“Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies … and it will not come again…” Gwendolyn Brooks
It’s been a long, cold winter and yes, it’s only February. But since I got my dog, I am outside several times a day, no matter what the weather. This. is. good. It helps me to be acutely aware of the birds, the squirrels, the ice, the temperature, everything.
For today, I encourage you to exhaust each little moment. Pay extra attention to the person talking to you. Taste that food. Smile more. Laugh more. I record America’s Funniest Home videos and watch it when I feel blue. It snaps me out of whatever negativity I might be feeling.
It’s easier to stay home than voyage, isn’t it? Will you share your secret for exhausting the little moment?
If you don’t know Gwendolyn Brooks, check her out.
BSS = Big Shot Syndrome – Have you got it? Before you say NOooo … Ponder these questions… there are no right or wrong answers.
- At work, do you think more about the money you make or what you’re learning? (You have to pick one, you can’t say both)
- How often do you do volunteer work?
- Do you regularly work more than 50 hours a week at your job?
- Do you have a creative hobby that you actively pursue (have fun with every week)?
- How much money is enough? In other words, if you had x dollars, would you stop working and relax?
- Do you think about your legacy? (Not the money you might leave but what will you be remembered for?)
- Do you shop for recreation?
- Do you believe that the car you drive is symbol of your status in society? (Does driving your car make you proud?)
Ok, enough with the questions. The idea is for you to figure out what you are doing with your life. We all have obligations and of course we want to be good providers, but do we sacrifice our well-being, our relationships and our health in order to be a big shot?
These are questions only you can answer. If you think you’d like to be more aware of your choices, be more conscious of how you spend your precious time — then you might start with this article, “How Much Money is Enough?” If you want something meatier… you might try Rochester’s own, Pam Klainer’s book, “How Much is Enough,” where she helps each of us explore the power of our own ‘money story’ and how to use the story to help us craft the life/legacy we truly want.
Photo Credit: Diamond Age jurvetson
I recently gave a talk in front of a group of senior executives (older folk) who are ‘in the hallway’ (looking for work). I was talking about the collaborative economy and I made a reference to Porter’s 5 forces model. Now, you may never have heard of this, no big deal. But for a group of people over 50 who made over $100,000 in their last corporate job; it surprised the heck out me that only one them had heard of it but couldn’t accurately describe it.
Let’s be clear, on any given day… there are 1,000′s of things I don’t know and this has nothing to do with Porter’s paradigm specifically. My comment to them was, “good thing this isn’t a job interview.”
I work as a consultant so I go on a ‘job interview’ several times a month. As I’m networking, I never know who is going to be a connection to a gig.
Fuzzy Tennis Balls? This article, “13 Weirdest Interview Questions – 2014” offers us some of the oddest questions people were asked (submitted via Glassdoor). If you got this question in an interview, how would you answer? Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, thank goodness I’m not looking for a job or I’m going to pray that I don’t get a question like that. That’s one approach.
How about this? What if you use these odd questions as a chance to stretch your mind? Just for exercise. Talk to someone about it over lunch. Ask your kids what they think. Have fun for crying out loud.
For those of you who are looking for work, old or young, remember the goal of these questions is for the interviewer to see how you think, how quick you are on your feet, what happens to you when faced with a (small) challenge. Do you stumble and stutter or do you let your creative juices flow? Creativity requires practice so I suggest you play games, answer silly questions, get out those crayons; maybe you’ll get that job after all.
Photo credit: Tennis Kevinzim
One big difference between adults and kids is their attitude towards learning. Kids just go with the flow. They seek out new ideas and adventures. As adults, most of us are pretty complacent. This is normal, but not good. One way to keep learning while keeping up with all our daily responsibilities is to read blogs. People tell me they don’t have time… to read, think, learn, etc. Really? Do you have time to be a role model for your children? Here are the ones I like…
1) Mashable.com bite sized news of the digital world & relevant biz stuff.
