturally and without any effort from me?  Absolutely not. I butted in.  I interjected in Twitter conversations I found interesting, I commented on blogs, I asked total strangers for advice and opinions, and totally crashed that party.  Was it always comfy for me?  No.  I am still intimidated by these rock stars since I have no degree (yet) and I’m only informally studying HR.  Why should the talent acquisition chief from Expedia ever talk to me?  Guess what?  He did.  He does.  You’re not reading this, but just in case…hi Jer!  (Honestly, when I reached out to him on LinkedIn, I thought he was someone else, but whatever.  He’s cool.  There’s a pic of him wearing a cape on my FB timeline, so he’s clearly odd, which is EXACTLY the type of people I like to be on my FB.) There were a few moments of awkwardness with some people but for the most part, it wasn’t too bad.  Stepping out of my comfort zone, not into a neutral gray area of I-don’t-give-a-damn-ness, but into active discomfort has achieved great results.

Now What?

Is my life perfect right now?  No.  I am still woefully overweight and out of shape…not beating myself up over this, though, cause I did quit smoking, so yea.  I want to add more value to my company, so I’m trying to learn accounting and more HR this summer.  I’m not quite done with school yet so there’s still some work to be done there.  My dad and I are talking, but there’s an elephant in the room we haven’t addressed.  I’m not going to link to it, but regular readers will know what that is.  I haven’t spent enough time with my local friends or talking to my distant ones (my real, non-HR people).  My apartment is a disaster.  I need to floss more.  You know, the usual.  It’s time for some more change.

People say change takes time.  No, it doesn’t.  It takes change.  Real, actionable, quantifiable CHANGE.  I look at my life right now and where I was 4 months and 13 days ago and it could not be more different.  So that’s my new project — the next three and a half-ish months.

project

I have a few weeks now before summer school starts.  Then 2 months of school and another few weeks of freedom.  On Labor Day, I want to look back and say, “I remember that day…sitting on my boss’s sofa at the ass crack of dawn because she accidentally scheduled herself a flight so early not even Superman would put up with that BS, blogging while her daughter slept, about to get her ready for school — and look how much my life has improved since then.”  Rolling over and watching Buffy till I fall asleep right now, though tempting and guaranteed to be awesome, is not going to bring about the change I’m seeking. That’s the old path; I already know where that leads.  I’m on a new path now.

I didn’t have a plan 4 months and 13 days ago and I still accomplished a lot…with some luck, some great friends/family, and some innovative interrupting, if you will, on my part.  This time I do have a plan and I am looking forward to BIG RESULTS and BIG ACCOUNTABILITY from you guys!  So what’s the plan?  What are my goals between now and Labor Day – and how do I intend to achieve them?  Ahh.  Check back on Tuesday and all will be revealed.

tuesday

 

Have a great weekend everyone!!  I’m starting my plan immediately!! – HRGF

Fun Friday – I Got an Advice Question!!

You guys!  I got my very first email asking for advice!  I’m a guru!

(I’m totally kidding.  I’m a college student and office manager.  Take everything here as mere suggestions and feel free to tell me I’m wrong in the comments.) 

Hi Dominique:

Thanks for the follow on Twitter. After reading your bio I thought that we might have a similar path.

I have been an Office Manager in the architecture industry for 22 years (20 with the same small business). The past few years I have taken an interest in HR – in wanting to help others succeed in the workplace, etc. Unfortunately, my current employment does not allow me to gain any HR experience as we have a solo HR person who is not really forthcoming. My Masters is in Organization and Management and I am not ready to spend a bundle more money for another degree in HR. Can you give me any advice on how you are organizing your self-study? I just joined SHRM and will start networking with the local chapter but besides that I am overwhelmed with where to start … so many twitter feeds, blogs, articles, etc. Are you focusing on a specific area? Not having HR experience I am not sure what area I would like best.

Thanks,

K

Dear K -

Thank you so much for writing me!  This made my day!

I think we do have a similar path with the office manager/self-study bit, but we differ in that you have a LOT more education than I do.  In fact, with a Masters in Organization & Management, I bet you already know a lot more than you realize.  Do NOT go back to school and spend more money on an HR degree.  (Anyone disagreeing with this opinion, please let me know in the comments, but I really think further spending in that area won’t get you the return on investment that you would hope.)  Plus, you might delve further into this and hate HR.  If you do some self-study and love it and want to become the world’s foremost expert, decide that later.  For now, no.

