Instead of writing New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to write a Manifesto, helping me focus on what matters most this year. It has been a powerful process and I can only encourage you to write one of your own. Here is what I came up with:
Time is of the essence. Time is limited and plentiful all the same. What am I waiting for? For someone else to act? It’s time for me to connect the dots for maximum impact.
Sustainably. Responsibly. Boldly.
Uncovering the essence is like a complex puzzle.
Of people. Of communities. Of organizations.
We have a mountain of challenges to address, so engaging with passionate people who want to ascend to make a difference might as well be fun!
Brian Johnson, author of the Philosopher’s Notes is putting out short little videos about optimal living. His video on Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation spoke to me. What drives you every day? Intrinsic or Extrinsic? I know that I feel much better when driven by internal motivation of meaningful relationships, personal growth, and community contributions.
Only a few days ago, I was admiring the beauty of New York City. I was struck by buzzing Lower Manhattan with its sea of humanity coming and going, noticing the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge, inspired by the shoreline of New Jersey across the way. I got to stroll through the West Village and into Chelsea and enjoyed the Fall weather. I marveled at the Fall colors driving through the New Jersey countryside. Today all looks different. Today is the day after Storm Sandy devastated New Jersey and put 8 million people out of power. My heart goes out to all who have been affected by Storm Sandy! Everything changed! The only constant is change, so we shouldn’t be too surprised when change happens. As a matter of fact we need to anticipate change. What counts now is the response to change. How do officials respond, especially the heroic first responders. And almost more importantly, how does every individual respond. We tend to see the best of people come out after a disaster. Nonetheless, disasters leave scars and after the initial adrenaline wears off, there is still more clean up to do. My hope for all affected is a collaborative effort to restore, reuse and repurpose. Even if you are not directly affected, how will you change your ways as you are observing the images from the East Coast?
Yesterday, I met my friend and colleague, Nancy Colasurdo, in the meat packing district of New York City for lunch. Little did I know this would be an exploration in re-purposing. The meat packing district, as the name suggests, was formerly used for handling and packing meet. Now it is a trendy area filled with boutiques and restaurants and I witnessed not one but 5 photo/film shoots. I felt as if I was on a movie set, except it was for real. In the restaurant on the way to the unisex bathroom, a novelty where I come from, I discovered a whole floor tiled with real pennies. Nothing better than walking on money. The area underneath the old High Line rail track is now used as a charming backdrop for a Biergarten. Ingenious! Climbing up the stairs we explored the re-purposed train tracks with native grasses and trees, creative walkways and benches flanked by New York City Scapes and art, from street art to audio art. What a delightful way to give these old tracks a new life, serving the community. To top it all off, we strolled through the old Nabisco factory, now known as the Chelsea Market. Re-purposing at its finest!
Several times a year, I attend conferences and trainings for my own development. No boss tells me where to go, since I am an entrepreneur, so I get to choose freely. Whenever I attend a conference or training, I have 5 intentions in mind:
I want to be inspired by the presenters, the attendees, the environment. I choose places, where I want to go, conference subjects that are interesting to me and people that are interested in having an impact.
I want to learn something new that is useful to me. Attending the Infusionsoft Success Tour in San Francisco, proved highly useful, since I learned about specific tools and useful tidbits. Did you know that the average user will spend a mere 8 seconds on a landing page? It sparked thoughts as to how to change my website home page.
Who am I attracted to speaking with at a conference? I am conscious of welcoming strangers, since I am a stranger myself. I picture lots of magnets in a room. Some pull me in and others push me away.
When talking with people, I listen for who I can connect them to. What connection might I be able to offer them that they would find useful?
5) Follow up
Returning home, I enter information about people I connected with in my database and connect with everyone I met. I ask permission to stay in touch and do do on a regular basis.
What is your blueprint to conference success?
Remember the American Express commercial “Don’t leave home without it!”? Well, I did leave home without it on yesterday’s trip to go kayaking. Specifically, I left my wallet and my purse thinking, I wouldn’t need either in the wilderness. I didn’t while we were on water, but what I had not anticipated, was that our road coming back would be closed indefinitely due to a wildfire that had jumped the road. What now? In the mountains the road closure meant a 4-hour detour over a mountain pass! We needed money to buy food for us and the dog, water, and fuel. Luckily, the friend driving, did bring credit cards and money. It happened to be his birthday – happy birthday to him! So off we went on an unscheduled road trip over Ebbett’s Pass, allowing us to see beautiful countryside we had never, and would have never, seen. The evening light cast the mountains in a particularly beautiful hue. We ended up eating in a hole-in-the wall kind of place in the middle of nowhere, totally fun and with good food. The music was playing and we had a great time. What’s the moral of the story?
Don’t leave home without it!
Celebrate when you can…
And enjoy the moment…it might surprise you.
Cross cultural communication was my favorite subject in graduate school, Thunderbird. Learning about how to successfully engage with people from different cultural backgrounds has always been fascinating to me. Later I found myself conducting Management Training with executives from 10+ countries in one session, which convinced me that the best way to communicate was face to face, to understand the nuances of body language. In today’s hyper-connected world, besides telephones we have so many different technologies at our fingertips, email, texting, video conferencing, engaging on social media. I have come to realize, as much as we might feel comfortable with only one or two forms of communication, we need to engage on all levels to get the full cultural context. And different people communicate on different media. I think of it much like making music. Different musicians with different musical instruments engage with different audiences to create a musical experience. Each participant has a voice. What are your ‘instruments’ of choice? Have you found your voice yet?
Reentry into orbit is the hardest part of the flight we hear from experts in the space industry. Likewise, it’s the hardest part of any trip. Coming back from Europe, I always have to deal with the challenges of traveling. This time our journey entailed a stop in London. We were delighted hoping to get a glimpse of an Olympic venue or a star athlete (The Spanish basketball team did tower over us at passport control in Munich). Instead we had to deal with a 3-hour delay and uncertainty, due to the pilot calling in sick. That’s life! Thankfully, we discovered a ping pong table in the terminal. What a novelty in an airport. Once back in California though I needed to deal with jet lag. Over the years and countless trips to and from Europe later, I have learned that every person deals with jet lag differently. And no one wants to hear what works for others! So, I have my routine, a light schedule the week after, lots of natural light, lots of exercise and healthy food, and sleep only when it is dark. Voila, a week later I emerge as a whole human being again. Still hoping for the ‘Beam me up, Scotty”invention though. Does that come with jet lag as well?
It’s inevitable. Every trip comes to an end – eventually. You are still there at this far away place. The place you planned to explore for a while. The place where you were going to meet people, make new friends reacquaint with old ones and loved ones. And yet it’s time to say goodbye soon to family and friends, places and things. Time to let go, once again. Over the years, I have journeyed back to Germany countless times. I still leave with mixed feelings, but always trusting that I will be back – soon!