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Walk A Mile In His Moccasins

The old saying “take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins” couldn’t apply more than to those who deal with mental health issues. The phrase comes for a poem written by Mary T. Lathrap in 1895. Fast forward to the 21st century, and not that much has changed. My hometown, Kokomo, is blessed with an organization supporting homeless women and children called Walk A Mile.

You don’t notice stuff like this, until you or someone you love encounters a need.  Three situations bring this need especially close to home for me when it comes to mental health care.

My dad passed away a number of years ago. All of my memories of him are of a man tortured by paranoid schizophrenia. He was a very good man that was often choked down with an illness he didn’t understand or know how to cope with. My late brother-in-law dealt with debilitating Manic Depression as well until cancer stole his life, way too early. I cannot adequately express how crucial appropriate mental care was for either my dad or my brother-in-law.

My brother is one of the most gentle, genuine, and intelligent people I know. However, he deals with Manic Depression. My dad was difficult because he didn’t accept his issue, whereas my brother seeks help and this type of care is crucial.

Needless to say, I take notice of organization who serve those with this need. In my experience they are led by caring professionals working for a fraction of their value. They have passion for those society can easily forget or even ridicule.

My friends at MHA in Kokomo serve this need. Recently I was privileged to deliver a contribution to them on behalf of the employees of the company where I work:

I came to know Mental Health America many years ago when then as a minister, my church provided an annual Thanksgiving meal for 250 MHA clients and staff. I’ve moved on but Center Road Church of Christ continues the tradition today.

Perhaps you have life ambitions, just as I do. Regardless of that journey, let us always remember to Walk A Mile.

Just walk a mile in his moccasins 
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse. 
If just for one hour, you could find a way 
To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse. 

I believe you’d be surprised to see 
That you’ve been blind and narrow minded, even unkind. 
There are people on reservations and in the ghettos 
Who have so little hope, and too much worry on their minds. 

Brother, there but for the grace of God go you and I. 
Just for a moment, slip into his mind and traditions 
And see the world through his spirit and eyes 
Before you cast a stone or falsely judge his conditions. 

Remember to walk a mile in his moccasins 
And remember the lessons of humanity taught to you by your elders. 
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave 
In other people’s lives, our kindnesses and generosity. 

Take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins. 

Judge Softly, poem by Mary T. Lathrap, 1895

You are Never Too Young or Old to Be Kind

Being kind to someone is valuable and lives on, even past your memory of it. I was reminded of this on a recent trip to see my mom in Arkansas. As I enjoyed my KFC I heard my mom say my name (she was having a conversation at the table behind us, which she always does, because she knows everyone). “Well, he’s right there…” and I entered a conversation with a lady I didn’t know.

Her name is Sherry and she was telling my mom I had given her

a Bible many years ago (way too many). I had no memory and still have no idea. More than all of that, she still has it! “Oh, I’ve got in the car” as she scooted out the door. Upon return she produced the Bible.

Let me tell you that 1981 was a long time ago. At the risk of locking myself in the wrong algorithm for any future job prospects in the ever popular Applicant Tracking Systems — I was a high school junior. We spent a few minutes catching up on life and went on our way. It’s such a big small world!

That gift obviously meant more to Sherry than it did to me. My brain doesn’t hold that kind of info. Want to bridge time and make a difference? Be kind and give people important stuff – like eternal words. Be encouraging – it will probably come back to visit.

Be Appreciative

I heard from a friend today, asking my opinion about an effort he is a part of. I realize he asked me to honor me as much as anything. He knows more than I do about the topic – by far.

His message reminded me of something I have believed all along, but haven’t practiced it as I should. You should recognize and appreciate those who help you along the way in your life journey. For me, that’s a huge list of fantastic people.

When I think of my career at this point, a special group of people in Indianapolis are guilty of helping me tremendously. This is the leadership group of Project Management Institute Central Indiana Chapter most times referred to as PMICIC.

In addition to the networking and encouragement from the overall chapter, I have been blessed in the past to work with Rep Ram, Mike Fisher, and Aisha Cargile (plus others) elbow to elbow on the leadership team as a vice-president. That has been over a year ago as I write this, but these quite servants to others in project management are professional difference makers. They with their colleagues lead an army of volunteers providing incredible support to the profession of project management in Indiana.

They help people figure out their careers, especially if it remotely touches project management – and a lot of career streams certainly do! I get my ears full occasionally about less than accomplished pm’s. I like this group because they are dedicated to making the profession better by serving as Indiana’s largest chapter of Project Management Institute.

Whether your focus is Waterfall or Agile, check out the chapter’s offerings. Especially, mark your calendar for May 10-11. PMICIC is sponsoring Project-Con, and it’s a must attend. Check out projectconevent.com for all the latest. I’m looking forward to it!

Mentoring is Timeless

header1Taking an interest in the success of others, especially those who are younger, is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It’s the ultimate mentorship program and it’s timeless.

I was blessed to have several adults pour into my life when I was young, and I think it’s why it’s a high priority to me to do for others. Though they have passed away now, the efforts of a retired couple for me will always keep Earl and Bertine alive in me. They often hired me in my early teens to mow and do other upkeep on their rather large property in Arkansas.

Too many memories to write here but I’ll mention one of the strongest. Earl spent his working life building carburetors and was very mechanical however age had taken his eyesight. He channeled his impediment to telling me what to do with my 11 year old hands. It wasn’t easy for either if us but with patience he guided me to repair countless pieces of equipment. It was mostly with words but sometimes I guided his hands to show me by feeling how to take complex machines apart and out them back together again.

Always be ready to give patient guidance and to receive the same. Don’t let the spreadsheets and performance metrics of projects and programs rob you of the opportunity. You’ll be glad.

Forming Habits and Being Agile are not Opposed to Each Other

I follow Jennifer Bridges because she has a great way of simplifying complicated issues while making them doable. I am also a Project Manager that appreciates both Waterfall and Agile Project Management. To be Agile almost seems like it doesn’t go with forming Habits. I recognize that I’m talking about two different things when it comes to habits and Agile thinking, but I see some useful parallels. I think forming habits for success can strengthen one’s ability to be Agile. Scrum, for example, uses a number of “habits” or practices that help the team become Agile in dealing with complex and unpredictable projects. Take a look at Jennifer’s video and consider how forming strong habits can help you become successful, even if your focus is being Agile.

Everything you do influences your performance. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows you which work habits propel you to success.

Source: 7 Work Habits You Need to Succeed