Thursday, January 23, 2014

Paying Back

It is in the middle of a business day and I'm sitting at a curbside on Santana Row. I'm waiting for a business colleague to join me. I'm exciting about meeting her; she is an accomplished woman in another division of the company I work for.
It is a fabulously pleasant day. Warm sun and mild breeze.  Everyone is in their light jackets; pretty warm for a winter day.
I'm sitting here, waiting, and people watching. The crowd can be divided to two categories: 40% working professionals and 60% parents with their young kids. It's so fun watching the wobbly toddlers walk and moms and dads relaxing around.
I got through my meeting. My meeting companion was such a sweet lady as I knew. It was a great one hour chatting about work and our backgrounds. Like always there was this question whether I married through arranged marriage. If I went to school in Iran. If my sister who is a dentist studied abroad. If I could work in Iran.
It makes me smile with amusement answering these questions. Makes me feel grateful for  the opportunity to educate yet another person about the reality of that land.
It was great meeting her. She is so bright and positive and with high energy. Loved her insights and grateful for her time. When I told her I was feeling bad of taking her precious time while I knew it was all for me she responded that she was paying back.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Biscuit and Taxi Driver

3:45AM and on my way to the airport. No appetite for breakfast before I left. When I rode the car, just to avoid motion sickness, I took out the small box of cookies from my bag and took one out.

Me: do you want a biscuit?

Taxi driver: no thanks! I just had a banana.

Then; Taxi driver: where are you from originally?

Me: Iran.

Then; Me: why do you ask? (Thinking if it were my accent triggering the question)

Taxi driver: because many few people ask if I want a biscuit.

Me: !!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

To Recharge Self Esteem Go to Motherland

Unexpectedly I feel happier here since we are back.  It is ten days since we left Iran and I miss my family and I wish I could be there but I am in harmony with where I am now too.
For a long while before I left to visit my motherland, I was fighting this random theory in my heart, that everyone around me was happier than I was; the school moms, the coworkers, the neighbors. Somewhere in the process of feeling unhappy and sorry for myself I had doubted my self worth and self esteem. I was apologetic, then felt mad at myself feeling apologetic.
I am back now, feeling strong, loving, capable again.
I think what was actually happening was how I had missed being loved and respected the way one is among her family and long time friends.  In the short time I was there I was overjoyed with love and attention from family, relatives, and friends. In the last evening at my mom's for example I got to talk to my oldest uncle on the phone whom I hadn't talked to for several years; he said I made his day when he heard my voice.  This is so routine in Iran perhaps, to hear such loving words from a relative. But to me it was much needed, like water for a dried land; priceless. It was a memory to cherish for eternity. And it was one of hundreds of examples that are now sweet loving memories in my heart.
I think I was away from my motherland for too long. I will plan to go back as frequently as I can to recharge, to feel rooted again, to love and feel loved. Enshala.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book: Power Talk - Notes to Remember

Notes to remember from the book:
Power Talk - Using Language to Build Authority and Influence
- Language from the center directs rather than responds, makes statements, contextualizes with authority, contradicts, argues, and disagrees, and practices affect of control. It sounds like competence, knowledge, and authority.
- Language from the edge responds rather than directs, asks questions, contextualizes with protective strategies, avoids open argument, and practices conversational maintenance.
- Think about your goal or intention before a conversation.
- Consider analyzing yourself after conversation with either of the two styles of language.
- Match your style with your intention.
- Your voice message tells stuff about you.
- The language of your work setting can be like a "foreign language" to be learned. Listen to the words and styles in the meetings and learn.
- After the meetings do some research to learn what was heard and what was remembered.
- Figure out the language of your work, then figure out if you can adopt it, then figure out if you want to adopt it. If positive, practice and practice.
- Work and its daily politics is like war. One must choose her battles and her weapons.
- Early in the meeting most want to talk about their opinions so they don't listen. Bring up your strong and new ideas in the middle.
- "Neutrality complements authority"
- If you are committed to the value of your opinion, rephrase it and say it again. Be concise and don't give up.
- Direct when you can and step back when you should.
- "This (job) is war.  You want to win. There will be costs. Choose your battles - and your weapons."
- "You can call your style 'team management' if you want but remember that teams are full of internal politics, turf wars, competitiveness, and resentment. Teams need a captain, a leader, or a cox. They want their leader to be wise, fair, and enthusiastic."
- "Since words produce something only approximately like what we mean, meeting face-to-face offers the best chance of clear communication."
- " E-mail is not private."
- "If the idea is thirty second old, it's probably too hot to pass along. Reflect, let things cool, then share."

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Year

No chance to stop and ponder on my life to come. My life is now and has no pause click. My life is passing right in front of me and now I want my life to flow within me. I am living. I am life.
We are home now, not settled yet but that's a matter of time. Work has resumed. I need to gain the working mindset again.
I have new goals and new thoughts and plans to achieve them.  I liked this article in Forbes, so decided to share it even though I don't usually share articles in my blog. I found it timely and aligned with my thoughts, hope you enjoy it!
Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Taxi Driver's Wisdom

Taxi Driver: where are you from?
M: Iran.
TD: Tehran?
M: Isfahan.
TD: how long in Istanbul?
M: just today.
TD: why?
M: have you been to Iran?
TD: 30 years ago... Bus...
Iran potential is big. But [point his finger to his head]. Gas. Petroleum. But no economy. Closed. Only Islam. But democracy is good. Little by little. [opens both hands to the boulevard] this could be Iran.

First Time in Istanbul

We arrived at Istanbul Airport around 7AM local time for the first time on the first day of the new year. Sleepless and tired, yet excited to explore a little bit. After leaving our luggage at the airport for a fee, we found the Sheraton hotel shuttle where we had reservation. As soon as the shuttle doors opened in front of the hotel lobby it was evident that we were in an American environment: American music which was nicely blended with Turkish hospitality.  We were promised to check in earlier, around 10AM rather than 2PM.
We lounged in the lobby and A started watching Harry Potter.  It is a beautiful hotel, close to the airport located at the harbor front.

We got our room keys at 11AM at last. Knowing it would take that long we would have planned our day differently, leaving our carry on in the lobby and heading to the city center earlier.
This Sheraton Istanbul Atakoy is the best Sheraton I have been to. Comfortable yet elegant with view if the harbor front. Now I wish we were staying longer.

We headed to the Sultan Ahmet district. It was awesome! Old stone covered allies with small shops. I prayed in the Blue Mosque. We walked the ancient streets and had lunch. We watched a lady weaving carpets. We asked of the price of a beautiful silk carpet where the guy claimed that Turkish carpet was "the original" and not comparable with the Persian rug. It suddenly made me feel betrayed.  Even more so when I saw many other handicrafts claimed of being the originals. I wish we Iranians deserved our heritage more!
I really enjoyed our stroll and I hope to come back, soon! Enshala!