What I’m Learning: Grandpa’s Words

At my grandfather’s celebration of life last weekend my dad, who emceed the event, opened the mic and invited friends and family to share their stories.

One person I’d become particularly fascinated with in the last seven months (I first met him in October), was my grandpa’s brother Gerald, who took the mic first.

Just 15 months younger, Gerald shared several stories and “Norman nuances” he had experienced throughout their childhood. Stories I had never heard before.


One particular anecdote revealed the inherent character strength in grandpa’s personality – his feistyness.

The bolder (and mouthier) of the two, he apparently decided to take a break from getting into “disagreements” just long enough one day to hand over a pearl of wisdom. He told Gerald, “don’t walk into the bar like you own the place. Walk into the bar like you don’t care who owns the place.”

Whether the words resonated with anyone else, I don’t know. But, I can see that his feistyness has trickled down into several of us – his children and his grandchildren. Some more than others. Me, a lot.

To walk into a new space and act like you own it completely disregards the rules set, and disrespects those who came before you. And frankly, it isn’t very smart. Or kind.

To walk into a new space and not care who owns it, is significantly different. Survey the landscape, take it in and give respect where warranted. Evaluate the precedence and then decide if you want to play by those rules, or not. Don’t let the actions of seniority dictate who you should be or what you should do.

I may never have been articulate enough to say it quite as elegantly, but I felt it. Something clicked and the timing for this “pearl” to be repeated could never have been better. I’m on the verge of coming into my own and I’ve started living what grandpa had advised decades ago. Hearing it on Sunday only made me bolder.

Thank you, grandpa for saying what I didn’t know how to make sense of.

What I’m Learning: Prioritizing Shut It + Shout It

we all have something to learn and we all have something to say. what makes us difference is how we prioritize the value in the action.

shut it or shout it

i have always left much to be desired when it came to speaking up. still do – in both my personal and professional lives. and if often feels like there’s something wrong with me.

then, i changed my perspective.

i was reminded that sometimes talking can get in the way of not only learning, but imagination as well.

listening doesn’t come easy for all but i was born with a natural ability to do so. to turn off the “say everything that goes through my head” signal that so many seem to praise in today’s noisy world. but, those 27 years i sat around being quiet certainly weren’t wasted (right, susan?). they were purposeful listening on several levels. i had created a safe place for my ideas to flow, a place to reflect, to really hear, and to ask questions.

while others may not have seen my full potential because i sat quiet when i was younger, i was still working on something behind the scenes. honestly, back then that was a rather selfish thing to do. talking in order to further someone else’s agenda didn’t interest me. staying quiet and learning from everyone around me, did. i was looking for personal development, even then, when i didn’t understand it.

as that foundation grew, i began to use it more as a strength than see it as a weakness. slowly but surely i started to offer a ready ear, an informed idea or an “i understand” to others – both personally and professionaly.

i’ve never been good at speaking but this is an uphill battle for me. not a flat runway like it can be for some are naturally skilled at speaking and voicing their opinions. i have faith the foundation i’ve been subconsciously building, combined with hard and uncomfortable work, will make me an even stronger speaker than i realized i could be back then.

when i’m ready. and i’m almost ready.

where the hell did that come from?