What can you do with a degree in economics and a minor in Spanish? Apparently compete in the Olympics!
That is what Lolo Jones has done with her degree, and not just once, but twice. Jones is one of the few athletes who competed in both Winter and Summer Olympics — hurdles in London and now the bobsled in Sochi.
In Sochi, there were only 2850 athletes participating. In London, there were approximately 10,500. Think about what it takes to be among the best in the world at one sport, let alone two distinctly different ones.
We put so much pressure on young people to select a major in college, yet except for a few specialized professions, the specific degree doesn’t matter so much. The collegiate educational experience has value because it teaches students persistence, tenacity, critical thinking, time management, prioritization, group dynamics and a host of other skills beyond the facts. Often, it also helps people find their passion — or passions — and gives them the drive to pursue them.
Kudos to Lolo for getting the degree and the Olympic rings. Think about her when you don’t believe you have the time to go to the gym!
— beth triplett
One of our sociology professors shared information about a study that sung the praises of female athletes and those in FHA or 4-H type organizations. What do these two groups of students have in common?
The research suggests that people involved in these pursuits have high levels of internal motivation and need very little external praise. They put in tremendous amounts of work in pursuit of their goals, yet rarely have an audience to see the results of their efforts. Few people attend women’s sporting events or agricultural judging, so those involved do most of the work for their own satisfaction and pleasure.
Our professor suggested that if we had candidates with women’s sports or 4-H as a background, they should be given serious consideration for employment, especially in jobs that involve a lot of independent time and self-motivation (like admissions counselor).
Since hiring the right people is so important to an organization, maybe this variable can help you find your next blue ribbon employee.
— beth triplett
I was at a gathering yesterday with several baseball coaches and former players. The conversation turned to superstitions and the quirky things they did in conjunction with the game. One pays attention to the color ink in the pen he uses to fill out the lineup card. Another wore a cut-off sock on his pitching arm. One spits into his glove after every pitch. They knew of players who wore the same socks all season (without washing them!). And on it went. It seemed that everyone did something on the off chance it would matter.
Then someone wondered what it would be like if we had superstitious rituals in every profession as there seem to be in baseball. The teacher would tap the marker on the white board three times before writing with it. The office worker could rub their mouse before turning on the computer. A nurse could stand with her feet in a specified position before drawing blood. We had a lot of fun with the possibilities.
Maybe you can do something with this idea: use it as an icebreaker at your next party, develop a superstition of your own to help you get in the right frame of mind to start your work day or have everyone do it in your group to create some good laughs and team bonding?
If you were to develop the equivalent of a baseball player ritual for yourself, what would it be?
— beth triplett
There are days when I need to do things at work that I really don’t want to do, or I need to write a blog on an evening when I would much rather play, or I have a chore at home that I would prefer to do “tomorrow” instead of now. I think everyone feels this way at some point.
Often when I am approaching procrastination, I am reminded of a quote by Thomas Huxley that I heard while in college. It has stuck with me over the years:
Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the things you have to do when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. It is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson he learns thoroughly.
I believe that Huxley was spot-on. It’s part of why a college degree is so valuable, regardless of the chosen major or to some extent even what school it is from. It’s why a doctorate (like my friend Wendy just earned!) is even more rare — because no one is standing over you telling you to go to class or do your dissertation. You have to do the things you have to do because you are motivated to do them.
Think about these words of wisdom next time your brain is saying “I don’t wanna ____.” Often, it is the doing, not the wanting to do that is important.
— beth triplett
When we conduct analysis regarding our enrollment situation (or about any problem), the true strategy decision isn’t in deciding what tactic to use. The toughest question to answer is whether we are going to try to capitalize on our strengths or attempt to address our weaknesses. (e.g.: If our applications are ahead in a certain territory, do we put more effort there or do we do extra mailings to the places we are behind?)
Focusing on where we are ahead is contrary to what usually occurs. Inertia and history certainly beckon to fix the problem. If a child brings home a report card with all Bs and a D, it is likely that the parents will focus on the D. If an athlete is great at passing, but consistently misses free throws, it is likely she will spend some extra practice time at the line. If you are a talented artist but overweight, you’re just as apt to join Weight Watchers as an arts society.
It is a scary thing to focus on your strengths, knowing that others are more likely to call you on your weaknesses rather than sing your praises. But as Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great, “managing your problems can only make you good, whereas building your opportunities is the only way to become great.”
–— beth triplett
Source: Good to Great by Jim Collins, p. 59
For most people, buying a car is one of the largest investments that they make. People spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy one, and another hefty sum to maintain it and keep it road-worthy over the years.
