Textbooks tell us passive voice isn’t a good style choice for academic papers, but sometimes I like to write in passive voice. It makes me feel all reflective and philosophical. Breakthroughs in thinking are achieved by thinkers thinking thoughts around here. Yeah.

At this point in my life it isn’t likely I’ll find answers to my most burning questions in a textbook. Where did I park my car? Did I remember to lock the back door? What did I do with my glasses? Will there be a long line at the ladies room? Can I make it to ladies room? Should I have the cheesecake or another cocktail? Or both?

See, I don’t believe there are any theories about communication that haven’t already been beaten to death. I don’t rely on formulas to wrap up life’s challenges in a tidy little package. Tables and charts and graphs, oh my! They give me a headache. I want to do. I’m a doer. I want to experience the world around me in a meaningful way. I want to make people happy. I want to make some people just uncomfortable enough that they question what they are doing, but not so much as to cause a fist to cuff response. I want to share what’s in my heart and experience the satisfaction of helping someone realize their dreams.

There is nothing more exciting to me than to make a connection with someone based on a common experience or common goal. I have known great joy and passion. I have also survived the undercurrent of deep sorrow. No textbook ever written will come close to capturing my life experiences thus far or those yet to come. Alas, these days I find myself forced to dig into textbooks to find answers to other people’s questions. Of course, the benefit to me for taking this small step is an A in the classes I must take to reach my goal. Another unexpected benefit for my giant leap of faith, in going back to school, is that I’ve encountered people who challenge me to adjust my communication style. They challenge me to think and to respond in ways I usually don’t. Who are these people? They are the Millenials! It’s like being in class with my son to the power of forty and if I were anyone else, this might make me feel self-conscious. On the contrary, it is energizing.

I received quite a compliment today. As the instructor was writing something on the board, he commented, “Stephanie could have written the textbook for this class.” I may have been the only person who heard his comment. That’s okay, I heard it. He may have meant it sarcastically. That’s okay too. You see, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. I can get by without constant praise and turning an insult into a compliment is a hobby of mine.

39 thoughts on “One Small Step For Me, One Giant Leap Also For Me

  1. Susan says:

    He meant it. After making it a point to etch in everyone’s minds that he has his doctorate, the comment came at great cost to him even with an audience of one. He can try but he will never admire you the way I do because I get the unedited version. And (just sayin’) there isn’t much that beats surprising someone with the fact that you have letters after your name, changing everything in an instant like most nothing else, except, in spades, Air Force jet engine mechanic. He’ll never know the joy of either.

  2. Love your poppies, your choice in ice cream and have enjoyed visiting. What are you studying? I agree, a PhD is not for me.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Hey Georgette! Thanks for visiting. Those poppies are something, aren’t they? I snapped them at the Wildseed Farm in Fredricksberg, TX. I’m studying emergency administration & planning w/ a focus on dispute resolution. It encompassing my both my work and volunteer experience.

  3. I truly need to follow your example and return to the classroom!! I keep telling myself, now I need to kick myself in the hindquarters!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Val, I would tell you that the first step is the hardest, but that is trite and not entirely true. Every single day is an exercise in bending freewill to do my bidding. The epic struggle of lunatic woman against her genuine self. I have to say, getting started was a royal pain with a capital KING’S SPEECH!!! My transcripts were filed under my maiden name even though I provided all of my aliases on the application. For months I followed up only to discover on the last possible day to enroll in the classes I wanted (yeah, they were full) that my info had been in their “system” all along. Of course, processing my payment was no problem. I’ve added “IT IS SO WORTH IT” to my morning mantra. It’s working, for now.

      1. My problem? I just don’t know if a Ph.D at my age is worth it. Honestly

        1. Honie Briggs says:

          Only you can decide if the investment of time and MONEY will benefit you. My own goals aren’t so grand. I have a friend who just completed her Ph.D – I don’t think it’s for me.

  4. This post wins the Snappiest Title Of The Week award. Congratulations! You get…

    …to bask in the glory of winning the Snappiest Title Of The Week award. I mean, there’s no cash prize or anything, but as you wrote here, recognition itself is reward enough. Way to go and huzzah!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Huzzah Indeed, Mr. Petruska! Basking in the glory, thanks!

  5. you are probably way ahead of the instructor and he knows it, hence his “compliment”

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      The guy is pretty smart. I mean, he does have some letters after his name. So, I have to give him credit for that. Not extra credit, mind you. 😉

      1. yeah, well I have letters after my name too–and we all know what that proves………ha ha

        1. Honie Briggs says:

          LOL! LouAnn, you crack me up. Letters or not, you are awesome. (that’s a genuine compliment)

          1. coming from you that makes my day!

