Bring It – You Know You Can

Last night I was working late at one of our many artsy coffee shops. Turns out my timing coincided with open mike poetry night.  I thought it might be fun having this different soundtrack inspire the workshop I was planning.

Before the poets began, our emcee and owner of The Beat Book Shop approached the quiet woman at my right elbow and asked “Would you like to sing something a cappella tonight? Would you like to open?”

“Wow” I thought.  How amazing not only to have such a talent, but also be able to draw on it at a moment’s notice. In which of your abilities do you have that much confidence?

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Provide Platforms for Bravery, Not Mediocrity

Sustained uncertainty, hostility and fear in our environment weights us down.  It can make those with “stable” jobs more timid at a time when boldness is really what’s needed.  We have to stop pandering to a status quo that breeds mediocre.

I liked  Seth Godin post on Organized Bravery, especially:

“During times of change, the only organizations that thrive are those that are eager to interact and change as well. And that only happens when individuals take brave steps forward.

Giving your team cover for their cowardice is foolish. Give them a platform for bravery instead.”

What brave thing have you been wanting to do?

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Tiny Yeses Add Up to Big Things

In our current state of perpetual overwhelm, many are trying to regain some control by setting boundaries and learning how to say no. This conscious choosing is a great strategy. As part of greater mindfulness, however, don’t lose sight of the possibilities that hitch a ride with a Tiny Yes.  

 Tiny Yeses might look like:

  • Helping out with a colleague’s project
  • Taking a class in a new area of interest
  • Becoming the social media voice for your organization

Tiny Yes!

Years ago, despite a new business, toddler and traveling husband, I gave a Tiny Yes to joining a task force at our community foundation.  This would satisfy my philanthropic itch and might also be good for business.  Within a few months, the committee chair had to resign and I was asked to lead the group.  Gave another Tiny Yes.  Got more involved in the community and met many interesting people.  One of them asked me join a board for a local nonprofit.  By now I was getting the hang of these Tiny Yeses.

Over the years, what started as a small, somewhat scary commitment has led to involvement on 3 boards, including a 2 year stint as board president.  I love being involved in my community, meeting incredible people I might not have encountered otherwise, and expanding my professional skill set. Once I couldn’t have imagined fitting all of this in, now I can’t see my life without it.

After awhile, if you’re energized by the Tiny Yes it won’t even feel like something extra. You’ll probably be looking for ways to become even more engaged and proficient. Pretty soon, you’ll actually have built a track record and some expertise. I’m not suggesting unfettered yessing, just “yes” to something that intrigues and excites you. Relatively recently, I gave a (naive) Tiny Yes when asked to speak at Ignite Boulder.  One of the other speakers is a terrifice programmer whom I’ve partnered with to develop an iPhone app. (The Daily Debrief productivity app will be off to the Apple store by May.)

Where might a  Tiny Yes take you?

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One Option for Overwhelm – Be Bigger

During dinner, my 12 year old was unnervingly quiet.  We asked what she was thinking, expecting some girl-drama tale of woe.  Instead she somberly reeled off facts and figures about rain forest destruction.  Tears welled up as she mentioned the number of species lost just since we sat down to eat. 

Apparently, a guest speaker from EcoCycle did an excellent job conveying a sense of urgency about environmental concerns.  My daughter’s big take away, however, was to do more recycling.  She knew that just wasn’t enough and slumped at the table – a hopeless, defeated shell.

I was pretty frustrated.  How could they stir up my kid without offering more substantial ideas for affecting change?  On an intuitive level, she sensed that her energy and concern exceeded the resources, conceptual understanding, and influence required to tackle an issue of this magnitude.  I couldn’t fault her paralysis.  Most “grown ups” look away, feeling the environmental train has left the station and there’s not a way to call it back.  

Good thing the world is full of undaunted twentysomethings!  They have passion and smarts undampened by the cynicism that sometimes piles up with the birthdays.  Lily, daughter of my dear friend/colleague Viriginia, is my most current breath of fresh air.

Ironically, on the day my daughter felt overwhelmed, I received an email from Lily announcing the International English Minga which she created to help save a corner of the rainforest. Check out her 10 minute video to learn about this innovative sustainability project.  You’ll also get a boost of inspiration from watching her unfettered enthusiasm and commitment.

 

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Seth Godin on Doing Your Best

Really liked Seth Godin’s post today:

After you’ve done your best (and it didn’t work)

His last few lines are particularly useful, especially when tough times tempt us to hide in a dark place:

“If you believe that righteous effort leads to the shame of personal failure, you’ll seek to avoid righteous effort… Successful people analytically figure out what didn’t work and redefine what their best work will be in the future. And then they get back to work.”

 

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