Also, I know it’s super easy to get overwhelmed with the Twitter, blogs, articles, etc.  Don’t stress too much over this.  You’ll never read or absorb it all.  Just take in what you can reasonably handle without stressing yourself too much.  An article or two a day that you really absorb is better than 12 that you don’t.  Also, the blogs aren’t so much actual lessons as people delivering different ideas and opinions.  They are great, certainly, but you’ll want to start off with a knowledge base that will allow you to get more out of the blogs, the tweets, and endless stream of information on the internet.

I did a review of 2 iPhone apps that I currently have on my phone.  I still use them and quiz myself when I get a moment.  These have helped because they’ve given me insight into areas of HR that I didn’t even know existed, and thus am weak in.  I never had to utilize them before.  If you go that route, keep a pen/notebook handy and jot down some terms or laws that you don’t know.  Even if you get the answer correct, if the term was unfamiliar, jot it down.  They won’t teach you all the principles, but they’ll point out what you don’t know and you can research later.

When you look at the apps, or even just that post to find a list of the various areas of HR, follow the blogs/Twitter accounts of businesses in that area: benefits brokers, insurance companies, HR outsourcing, payroll companies, staffing agencies, recruiters, risk management, employment law firms, etc.  Rather than individual people musing and giving their opinions, the businesses themselves often have blogs about laws, policies, and information that will count more as a lesson.

Some that I highly recommend:  Winston Benefits, Insperity, Infinisource, My Back OfficeMonster Thinking, Workplace Prof Blog, Winston & Strawn, LLP and Presidio Group.  This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.

Also, joining SHRM was a great idea.  I hope you joined your local chapter as well as national.  National SHRM puts out HR Magazine, which has excellent articles and even if you don’t understand 100% of it, it will point you in an area that you can research more.  Also, reach out to your local SHRM officers.  I’m not sure how your chapter works but in Baton Rouge they have a general meeting approximately once a month.  They may not have speakers lined up months in advance, but they generally have some idea of a topic a couple months ahead of time.  It may be as general as “safety”, but you can ask about upcoming topics and study beforehand so you’ll be able to engage more fully in the meetings.  The SHRM website also has good articles and chats where you can ask questions and engage with other people.

Also, I’d encourage you to try again with the HR person at your office or maybe even a little higher up.  Do not approach this as you trying to do their job (or neglect yours), but just say you’re interested and feel that some cross-training would benefit the office.  You’d like to learn enough to be the “emergency backup”.  Not only will it help you learn a little more, it really will benefit your company.  This person could become ill, take another job, get hit by a bus or win the lottery and leave you all in a lurch. This is especially true in a small office which has a smaller talent pool to draw from.  There is no job on Earth that doesn’t need an emergency backup.  They don’t need to know 100% — just enough to keep things from falling apart till everyone adjusts.

As for me, my plans for self-study have changed/evolved a bit.  When I first started this blog in January, I had recently been unemployed and did this as a way to reach out, get more knowledge and not drive myself crazy at home with nothing to do.  I’ve since taken a job with a content marketing firm that assigns me articles and blog posts to write for our clients, many of whom are in HR-related businesses.  These require research and just doing that has taught me a lot.  I know that’s a bummer to say since not everyone has the ability to do this on the job and it’s one of the reasons I’m suggesting you try again, as nicely as possible, with your HR person at work.

In the meantime though, I’m reading blogs, I’m researching for work, I’ve occasionally got guests on this blog teaching me things (and I need to do more of that).  A delightful friend from Twitter, Liz Rominger, has agreed to loan me a SHRM PHR Learning System for the summer.  They are very expensive and I cannot afford one on my own, however, they are much less than a degree in HR, so perhaps you can.  Or maybe someone in your local SHRM chapter can loan you one.  Maybe even your local library…I never thought to check there.  You can even find older ones on eBay for a few hundred bucks less because they’re somewhat out of date.  We all know healthcare has changed since 2009, but the general principles in the rest of the materials are still the same and you can (and should) study the PPACA from multiple resources elsewhere anyway.  I wouldn’t go any older than 2009 – 2010, but that’s an idea.  Anyway, I’ll be borrowing Liz’s learning system once I finish finals on May 7, through about Labor Day.  I plan to go through the system in the order SHRM presents it and will post blogs on my progress. 

