Author Archives: Harbridge Christina

Yes We Can, But

But is a verbal bummer.

There is no reason to use the word But. (However, Nevertheless, etc)

It is such a downer.

President Obama said on The Daily Show this week:

“Yes we Can…. BUT.. it isn’t going to happen overnight.”

Although grammatically correct it sounds negative.

“Yes We Can, and it isn’t going to happen overnight”


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New toy – eye tracking

Interesting ….oh how will we use this little toy….?

If anyone has experience with it, please let me know. Wanting data before I take the plunge.

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Is it me? or are people just hugging more these days?

I have noticed a trend in the business world. As I walk toward people, instead of the traditional “Let me give you my flu” handshake…. I’m getting the hug and even an occasional kiss on the cheek.

People seem to be warmer of late. Slower. More deliberate in their moments of relationship than I have seen in a while.

I like it.

That’s all. I don’t have any poetry around it. I just like it.

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Free Will

A quote and a video (and a chortle) for Hobbes and Schopenhauer

“It goes back to the beginning of our discussion. Aristotle believed, correctly, that courage is the first of the human virtues, because it makes the others possible. Courage begins with the decision to face the ultimate truth about existence: the dirty little secret that we are free. It requires an understanding of free will at the archetypal level — an understanding that we are free to define who we are at every moment. We are not what society and randomness have made us; we are what we have chosen to be from the depth of our being. We are a product of our will. We are self-made in the deepest sense. One of the gravest problems in life is self-limitation: We create defense mechanisms to protect us from the anxiety that comes with freedom. We refuse to fulfill our potential. We live only marginally. This was Freud’s definition of psychoneurosis: We limit how we live so that we can limit the amount of anxiety that we experience. We end up tranquilizing many of life’s functions. We shut down the centers of entrepreneurial and creative thinking; in effect, we halt progress and growth. But no significant decision — personal or organizational — has ever been undertaken without being attended by an existential crisis, or without a commitment to wade through anxiety, uncertainty, and guilt.”

– Peter Koestenbaum

What I thought about when I snorted water through my nose laughing as Saturday Night Live’s Dora (Muraka)  said, “Does Mittens really have free will?”

at about 4:21

Damn funny and inspiring as heck.

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Holding hands to a balcony

A glorious vacation in Florida.  Beach, best friends and the boy-child.  (thanks Trudy for that term.)

We geared up for a 3-hour drive through a torrential downpour to get to the promised land.     Disney World.  On the entire ride my son corrected every adult who made the verbal mishap of saying “Disney Land.”

He and his new best friend Tesla in the back of the car.  They did so well on the drive.   Things got a little tense at times as I sat wedged between two car seats.    I showered attention on both of them as I tried to keep my eyes on the horizon to calm the belly.

We arrived to an amazing hotel.  Quite shocking actually.  Beautiful.  On the way in there are couches and the ceiling has LED lights that are stars.   Every once in a while there is a shooting star.  We flopped ourselves down on the couch (in a sleeping position) and the kids oohed and aahed at the ceiling.

Then something happened.  I comforted Tesla who was looking for her mommy.  Sebastian repeated something with a boo-boo lip he had said before, “You talk nicer to Tesla than you do to me.”

Now, he had already said this to me earlier.  I told him he was right about part of it.  I did notice I was being ‘corrective mommy’ a lot.  I told him I’d work on my voice and be mindful of it.

He isn’t used to sharing me.   He was turning a little green as he went on to point out other things that were not fair.

I started to distract him with something else.  We were waiting for the rest of our party to finish dealing with the luggage and the car.  I then sat between them and stroked Sebastian’s hairline.  I did what I am learning works really well with kids, I told him a story.   A story about how when I was little I was very jealous of my sister.  She was better at everything than I was and my dad loved her more.  He took her to special things, like the ballet, and would write poems with her.  Me?  He referred to me as the “mouth of the south” because he hated my southern accent.  He also didn’t like how prissy I was.  I was very girly-girl.   (Please know, my dad was an amazing dad for me, there was a time when I was little that I just didn’t know him very well.)

I told the story at a very low level of context with a lot of detail.  Sebastian got a furrowed brow.  I held his hands and I said, Mommy had to make a choice.  I could choose to be unhappy and sad OR I could choose to love my sister, your Auntie Li, MORE than my dad did.   I have a little picture of her in a ballet outfit posing for our dad.  It became my favorite photo and every time I felt sad about my dad I would just love her more.  I ended up loving your Auntie Li more and she became my best friend.  Love is like that.

Sebastian, I love you and you are my baby (although I’m not supposed to call you a baby anymore) boy.  I also love Tesla.  She is a part of our family.  Can you love her too?

He didn’t answer.  Tesla jumped up to go to the fountain.. Sebastian ran and grabbed her hand and started singing “Let’s make a wish.. Let’s make a wish.”   After many pieces of coin thrown in the fountain, Sebastian asked me what I wished for.   “A happy family.”

