WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

May 31, 2012

WordFood of Love

My friend Lori is extremely busy. She left a demanding job as a partner with a tile company a few years ago to take a break and found herself even busier, taking on responsibilities working at a hospice, learning and then teaching Italian, getting and then training a dog to be a companion to those in need. Now she is deeply involved with animal rights issues.

Our friendship has spanned thirty years. As Lori has gotten older she has taken on bigger and more complex projects. Her time is more precious. We don’t talk very often and when I do call, I usually find her in a highly preoccupied state.

Today, I called and got the usual. “Hi honey, look I don’t have time to talk, my Italian student is late, I have a deadline to meet, she knows this drives me crazy, can we talk later?”
“Lori, I only called for one thing.”
“What’s that?”
“To say I love you.”
“Oh. Thank you darling.”
“You’re welcome.”

We can get so in love with our busy-ness and our activities that we forget to make room for those we call our closest friends. Sometimes we need to just take a moment and breathe, and let someone love us.

When a child wants to hug you, are you too busy to take that extra few seconds to cuddle? When your mom wants to say something to you on the phone, are you in a hurry to hang up to get on to more important things? These ARE the important things.

When we look back on the times that were important, we think about the exchanges we had with those most precious to us. Not the big deals, the contracts won, the high fives with the guys at the office. It’s the WordFood of love that we were fed by our children, our parents, our beloved friends, our family members.

Who in your life needs five phone seconds from you? Who is so busy, so preoccupied, so busy in life that an “I Love You” message would be a bright spot in their day? My beloved friend Lori reminds me that I’m the one who needs to call her.

Whose life can you brighten today?

May 30, 2012

WordFood of Empathy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julia Hubbel @ 11:42 am

Two incidents recently reminded me of how important it is that we step outside ourselves and be in someone else’s shoes. This week I called a client at Chevron to stay in touch. It was a sales call, a friendly maintenance call. When I brightly asked him how he was doing he said, “Not so good, my father just died about ten days ago.” Well instantly my demeanor changed and I offered my heartfelt condolences, and we spoke quietly about fathers and legacies and losses. He spoke about what this meant to him and the work he was doing and if he was making the right difference in his life. It was an important conversation for both of us, and very important for me to be witness to this man’s quiet words of introspection, to be respectful. To offer WordFood of grace for where he was at that moment, and absolutely leave my needs aside. This is what empathy is, to step into another’s shoes, to feel what they feel, to get outside ourselves. We spoke for about twenty minutes, agreed to talk again soon. It was a warm, uplifting conversation that touched us both.

Then the other night I got a call from my trainer from Bally’s. He was unhappy that I was cancelling a large training package because of damage to my knees that has left me unable to walk without pain. His concern? His $700 commission, not my damaged knees. The whole conversation was about his lost commission, with no empathy about the months I’ve spent at the hospital getting therapy, MRIs, xrays, shots, and now possibly surgery. This young man isn’t expressing any empathy at all. As a fitness fanatic, of course I want to continue training- but I can’t. He only cares about his commission, not my welfare. When I do get back to training, it will be with someone else.  Now for my part, I can fully understand his concern about his commission, but had he shown a little more interest in the bigger picture of when I could get healthy and get back to the gym and train, well, that  would have been a different conversation.

Empathy allows us to hear another’s suffering, feel their pain, and give comfort. Be a friend.  Every day we have an opportunity  to get outside ourselves and be larger. Give WordFood of empathy to someone in your life today.

May 27, 2012

WordFood: Baby Boomer Destinies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 6:37 pm

My friend Karen is about to take on a new job. At 61 she is ending a tough 12 year period where she tried being an entrepreneur in the Inland Pacific Northwest. It didn’t work out. She developed a considerable following for her regular essays which were very well written, a lively spiritual commentary on seeing things in new ways that eventually became a wonderful book. She led seminars and retreats, she was a very capable facilitator. But her business never took off. Ultimately she moved in with her mom and took on what she felt were very menial jobs for a few years, well below her dreams of helping people find their great purpose in life.

She wrote me today and said, “I’ve felt since I was little that I had some magnificent destiny to fulfill.” Now at 61 she was getting ready to take a job to make sure she had a secure future, far from the perhaps more glorious future she had imagined many years ago.

Are you at a point in your life where you’re railing at yourself for what you haven’t accomplished? Are you entering your last thirty years and unhappy that your grand destiny never showed up? Life showed up instead.  And here you are, perhaps not in the shape you’d like to be, a little grayer,  and this is just not what you had in mind. And you and the mirror aren’t getting along.

I told Karen that I finally realized that my destiny wasn’t arriving in some hazy far off future. Life wasn’t a dress rehearsal for a someday. It was happening every single day. The lives I wanted to impact were all around me. In the grocery stores and the airplanes and the street corners. In the buses I ride when I travel. They are in your children’s faces and in your friends. Destiny is life, and life gives us a chance to transform people with our kind words all the time. I had to let go of my big fat egotistical notion that I was meant for bigger and better things than what was going on around me. What was going on around me was my real work.

