Showing posts from June, 2023

On Giving Criticism

After years of trying different recommended techniques for delivering criticism (looking at you Compliment Sandwich) I've concluded: no matter how you deliver criticism, it's going to be a tough conversation. There's no avoiding it - people will get hurt, grow defensive, get upset, be offended, or at a minimum be mildly irked. It's led me to wonder: why should expecting otherwise? Being criticized sucks. In my own situations, even when I ask for criticisms from those I trust and admire, it stings when I hear the criticism. I feel compelled to defend myself, to explain myself, to give a reason why their criticism doesn't have the full picture. I feel defensive even when someone validates something I'm already criticizing in myself. The result: I'm tired of pretending emotions aren't real. I'm tired of pretending there's some sterile, stoic, clinical way of giving a Spock-like logical assessment of someone's flaws and that it will be met well.

Mechanical Keyboards

Almost 20 years ago, as I was wrapping up college, I was walking downtown and passed by a small antique store. I'd normally have kept walking but something caught my eye. The most beautiful Model 3 Underwood Typewriter. It wasn't working. The keys were jammed, some armatures were bent, the spindle wasn't...spindling. But it was still beautiful. I loved the mechanical genius of it all. The pure ballet caused by pressing a single key, rotating the ribbon, moving the paper just so slightly. No wires. No plastic. It was gorgeous. But not gorgeous enough for me to pay the sticker price, (I was still a student, after all). So, I haggled the price down - and then lugged the 50lbs machine 23 blocks back to my apartment. People on the streets lit up when I passed them. One person even made an offer to buy it off me while I carried it home. But it wasn't for sale. I got it back to my apartment, and spent the next 4 hours cleaning it, and restoring it to full functionality. I love

Just in Case

"Mom? .... Mom?? Can someone get my mom for me?" This past weekend, I'd seen a boy climb half-way up a structure before his fear of heights struck. What made matters worse: younger kids were climbing around him with confidence and ease. Seeing his panic, I asked him where his mom was and asked if he needed help. He looked around, hesitated, and replied: "I'm kind of scared." But then, just as he finished saying this, he inched his way upward some more. I wasn't expecting that - and chuckled. "Looks like you're able to keep going though!" I checked in on my own kids - and when I glanced back, I'd seen the boy had climbed even higher. "Well, look at you - you're doing awesome! You're pretty much at the top!" I called out.  Watching him climb over the top edge, I gave him a thumbs up and said "Great job!" and went back to my kids. Moments later I heard his voice call down to me: "Thank you so much for helpi


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