2) Occam’s Razor web stuff including analytics, measures, etc. clear, lucid and insightful
3) Escape Into Life awesome art of all kinds
4) In Over Your Head Julien Smith’s occasional writing on hitting life — head on
5) Laughing Squid various music, stuff and nonsense
6) Soulpancake.com art, science, humor, philosophy designed to open your mind
7) The Atlantic Monthly blog short and long thought -provoking articles, photos
8) The Inspiration Room “a global effort designed to influence, affect and involve creative communities in the development of a world standard for inspiration”
9) The Cynical Girl “Hard core punk rock pixie of the apocalypse. Blogging about work, money, power and politics. And cats.”
10) Outside Innovation Patty Seybold’s blog on enabling customers to lead the design of your business processes, products, services, and business models.
Photo credit: Hand Over Mouth Mel B.
There’s that line from the movie Forest Gump… “stupid is as stupid does” … well, there’s stupid and then there’s bravely awesome. Clay Shirky, one of my favorite authors, says…
“My motto for 2013, adapted from Agile Programming precepts = What Is The Stupidest Thing That Could Possibly Work?”
One of the reasons we keep doing the same thing over and over and don’t innovate… is that we surround ourselves with people just like ourselves. It’s human nature. And if someone sounds different or has goofy ideas or looks different; we forget to value the difference. We discount them based on whatever. The goal of diversity is to OPEN up the pool of ideas and thoughts. Recent research shows that large corporations that have women board members are more profitable than those that don’t. This only tells part of the story.
Real innovation must come from change and change takes courage. We’d all still be hitting each other with clubs if there weren’t some of us willing to create tools to go get food.
The more we think about things and try to ‘figure it all out,” the less likely we are to take the risk. The most successful parts of my life.. traveling, new jobs, speaking in front of large groups, etc. all came to me because I didn’t think about what might happen. I just did it.
We don’t have to engage in foolish risks without considering how to mitigate them, but letting “risks stop us from doing new things” is the safe road and on the ‘safe road’ only the guy with the biggest club will survive and I’m not having that.
Photo credit: Projectile Placement skycaptaintwo
“Life is like a ten-speed bike… most of us have gears we’ve never tried.” Charles Schulz (creator of Charlie Brown comics)
I’ve led a rather colorful life. I had the advantage of growing up in a difficult family environment. Why do I consider that an advantage? Because I can empathize with people — in fact almost everyone. Pushing myself is part of my DNA and my life circumstances.
So what’s that go to do with the 10 speed bike? Well, because I know what it’s like to be hungry and scared… I’ve probably used a few more of my gears than others. Would I wish difficulty on anyone – no. But I can tell you that it made me the person I am and I am happy that I have challenged myself in almost every aspect of life.
So how do we figure out which gears we’ve used and which gears we ought to try? It’s a matter of understanding where we’re comfortable. Trying a new gear has to do with making a conscious choice to do things differently.
Here are my energy gears:
- before I’ve had my tea BUT I wake up everyday in a great mood. (it’s truly annoying to those around me)
- reading, skimming, thinking, meditating
- making art in my little studio or creative writing
- at work, talking to folks, making sure I’m present in my day
- starting something new or pushing through an existing project
- talking in front of a small group – less than 50 people
- talking to a big group > 50 people – energy needs to be really high
- going into a room full of strangers and talking to people (takes everything I’ve got)
- Not sure what this is..
This is only one measure of the gears that relate to the amount and kind of energy I need to summon. What are your gears and what pushes you use new ones?
Photo credit: Snowed In Chris Metcalf
People close to me… ok, my husband and my daughter specifically… told me I should get a dog.
“You love dogs… you’ll really enjoy having a the unconditional love…. they’re so much fun!” They said it to me often enough and I finally relented and here she is. Her name is Gildie (means ‘celebration’ in Icelandic) and she’s an Australian Terrier.
I call her a terrior’ist’ because she attacks the world with a quiet ferocity. She doesn’t bark a lot… she just waits until the time is right… sizes up her opponent..(right now that’s often a two liter soda bottle rolling around on the kitchen floor) and then in she goes for fun and exercise.
I’m exhausted from all the up and down and in and out. It’s a relentless schedule of training, positive reinforcement and the occasional distraction/accident/discipline.
