Top 10 Lessons Learned About Change – Managing Relocation

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A few months ago, my husband was offered a challenging new position and relocation to Denver, CO after a merger with the organization he has worked with for over 17 years.

That said, I have spent a significant amount of time telling others how they should embrace change. But, I wasn’t feeling that way when faced with a move across the country.  As a native Floridian, I had escaped snow and ice my entire life. Now, at 40, I was being challenged to accept a change that would move me away from my family and cause me to cut ties as an adjunct instructor at HCC.  Life as an adjunct instructor had no doubt been a highlight of the last decade. And, having our family close by helped out tremendously with our kids and busy work schedules. My initial reaction to this change was not positive at all.

But, as I sit here with packers carefully wrapping up my life and a final flight leaving for CO on Monday, I can say I’ve learned a few things worth sharing:

1. Change is actually really hard. I had to consciously and continuously push through and keep telling myself that it’s better to try something and regret it then to look back and wish you had. It’s easy to do this with the small stuff, but the real challenge is to make it work with the big stuff too. I’m walking the walk now.

2. Empathy helps. My immediate reaction was all about how “I” felt and the sacrifices “I’d” have to make. But, I didn’t take into consideration the amazing opportunity that my husband had earned and the possibility of a better life for our kids where they can be outdoors and experience life in a whole new way.

3. Focusing on the positive makes all the difference. Whenever I started finding myself getting sad about not teaching or stressed about how I’m going to drive in the snow, I made myself think of something that was going to be amazing as a result of the change. For example, I will experience seasons! And, there are new places to eat, hike, picnic, camp, shop, etc. In fact, our backyard is essentially one big network of hiking trails surrounded by a herd of buffalo.  Trading in alligators for buffalo doesn’t seem so bad! And, research does prove that being outside is good for overall health and quality of life. Denver hasn’t recently been voted the #1 place to live for nothing!

11 Scientific Benefits of Spending More Time Outside

U.S. News Best Places to Live

4. Buying a home is such an emotional process.  As a true quality geek, I spent a few hours before the first home search putting together a grid analysis to help me analytically decide. I had all the factors lined up perfectly: schools, commute time, HOA fees, neighborhood, etc. I had a rating scale that allowed for weights of certain items. It was going to be great! That is, until I walked into the home that we ended up purchasing. At that point, the scores didn’t matter. The fact that there was carpet in the bathroom didn’t matter. It was the perfect house. And, I learned that emotions do have a place at the decision table in some situations.  Touché.

5. Saying goodbye is hard. When it comes to friends, I’m a quality over quantity kind of gal. And, I never expected it would be so difficult to say farewell. Between work and family, there’s honestly little social time to start with. So, Facebook has become my connection to the world over the years. And, I’m hoping to stay in touch with loved ones here as I develop a new network in Denver. I’ve already reached out to the Denver ASQ section and am excited to see that they host so many community SR events.  Also, moving to such a “cool” place opens my doors to Florida friends/family wanting to escape the excruciating heat!

6. As a planner, I like to have everything organized but I learned very quickly in this process that curveballs can happen on a daily basis. For example, when I flew to Denver to close on our new home, we discovered the previous owners weren’t moved out and had not completed the required repairs.  Then, the first couple that purchased our home in Tampa bailed out after their parents in Beijing decided they didn’t like it and wouldn’t fund it. But, there’s a solution to every problem. Right? Rather than getting upset, we figured out what we needed to do to make it work. And, it all did. The curveballs actually made the results better than expected.

7. When I find myself getting anxious trying to juggle the move, work, kids, etc., I’ve started redirecting myself to a more mindful state. I even bought a fidget cube to help me refocus when necessary. That deep breathe that used to mean I was getting anxious about something now gives me an opportunity to take a moment to be aware of my surroundings and exist in that moment. Worrying about yesterday or tomorrow isn’t going to help me right now. Who knows how many more times I’ll have this experience?  Staying focused and grateful for this moment is priceless.

