I’m one of those people that love this time of year.  I love lists of Best of’s, Top 10’s, The Biggest and Worst, etc.  I like remembering where we’ve been, but I also like to think about where we’re going.  Now is a great chance to do that kind of thinking and reflection.

I’m into making goals and resolutions, so if you’re not, bear with me. Maybe I can make my point without being that guy.

One thing I’ve learned this year about leading people is the very thing that The Gallup Organization has figured out years ago; everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and the best course of action is to try and get people into a realm where they can express those strengths easily.  To focus only on strengths without giving attention to weaknesses may seem like neglectful management, and it is if the weaknesses are never first acknowledged and understood.

Dealing with Karen’s cancer over the last year and a half has led me to view our marriage in a completely different light.  It has caused me to lean on her strengths more and more rather than to bicker over the ways she is not like me.  More than once I found the question hovering over me in the darker moments, “What would I do without her?”  This was a sobering realization.

With us, we are two extremes.  I am time-conscious. She is list-conscious.  When the movie starts at 5, I want to be in my seat by ten til.  For her, if the movie starts at 5, it doesn’t matter because she still needs to unload the dishwasher, finish the laundry and let the dog out one more time. I hate being late; she hates not getting things done now. As you can imagine, this is good fodder for conflict.  But the more I understand how much I need that balance, the more I am able to see it as a strength.

I can get the big things done, like changing careers and opening a restaurant. But for some reason I procrastinate on the little stuff, like keeping the garage organized, or cleaning out the gutters, or vacuuming out the car. On the other hand, Karen can plow through the to-do list like a hot knife through butter.  She dislikes the abstract, mental work that I get immersed in, and instead prefers the concrete, practical tasks that each day presents.  I need this balance, and value its worth more and more each day.  Too bad it took a crisis for me to discover.

As with most of my writing, I am my first audience.  I write to speak to myself, to clarify thoughts I’ve been mulling over.  In this way, this type of public musing makes me accountable for the change that I want to undergo.  Keeping it buried doesn’t create urgency.  I think I’m this way because I hate starting something I can’t finish.  It’s why I put things off until later. A half baked project is just a monument of all talk and no follow through to completion.

I’m not sure how this will play itself out into a measurable goal or resolution, but at least it provides the borders around which the ideas can grow.

Best of luck to you all in 2012.  May you bloom where you are planted.


We’re not leaving until this gets done