            1. Honie Briggs says:

              Well then, I can take the rest of the day off! Thanks.

              1. with my blessings–how about we meet back here at 5 for a beer or wine, or whatever you prefer

              2. Honie Briggs says:

                Happy Hour! I’d love to. First I have to take the online course required for all college students to assess my critical life skills about alcohol abuse prevention. Yeah, I’m not even kidding. The thing takes 2 hours! I don’t know how much universities pay to this vendor, but their website says they’ve certified 5.5 million students. I’d be more interested to know how many students they have prevented from going on a three day bender after finals. GAAAHHHH! This is what passes for awareness education.

  6. Whoa, I can relate to SO Much of this post, Honie. You nailed exactly how I feel. I am slowly starting to look for the positive, especially when evaluating myself. It’s a new concept for me and so incredibly empowering. Now if I can just get through my next year of college, I’ll be golden.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Evaluating ourselves with positive intent is empowering. I’m curious, what would make that easier for you? Because from outward appearances, you are confident and my god, Darla, you must know that your are freakin’ hilarious! Do you hold yourself to unrealistic standards? I must confess, I have subjected myself not only unrealistic standards, but damn near crippling ones. Taking it easier (not easy but easier) on myself really gives everyone else a breather too. Stress is contagious. I’m a carrier. Removing myself from a toxic work environment made a huge difference in my life. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to do it.

      1. Honie Briggs says:

        P.S. don’t feel obligated to answer my question. 🙂

        1. haha! Well, you know, for me it takes a huge shift in perspective. Getting those inner voices to go from negative to positive helps with confidence for sure. My best writing is when I crack myself up. If I find it funny, then by God, that’s all that matters (and hopefully others will think it’s funny too) Takes a certain leap of faith, doesn’t it? To give us permission to be ourselves, our genuine selves.

          1. Honie Briggs says:

            true, true, true. I think that is what shocks people most about me, my genuine self has a permanent hall pass. I’ve had bosses who did not like that at all, but I’ve had direct reports who loved it because they always knew where they stood with me and that I meant what I said. Fake isn’t in my skill set. Bosses seem to hate that about me.

  7. petrujviljoen says:

    I’ve taught ‘millenials’ and have taken classes with them as equals. They always challenge me to get off my high horse as a so-called adult. I’ve been humbled in that they often seem wiser than their years.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Oh to be young and know it all. I miss those days. 🙂 Conversations with my son bring back fond memories of the wisdom of my youth. When I was his age, he was in his terrific twos. (see what I did there?)

  8. lylekrahn says:

    Maybe you need to write the textbook on turning insults into compliments!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Textbook, probably not. Brochure for my two day seminar, absolutely.

  9. unfetteredbs says:

    I find alot of humor..mostly aimed at myself..when I am in class with the younger generation.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Humor, yes. As if I didn’t already have plenty of reason to laugh at myself.

      1. unfetteredbs says:

        Well at least we both can do that–

        1. Honie Briggs says:

          Sometimes that’s all I can do. My son is about a genius. He’s tried to teach me the ways of his kind and every now and then I get an inkling that I might have learned something. Hopefully one day he will confirm that I did have a clue after all.

  10. iRuniBreathe says:

    I think it’s brave of you to be in a class full of ‘unseasoned’ minds because sometimes the connections can be hard to find. Still, if you want to go and do — you go and do!
    Love the title of your post.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      These kids are so full of potential. They have great ideas and I love interacting with them during the breakout sessions. I’ve made it a point to get to know something about them each time we work in groups. It’s my favorite part of class. The title, yeah, I love it too, completely explains my situation right now.

  11. That is a true talent – finding compliments where none may have been intended!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Thanks Michelle. I find it beats looking for insult where there is none. Plenty of people prefer to waste their time doing that.

  12. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Old age and treachery will overcome youthful enthusiasm. Repeat as necessary.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Old farts rule, don’t they Allan? HA!

  13. artsifrtsy says:

    Ahhh – Millenials. I manage a studio full of them and feel like I’m constantly negotiating and restating things to fit into their comfortable place. I find it challenging, but I also love their earnestness. Sometimes I just want to cut to the chase and not examine every side of an issue with them – when did I become my parents? Good of your prof to acknowledge your experience, even if it was not offered in the spirit of encouragement. I like that you can turn it into a compliment – well done!!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      They are smart and ambitious. I think having a son their same age helps me understand the source of their indecisiveness. They have bazillions of choices and it is overwhelming. The compliment thing I learned from my loyal follower. When I say “idiot”, he says, “wife of an idiot.”

      1. artsifrtsy says:

        They really are smart, better informed for sure. I love working with them because of that. There is definitely a different communication style – I don’t always get it.

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