8. Big change is an open door to slip in all kinds of other change you haven’t succeeded with yet. For example, our kids have been put on notice that we will live a more active lifestyle and put more consideration into our diets. That wouldn’t have worked so easily with our daily lives so set in our routine here. But, it will work if we slip this into the move and make it an immediate habit.

9. Projecting positivity really does affect the people around you. While there may have been inner turmoil at times, it was important to me that the kids were excited and all-in.  From countdown calendars to travel guides/books to state-specific coloring pages, I tried my best to create anticipation of a great adventure. I think communicating with them and focusing on the benefits really made a difference.  They seem genuinely excited.

10. The amount of work involved with a relocation like this, even with a relocation company assisting, seems insurmountable at first. I mean, it took less documentation for me to bring a child into the world! Hours and hours of time have gone into this process. And, it can seem overwhelming at times. So, I needed something to focus on.  That something is a dog. As soon as the snow melts and springs creeps in, I want a puppy to join our crew and be a part of this next phase of our lives. After all, it turns out kids like pets better than their own siblings anyway. It’s time for this petless family to load up the Subarus with a furry friend.  That’s what I’m targeting for the future. But, at the same time, I’m enjoying the journey as much as possible.

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So your kid ate the marshmallow…

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At some point in the 1960s, Stanford researchers decided to learn more about delayed gratification.  They conducted what’s know as the Marshmallow Experiment (Test) and discovered some interesting stuff:

“The purpose of the original study was to understand when the control of delayed gratification, the ability to wait to obtain something that one wants, develops in children. The children were led into a room, empty of distractions, where a treat of their choice was placed on a table, by a chair. The children could eat the treat, the researchers said, but if they waited for fifteen minutes without giving in to the temptation, they would be rewarded with a second treat. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index and others.”  

Fast forward to Christmas 2016, and both of my kids indicate they want coupons. The year before, I struggled regarding what to get my pre-teen son who only lives for video games and has everything he could ever want or need. I decided to put together a coupon book that would allow him things like 1/2 hour of extra game time, a free pass on cleaning his room or eating dinner, etc.

Surprisingly, the coupon book was a big hit. He savored the coupons throughout the year, using them strategically and with great care.

Due to the popularity of the coupons last year, my younger daughter decided to ask Santa for a coupon book of her own this past Christmas. My son asked for more coupons as well.

Santa delivered.

The notable point here is that my daughter immediately started using the coupons and couldn’t be bothered to listen to why she might want to save them for later use. She just had to spend the coupons.

So, I’ve got a kid that would eat the marshmallow. Now what?

Research uncovered has given me some level of assurance that the behavior can be modified. One article I read discussed a correlation with establishing trust.  Others have tips for teaching your kids delayed gratification in a number of ways. For example:

  1. Don’t punish bad behavior. Instead, reward good behavior.
  2. Teach goal setting behavior.  Of course, make them SMART!
  3. Use positive distraction skills.
  4. Teach self directed speech.
  5. Help them learn how to develop a plan and think critically.
  6. Teach and support the importance of savings.
  7. Practice mindfulness.
  8. Set an example. Kids imitate behavior.

So, this year I’m on a mission. Each kid has 10 coupons to spend. Let’s see if I can modify behavior enough to get my daughter to delay gratification, or at least critically evaluate the possibility.

 

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World Quality Month… Yeah, Quality Matters

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What’s World Quality Month, anyway?

“The purpose of World Quality Month is to promote the use of quality tools in businesses and communities. Quality tools, such as flowcharts and checklists, reduce mistakes and help produce superior products. Quality principles could reduce headline-making errors, like food safety, toy recalls, and financial disruptions. World Quality Month calls on people who use quality tools to share their knowledge by submitting their stories to illustrate the value of quality principles.” (ASQ)

“The purpose of World Quality Day is to promote awareness of quality around the world and encourage development and prosperity” (CQI)

This year, I decided to help out ASQ’s Education Division and work with them to organize the Quality Education Conference & Workshop (QECW) that was held in Houston, TX this past weekend. I figured the best way to spread the word is to contribute my time to something that would raise awareness.

