Thought Spot

Summer relief is spelled “S-H-A-R-E-D”

Want to know how to get through Summer without breaking the bank, easily filling in the extended daylight hours with activities and still have some time to devote to date night and/or me-time? The answer is to “Share The Summer”.  Here is how….. Get 4 of your favorite families to form a team (your family makes 5) Run a 5-day rotating weekly schedule consisting of a dinner. Each family picks one day of the workweek to be in charge of dinner. Budgets and menus can be agreed upon ahead of time (for example: each host family pays for the meal they are hosting & the menu must include 1 protein & 1 carb) The day of, all 5 families get together for dinner at the host family’s place. Everything from planning, prep, cooking/ordering are the charge of the host family. That done the host family gets the next 4 weekdays off from dinner duties. Weekends can be family-time or can be included in the rotation. Same goes for activities for the kids and clean up after the meal. This way each family need only work on 18 dinners during the 4 months of Summer (instead of 80). For an illustrative tool to put this plan into action go to: http://toniyasingh.com/product/share-the-yoke-calendar/ Welcome to Summer!  ...

The Power Of Speech

It has been over 2 years since I spoke at TEDx Dayton.  Evidently, the message is timeless in that it still resonates. Recently someone emailed me after watching my TEDx Talk for the first time.  He had some questions after watching my story and wanted to share his thoughts on it as well. Upon reading my email reply, he called me to thank me and point out the inherent value of my responses.  It made me realize that our conversation was worth sharing.  Here is that conversation now: He: I Enjoyed your TED talk. Me: Thank you for taking the time to watch it.  I am thrilled to know it still moves people.  Its no wonder I speak for a living now.  There is so much to be said, heard & learned and there is no denying the power of one’s own voice. One of the countless gifts of this talk was that preparing for it was an undertaking in studentship on my own life. As a result, even though I had lived through it up close and personal, there were truths uncovered and things learned about myself yet.   He: A few thoughts – (1) I don’t understand why women are mistreated in so many places in the world when they’ve proved to be smart, rational, and in many instances, more than capable leaders; (2) America is a wonderful country and we’ve welcomed & integrated more immigrants than most countries. We’re not perfect with the process & results, however I’d guess we’ve handled it better than some countries could or would; Me: (1) I think it is because...

Relevant Past Experience

8:00 AM. Time to log in to the system and get to work. As soon as the system acknowledges me, both screens suddenly go blank. A tiny light shows up on the left hand corner of one screen, pulsing as if to say “I am here, you just cannot get through to me”.  Before I could finish my thought on that little light (that ominously reminded me of a life-support monitor), my phone line rings as if on cue and just like that I was laid off. That was 4 years and near 1000 job applications (give or take a few) ago.  No fault or blame on me (or the multitude of others like myself that day), just your regular run-of-the-mill re-org. As if the reason would somehow make our lives quake less. It doesn’t.  The aftershocks are identical no matter how well gift-wrapped the reason.  So yeah the sudden quake sucked, as did I.  Sucked it up and moved forward that is. Interviews? You ask. Check. Networking? Check. Additional Training and Certifications?  Volunteering?  Work for free to get the word out? Check! Check! and Check! The result? Nada. The reason? “Relevant Past Experience” (or lack thereof) 1,460+ days of finding out that my professional past was the yardstick I was going to be measured by, for the rest of my professional life.  No amount of explaining that my resume only listed what I had done, not what I was good at, was enough to convince someone to hire me.  Neither were testimonials, results or sustained, solid and tangible proof of my strong suits. The resume won every time....

