Do you remember stories that were told in your family? In my family, my grandfather used to tell, “Billy the Mountain Goat” stories. Now I was too young to remember any of them but for those who heard and know them, they are treasures.
In this article, “The Storyteller of Marrakech,” the author tells us about the 1,000 year old tradition of story tellers in the public square. The tradition had been dying out due to noise, traffic and the general “busy”ness of modern life. The story has a happy ending (a new home for the story tellers and young people coming to hear them and learn).
But it got me thinking about stories.
In my family there are stories about my kids when they were little. I shared them with them as they got older. Then I shared them with their friends and ‘significant others’/ spouses and now they are having children; so I look forward to sharing them with the next generation. This is an easy tradition and one we all likely follow.
But what about all those stories that are part of our religion, heritage, ethnicity, tradition, neighborhood, town, city, country? Do we work to keep them alive? Do we share the stories that mean the most to us with others? Most importantly, embedded in those stories are the guideposts, pillars, mile markers of our shared journey. If we let them die, we miss giving our children the one thing that might just help them through the dreaded darkness.
Today I ask you to reach out to one person and tell one story. Any story. And remember the power of a story to change a life. So as the Moroccan storyteller says, “Nothing is certain, but everything is possible.”
“My dear, here, we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that,” Alice In Wonderland
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.
People without food, homes, jobs, health. self-respect, family, etc. don’t have many choices. Most of us have a ton of choices (like the cereal aisle – 100 kinds of cereal – really?)
We’re so invested in our comfort and conformity that we literally say… we have no choice but to… work a job we hate, stay in relationships with people who harm us, believe things that make us hate other people.
Here’s a little inspiration by Liz Strauss. I don’t know Liz except for her twitter posts. but I really loved this.
Be a treasure.
Start a quest. Create and conspire.
Be a mentor, a leader, a teacher. Inspire.
Be a beginner, a learner, an adventurer. Aspire.
Shine at being you.
Shine because being brilliant is what you do.
Do it because YOU have decided you’re living up to being a treasure.
Do you understand that you are a treasure? Do you know how much you can influence the world? Start with yourself. If you’re not sure where to begin– try being quiet; the answers will come to you– I promise.
Maybe you’ve heard of a company called Zappos. In 1999, they began selling shoes on the Internet. I remember thinking… no one will buy shoes online. I was wrong! In less than 10 years, Zappos hit $1Billion in sales.
What’s even more amazing about Zappos is their culture. It begins and ends with customer service. I mean real service. Sad that a focus on the customer is so unique.
But the real magic of the organization, according to CEO Tony Hsieh (pronounced “shay”) is in the hiring. When interviewing at Zappos you might be asked,
“What’s your theme song?” or “How weird are you?”
By asking these questions, Zappos finds out if you’re flexible, creative, funny and interesting. So would you want to work in a place where these were the interview questions? I would.
I’ve often said I’m a little too weird for the normal people but too normal for the weird people. So add this (maybe) to the list of interview questions to prepare. What’s your favorite interview question?
When I was on unemployment, I was really happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love having my own business but getting paid to meet people, learn new things, think about my potential, help people and so on was great.
If you are unemployed, do you see yourself as lucky? Are you having fun? Are you showing your children how to thrive in times of change? (Believe me, whatever changes you have seen in your life will be child’s play compared to what they will go through.)
Put on an elaborate puppet show for your kids (fun, colorful socks work great)
Join (or start) a book club and actually read the assigned books
Write a thank you note to an inspirational high school or college teacher
You may or may be surprised at all the “yes buts” I hear everyday. “I would join a book club but when I go back to work I won’t have time.” ” Why should I help someone else, I need help!)” blah, blah, blah. Just do it, you lucky, lucky dog.
Ok, you need to have a resume if you are looking for a job and all those things the ‘experts’ tell you about resumes are true.
-Tailor your resume to the job
-Don’t ANNOUNCE that you are dinosaur (older like me) or just out of school
But you don’t have to use the same old format that everyone else uses. You can (and should) be creative with your resume. For instance, make sure that you have live links in the electronic version so the person reviewing it can easily link through to company websites or other content.
Orange resumes is a cool site that helps you create resumes that show a potential employer how you are different. As you look through the samples, you’ll see that you can create something “different” that is also very good, appropriate and even enhances your positioning.
I know you’re saying, but those resumes are for creative types and I’m an
enginneer/finance person/blah blah
Let’s go back to the goal of your resume… hmmm… The goal is to get an interview.
If you create an interesting, results-oriented resume that also shows you are creative and the organization doesn’t want to talk to you, then maybe you don’t want to work there. Just sayin….
Creativity is like soap. Just when you’ve got it in your hands and it feels good – it slips away. Many people don’t understand that creativity needs to be nurtured; others think that creativity is just for “artists.”
Creativity is an important component of a happy life. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the kitchen, the garden, the classroom, the boardroom or the cocktail party. It’s really more of an attitude and a skill combined.
How does a creative person behave? How do they think?
Who do you think is creative? Watch them, listen to them, support them.
Not sure how nurture your creative side? Try this – 29 Ways to Stay Creative.
There was a blog called “In 3 words” that would pose a question and then ask people to submit their three word response. A typical question was: “What’s the last thing that made you want to tear your hair out? ” — which elicited responses like, ‘my older daughter’ and ‘bosses bad day’.
One of my favorite bloggers, Chris Brogan, took the concept and suggested that people use the idea to come up with 3 words that will be their guiding pillars for the year. Yes, I know it’s March, but it’s never too late to get a new lease on personal and professional growth. For 2011 — his 3 words are: package, reinvest, flow. Not inspiring to me personally but I’ll bet they are helping Chris focus. Here are some of the submissions this post elicited:
Smile, Fight, Create
JUICY SO WHAT? WORTHY
Get OUT There!
Challenge, Empower, Collaborate
Passion, Confidence, Balance
Pleasure, People, Publish, Practice (Louise can’t seem to follow rules!)
Integrity, Wisdom, Patience
My 3 words are: This One Day. My goal for 2011 is to conscious of the day, every day as I live it. That includes paying attention to my surroundings and the people I come in contact with as well as accomplishing my daily work. Looking forward to hearing about your 3 words.
Ok, today we’re playing jeopardy. I’m giving you the question: What is Quora?
— A tool for improving dental hygiene?
— A movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor in WWII?
— An element of new math?
— A supplement guaranteed to help you lose 50 pounds in 3 weeks?
Give up? If I told you it was another social media tool and that it’s pretty cool, you would never have started reading. But I tricked you… (are you still reading?)
Quora is a “continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.” Hmmm, sounds like Wikipedia. Here are some ‘questions” that I’ve opted to follow:
I enjoy teaching because I love that moment when I see my students nodding their heads. Eureka, they are getting it! Light bulbs are going off! It’s a great feeling. But even more importantly, my students always teach me so much; about myself and the world (as they see it!)
If we are parents with children at home; we of course recognize that teaching them is part of our role. But do we also see that we are students of our children? That they are teaching us as much as we are teaching them?
Everyday we meet new people. Are we open to learning about them? To learning about what they have to teach us?
Everyday I set a goal of seeing if I can make a difference in someone else’s life by doing something small like: listening to them, thanking them, noticing how hard they work or how much THEY make a difference. It’s a simple and small thing but it gives my life meaning. The well-known poem Desiderata puts an interesting spin on this. Here’s an excerpt from this simple guide for living a happy life.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.