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Oh, the horo

I admit it. I read my horoscope almost every day.

There have been some that were absolutely dead on right for that particular day. There have been a few times when the daily encouraged me to do something (‘today is a good day to ask for a raise’) or sidestep drama (‘avoid unnecessary interaction with co-workers’).

One could argue that I could ask for a raise or avoid confrontation without the prompt in the daily, but it is the daily that focuses my attention on it. Like putting something in writing, it solidifies it in the mind, seeing it in print. Does it draw in energy from the universe and force something to occur that wouldn’t happen had I not paid attention? No; it just underlines something noteworthy for that moment. A reader takes what they want from any text. Reading a daily horoscope is simply pausing for a moment, thinking about a few small suggestions for daily living, and deciding how to get on with the day. It’s a micro-meditation with a prompt.

Today my horoscope reads, “It’s a perfect day to sit down and make a list of everything you do well. Consider this little exercise as a way of taking a personal inventory. But be completely honest and include those things about yourself you would like to improve as well. However, there is no reason to be extreme in your judgment about your shortcomings. You don’t need to make major changes now; instead play up your strengths rather than focusing on your liabilities.” So here we go. Let’s make that list.

Things I do well:

  • Setting goals and seeing them through
  • Identifying resources to solve problems
  • Expediting processes

Things I’d like to improve:

  • Actively responding to criticism (discussing the details)
  • Work-life balance
  • Tolerance for risk

I wrote out my list early and looked for evidence of impact from the exercise throughout the day.  I could easily add a few items to either list above. Here is what I experienced:

  1. I noticed how much better I am now at listening to others. I am better at not checking-out and staying tuned-in on what they are saying. I am also better at not interrupting their conscious thought. I am more mindful of the type of responses I give (reflecting or personalizing).
  2. I drafted one email response to a group email and I felt exasperated explaining things, so I deleted the email and waited to see if someone else would respond, which they did, and I was glad I edited myself and waited because they handled it better than what I had written. I also wrote then deleted a tweet, deciding that I really had nothing of value to add so why add to the noise?
  3. Logging off when its time to log off is important. Wanting to tackle one or two more items before ending the day isn’t always a good thing. I shouldn’t bring my laptop to the kitchen to continue working while cooking dinner; it makes no sense. The human body and brain need time to rest. I opened wrong can of tomatoes for my sauce because I was distracted by the number crunching I was trying to accomplish. Dinner came out OK, but I felt dumb for having made the mistake and regretted not logging off and just winding down.