The Blog

Do you like cheese?
August 17, 2018

I’d been eating in eight-hour windows, daily, for months. Which meant I was fasting for sixteen hours a day, every day. And sure enough, my hair was getting thinner. My face looked thinner, too.

The scale said 114. Not good.

Overnight I asked the heavens what to do about this and I woke up with an undeniable craving for -- it was more like a calling for -- cheese. I need the protein and I need the fat. So I added cheese back into my diet after going without it for several years, and stick mostly to Parmesan.

I don’t like looking gaunt, and I love my thick hair. The cheese solved both problems immediately. I gained a few pounds. Just enough.

The cost was microbial confusion. The only break I’d taken from my junk-food free diet was in Europe a few years ago. I ate a lot of cheese and ice cream and everything else I’d been denying myself. Now that cheese was part of The Plan, I started looking at a box of Twinkies with the tiniest hint of a question mark.

Then I remembered what’s probably always and only been the problem, which is sugar.

How big of a problem? You’ll find out tomorrow.

One benefit of being a small company (a “mom and pop,” literally) is that when we need to take a meeting, we take a meeting. We don’t have to ask an assistant to ask someone else’s assistant to schedule one. No calendar invites. We turn around in our office chair and ask the other person, “Do you have a minute?”

One thing we’ve noticed is how often our meetings start about noon. They sometimes go a while, too -- which is unusual for us. Or not, once we remember what’s really going on: “Running avoidance.”

We run in the middle of the day as a break from the screens, but in the winter it’s such a project to dress warmly enough. As much of a hassle as that is, it’s more fun than running in the heat. Heat means sweat. Sticky. Sticky sweat. Yuck.

So after a while one of us will remind the other person the route isn’t going to run itself, and within a few minutes we’ve begun.

What are you putting off?

“May I interrupt you, please?”

You might be surprised how often Darrell and I ask each other that question, given how rarely -- if ever! -- the answer is no. But it’s the right thing to do. We afford everyone else we work with that courtesy. Why wouldn’t we treat each other with the same respect?

Acknowledging an interruption is a sweet way to lead into it.

Now you can build on the sweetness. Keep the exchange concise. Say, “I need this because…” Why? Because “because” is a magic word. It spares you the “why” and the “why now.”

“I need that bank statement because estimated taxes are due and they should be postmarked no later than tomorrow.” Okay, then.

Have you noticed what I’ve noticed about effective people? They never go “on and on.” They say what they need to say, with a few carefully chosen words. They put all the exclamation points in. And they understand the power of a well-placed pause.

Better stop there!

“I’ve been there. I know the feeling.”

It makes me wince to think of how often I’ve said something similar. It’s been a while, thankfully. It did eventually occur to me I can’t know how someone feels because I’m not that person.

30 RockKatie helped. As she grew up I noticed what worked when she was stinging from something. “Do you want to talk about it?” was a great place to start. “Please, tell me more” never backfired. Listening, really listening, was magic. I waited for an invitation before I said much of anything. It didn’t matter what I thought about what had happened. What mattered was how she felt about it.

And, sure. After the storm had blown over I wasn’t shy about asking if she wanted to hear about a similar storm I’d weathered. She always took me up on it. Her feelings had gotten their due, and now she could entertain other perspectives.

Your children can teach you a lot if you don't pretend you already know it all.

Have you ever lived with so much uncertainty you’re forever frozen with fear?

Sometimes I forget to be afraid, and it’s always because I'm taking action.

Begin. Keep going. And don’t give up. You might not “arrive,” whatever that means. But it won’t matter, because you will have become a better person -- stronger, more interesting -- for setting out, and staying the course.

You choose the people you work with. That’s easy to forget sometimes, but it’s true. There’s no law that says you have to work in this office and not that one, this restaurant and not the one down the street, whatever.

Are you tickled for the opportunity to be around your colleagues for hours a day, weeks and months and years of your life?

That’s what struck me about Jane and Kacey Klonsky, the mother-daughter team I interviewed on the show recently. Jane says she’s in awe of her daughter: “I’m totally in awe of her. I’m in awe of her as a person, and I’m in awe of her as an artist.” She elaborated with so much gusto I wondered if I’d ever witnessed more love in my life.

You can work with family and have it work. You can work with people who aren’t family but feel like they are. You can do meaningful work in a meaningful way, around people you like or even love. That’s the whole point, right?

“What’s your advice for people who are contemplating working with one of their parents or children?”

It was a question for Kacey Klonsky, a filmmaker and photographer -- toward the end of a recent show with her and her mother, the award-winning photographer Jane Klonsky.

Kacey’s answer was swift: “Don’t contemplate it. Try it.”

Well, then. I have no more questions! Right?

Nothing tells you more than experience. Nothing.

TaylorIf you don’t get a second chance to make a good impression, you’re hanging around the wrong people.

Oh, sure. To Grandma you might always be the smart one, the pretty one -- or the smart aleck, the problem child. Otherwise? I hope you gravitate toward people who are not only busy evolving themselves, but more than willing to give you credit for doing the same.