When It’s Crunch Time, Be Agile, Be Ready…and Be Still

leap year 2020

February has been so busy we just had to have another day! (Happy Leap Day!)

At one point during this barrel race of a month I remarked to a coworker that I felt like I was back in high school doing last-minute run-throughs for one-act play contest.

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Taekwondo Is Who I Am

Melanie black belt meditating

I’m writing this at my desk on a quiet, pretty Sunday afternoon while I sip ginger kombucha to ease my perpetually irritated stomach, try not to feel overwhelmed about some assignments my managerial editor has given me for my book, and hope I wake up in time to jump on an 8 AM conference call.

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Black Belt Bravery: Be Honest About What You Want and Don’t Want

saying no

Recently my Master asked me if I wanted to do competition (forms and board breaking) or focus on testing for third Dan. Without hesitation I said I wanted to focus on third Dan. Breaking boards is fun as hell, but I’m not interested in competing. Continue reading “Black Belt Bravery: Be Honest About What You Want and Don’t Want”

Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

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“You can’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

I was attending a three-day change management training with about 15 other people from various industries. We had been working on in-class projects and presentations, and one man from a well-known tech company casually said to a classmate as he plugged away at his project, “You can’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

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Giving More By Taking Back

metal heart.jpg

“I’m very cautious about who has access to me lately. And it’s not out of arrogance. It’s out of the need to protect my space and energy as I continue to do the work to elevate myself. This chapter requires me to be a little less accessible.”

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Keeping It Fresh…Or, How To Be An Engaging Public Speaker

public speaking

Last Friday I was helping a coworker set up for a class he was teaching. It was one we had both taught at least ten times in the past and would teach many more times in the future. Before the class started he was jokingly saying to me and my manager that he was nervous.

You have to understand my coworker–he is larger than life, an incredible presenter, a talented singer, and a Toastmasters competitor. Public speaking is not something new or foreign to him.

“Is it stage fright?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “It’s a good kind of nervous. I always get this way before a class because I don’t want it to be stale. I want it to feel like the first time I’m teaching it for this audience.”
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Learn or Re-Learn Something New…So I’m Taking Up Classical Guitar Again

MG guitar
The dress, ring, and guitar live on, but I have graduated from the futon.

“I wouldn’t mind starting over as a white belt in another martial art.”

I’d half blurted, half muttered that comment to a friend I’d trained with at my old taekwondo school. We were talking about other martial arts that interested us. Having dabbled in hapkido self-defense training, I would like more formal training at that. Hapkido or judo–because throwing people on the floor is almost as fun as kicking them.
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What Commitment Are You Making to Yourself?

100 sand

I have a distinct memory of a decision I made on my fourth birthday.

I figured that since I was four it was about darn time I jumped off the high diving board at the community college pool where my dad taught swimming lessons in the summer. The earliest photo I have of being in that pool was dated when I was nine months old, so I was no stranger to the water. I don’t remember the climb up the 15-foot ladder, but I do remember plunging with glee like a little bullet into the pool.

That leap was a change. That leap was a commitment. That leap was a risk.

So what change, commitment, or leap can I take now that I’ve turned forty?
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The Fine Line Between Being Useful and Being Used (Or, Why I’m Skittish About Teaching Taekwondo Again)

Vectored illustration. Silouette of men pulling in different direction.

Years ago I heard the expression, “If you give an inch, [insert name] will take a mile.” I wonder if that is something inherent in the world of work or in American culture in general. It’s great to be recognized, rewarded for, and given the opportunity to make your talents shine, and there’s also a very fine line between being useful and being used.

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When Life Gets In the Way of Life

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Teach a four-hour workshop to thirty hospital leaders.

Renew driver’s license in person at the Texas DPS.

Get home in time to let in the plumber and plan for the dishwasher installer.

Keep up with meetings and work deadlines.

Pack for a trip to see family.

Catch a flight.

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