Confession. It’s been nine months since my last blog entry. And before I get to a recipe I’ve found for getting awesomeness back, there’s a bit of a back story. Last fall, I worked to heal a minor tweak in my back, and it took some time to get my rock climbing mojo back. At the same time, a big work project consumed most of my creative juices.
Climbing in Joshua Tree National Park
In April, I got my climbing groove back on in Joshua Tree National Park, thanks to Matt Walker and Inner Passage. That story will soon become a back story blog entry. In June, I had a surprise ambush date to Munich, courtesy of the Best Boyfriend in the World. That also deserves a back story blog entry – it’s a totally fun story to tell! All of the awesomeness couldn’t compete with this nagging problem – I had neglected my passion project. I had given into resistance, I was losing the inspiration I had received last summer from the Management Innovation Exchange and World Domination Summit. Heck, I felt like I was even letting Kid President down after he gave us all such a wonderful Pep Talk. I had yet to advance my plans to make the world more awesome, and the resulting lack of personal integrity meant enthusiasm gained in Joshua Tree and Munich had a slow, persistent leak.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, posted a question on Facebook this weekend “Agree or disagree? ‘September is the other January.'” Having spent Labor Day weekend in somewhat of a sabbatical mode, I couldn’t agree more. Even though summer doesn’t technically end until the autumnal equinox on September 22nd, I’ve prepared myself for the start of a new season by saying goodbye to the summer ales and sundresses, cleaning house, assessing old projects, and teeing up some new ones. With the year being 2/3 over, it brings me back to the question asked in January in the post New Year’s Day; Renewable Enthusiasm Day: Are you living? Or are you merely growing old? How are you doing so far with that whole “living” thing?
What is really living, anyway? What makes you come alive? What if someone, (oh…say, me?) challenged you to choose your own adventure to find out exactly that?
I loved those Choose Your Own Adventure books. Growing up, my girlfriend and I would act out these adventures across the large farm where her dad lived and worked.
In the past month, I attended two conferences that have had a profound effect on me – so much so that I’ve spent reams of paper mind mapping my notes, trying to make sense of the shift that’s happening in my brain, in my psyche, my outlook. At the MIXMashup In San Francisco at the end of June, I heard Gary Hamel tell us that the 100 year old technology that is management is broken and we haven’t either been aspirational enough or angry enough to fix it. I have often bemoaned that organizations “suck the life blood out of you,” and here is a group of people saying, “nope – it doesn’t have to be that way, and we’ll show you how.” Their case studies are written up here: http://www.managementexchange.com/.
In Portland at the beginning of July, I attended the World Domination Summit, organized by Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity and the $100 Start-up, who asked the 1000 attendees, “How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” One way is to become a micro-entrepreneur. Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation, said that what the entrepreneurs in Chris’s $100 Startup book had in common was that they have something great to offer to others, they have a website that depicts this clearly, they have a means of accepting payment, they believe in themselves, and they’re not waiting for anyone to fix our economic problems….or, I’ll add, our organizations. Continue reading →
There are people who are so sick of the word “passion” that they shudder visibly when they hear or read about it. It’s trite. It’s overused. It’s hype. In my earlier post, The Passionistas vs the Passion Skeptics, I revealed a little of what the Passion Skeptics are writing about. They don’t want you to face “the grand betrayal of the false idols of passion.” Stop being so self-absorbed. It’s not about you. Focus on the world’s needs. You have to suppress yourself to get ahead. Get in line with reality.
Passionistas send a not so subtle message. CC: RESPOND TO FALSE IDOLS by andeecollard, on Flickr
I believe people are unhappy with the word because it’s too simple to explain the complexity behind it. Passion is overused. Passion will break your heart. Passion will lead you down a broken path. We can’t stand to watch people getting played by over-simplistic romanticism and tear-off calendar truths. We get frustrated and blame the language. Continue reading →
When was the last time you consulted your inner child? Yes, I know. You’ve been working like crazy, taking care of everyone but yourself, and your weekends are spent sleeping in, catching up, running errands, catching the game on TV. But when was the last time you turned off the TV and filled in the blank, “When I was a kid, I dreamed of being ________” and then compared that to your adult self?
“The creative adult is the child who has survived.” – Ursula K. LeGuin
“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
– Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle
In my previous post, I asked, Are You Resisting? My answer is yes. I am resisting clarifying my vision of my life, of this blog, of my work. So, I did what I do best when I’m resisting: read, research, and reflect. I used to call it procrastination, until I realized that my resistance usually means something. Sometimes it’s full of shit, but this time my pause meant that there was something to be figured out. Thus, a diversion on my path to clarify my vision for 2012: What is resistance all about? Continue reading →
If you’ve endeavored to sit down and figure out your New Year’s adventure, resolution, consecration, theme, grand scheme, take-over-the-world-and-take-no-prisoners plan, and you find – “Squirrel!” – yourself – “Oh, look, a new email.” – distracted – “hahahahaha, I love that video!” – perhaps you might – “this is stupid” – be facing – “I don’t need no stinking resolution” – a little resistance. Continue reading →
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
– Zora Neale Hurston
Speaking of Beautiful Questions, New Year’s Day has to be one of my favorite “beautiful question” kind-of-days. The start of a new year brings the opportunity for a fresh start, a time to regroup, set our intentions for the upcoming year. Since I’m also a procrastinator by nature, I’ll note that it’s perfectly ok to also leverage Chinese New Year, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other milestone to do this. But New Year’s Day is a freebie. The world has slowed down, so why not seize the moment for yourself to do the same? Continue reading →
A new friend of mine wrote a wonderful blog entry about asking beautiful questions. As a researcher and Professor of Sociology, questions are critically important in her field. The beautiful ones, she broke it down for us, will always lead to more questions.
“That is the beauty of such a question, it doesn’t stop. A beautiful question asks everyone who comes into contact with it to respond. Not everyone will respond of course, that’s free will. Beautiful questions don’t rest, but rather are generative. These are the questions that create more than they stay still. Beautiful questions inspire discussion, debate, engagement, inquiry and reflection.
“Beautiful questions are also really HARD.”
Tonight, about a week after being introduced to the concept of beautiful questions, another friend asked a group of us one of the most beautiful questions I’ve ever heard.
Just a bunch of pansies. (They are actually quite a hardy plant, so why the pejorative?) Photo by KitAy on Flickr
I’m a bit of a cold pansy, I admit it. Actually, pansies are tougher than I am in the cold. So when it snows in October, on the weekend of my New River Gorge Climbing and Yoga retreat, you can imagine my distress.
Don’t panic, I tell myself. Perhaps I’ve just never been properly dressed for the cold. (I’m new at this badass lifestyle, remember.) I stop by North Face and Patagonia to get an education on layering. Two and a half hours later, armed with a Capilene base layer and PrimaLoft synthetic down jacket, I barely escape DC’s Friday rush hour traffic and HOV restrictions. Continue reading →