June 7, 2009
The urgency began when my son began looking rather haggard after a night of sleep. After inquiring, I learned that a loud scratching sound from under the floor in his room was keeping him awake. I knew immediately that the roof rats, (endemic to our area) had found a new ingress point to our crawl space under the house. Being way past the stigma of having rats, I knew that they must be excluded immediately and proceeded to take action!
So, how does this relate to the Long View?
As I noted in “About the Long View”, “Although [we] sometimes struggle to make (or coach) “long view” choices because “near term” gets in the way….[it] is not to say that there is no place for short-term actions, to the contrary. Sometimes you have to plug the hole in the dike right now in order to protect the dike for the future.”
- Rat intrusion is a clear example of the Urgent/Important – stuff needing to be fixed immediately or it will get worse quickly!
- In the time-management matrix that most technologists abide, it is acceptable to shift priorities to accommodate the Urgent/Important (1st quadrant).
After interviewing several local pest control companies (several wasted my time – they didn’t actually offer needed services!), I settled on a local company that was willing to enter the crawl space to assess integrity, seal potential ingress areas, and trap the critters out. Once the technician arrived, he immediately identified several potential ingress points that had to be fixed (some in the roof area – which needed a specialist) and several at the baseline. We worked together to fix the exterior baseline ingress points (where the scratching was heard). Then it was time to “house dive.” Miguel (the pest control pro) was able to assess the north-side crawl space, but the south-side was too narrow for him to access. So, being both action-oriented and small-framed, I put on my coveralls, my headlamp (all self-respecting gadget queens have one!), safety glasses, mask, gloves, and squeezed into the south-side crawl space.
I quickly discovered a single well-evidenced ingress point (many rat turds!) and evidence of excessive scratching. In a second “dive,” I hauled camera, metal screen, nails, and a hammer to the spot and dutifully sealed the ingress.
Over the next several days, my son slept on the couch because the previously loud wood scratching amplified/progressed to metal scratching. The enclosed rats were desperately in search of food, allowing Miguel to trap the critters out. The final score is 3-1.
Miguel captured/killed three rats in the snap traps, and I caught one in an untethered glue trap. Although the fourth rat touched the glue trap, it was able to scurry away with the trap. In a third “dive” to retrieve the trap/rat(carcass?), I found the trap wedged at a pipe penetration – the rat had leveraged the trap off and escaped to another part of the crawl space. Smart! I have yet to find the carcass, but hopefully I will not need to.
The scratching has stopped, my son’s sleep is restored, and only the painter needs to come to polish up the roof work. Whew, back to the Important/NOT Urgent (2nd quadrant)!
Are you working to the Important/NOT Urgent routinely?
May 27, 2009
I just finished reading, “The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time that Will Change Your Life” by Zimardo and Boyd. It hasn’t changed my life, but it definitely gave me insight. Irrespective, it is a worthy read.
Before I began reading, I took the online Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) and discovered that I am an off-the-scale futurist scoring a whopping 4.92 in the future perspective. On all other time perspectives, I am at or below average.
The description of the “Future-Oriented Person” closely describes me (dominant in concern about long-term consequences, able to sustain the unpleasant for future benefit, health conscious, goal-oriented…) – how scary is that?! Perhaps that explains WHY I have a blog titled the LONG VIEW!
The basic point of the book is to get Futurists to be more Present and Past/Presents to be more Futurist – we all need balance. Indeed!
The good news for me is that Futurists tend to be very successful in business because they are well equipped to deal with the complexities of the modern world. The bad news is that Futurists tend to have less joy because we undervalue pleasure – work first, then play (if there is time).
The best news is that I didn’t need the book to get me going to achieve balance! Over the past many years, I have been actively working to Be Present much more – to enjoy the process, the road, the flowers along the road, and my traveling companions. The authors reinforce that great leaders are engrossed in the Present.
Some of the most interesting threads in the book revolve around the clash of time perspectives and how differences give rise to conflict. For example, Presents tend to be “in the moment” proceeding with what is interesting to them, viewing punctuality, specificity, and conformance as limitations. Futures on the other hand, value punctuality, specificity, and conformance. Understanding these differences and cultivating balance can lead to less conflict. ☺
Are you working to achieve balance? Is joy on your priority list?
March 25, 2009
Wyo was a regal dark chocolate (almost black) Morgan horse. He had a massive neck, a muscular stature, and the sweetest disposition that a horse could have. Today Wyo was laid to rest after two years of suffering from equine COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
When I was a little girl, I desperately wanted a horse, but even though dad was an experienced and able horseman it just was not to be. As time passed, I became more urban, less rural, and I did not think much about horses after college. Imagine my surprise when my parents retired to a ranch and (finally) bought me a horse!
I met Wyo when he was a gangly 2-year-old still in training. It was love at first sight! I immediately hired a trainer to teach me to ride, to tack, to muck, to groom, and be safe around horses. Although I could only see Wyo occasionally, my trips to visit him were always joyful learning experiences.
There is an old proverb that says, “When you are ready, your teacher will come.” It might be surprising, but Wyo was one of my best teachers. He taught technology leadership from a horses’ point-of-view. His lessons were few, but important:
- Build a relationship before you ask to lead. He led me to develop a deep and lasting bond that enabled me to confidently give commands and him to accept them.
- Be present. He taught me the importance of paying attention to the trail, to the beauty of the mountains that we traveled, to the possible dangers (rattlesnakes), and to the unexpected (a flock of startled pheasant).
- Overcommunicate. He taught me the importance of making sure that we understood each other when working together. We learned to open a gate without dismount and could easily move cattle between pastures. Although I spoke and he did not, the position of his ears and his breathing told me everything.
- Take the lead when others cannot. He demonstrated confidence to other horses when they shied from crossing streams. He stepped confidently into the water and escorted other horses to the other side, crossing as many times as was needed.
I miss his powerful stride under my saddle and the wind in my face, but I can still feel the reins in my hands. Rest in peace my friend and teacher. Your memory lives with me. You were loved.