We just posted our June column, Red & Black ... Racing To Launch, which was shorter than usual because sometimes you just run out of hours in the day. That situation seems to be timeless (pun intend), which is why the column's still relevant. It explains why this site was created (educators asked for online resources and fans let us know how Red's crisis had so many parallels to their own challenges). What the column doesn't address is how it went from a "skeleton site" in June to the more extensive site we actually launched. Chalk it up to another timeless concept … life rarely goes as planned.
Want to read other columns? Here's a list.
Chanukah is known as the Festival of Lights(and if you’re not sure why, scroll down to read Black’s analogy to cars and cell phones), but it’s about more than just menorahs and potato latkes. It’s about bringing light into darkness, about hope, and the power of faith. Important beliefs during the holiday season, regardless of what holiday you may celebrate, and throughout the year.
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At the risk of Black coming up with another
potato analogy, for me, Chanukah's
about potato latkes. The childhood memories of our dad grating
pounds and pounds of potatoes to the point where I'm not sure I could see our
kitchen table to many decades later my eldest daughter taste-tasting latkes
from an assortment of places. (I love to
cook, but latkes are a lot of work.)
Of course, the lighting of the menorah is also such a special part of the holiday celebration, whether the electric menorah that my parents had where you would "twist" each light bulb as the nights progressed or the more traditional menorah with candles that my daughters and I light each year (and never leave unattended).
|I never cease to be amazed by the miracle of Chanukah (regardless of whether you spell it Chanukah or Hanukkah, or some other variation ) and how the oil that was only supposed to last one day instead lasted for eight days. It is as if your cellphone indicated it is at 12% but lasts eight days. Or, if the gas gauge in your car indicates you have 25 miles left, but you are able to drive 200 miles. Sometimes things happen that defy logic, and that is where faith takes over. And, a belief in something bigger than all of us.
Tomorrow is the start of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, which celebrates hope and miracles – and who could not use hope and miracles?
Thanksgiving’s in the rearview mirror, and the New Year is within sight, so we’re in the midst of what Red calls the “silly season”. And she’ll be the first to tell you that when you feel like you’re running in circles, looking at the “big picture” is the last thing you want to do. While Black understands Red feels that way, she explains why Red needs to do it anyway,
I look 20 years out and where I want to be … which makes it easier to make day-to-day decisions as I ask myself whether they are pointing me in the right direction. It does not mean I will not make exceptions – but those are conscious decisions. And, I always remember that life is a journey … not a destination.
Which is why the fourth section on our new site (which we can’t wait to launch in the new year) is THE BIG PICTURE. Offering tips and tools (and calorie-free food for thought), we’ll cover topics ranging from Black’s backward thinking to putting your life in perspective, relationships, finding purpose, and finding small (and easy) ways to remember the “big picture”.
So, when you’re ready to tackle the bigger stuff, we’ll be here. Meanwhile, since we’re heading into the New Year, when you might want a “new attitude” or “new approach”, we thought we’d share some of our favorite posts about “big picture” topics:
When Red first heard Black talking about the importance of "soft skills," she didn't even know what she was referring to, let alone that they would be important to her life. So, Black explained that it was a term used to describe intangible but essential skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, communications, and conflict management.
Red, trying to be sarcastic, then asked if there was such a thing as “hard skills,” Black matter-of-factly told her those are tangible and technical skills such as computer skills.
Of course, Black couldn’t pass up an opportunity for sarcasm and explained that although there’s consensus about the importance of soft skills, there’s debate about what they should be called, with her favorite being the Texas Education Agency (TEA) calling them "21st Century Skills" – although she's old enough to remember they were important in the 20th Century, too.
But would anyone call them “Mom Skills”? Well, Red couldn’t help but remember the time Black told her, “Your job is every bit as demanding as a corporate position, and, in fact, you use many of the same skill sets.”Not something Red could ever have imagined, but it made sense once she better understood what soft skills are and how they are used. But then Black took it a step further,
Soft skills are transferable – between your personal life and the workplace (and from industry to industry). If you recognize that interpersonal relations have existed since Adam and Eve (or “caveman” days), and technical skills are constantly changing and there is no way to predict the careers of the future … it is easy to see why soft skills will always be needed.
It's funny, but now that Red’s familiar with soft skills, she not only recognizes them in day-to-day living but sees the impact they have (and the problems caused when they’re lacking). Our new website may not have SOFT SKILLS as a major section, but since it’s one of Black's passion projects, it will have a special place.
Until then, here are some of our favorite posts showing how soft skills affect us on a daily basis (OK, the Ferrari one about negotiating skills may not affect many people, but the message will):
- COLLEGE & SOFT SKILLS: My son’s going off to college but doesn’t know what he wants to study …
- COMMUNICATION: How Do You Communicate? Blah-Blah-Blah Or Bullet Points?
- CUSTOMER SERVICE: RED & BLACK … May I Help You?
- LEADERSHIP: RED & BLACK … Leaders All Around Us
- MOM SKILLS: Translating Mom Responsibilities
- PERSUASION SKILLS: The Fact Is … Don’t Use Facts
- NEGOTIATING SKILLS: A Perfect Day For A Convertible. And For Chutzpah.
- PROBLEM-SOLVING: One Person’s Problem … Is Another’s Challenge?!
- SPOT THE SOFT SKILLS: Selfish, Shallow … And Svelte?