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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Closer

I love to write.   Lists, cards, letters, emails, facebook posts, blogs, notes from meetings.  Somehow writing down a thought, an idea, actions or the flow of a meeting make things stick in my brain.   Here in India one of the first things my colleagues commented on (and my superiors) was my propensity to take notes.   It was all so overwhelming when I first arrived; new organization, new names, learning to spell Indian names - I had no choice but to write, write and write it down.    I have been keeping a notebook for about 10 years, I usually go through a few per year and I save them.  There have been times I pull up an old one to check notes from the past...I guess I am ready for court should i need to prove my whereabouts!   My notebooks are a mix of personal and professional.   I usually write work items in the body of the book and personal reminders in the top margins of the pages.    The funny thing is that I almost always remember writing something down and whether it was at the top of the page, bottom, left or right side.   I guess you would call that a visual learner.

We are just finishing up the first 8 months in India (arrived in mid-August for those of you just joining my blog now).  I have used up my first notebook; Staples brand composition notebook.   In between the note book entries I have run through several packs of sticky notes that I typically attach to my laptop, bulletin board, wallet and iPhone for the "must do" that day.    However looking back on my unraveling black and white book, the progression of my journey to settling down in India unfolds.   The first pages list the necessary actions for survival here:
- get cell phone
- register at Police Office
- find cleaning supplies for house
- call Vet
- get parking sticker
- find orthodontist for William
These items CONSUMED me for nearly six weeks as I just tried to make sense of my new surroundings.   Flipping through the next set of pages, I have noted lots of names with their job positions, phone numbers that I needed to meet to establish myself.   By early November I can say I was well on my way to problem solving, dealing with employee issues and contributing to our organization.     December through late February seem frantic, notes in all directions, stickies stapled to pages as I assumed more responsibility and began to supervise an even larger team.    As of late my note book has contained  mostly meeting minutes and countless notes reminding me of the aspirations and grievances I hear each day from my team.  I have been traveling to our many locations here in India for face to face sessions; in addition to reminders on what hotel in what city, I keep track of who I meet and when.   Some of you might think, can't she remember?   The answer is yes, but I want to remember what I hear as well as what strikes me during our meetings becuase often the things unspoken are the most powerful to remember.   My notebooks take the following form - checkmarks for action taken, strike-through for no longer relevant and circled items for things still open and taking time.  

This week I start a new notebook; moving forward my goals, dreams, places to book vacations in Asia and a long list of people I look forward to meeting with and helping grow.   Maybe it's all in my head but somehow just knowing it's also in my notebook helps me make sense of my life, close out the items on my plate and know there is lots to look forward to.

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