New Year’s Resolutions – You Can’t Do It Alone

It’s already January 3.

For most people, their resolutions have slipped by the wayside of work, obligations, or simply not wanting the outcome sufficient to invest in that action.  In many ways, we make the same resolutions year after year.  (The following is echoed below.)  I am sure most people have the same goal in 2021, as they did in 2020, etc…

As with most people, I have lot to do in 2022.  The question is not what is the priority, but rather, what will I do with my time.  The following quote from Edger Allen Poe from Zen Pencils serves as a harsh reminder that time wants for no man.

The Guardian listed some ways to improve here.  The focus is on gradual change, etc., but if I really want to change, I must think differently about who I am at my core.  The art of learning to self talk can be important here, asking yourself, “What Would Batman, Jesus, etc., Do” can create some distancing to help me sometimes rethink on the task at hand.

As I sit with the open calendar before me, the answer to what will happen in 2022 will be the same as what happened in previous years.  I will meet with Triumph and Disaster.  The shape of the new year will depend on up my commitment to whittling away at the stone that entraps me.

But this too is limiting.  I can no more carve myself from stone without the assistance from others, and in fact, I can not more be better than what I can be organically if I do not rely on others.  In anticipation of my (our) success(es) at the end of 2022, I want to thank you for your assistance, friendship, and support going forward.

Create Art In 2022

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” Andy Warhol

The goal of creation, whether that be a thought, a story, a project, could be extended to become everything we do is art.  Even if we are making artisan firewood, it is still art. 

So, the act of creation: starting, revising, learning, restarting means the focus is on the process and the outcome.  Regarding focus, I need to determine what is art according to me, and me along.  The next step is to set up the path through which creation may occur.  There is a balance that if one only improves the process, that does not mean that I will actually create anything of merit without a feedback mechanism.   Conversely, if I do not know when to let something be finished, it remains trapped in a OODA loop that becomes a Möbius strip. 

So, I need to focus on knowing what is art, the process to make a creation, and the reward of knowing that I must revise my procedures as I learn what did not work!  Sounds like the Andy Warhol quote is similar to this Thomas Edison quote:

This seems like a great quote to strive for in 2022.

Stirring in Training With Some Coffee

Last week, I went to a coffee shop early in the morning to get some work done. The morning staff, a barista and a chef, were working hard. The barista was overwhelmed with drive-in orders. She asked the chef to assist, which he did, and here is where the morning got interesting.  

The cook became frustrated. Obviously, he did not want to help but felt compelled to do so, as he was prepping the day. And once he started with my order, his inability to work the cash register was noticeable. He could not figure out how to put in a black coffee, and when I presented him cash, the drawer was not prepped. He was managing his rising anger, but it was noticeable which I expect for the following reasons:

  • He did not want to handle orders (he’s a cook and was prepping his day),
  • He was not trained in how to work the system (or he never assumed he would do this),
  • Maybe he felt that the job could not be that hard, or that he should be able to figure this out,
  • The person before him did not prepare him for success, as there was no change in the drawer. (The problem of everyone paying with a credit card?).

But the barista could have done some things differently:

  • The cook had to ask the barista for assistance several times, making her less effective in serving her customers. 
  • Maybe the barista could have rung up the order and he could have prepared the beverages. I suspect the barista’s focus on the next immediate task and not the total work at that moment seemed confusing to the chef.  

So, the takeaways?

  • Know all the tasks you may need to engage in during your day. Although you may not be the expert, at least training and understanding of distinct roles could be beneficial.
  • Understand what your teammates are doing and what they can bring to address a solution.
  • Say “no” if you know you cannot do something or at least offer an alternative to the original suggestion.
  • The manager who encourages teamwork should also encourage understanding boundaries and training. No one wants an overly willing teammate who is unable to contribute.

The manager did not know how to plan for the workload – within 20 minutes, two more baristas showed up! We have to remember we do not control external inputs.