What success looks like

There’s a reason so many job interviews include the question “What does success look like?” Whether the interviewer or interviewee asks the question, it clarifies expectations for everyone. It helps in other settings too. A family traveling to Disneyland can use it to determine whether a successful trip means waiting in line to ride the most popular rides, meeting as many of the characters as possible or relaxing by the pool at the hotel.

Finding calm in the storm

As fall settles in, we are coming to terms with dealing with the coronavirus without the consolation of pleasant weather and familiar routines. Characterized by pandemic, economic disruption, social unrest and even murder hornets, it’s no overstatement to describe this year as stormy. 

Beneath the surface

I didn’t know what I was doing the first time I pruned the fig tree in our yard. I approached it like a sculpture where you just cut away branches until it looks good. Of course, within weeks my mistake was obvious as the new growth exploded out of the branches chaotically, like teenagers flying out the doors and windows when the police arrive at a house party. When my father-in-law, who grew up on a farm in Italy, saw the mess, he joked: “See if the police can catch the guy who did that to your trees.”