Youth Coaching (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome back!  It is the season of Oranges and yellows, pumpkins and ghouls, warm hearts and cool nights.  A perfect time to pick up where we left off the topic of Youth Coaching in the Summer. So we have established a few things: That parenting is important as it is challenging – no news there.  That parenting is just as much a verb, as it is a noun – probably more importantly so.  That sometimes parents are too blind in their love for their child to see their own pitfalls in the parenting role. That being said however, it is important to mention that not all parents are mere namesakes. Actually for the most part, parents are engaged and involved with their children every step of the way and go on to raise some of the most productive assets to humankind. But who can deny that they would love to have a helping hand.  As they juggle the multiple demands of daily living, non-stop, day-after-day, no vacation, no overtime and raise these precious children besides, something has to give.  And this fact further augmented in the case of a single parent – mother or father. Parenting is by far the most important job we will ever be entrusted with and should be respected thusly.  When we hire contractors, landscapers and mechanics to do specialized jobs, why not hire help to sculpt a masterpiece when it comes to our children as well? That is where the youth coach can step into the gap. Consider the following: Children will often listen to an outside voice than they will their parents’. Coaches...

Youth Coaching? (Part 1 of 2)

People often ask me this question, perplexed at the concept. They understand the phrase and its obvious meaning, but the value of the concept is often imperceptible to them. To make something so evident, ‘more’ evident I tell a story of a movie I saw as a little girl. It highlights the best intentions of a parent that prove costly, even deadly, because the parent could not be objective in their blind love for their child.   The movie starts with a prison guard asking a man on death row to state his last wish. The man says he wants to see his mother one last time. In the next scene, the mother and son are standing at each side of the prison bars when he reaches through and begins to strangle her. I’d describe her expression as a mixture of terror and surprise, when the son begins to explain to her that he is being sent to his death thanks to her.   Guards step in, then the cops and the priest who is at hand and the inmate explains that his mother “loved him into a life of crime”, starting with the day he shop lifted a candy bar for the very first time. He was six years old. The entire movie plays out in flashbacks of every age where he would continue to commit crimes and misdemeanors and the mother never brought any consequences to bear on him. She was too busy loving him. That movie made its mark on me then and has remained timeless through decades – even as recently as the case of...

Serendipity – Know. How. Now.

  As our personal and professional lives move on, they require a parallel evolution of the principal participants – Ourselves. Sometimes the evolution is forced, other times it comes naturally.  But by far, the most serendipitous is the evolution that happens seamlessly – no pain, no change, no cost – just growth.  It is also the most elusive.  Lucky are those that see it first-hand, luckier still are those of us that experience it. I recently spoke about Work/Life Balance – or more specifically, the MYTH that is Work/Life Balance.  The feedback was unanimous – the message had resonated!  What is more, it had transcended generations.  That was perhaps the most rewarding of all the accolades I received.  That Gen Xers and Millenials, Baby Boomers and Gen-Y alike, sought me out to say “I am you!  You are me!” To be able to blur the lines between generations, (not to mention cultures) each one of us at a different milestone of our personal and professional evolution and offer a message that is so universal was nothing short of my own serendipitous evolution as a contributor (who knew?!?). That the listeners found themselves in my contribution is gravy! Looking for a #speaker #consultant #coach #trainer? #KnowHowNow...

Atlas Falls

A new country. A refugee. An architect. An engineer. A builder. A real estate businessman. A 50 year career. A trail blazer. He was all of those things and more, but to me he was simply ‘Papa’. And to me, my father was Atlas. Period.   Fortunately when they were handing out fathers in heaven I ended up with the winning lottery ticket. He was love incarnate. Firm yet fair. Soft yet sage. But who he was on this earth is not the point of this blog. It cannot be. There isn’t enough time, space or language that would suffice. The point is the value of everything we have in our parents.   Not only do we have in them, the masons of our very existence, at any given time we have a friend, a confidant, a philosopher, a guide, a counselor, a chauffeur, a lawyer, a financial planner and more. On demand and free. We couldn’t afford to pay for it anyway. More importantly, there is not enough wealth in this world to secure their presence with us. They leave. They have to. And their time with us is finite.   I had my father for 51 years on this earth and we spoke everyday, sometimes more than once – seven oceans and several continents were no match for us. Yet the daughter in me wishes she had more. More time. More papa. It doesn’t even have to be on demand or free. But it doesn’t work that way. I cannot call or write or visit him on demand and no amount of money can change that. So...

