As I mentioned in a blog post recently, my work responsibilities this month include reviewing and commenting on the work of new trainees in the Philippines. It has been going well. I did feel a bit nervous, though, about attending a roundtable session via phone and computer on Sunday evening (which was Monday morning in Manila) with the trainees, their manager, my manager, and a few of my coworkers here in the United States who are also involved in the training.

In general, I am not much of a talker and do better with written language. I am very comfortable with giving written feedback, not just at work, but also in creative writers’ groups and on blogs. Question-and-answer sessions over the phone are something that I don’t have as much experience doing, however.

It all turned out okay, though. The trainees obviously were much more nervous than I was. When my manager coaxed them into coming forward with their questions, my first instinct was to go into reassuring-mom mode and tell them everyone has a tough time at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to the work, and they would all feel comfortable with it soon. I wondered at first if maybe I overdid that a little, but my manager and coworkers thought it sounded pretty good.

I decided to post this ocean word-art for Nurturing Thursday because it seemed to fit the theme:
 

Word-art that says "You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I have to confess that I didn’t feel particularly inspired or creative today. Instead, it was one of those days where it all felt like a long, repetitive, energy-draining slog, and no thoughts came to mind for a Nurturing Thursday blog post. So, after work and laundry, I spent a little time browsing through word-art images in the hope that something inspiring would turn up. What I found was this timely reminder:
 

Word-art that says "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle 

Life may have its dull moments, but because character is formed in large part by everyday habits, just going through the day and getting things done without drama is not a bad thing. Even on days that feel less than inspired, it’s good to keep in mind that in a few years, we may look back and realize that we accomplished much more than we knew at the time.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My employer is a multinational company, and for the next few weeks I’ll be helping to train a group of new hires in the Philippines. Because of the time difference, that works out very efficiently—they upload their completed training exercises during their workday, which is nighttime here in the United States. Their assignments can then be completely reviewed and all the comments written during U.S. business hours, before the trainees return to their office the next day.

Although writing reviewer comments on training exercises may not be the most exciting task on the planet, when a coworker sent me the little cartoon that I’ve posted below, it left me thinking about the “epic” nature of the changes going on in the modern world and how many interesting opportunities are likely to develop as time goes on.
 

Word-art with an animated sticky note writing on itself "Today be epic!" 

As Becca’s blog entry for today points out, there are useful lessons to be found everywhere. Even though our fast-paced modern world can feel disruptive and unsettling at times, often what that really means is that we’re learning at a much faster pace, and we haven’t yet gotten used to it. I expect that things will settle down after a while—it just takes time to reflect on those lessons.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I woke up to a gray morning and a forecast of rain most of the day, which is good for the grass (the lawn service company put down fertilizer on Tuesday) but it’s not the most inspiring view. So when I changed the image on my art display this morning, I chose a beach picture with vivid colors, titled “Colorful Sea.”
 

Green sea with orange sun and deep blue clouds. 

Whether or not it’s raining today where you are, I hope you’re finding lots of bright, happy little things to make your world more colorful!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I’m posting this Nurturing Thursday entry on Friday because I felt somewhat distracted this week and didn’t get around to writing a post earlier, but it’s all okay. The work presentation that I mentioned in last week’s post went very smoothly; there was no need to worry.

Often that’s the way it goes—when we’re doing things that we haven’t tried before and developing our skills, it seems scary at the time. Then we find that life has settled back down into a pattern that comfortably includes something more than we used to know. That happened all the time back when we were kids, and it can be just as true when we’re adults exploring new challenges!
 

 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Next week I’m scheduled to present a continuous improvement project, which I mentioned in a post in April, to my boss’s boss. It is just a small beginner-level project, there is a standard template for presenting the results, and it should only take about a half-hour. I thought it was helpful to learn the basic concepts of continuous improvement and to gain more experience with programs such as Excel and PowerPoint, which I don’t regularly use in my work. Still, there’s always a bit of stress involved when doing anything new.

I did a practice presentation today with some of my coworkers, and they were positive and encouraging. When I asked whether I sounded nervous, they said no, I was fine. It’s always good to have a bit of gentle encouragement to expand those comfort zones!
 

Word-art that says "Don't limit your challenges, challenge your limits." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Along with my husband and son, I went to the rowing club to watch the city’s Independence Day fireworks show. The boathouse is just up the river and has a great view. Each year the club has a picnic before we set up folding chairs on the dock to watch the fireworks. Everyone takes turns cooking hamburgers and other food on the grill, and we all bring snacks and sweet treats for our friends to share. There are old-fashioned games such as water balloon toss and three-legged race. For prizes, the winners get chocolate bars.
 

Word-art that says "There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate." 

Although we didn’t have any rowing races or other events on the water this year because of nearby bridge construction, everyone had a good time anyway. I’m wishing my readers plenty of fun with friends too!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I’ve mentioned in several blog posts how much I enjoy the digital art display that my husband bought as a Christmas present for me in 2015. So I was saddened to learn this week that the manufacturer, Electric Objects, has been acquired; it had major supply problems this year, and I’m assuming it ran out of money. The acquiring company has said that it will keep the art library on its servers without any interruption to customers, but there will be no more new sales of the product.

Start-up companies often fail through no fault of the owners. Our personal projects and circumstances also can run into problems, even when we do our best. For this Nurturing Thursday entry, I’d like to encourage anyone out there who may be going through difficulties to keep on trying. In today’s ever-changing world, there is always something new that is worth hoping for and working toward.
 

Word-art that says "When the world says Give up, Hope whispers... Try it one more time." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Lists of social virtues generally include kindness and honesty toward others, but it’s all too easy to overlook the importance of being kind and honest with oneself. Pushing too hard to get things done, while acting like everything is okay and the stress is not really a problem, often gets mistaken for being responsible. Then, before you know it, the real you ends up suffocating under heaps of phony pretense and desperately screaming to be let out.
 

Word-art that says "Be brave. Be silly. Be your own magic. Be present. Be full of surprises. Be adventurous. Be kind. Be free. Be you." 

I was going to write more about the value of authenticity, but I just read an excellent post on the blog Nuggets of Gold about what happens as a result of not wanting anyone to see the real you; so I’ll just finish with a link to it.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Yesterday morning was rainy, and by the time it cleared in the afternoon, the river was very muddy. My husband and I had to wash our boat thoroughly after we went rowing. We had more rain overnight, followed by a damp and cloudy morning. I put an animated image on my art display today that shows rain falling in puddles in a muddy country lane. It’s clearing now, though, and the real-life puddles are drying up.

I would say there’s a simple but useful lesson in there: No matter how rainy, muddy, and messy everything looks at a particular time, it’s probably not going to last very long.
 

Word-art that says "With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." -Eleanor Roosevelt 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.