He wished to be a Ninja.

It was time to check-in.  Sebastian grabbed Tesla’s hand and they walked to the counter.  They walked all over holding hands.  Sebastian kept hugging Tesla.  She hugged him.

Lorianne was having a lovely conversation with the woman behind the counter.   I watched her from afar just loving how she can talk to anyone.   I watched the kids walking around holding hands.

I walked up to the counter and the woman said, “Your children are adorable. “   It seems she liked them so much she upgraded us to a balcony room just because we had cute kids.

I held hands with my best friend Lorianne as we walked to our upgraded room.  There is something special when you see the love you feel for each other on the two kids walking in front of you.  Precious moment.

We choose what we do with our hurt feelings.  They can define us, destroy us or even be the adrenaline that succeeds us… what I hope Sebastian learns is not to ignore them.  Feel them.  Feel them.  Feel them some more.  And then.  …Then choose something.   Choose happiness.

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Hiring with a free toy inside


Years ago I realized the whole hiring thing is funky.  (and not in a deep bass brass monkey sort of way.)

So I created all these weird ways to lighten the whole process up and help people be more real.  If we can all be more real in the business dating phase… we can end up making it past the uncomfortable ‘don’t talk too much about yourself’ first drink.

So.. over the next decade or so I thought I’d sprinkle these in.  The weird ideas that have leaked out of my brain into the marketplace.  Some work really well and some, when used for manipulation or in the hands of a “playah” fail beautifully.

We interview weird.  I won’t go into our whole process here.- I am on vacation and it is long.

A quick one that  works tremendously- quick and easy.

During the interview process.. randomly.. ask the person what their favorite breakfast cereal was as a kid.   STOP TALKING.  Let them feel something.  It is awesome what happens.  Make sure YOU tell them yours.  Talk about it.  If they say “Captain Crunch” bond with them on the whole “why does it tear up the roof of your mouth” thing.    You will notice people lighten up after that question.  It is nice.   We use it a lot in other ways.  it is better than alcohol.

Then.  Do your whole hiring process.  I hope you have one that figures out a way to make people real.

Then.  On their first day… assemble your entire team around a table and serve the newbie (have enough for your team) the breakfast cereal they mentioned.  Everyone eats it.   For the first 1/2 hour they interact with people.  No paperwork.  No weirdness.  Just let them know they matter.  That first day, make it count.  When they go home and they get the question “how was your first day,”  they will have something to say.  A little uptick to the feel good body chemicals.  (If your work environment really sucks, you likely do not want to do this.  It will set mismatched  expectations.)

Reducing anonymity is the key of the first day.  The cereal will make you fat (usually) and it will create a connection.

We once had a guy in our interview process tell us he ate fish and rice for breakfast.  He was raised in the Philippines.  This was pre-internet google.  We researched all of our friends from the Philippines and we got the recipe.  On his first day, in a crock pot… “voila.”

He still talks about it today.  His mom did end up sending us the right recipe.. it seems we didnt’ get it right.  Wink.

What you do on a person’s first day matters.  Their first day is not when they are hired – it is in those few seconds when they walk past the potted plant no one has noticed in years and says hello.

Make it count.  Count Chocula if you didn’t have hippie parents.

More later.

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Circle time

I suppose every action we take is one of two things: a tradition or a moment.

I sat in circle time this morning. For the last time. Sebastian is graduating from preschool today at 6pm. Silverspot has been home to us for almost 3 years.

One of the mom’s looked at me during the circle time. A look. I started sobbing. Calvin, 3, leaned against me and just cuddled me. Moms across the room nodded and held my gaze.  Sebastian sat on my lap holding my hands really tight.

Sebastian. Well, that was interesting. From the moment he was born he has not really ‘needed’ me. When we go into a new environment, he has always just said, “bye mom.”

Today. He wouldn’t let me leave. “Momma Play.” So I played. “Momma, circle time.” So I circled timed. He cried and clung to me in ways he has never done. Talking to me in a baby talk he hasn’t used since he began talking in sentences. Which was about 3 days after he learned to say “dah-dah” and roar like a lion.

I guess the time just passed by like a Brisbane night wind. We had all this tradition. Making lunch, walking down the hill, the cubbies, the art.. all this… tradition.

We are both a little unnerved I think. Regressing back to the time he was a baby. He sat on my lap and leaned back and asked me to hold him like a baby. I teared up.  He spoke in one-word sentences.  I cooed.  He wouldn’t let me leave.

Then he went to sit on the couch and read a book by himself. He wouldn’t say goodbye. Wouldn’t look at me. Just read a book.

I walked away. Mom’s grabbing me on the hand as I walked out. “I’ll see you tonight.”

I wonder why it is always at the end of things that we realize the true impact of them. When we are in it, the clock gets in our way, we hurry.. we rush… we blur.