One of the basic features of a car that is often overlooked is the windshield. ABC News reports that approximately 11 million windshield replacements are done per year. That figure surprised me, since the only one I have had replaced in my decades of driving has been the one smashed in by the bat of hoodlum one evening. Put apparently others are not so fortunate.
What is equivalent to a windshield in your line of work? Are the sidewalks in front of your store so icy that people have a difficult time getting to your place of business? Does a brilliant doctor lose patients because of his scheduling practices? Does a dirty restroom in a restaurant repel the customers? Does a loose button on a new garment color the impression of the whole brand?
People make judgments about the whole based on experiences with the parts. Can you see clearly out the windshield of your organization or is there a crack that needs repair?
— beth triplett
When is the last day you didn’t talk about the weather? Someone asked that question to our lunch table, and no one could remember that far back; it seems we have been complaining for weeks now.
In reality, there is nothing we can do to alter what Mother Nature sends our way. The only thing we have control of is how we respond to the weather — complaining about it, ignoring it or even embracing it.
Lots of people who live in Northern states love the winter (or at least they did before this year’s Polar Vortex). In a previous blog, I described the infrastructure cities have to handle large amounts of snow. Similarly, people who embrace the snow have prepared themselves for recreational activities like skating and cross country skiing; they own snowmobiles, go ice fishing, play hockey and, in general, relish the sports that can only occur in the tundra.
Another place that has welcomed Mother Nature is Breckenridge, Colorado. As if their skiing wasn’t enough of an attraction, they host an annual Snow Sculpting Contest. The artists who worked on these creations clearly have learned to make the most of the season:
You can fight the weather and fall into that winter funk, or you can celebrate all the things it allows you to do. On that matter, you do have control.
— beth triplett
Were she still alive, today would have been my godmother’s birthday. Even though she has been gone for 15 years, she profoundly influenced my formative years. She remained single, but far from being an old maid, Aunt Ruth was cool. She was a “career girl” when it was fashionable to be a stay-at-home mom. She had her own turquoise convertible with a white top, and drove her nieces around for rides around town — in the style of an innocent Thelma and Louise. She went on cruises and trips to Hawaii in the 1960s when such travel was far from common. She was an unabashed Elvis fan even when his moves were scandalous to Grandma.
I thought of all this when I met with the advisors that work with students who are undecided about their college major. They use several tools to help students learn about themselves — some confirm their choices and some discover characteristics about themselves that may lead to a career. The advisors said that many students leave with more confidence and an affirmation that the path they have chosen is good for them.
Aunt Ruth didn’t have any career assessments or psychological tools to tell her that she could flourish independently. But by her example, Aunt Ruth taught us that it was ok to be yourself. It was acceptable to choose a different path, as long as you went down that path with gusto and confidence.
Whether you learn from formal resources or informal observation, I hope that you believe in the path you are traveling. Your authenticity gives others the courage to be themselves too.
— beth triplett
There is nothing worse than lying in bed and being unable to sleep. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen to me often, but when it does this little trick works wonders.
Think of a broad subject (cities, high school, something to do with vacations, food, stores, etc.) Then try to think of an item that corresponds with the subject you have chosen — that starts with A, then B, then C, etc. It is a rare night when I get through half of the alphabet before falling into a deep slumber.
Example: School: A=apple, B=books, C=calculus, D=detention, E=economics, F=flag pole, etc.
Next time, forget the sheep and play this little mind game. My guess is that you will get to zzzz long before you reach Z in the alphabet.
— beth triplett
Amazingly, the phone/Internet repair man came yesterday as scheduled, didn’t require me to be there for him, fixed the problem and there was no charge! I should have purchased a lottery ticket because it is rare that those kind of stars align, especially with service calls.
But even more surprising than my pleasant experience was his explanation for what happened. Apparently the technician has been doing a lot of repair work lately caused by destructive dogs — resulting from a high pitch sound that has been emitting from the phone box. We can’t hear it, but apparently Fidos throughout the area can and it’s making them crazy. (Maybe there is hope that I have lived through puppyhood!)
I wonder if there is an equivalent of a high pitched sound in my environment at work. Is something going on that my employees can sense that I don’t even know about? Am I blaming them for unproductive behavior when they are just acting in ways that are consistent with being driven crazy? Am I oblivious to an on-going issue that is going to blow up one day and result in a metaphorical chewed wire?
People can talk, whereas dogs can’t. Utilize that to your advantage and ask questions about culture, climate and the environment in general. If you wait until you need a ‘repair call’, the fix may not be as easy as mine was.
–— beth triplett