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Integrity & Awareness by Paul Burnstein

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Breakthrough Moment

This morning I was working with a client who had a breakthrough moment. She had been struggling with the same issue for quite a while and today it all of a sudden made sense. I have to admit that this was a relief for me as well because she finally "got it."

We all process information in our own way and I know personally, that I get frustrated at times when I understand specific logic that others don't, OR I can't get my head around something that seems so simple to someone else. What a relief it is when it finally clicks that we have our "aha moment."

The awareness for today is to be patient with ourselves and others and to do our best to make sure that we are giving AND taking the space we need to function at our best.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Common Sense Professionalism

I recently met someone at a networking event who was starting a web design company. This person did not have any business cards nor a working website to show any examples of the sites she had done. She did not make a very good first impression with me. We cannot always provide immediate examples of our work, but being prepared shows those we are speaking with that we are serious ourselves.

When I go to networking events, I always make sure I have plenty of business cards. These days there are many inexpensive options to getting quick business cards so that you can share your contact information. Not everyone needs to have a website up and running, but a web designer should. If I were to open a restaurant, I wouldn't invite people to come to my location and then tell them that the food/kitchen won't be ready for another couple of weeks.

The awareness for today is to be prepared when you are working on your business. If you are going to a networking event, take business cards, flyers, etc. If you position yourself as a professional, you will get treated as such.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I know that I am not alone in disliking Mondays. For most of us, it is the day of the week where we need to return to work after having time off over the weekend. For many it is not so much a dislike of work that makes it difficult, but rather the shift from personal time over the weekend to work during the week.

I love to have time off. Let me write that again, I LOVE TO HAVE TIME OFF. However, it is my time working that allows me to have my time off.

There will be some of my readers who just don't like their jobs and that is what makes Mondays difficult for them. For those people, I suggest looking for a new job or career. For those of us who just don't like the shift from weekend to work week, I would like to encourage us to embrace the fact that we go back to work to enable the enjoyment of our time off.

The awareness for today is to work beyond the dread of Monday and focus on what the work week enables us to do.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Smile with the Simple Things

I am currently helping watch a beautiful, sweet dog, Bella. Bella has been so excited to see me recently and has been acting playful like a puppy (she is 7 years old).

I was noticing how happy she was and how simple her life is and realized I should appreciate those same things.

The awareness for today is to appreciate the basics in our lives; warm weather, a beautiful sunset, our families, our friends, a good meal or even a satisfying work out. People often focus on what they do not have and instead, let's pay attention to the things we do have and try recognize those moments of happiness no matter how small they may be.

Good Yontif! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Maintenance Along the Way Instead of Massive Triage

I just spoke with someone this morning about hiring a bookkeeper to help with his books. A bookkeeper is not necessarily an accountant, but they can be an excellent resource for financial accounting maintenance. By using a bookkeeper regularly, it can decrease the amount of time needed (and costs involved) for an accountant to look over your books and file your taxes annually or quarterly.

The person debating hiring the bookkeeper thought it would be easier to just have his accountant look over his books once a year. That can be quite expensive and time consuming as it is more difficult to clean up a mess after the fact rather than perform routine maintenance along the way.

The awareness for today is to keep your affairs in order through regular maintenance and to use professional resources on a periodic basis to ensure that your maintenance is appropriate and effective.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Excellent Comment to Share

I received a very well thought out comment to my post from yesterday, Integrity Issues in Others.

energygirl wrote:
Interesting quandary. My first sense of awareness, is to question when I go into judgement of others/myself. The awareness around my judgements generally--not always--leads to compassion at the end of my journey. I question perfection.

My next awareness came when I realized I had compassion for the quandary. It's hard to watch others out of integrity (assuming they care about that sort of thing). Especially when they're in a leadership role or we're being "called out" to be courageous in our leadership role.

I know for me, integrity follows me wherever I go. I expect to fail in order to grow and learn and succeed (read: I know my top values--I don't throw stones; I try to walk in another's shoes; and I definitely live by gold and platinum rules--treating others like I want to be treated--unconditionally).

I also expect to stay in integrity to the best of my ability in each moment of my very precious, impermanent life--knowing that moments pile up on occasion and leave us with a big mess.

Part of staying in integrity, for me, is trusting my deepest truth to make solid decisions and challenge my beliefs even when my environment (internal and external) proves itself dynamic at best.

All the best to you! Thanks for the awareness.

Thank you energygirl for sharing your comments.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Integrity Issues in Others

Some questions to think about today.

When you are working with someone who you see to be acting without integrity, do you continue to work with them?

What if that person is your employee? Your supervisor?