The great teachers: Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, all of them taught the common man. So many of their lessons were about how we talk to each other every day. Stories about them abound about how they treated everyday people. They taught by example and they transformed lives. That is destiny- in a life lived by example.

We need to stop telling ourselves that we must be measured by how famous, rich, publicized, popular we are. These things mean little. Our ticker tape parade is the joy that lives in a child’s eyes when we play with them. The pleasure on an old man’s face when we take the time to listen to a story. The smile on a friend’s face when we pay a gracious compliment. This is your destiny, your grand moment. Seek it. It awaits you.

May 25, 2012

WordFood from DiversityPlus

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 1:39 pm

This morning right after an important conference call with a client I was honored to get an email from DiversityPlus Magazine: CONGRATULATIONS!!! After careful consideration you were selected as one of the 2012 Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity and a profile of your accomplishments will be featured in the May/June Issue of DiversityPlus Magazine and distributed at the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) conference in June in Orlando, FL.

Now that’s WordFood of the highest order. I do work in this world and count myself fortunate to try to make a difference for folks who want to sell to big companies. I also train employees who are members of network groups in huge corporations. But as an entrepreneur you don’t expect to get noticed. The people who usually do are the Chief Diversity Officers of these huge corporations who have the budgets to do big things for a lot of people.

But here’s the real hero. It’s people like Paul Lachhu at Diversity Plus who work so hard to make sure others get noticed too- that there are people in the field doing good work in addition to these powerful corporations. Thanks to Paul for helping get my name in the mix but especially for all the very hard work he does all year to uplift the diverse companies and suppliers that he meets and admires and believes in. He’s the one that should be getting an award. My thanks to his magazine and to this wonderful man for all that he does in the diversity industry that has done so much for so many. Kudos to you for your dedication.

Women and WordFood

This week I was in New York City at a huge formal bash. It was a big black tie event put on by the National Minority Supplier Development Council and everyone was dressed to the nines. I had flown in from Denver, where we are pretty casual much of the time, and I was having a lot of fun being surrounded by all these women in flowing gowns and men in their sharp tuxedos.

About halfway through the evening I was working my way through the tables and came across a woman in a particularly stunning dress – it crisscrossed her body and made her look like a million bucks. She was facing away from me, and I touched her arm to get her attention. “You look absolutely amazing in that dress,” I told her. “You’re a complete knockout.” Her face lit up. “I really needed to hear that,” she said. She went on to tell me that she doesn’t hear that kind of thing enough- and that my compliment made her feel really good.

Women can sometimes be a little catty with each other, especially about appearances. “That dress is too tight,” “Her makeup is too theatrical,” comments that tear each other down behind our backs. What we all need from each other is support and love: outright support, acknowledgment face to face. I love to compliment women: on their clothing, their hair, their strong arms, everything about them. What their warm reactions teach me is how hungry we all are for acknowledgement. We want to be seen for how hard we work to be pretty or handsome or to do well.

Those seconds it took to give this lovely woman a kind word made ME feel like a million dollars that night. The gift was to me as much as to her for her graciousness. It’s a constant reminder of how powerful our WordFood can be.

May 22, 2012

Romantic WordFood

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 5:59 pm

My boyfriend once commented that couples that he knew had lost their spark. Something had gotten lost, the physical attraction was gone- along with other aspects of their relationship. We both wondered at this, because this isn’t a problem we have. We see each other about six times a year, and one of his sweetest characteristics is the wonderful WordFood he feeds me every time he sees me: compliments. He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. And I try to give as good as I get. That results in high anticipation- we can’t wait to see each other. What happens though, when people end  up together, the years go by, and familiarity takes its toll? Is this just inevitable? I don’t think so.

Pat, a neighbor of mine, came by while I was weeding last Sunday. She’s been married for 55 years, and we were discussing this very thing. “It takes being willing to find the good about each other every day,” she said. “Looking for what’s right and not what’s wrong. Remembering why you married that wonderful man, and not thinking about the dirty socks on the floor or an open refrigerator door.” Sure, we all have our bad habits. But to keep the magic in our relationships we need to look past that and keep on valuing each other’s best parts, those aspects of us that shine.
In order to make it for the long run, and to make it magical, we need to continually find what is wonderful and good in each other and compliment it. Resist pointing out bad habits. We all know they’re there. If we want help with them we’ll ask. What we’re hungry for is kind words, to be seen as the Prince or Princess Charming we once were in your eyes.
When my guy does this for me, it keeps me at the gym, working hard. Dressing up in my best. It’s a powerful motivator.
The relationships that last are marked with kindness, respect and the romance of WordFood. Try it sometime.