I arrived home unable to work today. So, I moved a bookcase, packed up for our graduation trip and, well, cried a lot.

I painted IN IT behind the bookcase before I screwed it to the wall.

I’ll miss that preschool.   I’m excited to find Sebastian’s favorite toy mouse behind the bookcase.. missing for the last two years.    Along with a Lego head and the picture of some intestines.  Oh the pieces of our life that get lost in the nooks and crannies.

I’m a lucky girl.  Sad today, a bit snotty, and lucky.

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Mom your business

My sister is brilliant. Really. She says stuff casually.. sort of under her breath at times.   It often changes my life abruptly and in such a great way.   She does things that just do not show up on a bio- that matter so much to the world and others.  I admire her.

A few months ago she dropped a whammy that I’ve been practicing the past few months. It has been, um, profound and simple in execution.

She said that what she and Jay taught the girls (she has 3: 21, 23 and 26)… about boys.. is..this  “Do not listen to what they SAY… watch how they act. People tell you a lot by how they act.  Words are easy – behavior is transparent.”

It is really kind of cool.  I started listening more to actions rather than the words of those around me.  Trying to do so without judging them.  Just noticing how we say things and we don’t always match up our words and our actions.  Not judging them because, of course, I realized I am not syncing up either.  In my business I do this thing called “somatic linguistics” that intersects words, physiology, group dynamic etc…  Switching to separating words from behavior has been interesting.

And, humans do this a lot.  Act differently than what we say.  I started noticing the incongruence with what I said to people and what my actions showed. It slowed me down a bit. Made me self reflective in a good way.

I realized I say I want to reduce “Us and Them” in our culture and yet my actions do not always show it.  I’m not doing the tough important stuff to grow my business to truly make that happen.  I’m skating a little at times.  (Not a reference to the Roller Disco, I mean skating in a not so good way.)  Not enough focus.

I’m easily distracted because I like people and all too often do more than I should to please them.  My behavior is not matching what I teach.   I am easily distracted from what I know I need to do because I am incessantly curious and want to learn every second of every day.  Kind of lags execution a little.  Excuses excuses.

I am not often curious in my own life.  I teach curiosity and I ignore it too.

To wit:  I get a lot of e-mails about my blog.  It is neat.  I like that.  I look forward to comments and emails.  A friend from Cleveland asked me recently if this was a business blog or a personal blog.  He couldn’t tell and thought maybe I should make it clear or something. (It was a loving e-mail, not snotty at all.)  He asked me why I would do a business blog that distracts prospects by talking about my child.

I thought about it well past the dial tone.  I am thankful for the distraction.  It is another version of my US and THEM.  There is the US (business) people and the THEM (friendship) people and the lines are often blurred.  By being both in this blog I suppose I am only pleasing one person – me.  and… the real purpose behind the blog that I suppose needs to be said.  Just in case you are reading this thinking it is about my work.

I created this blog for my son.

Right after he was born I had all these crazy nightmares about ..oh crap.. I can’t even write what they were about.   Too scary.  I had nightmares about me leaving the planet.  How would Sebastian know who I am and how much I want him to never let the accidents of life dictate how much happiness he can glean from it.  That we don’t always get our preferences and if the story is still sad, it isn’t over yet.  (My sister told me the part after the comma.)

I created this blog so my son would know who I am- who his mom is.   Just in case something happened to me.  So that the silly videos of me with him as a child had more depth into who I am as a person.  What I think and how I am in the world.  Not just a mommy blog about him – a blog about all of me, my warts and the things I see.    I tie it to business at times because it just makes sense to me and, well, it often ties to what I do for a living.  I tie it to parenting sometimes because, well, it often ties to what I live for.  Sebastian.

“Who of us is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive?  The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.” = Peter de Vries

I suppose if I think about it, parenthood is also making me a better entrepreneur too. ( I’m just wish the team around me would ask why as many times as Sebastian does.  Seriously, that boy can ask why 17 times without even blinking.   His desire for a deeper dive is incessant.  Most of us in business need to answer the why questions that aren’t being asked.  We need people around us to fight us on the unimportant things we want to distract the business with.)

So.  Back to behavior and actions.  I am naturally curious.  I say that.  I’m not sure my behavior this year shows it.  So, there you go Sebastian.  Your mom moments before her midlife crisis.  A friend of mine today said I am not having a midlife crisis, I am having a “medically induced” crisis.  If you don’t know me, you have no idea what the heck I am talking about.  Sorry, this blog, after all,  isn’t actually for you unless you are 4 and my son.

The realization that I am  just like my parents and their parents and Sebastian if you are reading this 30 years from now, YOU as a parent.  Life’s little incongruencies… the ways human behavior just doesn’t make sense at times.  I’ll keep trying….

(and blogs that do not end with a well-thought-out-bow-tied-around-it that makes it all make sense.  THAT is your mom, son.)

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