Please share your thoughts on this. I would like to hear/read how others would handle the above situations.

The awareness for today is to think about the questions I posed above.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Call Me Back Immediately and I Might Even Return Your Call...

Have you ever gotten that frantic message from a client or contact that they need to speak with you as soon as possible, only to call them back and receive their own voicemail and then they don't call back? Well I sure have.

If your call is that urgent, explain what the issue is in your message. Then, recognize when your call is returned that it is probably best to let the return caller know that there is no longer a situation if that is the case.

The awareness for today is that it really helps to explain our urgency to others if we want them to appreciate that urgency. And, then, once the situation is resolved, let the other party know that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

USC vs. UCLA - Not What You Think

While completing my bachelor's degree at the University of Southern California (USC), one of my economics professors compared the costs associated with attending USC (a private school) and its major rival, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA, a public school). USC is quite a bit more expensive than UCLA. However, it is difficult to complete a bachelor's degree in four years at UCLA, so for that fifth year at UCLA, one is still paying tuition and fees whereas the USC graduate is done paying for school and is instead out in the world making a living.

My professor illustrated this in dollars and it made a lot of sense at the time to look at the situations opportunity cost. Opportunity costs are the different costs (and potential earnings) associated with different choices; what you gain or lose based on different routes. I really appreciated that this exercise was a big picture approach rather than just taking into consideration the costs in that moment.

The awareness for today is to look at the big picture and examine your opportunity costs when making decisions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Waiting Game

Part of my work for a current client involves me speaking with executive coaches and consultants. Today I am quite aware of the fact that I am waiting to hear back from quite a few of them.

I am not going to going to make an issue that all calls should be returned in a timely manner nor will I mention that I have left multiple messages with these contacts.

The awareness for today is that it can be very frustrating waiting on others. I cannot control this situation other than to use the time that I am waiting productively for other projects.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Portland Ice Storm - Everyone has the Same Problem

So today I wanted to share one of my favorite videos from YouTube. It is of a terrible snow/ice storm in Portland, Maine. What I find fascinating is the number of people who see that no one else has been able to make it through the ice, but it is going to be different for them. It is pretty funny as everyone who tries, ends up doing more damage to themselves and others.

The awareness for today is to recognize that when you notice others are massively struggling on something it is not necessarily going to be easy for you either. Don't keep trying to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Be innovative and try your own thing (hopefully more calculated than the video!).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Matter of Perspective

I was recently looking over an employee review and read both the employee and supervisor's comments. It was like looking at two very different situations that had absolutely nothing to do with each other.

It really is a matter of perspective and beyond that, communication. The employee believed that he was working above and beyond the call of duty, while the supervisor did not feel that his work was above average. When two parties are that far apart in their thinking, it can make discussions around the situation difficult. Having a third party involved, in this case a human resources manager, allows both parties to express their points of view and receive feedback from the other. This is never an easy situation, but it is one that must be dealt with. By bringing in a third-party moderator, both sides are protected while speaking and the moderator can make sure the discussion stays on track. The result of this discussion should be clear expectations from and for both sides.

The awareness for today is to recognize that your perspective is based on the information available to you and may be very different from someone else's perspective.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dealing with Difficult People

It is a fact that we will not like all people we need to deal with for business. That is okay, throughout our lives, there have been and always will be people that we just cannot connect with; such is life. How do we deal with these people in business?

It is important to remember that we cannot control external factors. We can adapt to them, but not control them. We can, however, control ourselves. When dealing with a difficult person, it is best to be yourself. Do not expect them to be difficult, but rather simply be at your best and do not antagonize the situation.

I highly recommend, and just bought for someone, People Skills by Robert Bolton. The book helps one learn different communication styles and how to work well with others.

The awareness for today is to keep ourselves in check even though we cannot control others. Let us be responsible for ourselves and work from that place.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Returning to Work Catch Up

To those of you who had a long weekend, I welcome you back. I love taking a long weekend, but there is always the stress of catching up upon my return. By missing time "in the office" (I use this term loosely as it does not have to mean a physical space/destination), there are items that need to be dealt with when we return. That doesn't sound so bad, except that our regular duties and agenda items must be dealt with as well.

It is important to remember that after a three day weekend like this one due to Labor Day, we are not the only ones returning to the office to play catch up. Most people we deal with here in the States will be catching up (granted, when it is a federal holiday and EVERYONE is off, there is not as much catch up to do).

The awareness for today is to take our time and not rush through in trying to catch up; don't just get the work done, get the work done right. The secondary part of our awareness today is to recognize that those around us are catching up today as well; be patient with others and they will be patient with you.