May 21, 2012

Harmful WordFood

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 9:19 am

Do you have a part of you that likes to gossip? Many of us do. This negative part of us is also secretly fun- although invariably at others’ expense. But has it ever come back to bite you?
Let’s say you have a friend who is treating you badly, or so you think. You go around to all your friends and complain bitterly. You tell your story with yourself as the victim (as we all tend to do). Your friends take up your cause because they love you. Over time they form a mini “army” of haters against this person and lobby you to leave. Yet over time, you realize that perhaps you were wrong. You learn more. And realize that this person was pretty great after all. Now you have this army of haters that you now have to turn around. They are going to wonder what’s the matter with your judgement when you now want to be with such a horrible person.
You’ve got a responsibility now to clean up your act, and it’s with all your friends. With each of them you need to let them know you’ve been a gossip and that you badmouthed another person unfairly. That it wasn’t fair to that person, nor was it fair to your friend to engage them in such an ugly conversation. And from now on if they hear this kind of thing coming from you to call you out on it. Ask for their help. By doing this, you’re reading your unattractive gossipy part the riot act. By enlisting your loving friends in keeping you in line, you’re cleaning up your WordFood and you’re taking responsibility.
Have you created challenges with harmful WordFood? Engage your inner circle to keep your words supportive and uplifting. Keep gossip out of your life, and leave everyone around you feeling nourished and encouraged.

May 19, 2012

Words to Improve Relationships

My neighbors, Marge and Everett, are in their seventies. Since moving here in 2006, I’ve visited them every so often and we’ve had a good connection. I’m single so sometimes I’ve had to ask Everett for help around the house, often using his long ladder to climb on the roof to dust the heavy snow off my dish during football season.
Just the other day when I again asked Everett for help with a recalcitrant spigot, he told me that Marge was beginning to have problems with my requests for his help. She’d been on meds that made her memory problematic and she was increasingly insecure, so she didn’t like my coming over and dragging him off. In addition, I hadn’t been over just visiting as often lately.
So yesterday I went next door and asked to see Marge. Twenty years ago Marge had been a senior manager in the health care system. We sat down in their living room and I asked her for help. She was a little confused. “I am developing a proposal for Catholic Health Initatives,” I explained. “And I could use your insight, opinions, background and knowledge about the healthcare industry.” Marge flustered a little, but then her face lit up. “I can do that,” she said. “Let me give it some thought. I’d like to help you.” I said I’d be back in a week with a notebook and pen and we’d get to work.
The truth is I could use her help and I really do have the potential for this work. And including Marge on this proposal is perfect for us both. This solves the problem of Marge’s discomfort with me, and it also gives us a great way to work together and she is likely to give me great ideas for my upcoming work. What a win win.

I had gotten selfish in using Everett for my own needs, and stopped thinking about how Marge also needed attention. Sometimes we get so caught up in life that we don’t consider others’ needs, especially those of older people, parents, people with so much still to offer.
Where might you create a WordFood opportunity to engage someone to make them feel valuable and important to you?

May 18, 2012

WordFood gets some nice words of Praise

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 12:01 pm

Wordfood:How We Feed or Starve Our Relationships was awarded first prize in the business category and second in the self help category by the Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association in an awards ceremony last night here in the Denver area. This is high praise indeed from this organization of writers, editors and publishers, and I thank them. There were many more books entered this year in the competition so that makes winning even more special. I’m deeply grateful to the editorial team of Orvel Ray Wilson of Guerrilla Selling, Barb Munson, Karen Saunders, Kerrie Lian and Ted Simmons who did such a magnificent job on this wonderful book.
The book is available on Amazon.com and is a wonderful gift to anyone who wants to transform their interactions at the office, with their loved ones, with their clients and customers, friends or family. Gracious thanks again to CIPA and its judges for their kind decision.

May 14, 2012

Essential WordFood

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julia Hubbel @ 7:52 am

Sometimes we have moments when our less attractive “parts” come out and belly up to the karaoke mike of life and spew out unpleasantness. We don’t like to admit to those aspects of ourselves, but they are us, facets of us, and we can insult and hurt others. The most important thing we must do in these cases do our best to breathe in and either try to stop that part from soldiering on, or, if possible, take responsibility for the damage and make an apology.
Last week while in Baltimore I had an emergency. Some nasty critter bit my ankle and landed me in the emergency room for four hours, and I was in terrible pain. By the time I got to the hotel I was exhausted and still in a lot of pain, on crutches and cranky. At the counter, the manager and I got into an argument about how many nights I was staying. It spiraled out of control. He threw my credit card at me and I used foul language at him. We ended up agreeing I’d stay but the atmosphere was black between us.
As he carried my luggage to the room, I suddenly realized that I was in the wrong. I turned to him and asked his forgiveness immediately. I said that I’d had no right to be so rude and apologized profusely.
The look on this man’s face was profound. His whole countenance changed. He relaxed. He smiled and said, “I accept your apology.” And we were fine. Just like that. And I felt worlds better.
We all have moments when we are tired and irritable. It happens. Our egos get invested in being right and we get rigid. That small serving of humble pie was a gift to us both. He and I passed the rest of that evening in gracious exchange.
Are there times when a moment of humility, words of self effacing WordFood can transform an exchange?

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