I hope you’ll keep me informed of your progress as well!  Hopefully we can learn from each other over the summer, but believe me, this is much more than a summer endeavor!  HR Pros are required to get continuing education for a reason.  Things change and the learning is constant.  This will definitely not be an overnight process for either of us, but we’ll get there!

Take care and good luck with your studies!

-HRGF

Did I miss anything guys?  Any additional advice you’d offer to K or advice of mine that was awful?  Let me know!

Frankenstein, Flexibility and My New Job

I’ve been having good luck with the monster theme, so we’re going to continue with that.

No, I don’t know why HR makes me think of scary hellbeasts like vampires or zombies, but clearly it does.  And my new job is a little reminiscent of Frankenstein.

frank

I’ve recently become part of the fast-growing field of content marketing, if only tangentially.  I’m not a marketing person.  I’ve never studied marketing, I’m not a salesman (unless I’m selling someone on giving me something that I want), and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I’ve since learned that content marketing isn’t about “sales” per se.  We turn you into an expert with blogs, white papers, websites, webinars, etc. so that people search you out.  You don’t blast in their face “Hey, we have a product!  Come buy it!  Apply directly to the forehead.  Apply directly to the forehead.” etc.  Instead, you have such amazing content on your website related to your field that people will seek you out as an expert and you can turn that lead into sales.  Pretty genius.

tumblr_m72pu2SLv91rswmb6o1_400

Since I’m not a marketing person, I’m the Office Manager.  My boss, and owner of this small but quickly-growing startup, jokes that she hired me to boss her around, and she’s kind of right.  She has a million things in her head at any one time, so she needs to be diverted back to a certain path occasionally.  Plus I’m just really good at being bossy.

In the very short time that has elapsed since I took this job, I have engaged in some writing, accounting, construction, HR, copy-editing, research and major shopping.  This job is a lot like Frankenstein in that way: a little of this, a little of that, all stitched together to make something great. ( Yes, I know Frankenstein was the doctor.  I’m minoring in English and gothic lit in particular is my favorite.  I’ve written many a paper on Frankenstein as a feminist treatise, but let’s just go with popular convention this once, ok?  I can’t just call him “The Monster” cause that would sound stupid.)

Obligatory Buffy reference.

Obligatory Buffy reference.

We all know I hate routine, so this works out great for me.  Plus, we don’t have an office!  I get to work from home, from coffee shops, from seafood restaurants and everything is done in “The Cloud.”  The boss is here in Baton Rouge with me but the rest of my coworkers, some official and some not, are in DC, Little Rock, Tucson, and all over.  I can still fit in school which has been a huge benefit.  I’m learning a TON.  Best of all, if I don’t develop carpal tunnel from this blog, school and this job, I expect my writing to improve a great deal.  Don’t worry.  I’ll stay snarky.  Look for a post later this weekend about customer service to prove that point.

This is how much we love "The Cloud."

This is how much we love “The Cloud.”

So far this experience has been amazing and I expect it to continue.  I’m really excited about this new chapter in my life.  Also, I’m rearranging my apartment.  Moving bed into tiny bedroom with nothing but a nightstand and a few bookshelves to create a relaxing, sleep-only space.  My current bedroom will be set up with work and fitness equipment.  I’m hoping to get a treadmill desk from my dad.  He has an old treadmill he doesn’t use and likes to build things so I put him on that project.  The Wii will be set up here, along with a little armchair and ottoman so I can sit and work when I want to instead of walking.  But I feel like this will get me fitter, healthier and much more productive.  Look out world!  (Or…THIS will happen.)  Either way, good times.

Girl_owned_treadmill

Deodorant, a Book Review & a Party

I don’t think I’ve ever finished a stick of deodorant in my entire life.

Now don’t be gross, of course I USE deodorant, but I never seem to finish them.  They propagate like bunnies in my apartment and I just move on to the next one.

I was out of town this weekend for a family celebration at my dad’s house.  I also drove an hour northeast of dad’s house to my mom’s house to pick up my sister for the celebration and get ready and whatnot.  There, saved for me from when I left it at Christmas, was a half used $4.99 stick of Dove grapefruit deodorant.  Mom emailed me immediately when I left at Christmas and told me it had been left.  I told her I had others.

dove

She saved it for me anyway because she’s the level of thoughtful and awesome that sometimes leads to crazy.  I’m keeping an eye out.  In the meantime, my mom is better than your mom.

(PS – Thanks Mom!  The grapefruit one is getting hard to find here in Baton Rouge!  I hope you have a great birthday tomorrow!  I won’t list your age, but I’m sure you have at least several more years before I’ll be using that deposit I put down at the home.)