Conversation Lenses (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome back! So you are convinced that you want to employ your “conversation lenses” . Great! Read on …… ON YOUR MARK! Before engaging in a conversation – especially a challenging one – do a self-prep to ‘position your position’. If you need help with this, use the Lions Share, LLC Self-Prep Worksheet for Challenging Conversations. Remember, this is only for you. It is an exercise that produces a visual of your logical and emotional insides, before embarking on a discussion. That done, you are going into the discussion having considered all angles and outcomes. GET SET! The next step is to put on their ‘conversation lenses’ for the duration of the discussion. Your self-prep worksheet answers can assist here. Next, offer them your conversation lenses by sharing your vantage point and what you see from there. This swap makes it infinitely apparent (& easy!) for each side to understand, that the other’s reactions are a reflection of them not us. The key is to make the swap before the discussion gets amped up. Swapping “conversation lenses” provides us with an oft-critical edge to negotiate the most challenging of arguments. GO! Once both parties fully realize that the other’s behavior is a reflection of what is going on inside them, reactions get realistic, responses become objective and the solution comes into focus. Typically, asking someone to help you understand where they are coming from, works like a charm and most people will share the reasons behind their approach. Simply, pretending to know why they are reacting a certain way (or worse – believing that you know it!) can derail the...

Conversation Lenses  (Part 1 of 2)

  The bright summer sun often warrants a critical accessory – sunglasses; shades; dark glasses…. Whatever their moniker, they are lenses that help us see, when welcome sunshine can become unpleasant and at times, even dangerous.  That takes care of our eyes but what about our mouths?  How about some ‘conversation lenses’? Q) What are they? A) They are all season ‘lenses’ that empower us to effectively and successfully negotiate difficult conversations. Q) Where do we get them? A) These are lenses we all innately possess to some degree. The key is to keep them sharp and polished through mindful and repeated use. When used effectively, these lenses help us see each others point-of-view, they bring into focus much needed allowances for our individuality and they become especially critical when the conversations are divergent, emotional or otherwise challenging in some way. Allowances (or concessions), made for our individuality are the bedrock of success in any conversation.  We may all look alike walking upright, using language to communicate, working with tools, etc. but our individuality in the very midst of our commonalities are undeniable.  That uniqueness in each one of us sets the tone for our reactions – an inevitable part of any conversation. Understanding where the other is coming from and reminding ourselves that things like nature, nurture and experiences are driving each of us to approach a conversation differently, helps us avoid a conversation filibuster or resolution checkmate. Q) How do we use them effectively? A) So glad you asked! Come back in September for our Fall 2015 blog, where you will find step-by-step directions. See you...

In support of support

As the living world celebrates the season of birth and newness in the Spring, I am reminded of the recent loss of two very special young men. The commonality between them is that we lost them both to suicide. Precious lives of great promise abruptly cut short leaving loved ones near and far, to find a new normal without them. Thinking about them (and all souls – departed and living) is a reminder of the many challenges we all face throughout our lives.  Challenges that often infuse fear in the hearts of the bravest, convincing them that there is no way out.  But there is a way out.  There is always a way out. Yes that way out may be difficult, uncomfortable, costly, even one we may not particularly like, but a way out there is and to every problem, a solution. But before we venture out to find that solution, the primary requisite to getting to it intact, is support. Support from family, friends, clergy, medical professionals, and yes, even strangers.  We are served well to remember however, that the best support available is to no avail, if not sought.  So if you have it, take it.  If you don’t have it, seek it out. And as the people give you the gift of their support, rallying around your work towards a solution, know that you too have given them a gift – The invaluable opportunity to be there for someone, to share the yoke of a fellow human being and to realize their own self-worth, none of which would be possible without you. So as 2015 welcomes...