The Unexpected Owl

My morning workday routine had just been capsized: My car had to go into the shop and I had to go with it.

I got there before they opened. I told myself it was better this way; first in means getting out that much sooner (theoretically).

While I waited, I was busy logging into work, answering emails, digging through all the supplies I’d brought in my bag, and basically doing everything that was the opposite of the mindfulness we hear so much about these days.

And that’s when I saw the owl.


The unexpected owl.

I don’t know how long he’d been sitting there. I certainly hadn’t been thinking I’d see an owl today. The area I was in wasn’t accustomed to owls at all.

Yet he, primed to be aware of everything around him, probably saw me drive up from quite a distance away. And just to anthropomorphize for a bit, he could well have wondered what fools these human mortals be, because…

Here was an opportunity to fully experience a moment and I was missing it.

I got out of the car. The owner and one of the mechanics drove up and also got out of their cars. And from a respectful distance, we all fawned over this owl, who just sat there being an owl the whole time.

It made an otherwise ordinary morning a magical morning. And I wonder: How many things have I missed because I’m plugged into my routine?


The full scene. I swear he posed for each of us, too.

What’s made you stop lately and just enjoy the moment?


Originally published on LinkedIn.

#Reverb11 Day 31: Reflect

Prompt: Reflect – Take a moment to think back on your reverb11 responses.  Have you learned anything?  What surprised you about this experience?  Which of your responses was your favorite?

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this whole Reverb thing was how natural it felt.

Once I jumped on that prompt-a-day email list, I didn’t look back. I couldn’t. I was compelled to write, marveling at how a simple little word or phrase could unlock portions of myself I hadn’t even known were walled up. However much I’d snarl at the topic sometimes, I knew it–and Reverb itself–was doing good things for me. So I kept going.

That taught me something about myself that I liked. Call it integrity, willpower, bullheadedness; whatever it was, it was working for me and I liked it.

I’ve never risen to this kind of challenge before voluntarily, where you commit to a prompt someone arbitrarily decides for you (and there’s no letter grade involved). Never mind that there’s a whole bunch of “yous” all doing the same thing. Reverb proved to be incredibly personal from the start.

I found it difficult, exhilarating, painful, revealing and so much more–and that goes for the reading of other people’s posts, too. Bless you all for being so open, forthcoming and brave. Knowing one isn’t alone in one’s thoughts is something we all crave, sometimes.

My favorite response was perhaps the most difficult–the one on forgiveness. An intense healing session that turned me inside out, shook me up and put me back together again, only better.

Yet the biggest thing I look back on is my awareness of time.

I’ve often given myself those mental (or vocal) harangues–er, pep talks–about getting up and getting things done, but it makes a big difference seeing those same words looking up at you from your own blog. Once they’re posted, even the friendly blinking cursor goes away, and you’re left with uncompromising text telling you exactly what you’ve been letting slip for far too long.

It’s a crucial moment: Will you acknowledge their truth and act on it, or slip back into yet another year of half-wakefulness and should-dos?

I know what I aim to do, and what I hope will turn out to be wonderful, fruitful, exciting. I hope what you aim to do yields you as good or better a harvest. Whatever part you played, thanks for being on the Reverb journey with me!

By Rad_Ix on deviantart

The Cold-Call Conundrum: Respecting Time

I’m not a salesperson, but I still understand salespeople need to, you know, SELL to get business and feed their families at the same time. It’s what they do. It also seems like it could be a very stressful job at times (Death of a Salesman, anybody?) and the burn-out factor is high.

So when I’m cold-called at work, I am at the very least prepared to give a listen to what the other person has to say. Unless it’s an automated message, that voice on the other end of the line is a living, thinking human being trying to connect with another living, thinking human being. I can respect that and respect their time as well.

Where my patience gets a twist is when my time isn’t respected in turn.

What I don’t get is the assumption that:

  • They’ve reached the right person
  • This is a good time to talk
  • You’re even interested in their product
  • You’re going to open the gates wide to your company

Perhaps this is the way sales works: Get through to someone, anyone, no matter who. Even if that person isn’t the right one, they might know the right one.

Hmm, sounds a lot like networking! EXCEPT: Networking is a lot more about give than take. And with networking, you usually say how you found the other person, right? My work number is not publicly listed, for example.

So with a call like this, I’d have preferred if the person would have asked if I had anything to do with their subject BEFORE launching into a 2-minute spiel right after the Hello, I am Mr. X from Company-You’ve-Never-Heard-Of-That-I’ll-Say-Too-Fast.

That’s all. Just that one simple question. You’re working, but so am I. My time is important too.