Home-articleLarge

I only got to stay at mom’s for about an hour or so, but I did take my deodorant and put it in my purse…along with the other one that was already there.  There’s another in my book bag that I use for school when I’m in Baton Rouge and as a travel bag when I’m not.  There’s another in my nightstand.  There was one in a drawer in my office which is now a banker’s box in the living room.  There’s one on the bathroom counter and there is one in the “on deck circle” in the bathroom cabinet just waiting for me to decide I’m sick of the others and start on it.  Different scents, different formulations, same thing…use it for a while, put it somewhere so I’ll have it when I need it, forget about it, find it later, then decide it’s old and therefore I must need a new one.

If you’re paying attention, by now you realize that a) I have some sort of unnatural fear of B.O., b) my apartment needs a good de-cluttering, and c) I sometimes don’t finish what I start.  (Right now my dad, reading this, is rolling his eyes and thinking, “Yeah…your first attempts at college.”  I’m on it, Dad.  I’m on it.)  Frankly, I’m amazed this blog is still going after 3 whole weeks.

The way I am with deodorant is the same way I am with books, especially “self-help” books.  Fiction and biographies eventually get finished, even if I have to revisit them eleventeen times.  Books designed to teach me something, motivate me, change me…meh.  I am a big believer in research and the gathering of information, don’t get me wrong.  But the “self-help” genre has only ever helped me to have more crap to dust in my apartment and eventually lug to Goodwill.  I’ve bought, been given or borrowed NUMEROUS books on finances, depression, dieting, fitness, and even books on how to write other books.  Based on all this reading material, I should be an incredibly happy and firm statue, made of gold, who poops vitamins and the plaque at the bottom should say how I was an incredible author.  None of that has happened yet because well, that’s impossible and also, I could never get through the books.  So boring.  So dry.  So repetitive.  So full of B.S., most of them…

books

Until my new one, that is.  “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg is FANTASTIC.  The book is broken into three sections: The Habits of Individuals, The Habits of Successful Organizations, and The Habits of Societies.  I’m only just beginning part two right now because I’m selfish and went right to the “How will this affect me?” section, helpfully located right up front.  I could not put it down.

It took me a long time to pick it up in the first place because the book is so popular that it was hard to locate.  Save yourself the hassle and order online.  Then I procrastinated a bit because of school, etc.  The time that’s elapsed between when I announced on this blog that I wanted to review the book and me now writing about it has no relationship to its quality.

Once I finally picked it up…a light came on in my brain.  It’s all so simple, and yet, someone had to write it down and put it in front of my face.  But not only are the philosophy and science interesting, the stories are great as well.  I fell in love with Eugene, a man whose traumatic brain injury taught researchers a lot about the neuroscience of habits.  I was aware Tony Dungy was a good coach previously, but knew nothing of his bio.  He’s a good man and has had a fascinating life/career.  So help me, even the story of how Febreze came to market was a page-turner!

I can’t say how effective these ideas and techniques are yet because since I finished section one, I’ve been celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday and driving, sitting, and eating celebration-type food like it was a full-time job.  (The brief possibility of a Superbowl wing shortage was caused by us. Take that Goodell!  I’m a Saints fan.)  But I can definitely say that this will be the first self-help book that I actually finish.  It feels wrong to even call it “self-help” so I’m going to call it business training.  I am definitely looking forward to finishing this business training.  If Mr. Duhigg can cram that many great stories into the first section, I can’t wait to see what he has to say about business and society.  I’ll review those as well and report back on my efforts to alter some habits of my own.  After this weekend, some definitely need to be tried again.  Previous work has been undone and then some!

Personal note** – Happy Birthday, Dad!  It was wonderful seeing you this weekend and seeing so many people who love you come together to celebrate you.  You are a good man but I had no idea you were that popular.  WHO WERE ALL THOSE PEOPLE?!  Hug Pam and let her relax this week.  She’s been stressing over this surprise and spinning plates like you would not believe!

There were times there that 60 was definitely not a guarantee for you and I am so grateful and happy that you got through those times.  I look forward to 70, 80 and 90.  I love you!

daddy

I am still mad, though, that 2 of your guests thought that your sister, who is 23 years older than me and has a daughter of her own who is ALSO older than me, was your eldest child.  Please send money for Botox and boob lift.  You have the address.