First, let me say that that I have gained a whole new level of respect for people that organize conferences.  The behind-the-scenes efforts of volunteers and others is just unbelievable. The passion of ASQ members is unparalleled, and the QECW experience was nothing short of awesome.  I tweeted for the division, so more info can be found here. And, another member took some great photos for us.

My presentation related to critical thinking and STEM was well received, but I am most grateful for all of the amazing people I met at the event.  Educators truly are special people! And, there’s no doubt education is where we need to start if we’re going to integrate quality into our personal and professional lives.

This World Quality Month also marks a few personal achievements of which I still can’t keep smiling about!  First, I am honored to be among the Fresh Faces identified in the November issue of Quality Progress. Wow.

Secondly, I received an email notifying me that my nomination as Fellow was accepted. I won’t lie… achieving this took a ridiculous amount of effort, and I count it as one of my proudest achievements. I truly feel special to be among such an elite group of quality professionals. I’m more motivated than ever to make a difference! Thank you so much to my ASQ friends that supported and helped me achieve this… You know who you are!

“Fellow Membership is an honor bestowed by other ASQ Members. A Fellow represents the upper echelon of the quality profession and serves as the backbone of the Society.”

Finally, I got word that my two proposals for presentations at the World Quality Conference in May were accepted.  I’ll be able to share information regarding social accountability audits in the manufacturing sector and also an After 5 session related to living a socially responsible life. I can’t wait!

I’ve written a few posts in the past related to World Quality Month as well:

You don’t have to be in quality to recognize World Quality Month! As Deming famously said… “Quality is everyone’s responsibility.”

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Quality Tools for Critical Thinking & K-12 STEM Success

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This will be my first year attending ASQ’s annual Quality Education Conference & Workshop.  I’ve had a lot of fun volunteering and working with the Education Division, so I have no doubt the event will be exceed expectations.

I submitted to speak this time because I wanted to share some insight I’ve gained as someone who has instructed sessions related to critical thinking in the workforce. But, I’ve also used these quality tools as a parent and have done a fair amount of research related to importance of critical thinking & decision-making as it relates to STEM success. I’m excited to have been chosen and am in the process of polishing my presentation.

Critical thinking allows us to use our own creativity and curiosity to research, design test and improve solutions.  “Critical thinking is a skill that is impossible to teach directly but must be intertwined with content.” ~Christodoulou

Highlights of my presentation include:

  • Critical Thinking & STEM: Making the Connection
  • Keys to Success
  • Games & Activities
  • Applied Tools
    • Affinity Diagrams
    • Fishbone Diagrams
    • Six Thinking Hats
    • Mind Mapping
    • Grid Analysis
  • Additional Resources

If you’re interested in QECW, check out the site here. Bill Troy, ASQ’s CEO is just one keynote I’m looking forward to. And, the other speakers and their sessions will be hard to choose from. This will be my first conference volunteering also, so I’m leveling up on the fun!

2016-QECW-Im-Speak

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Video: Quality for Life & Me…

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For all the times I’ve stood up and encouraged people to challenge themselves and stretch their comfort levels, I must announce a person win.

My SWOT analysis consistently reveals a weakness related to my video presence. Somewhat surprising is that I’d say public speaking is a strength, but that camera changes everything. I’m told it’s quite an entertaining sight to see.

Long story short, I’ve responded to ASQ’s call for participants to share stories for a few years now. And, each year I’ve found that my expectations of looking like someone physically suffering have materialized.  Each year, I’ve requested they don’t post the video even before I saw the final copy.

Not this year.

I decided to give the video thing another try this year at WCQI because, why not? I had a message I wanted to share and a personal obstacle to overcome.

It surprises me that I forgot about the video, but I did… A friend recently texted a link to none other than myself looking mostly normal on the ASQ site.  I’m so excited to be able to share this information in a format I challenged myself to improve in. Yay.

Quality for Life: Using Quality Tools in Your Personal Life

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