Sunday, September 29, 2013

And then what?

I finally figured out how to find out what I want. It only took one life coach, the root cause analysis process, and the Spice Girls to get me there.

First, the Spice Girls. Because they're just the inane soundtrack. (Man, I don't remember them all being so skinny! Oh, the 90s.) They've got the right idea. But they don't ask the question quite enough. 

So, tell me what you want, what you really really want?

Root cause analysis is a technique used in healthcare performance improvement to find out why an error really occurred, i.e., the root cause. One of the steps is to ask "Why?" 5 times. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, that's a very specific number, but you can keep going. 

The first answer is flippant. But then you start to go down passageways, toward answers that aren't so obvious.

For example: Why did the nurse drop the baby?
Because she was distracted. 
Why was she distracted?
Because there was a lot of activity in the room at that moment, and the nurse was on overtime and exhausted.
Why was the nurse on overtime?
Staffing issues.
Why were there staffing issues?
Because the hospital had let quite a few staff go recently and had not replaced them.
Why were there layoffs at the hospital?.
Because the financials were not so good last quarter.

So. you can infer that a nurse dropped a baby because the financials were not good. Terrifying, really. If you kept going, you would end up so zoomed out (the big picture!) that there was nothing you could change at the local level. (Why? Because the American health care system is broken. Why? Because humans can be selfish and greedy and reluctant to change. Etc.)

So what does that mean to me? In my endless struggle to do stuff I want to do, as well as the stuff I have to do, it helps to know what it is you want. And sometimes, the first answer is flippant. So, my latest approach is to lay in bed and think of what I want out of this day. And then ask myself, and then what? Perhaps, 5 times. This, I stole from the life coach, Martha Beck. 

Does it work? Yes, I think it does. It gets you closer to the truth. And although that can be a little scary, it's also necessary. I also like that it's supported by techniques in other fields. (You know, references! Always important.) So I'm going to try it a little longer.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fashion Week - BOOM!

Because I read a lot of fashion blogs, I feel obligated to write something about the New York Fashion Week that just ended. Did I attend? Look through some images? Follow a designer?

Uh, no. I traditionally get my info from the magazines, which obviously do not have the immediacy of the internet (but do have the advantage of presenting the info at a more seasonally appropriate time). I know traditions make me an old lady. I know paper is super old-school.

My mother and use to pore through the catalogs and magazines on a regular basis when I was a child. I was the college student with a Vogue hidden in her notebook during the boring general ed lecture halls. I once subscribed to 5 different fashion magazines. I had a 2nd job just to all the spend money at TJ Maxx, in case some real designer clothing would actually end up there that was miraculously in my mid-western size and discount price range.

Sunday, I went to Target and since it was the first day the collection was out, and the display wasn't even entirely complete thereby alerting the college girls to its existence, I bought myself this Phillip Lim Target collection sweatshirt:
Jessica Alba at a Vogue party, in my sweatshirt. 

Although I've never had the means to participate in fashion, I've always tried to follow along. But I see a change in the terrain that scares me. It's the unholy combination of my age, new technologies, and cropped tops.

Yes, I said crop tops. Obviously, as a woman over 40, I would not be expected to do that. But I remember what it means (oh, the 90s had some mixed blessings), and I can't go through that again. It means that EVERY shirt will be too short, for a long time. And that means that we will be unable to slouch, or stand up straight, with a stray belly roll hanging out somewhere. It means that bottoms will be impossible to buy off the rack again, since we will need high-waisted things, which have to fit perfectly in so many more places than the low-waisted, which can just hang off your hips.

It means that I am old. I have seen this trend before.

It also means I can no longer follow the trends. I have to know what I like, and wear it well. I have to grow up and be a stylish person, as a opposed to a fashion person. Ouch.

And because David McRaney and I have perfected the mind meld (or perhaps because I'm reading his book right now and coincidence), he posted this awesome video emphasizing my point here. Or, I'm emphasizing his. Whatever.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This new toy is gonna CHANGE MY LIFE!

I got a wristband fitness tracker. I'm not going to tell you the name because no one's paying me for this (and I'm not asking them to, but that's another topic). But I can tell after 20 days IT'S GONNA CHANGE MY LIFE.

In case you don't work with a bunch of obsessed workout-aholics like I do, there are some fancy-pants pedometers out that you can use to track sleep, steps taken, calories in, etc. on some lovely apps and / or internet dashboards, by merely wearing a cyborg-ish bracelet. I love an "arm party", and I've lost more pedometers from my pants waistband than I care to calculate. This seems like the perfect solution.

The first week, I just did what I regularly do, while wearing my new technology bracelet. Apparently, there is not much stepping in dance class, and even though I take 2 hour-long classes a week ordinarily, my regular level of activity registered as half of the shining goal of 10,000 steps per day. Ouch. I'm a slug. (Although, compared to some acquaintances, perhaps a hyper slug.)

So I started to "step it up". Literally. (HA HA HA HA HA HA). Bike riding downtown? Minor impact (also, not steps, obviously, but I hoped that it would count for something). Lots of meaningless trips to the printer or around the house? Not cutting it.

And it's so lovely when you meet the goals. You get a congratulatory email. The dashboard turns to smiley faces. The bracelet purrs. These are not metaphors.

So this week I went for intentional, long or short walks, just to get steps on the record. Smiley emails! Purring! Totally worth it. Plus, cleaning the house seems to add to the count nicely as well. So not only will the bracelet make me fit and happy, it's going to keep my house cleaner and the laundry on target? I'M IN LOVE.

It's all so much better than my green-ish smoothie attempt to change my life this morning. Because I can't do just one thing, you know, I joined Sarah Jenks' Live More Weigh Less Challenge too. I love the idea - fake it 'til you make it is my way of life, baby. She's a twitter taggin' taskmaster of self-promotion, but hey, I could use the tough love. So I'm doing her daily challenges, and posting pictures to Instagram, and perhaps if I lose all sense of propriety, Facebook.

And, by the coincidence of calendars and moons, it is the beginning of school, September and Rosh Hashanah. Time to start anew, yes! So let's do it. Let's start over. I'm going to change some habits.

  • September - 10,000 steps per day OR 5,000 steps plus 30 minutes of another logged activity = a X on the kitten calendar. 

  • Try to keep up with Sarah Jenks. 

Post a comment if you want to race fitness trackers. Or know which one I am enamored with. I think they're all pretty similar though.....