What makes you come alive?

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.

Choose Your Own Adventure #16 - Secret of the Ninja

Adventure was easy as a kid

Adventure was easy as a kid…

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Renewing the enthusiasm of our organizations

Our organizations – private sector, academia, non-profits, public sector – are in trouble. Tomorrow, I will attend a conference that’s dedicated to rewriting the design rules of the organization, with the goal of creating:

…organizations that are resilient enough to change as fast as the world is changing, inventive enough to imagine a whole new way to create value, inspiring enough to invite the full passion, imagination, and initiative of the broadest mix of people, and mindful enough to find a way to win without others having to lose.

It’s exciting stuff. I’m interested in finding, following, living, and sustain my passion. It’s a topic that’s confoundingly easy to learn about and often difficult to execute given the state of the world. To find a group of people dedicated to making organizations a welcoming place for passion and imagination? I must be dreaming. But before I tell you about the MixMashup in San Francisco, a back story.

MixMashup

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Operation Generosity – an experiment in a different kind of love

Put Aside All Anxious Thoughts and Be at PeaceYesterday, I answered the call to transform Valentine’s Day into Generosity Day. I decided to hand out quotable cards and magnets to random strangers on my commute to work. I wrote inside the cards and on the envelopes “Happy Valentine’s Day – Share the Love!” and then used the envelopes for the magnets. Armed with my small bit of generosity booty, I left for work. Operation Generosity had begun.

It was a lot more difficult than I expected.

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Passion: hype, annoying, or…it’s complicated?

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.

RESPOND TO FALSE IDOLS

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

Stop the Acronyms – and P.S. …

Some of my favorite tools that help me renew my enthusiasm are pissed off today. My social bookmarking service, Pinboard, has a banner protesting SOPA and PIPA. WordPress.org has strayed from its “no politics” policy to write this blog entry, Help Stop SOPA/Pipa.

And when Wikipedia is mad, I’m rightfully concerned. So, I’ll just take Wikipedia’s prompt, I’ll put in my zip code to contact my local representative….hold on just a second while I type that out…. Continue reading

Can we redesign our approach to mental health?

One of my guilty pleasures is to grab a cup of coffee on the weekend and read over the transcript of advice columnist Carolyn Hax’s Friday live chat. Why guilty? Because when you get your head wrapped around your own axle, it’s sometimes good to be reminded that everyone has their own set of issues. And Carolyn gives such practical, non-nonsense advice, that I almost always learn or reinforce some “get over your own ego” lesson that I needed to hear.

There are times, though, when the problems people face are sobering. Repeatedly, you read stories of people actively resisting therapy or counseling as an option. Just last Friday in Carolyn’s chat, one person wrote in about her chronically unhappy friend. Carolyn recommended encouraging the friend to get screened for depression:

“For understandable reasons, going from zero to therapy is actually more difficult than getting screened, in part because therapy often involves a burdensome search for someone who offers the type of therapy you need; is a good fit as far as location, hours and chemistry; and who is affordable and/or accepts any insurance, much less your plan. Plus there’s the obstacle that I find totally crazy-making, the perception of therapy as an admission of weakness, nuttiness or defeat, none of which is true.” [emphasis added] Continue reading