I can see why my family wanted me to have a little companion. She reminds me of the basics of life…
– Don’t sweat the small stuff.. and it’s all small stuff
– Be here now. Wherever Gildie is… that’s where life is best. Be in the moment
– Love is the answer
– Curiosity is a wonderful thing
– Remember to play, rest and make friends
There will likely be more updates from the puppy front. In the meantime.. what does your pet teach you? I’d love to hear.
These steps are based on my years of experience of doing it wrong; so I have it on excellent authority… my own happiness… that if you follow these steps … you may not be ecstatic..but you will be in a a better place.
1. Sit quietly for 5 minutes a day
2. Stop whining (you live in the wealthiest country in the world)
3. Stop gossiping (including judging other in our own minds or out loud)
4. Be grateful (write down 5 things you’re grateful for 2x a day, no repeats for 30 days)
5. Learn new stuff – especially stuff that is hard
6. Find someone to help (outside your family)
7. Shut up and listen (for a change)
8. Exercise your body and willpower daily
9. Walk tall, smile, be gracious
10. Be grateful — this is really the key to everything.
At the most difficult time of my life, I kept a gratitude diary. Once a day I wrote down 5 things I was grateful for…and I couldn’t repeat anything. After 3 months I had incorporated gratitude into my daily thinking. That was nearly 20 years ago and I still reflect on all my gifts everyday.
Those tremendously sad years gave me the one thing I needed most – a way to enjoy every day – no matter what is happening around me. The idea and accompanying serenity are yours for the taking.
Photo credit: Partners in Community Development
My kids favorite book was Professor Wormbog’s Gloomy Kerploppus.
What did they love? the silly pictures? the way I did the voices of the various characters? or simply the comfort of snuggling and reading the same story over and over – completely predictable in an unpredictable world. As children we are naturally attracted to what interests us. We are open. Life is compelling and fun. Do you still feel that way?
Check out one of my favorite bloggers – Julien Smith - his post 19 Thoughts on Finding Your Purpose. There’s a little something for everyone here. I particularly like…
“Go through your childhood and find what interested you. Combine those things and add a trend or two. Do it right and you’ll have a great business.”
What did you love as a kid? Do you still do it now?
If you can’t remember what you loved as a kid– think about how you can remember? Smells and sounds can be evocative so remember those childhood foods and songs and see if that helps. Ask someone who knew you then how they remember you.
What book, stuffed animal, cartoon, movie, friend, house, toy -do you remember? See what you can learn about yourself today.
As I kid I loved to read and write. I had a very difficult and unhappy childhood but I still remember sitting in an orange wing chair (oh the 70′s!) next to a window where birds chirped all day. Those books and that chair took me places where I felt safe. Now I look to find ways to help others “find their way.”
What did you love as a child and how might it help you be happier and more fulfilled today? You can do it!
I’m fortunate to have 3 grandchildren under the age of 4 and yes, it’s as fun as everyone says.
There’s joy in watching them grow but there’s also a BIG LESSON. Here it is…
They fail… a lot. And they do it with a big smile. They fall down, the say words wrong, they make ridiculous observations about us…
How about us? When did learning become something SO serious. We get older and suddenly we have to be good at everything? If we have to learn something new we get impatient, even angry at ourselves for not:
learning fast enough/being smart enough/knowing how to do it and on and on.
If you aren’t “falling down” regularly, you are probably not learning very much. That’s why being a parent is an interesting journey. You are guaranteed to fail regularly (whether you realize it or not!)
Today, you have a choice. Learn something new, take a chance. I’m getting ready to learn a new kind of art. I’m a little freaked out. What if people tell me they don’t like it. What if the stuff looks ugly? This is what risk takers face everyday.
Write down the top 3 risks you are taking this week/month/year. You can tell if it’s a real risk if you feel like talking yourself out of doing it and you have all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it worked out in your head. So please, fall down, take that risk. Tell me about the risks you’re taking and I’ll keep you up to date about my art experiment. Everyday I’m talking myself out it so I know it’ll be worthwhile.
Photo credit: Zazzle.com