Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Greatness or Fear... Choose!


"Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It's time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must."
    ~ Seth Godin; Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Seth Godin released his latest book yesterday and although I will go out and get it soon, I had to write about the above quote from the book now. It strikes me as summing up exactly what is draining people of their greatness: fear. The last two weeks I have been commuting downtown for a gig and what strikes me as I ride the train is how beaten down people look. I live in a nice suburb, so it is not like these folks are probably not off to good jobs and that they don't have lovely homes, etc. It's just that they look lifeless and exhausted (even on the way home).

It's sad when people give up on finding their greatness and living their lives as works of art, so they just settle on muddling through. Don't get me wrong in every life there are times when we all need to just coast, but that people stop looking or give up the hunt is a tragedy.

Brings me back to two of my biggest life lessons:

1) Life is short... love well!  Learned this from losing ones I loved and wondering--what am I waiting for? We only have so much time and we never know how long that will be so... giddy up! This is in regards to all aspects of life but especially when it comes to love. Romantic love, love of ourselves, love for our life's work, EVERYTHING!

2) Map It Out! When I was in a discombobulated time in my life I created Me Mapping to map out my life and actually see what I was spending my energy, time, money, attention, etc. on. Looking at my life on paper made some things very clear. It is not like then everything magically fell into place but now I am closer to decluttering what is not working, engaging with the important things in my life, and finding myself more grateful for what is already working.

I couldn't agree with Seth more. It's time we all draw our own map, sidestep the fear, claim our brilliance, create our art, and truly get our GREATNESS. Quotes like this one is why I am in his Tribe.

*this is inside cover of Seth's last book Tribes and you can't tell but in the top left corner is a photo of me :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Decluttering & Abundance

As big a fan as I am of decluttering, I am also neglectful of keeping up with it. Case in point: I was cleaning out my closet yesterday and decided instead of just straightening it I would remove all my shoe boxes and donate or throw out anything I don't wear anymore. Well, two lessons popped up:

1) I apparently thought I needed to keep every shoebox from every purchase I have ever made. Even though I have a very organized back of the closet shoe rack I must have thought I would need the original boxes someday. Um...why? As great of dust collectors as they are, they served no current purpose so out they went. (I still keep my fancy shoes in boxes but they are now neatly stacked and organized by color). Lesson: what are we holding onto that serves no purpose in our lives- fewer useless boxes open up tons of space in my closet (for more shoes- kidding).

2) On my shelves with the shoeboxes was a box filled with pantyhose that I totally forgot I had. Having left corporate America a few years back I had stored my surplus hose in this box and only kept a few pairs in my drawers for when needed. The irony is that I am going to be back in suits soon and so this stash appeared at the perfect time- saving me lots of money too. Lesson: what useful things are we not able to access because we forget we even have them? I had an abundance of hose that I found once I decluttered the useless shoeboxes.

Bottom line... getting rid of the things I don't need not only allows me to appreciate my space more fully, it also reminds me of the abundance of useful things I already own. On to my office tomorrow- can't wait to see what treasures I tucked away there.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Virtual Surprise Party

                                                            Amy's B-Day wish to our agent & friend Laurie!

I am a creative soul, but I think even I have outdone myself with this one. It all started when my agent and friend Laurie was approaching her 40th birthday and a few of us who adore her wanted to do something special. Problem was that we are all scattered throughout the country, it was the holiday season, for many of us money is tight... so how could we make her day special and overcome these obstacles?

And then it hit me... what do people really want for their birthdays (this actually applies for any occasion)? They want heart felt acknowledgment and warm fuzzies from those they love. So I came up with the idea of throwing her a Virtual Surprise Party. The idea is guests upload a video message (a gift if you will) to the birthday girl and on her special day she finds her party and it is all a delightful SURPRISE.
Here's how to throw one:
  • Open a YouTube account for the occasion. Signing up for an account is free and takes a mere minute. You can personalize the page if you'd like or customize it in any way that strikes you.
  • Guest list: come up with list of people you want to invite to the party. 
  • Invite: send a note to guests with the idea spelled out and the user name and password they'll need to sign into the YouTube account you created. (fyi: watch out for case sensitivity with sign on.)
  • Birthday Wishes: guests upload their videos on their own but make sure you or someone with experience can walk them through any issues. 
  • Timeframe: make sure to set a deadline for uploading at least a day before you want to launch the surprise. 
The Surprise: once the videos are uploaded its time for the exciting unveil. For our group we all started sending Laurie tweets (on Twitter) with a link to the site at a designated time on her birthday. She followed one of the links that took her to her YouTube channel and ... SURPRISE!

Talk about being surprised- she was. And the beauty of this event is that it was personal, fun, free, and something she can watch, share, and talk about for days (even months) to come.

I only wish I had come up with this idea before two ill friends passed away last year- it would have been nice to have a lovefest party for people that are too sick to have visitors.

The Virtual Surprise Party- you should throw one yourself. It was at least as much fun to have one as to recieve it. Let me know if you host one yourself, and if you'd like to check out Laurie's CLICK HERE

Friday, January 1, 2010

Me Mapping into 2010


I have spent the last several years doing the same thing on New Year's Day: completing the prior year and creating what I would like to bring into the next. I created a tool in 2002 I call Me Mapping that allows me to map out my life and serves as a visual inventory of where I am. My theory is that we never really know what our lives are about until we take a good look at them (preferably on paper).
     It was Socrates that said:
The unexamined life is not worth living.
A little dramatic I'll grant you, but taking a look at our lives up-close and on paper really brings new insight into how we are spending our time, what is important (and what's not), and how much we have to be grateful for.
     The neat thing about having made this a yearly ritual is when I bring out last years map and see where I have come- noting the progress and the achievements I've made in the past year. I write and draw all over the map so I can see what I have actual worked on and by the time I'm finished it's my own little piece of Joy Art.
     After I have documented everything of interest in the previous year, I declare that year "complete" and move on to sketching out what I would like to bring into the new year. I get giddy letting my mind wonder and dream of the people, places, opportunities, and adventures I want to attract in the year ahead. Do I always achieve all that I put on the paper, no... but I achieve more than I ever thought I could. And as fast as the years go by, it's meaningful that I now have a collection of maps showing what I have accomplished.
     I like my method but anything that gets you to examine your life is a 10 in my book. Here's wishing you an amazing year to come!