Being Colorful

16 05 2013

I’ve recently made my sweetie join the business-networking group, BNI  for our brand new business, Greenview Designs.  I have a day job and he’s semi-retired and this group has mandatory weekly meetings, so I don’t have the flexibility that he has. It is, however, against his nature. I’m the social one; the love-to-talk-to-everyone person and Steve is …well…not. He’s the doer. Need a bookcase, he’ll build it, need a video, he’ll film it. Who does my daughter call when she discovers her car is flooded? You guessed it, and he shows up and fixes it.

handshake

He’s at the networking social getting to know the group and I join him after work. He doesn’t even have his business cards with him, so I’m handing out mine. He’s way more interested in the game that’s on in the bar while I’m happily doing the meet and greet and enjoying the conversations I’m having with everyone.

When we get home that evening, I immediately email a few people in relation to the conversations I just had. (This has more to do with the fact that I won’t remember the conversations if I don’t respond immediately, than me being that on top of it.)

It is as soon as I send the last email that I think about how diverse these conversations were. I laugh at myself thinking I was probably the only one at that meet and greet that could have had these separate conversations in one evening.

1. There was the techie guy with his web business. He was full of the latest lingo and anachronisms. I’m a marketer so I at least know what SEO and ROI means. We talk for a long time about business. I talk about the book “Tribal Leadership” how this book impacted me as a leader. I send him the TED talk link  and the free download and I just blogged about it, so I sent him that link too. 

2. The next was a friend who I enjoyed catching up with, our kids even went to Bonnaroo together. She has a side business teaching what I call gentle yoga. It’s for people who have some type of physical issue like MS (multiple sclerosis). I immediately thought of a blogger friend who I know from my Generation Fabulous blogging group, I know she’s a health advocate for MS as well as a woman who is living with it. I think that these two great women should at least know each other and may be able to share resources even though they live at different ends of the country. So I send them an email introduction to each other.

3. I even got into a conversation about auras. I realize that this is not normal business conversation, but this is really the types of conversations I get into all the time. I’m open to many possibilities. I’ve never seen an aura, but I have people near and dear to me who have. So I believe the validity of this energy that we all have. I also know for many this is a little “WOO WOO” out there. I discover my new BFF reads auras. Just days before I had a conversation with a woman who wanted her aura read while she meditated. So naturally I introduced them via email.

We are a sum of our life’s experiences. I can go from tribes to Bonnaroo to auras without skipping a beat. This is what networking means to me, simply sharing my life experiences and trying to connect people who should know each other. The term networking seems so formal and not me, I like to think of myself as connector of colorful friends.

 I wonder what color my aura is right now.

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The Artist’s Way at Work

28 04 2013

TAWAW

I started a group in January based on the book “The Artist’s Way at Work”. I posted last week about the tribes in my life. This week I realize a new tribe has been created.

The Artist’s Way at Work is a 12-week process book that is divided into methodical steps to self-discovery. There are two keys to the book, one is to get up every morning and to hand write three pages of stream of consciousness. The other is to, every week; bring yourself on an artist date, to do something fun, just what you want to do. Take yourself to an art opening or to a movie or wander in a used bookstore, whatever interests you. Someone described the group as a creative Weight Watchers, that by committing to meeting as a group, we hold ourselves more accountable to reaching our goals.

The book focuses on your work life, but once in the process you’ll discover that your creative life is not limited to just your job, but to every aspect of your life. There is real truth to the sentiment that if you do what you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life. That journey, however, to learning what it is that you love is the road that most of us find ourselves on. The other reality is that we still have to pay our bills while we are on this road.

We realized no one wanted this group to end, as we met for our last official meeting and wrap party. A very real bond has been formed among the new tribe. Several have had big life events happen to them in the few months since the group formed—divorce, job changes and job challenges. This group has been there to support each other for our large and small, ups and downs.

We came together with some of us knowing others in the group, but no one knowing everyone. We formed because we all had a void in our work life that left our creative life unfulfilled.

We discovered that we could find our answers within, if we allow quiet time in our life. That we have to nurture ourselves if we want our spirit to thrive. That sounds so simple, but as we live busy lives, those simple things are easy things to let go of. We learned that we all have self-doubt, but that we can control that doubt. And we learned that when we look at ourselves and see our flaws, others look at us and see our beauty and strength shining through.

It is in these morning writings and doing something our heart desires that serendipitous things happen. Getting out by ourselves has led to meeting people and making connections that take our lives into new discoveries and often to new jobs and careers.

This Artist’s Way at Work group has officially ended, but it feels like a beginning for me. I know there will be future groups that I will facilitate. I envision this group of new and old friends staying in each other’s lives, with others joining us. I have learned over the course of this program that our creative journey is our own to forge and that we have the skills within us to find our way. But to have the support of others is truly having the wind at your back as we move forward on our creative journey.

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Tribes

21 04 2013

“By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals,” explains Dave Logan in a powerful TED talk.

Logan’s book Tribal Leadership (click here for a free audiobook) is a tool that transcends being just a book about business. It is a book that helps to understand the world and the tribal cultures that inhabit it.  He and his team have come up with five different tribes that each have their own world view.

5. Life is great
4. We’re great
3. I’m great
2. My life sucks
1. Life sucks

A tribe is made up of 20 to 150 people. Your tribe is who fills your phone contacts, your texts, your emails; it’s whom you spend your time with. I have several tribes in my life; my work tribe, my advertising tribe, my church tribe and my blogging tribe. While my different tribes are unique, they are all similar in that they all want to make the world a better place, which according to Tribal Leadership is a sign of a well functioning tribe. Being a member of these tribes makes me feel connected to my community and to the world. It makes me feel connected to something larger than myself.  While these tribes are filled with unique and diverse voices, we are all striving toward a common good.

Gangs and terrorist cells inhabit the tribes that believe “life sucks”.

All of this makes me wonder about those two young brothers in Boston who apparently murdered innocent people and maimed many others. I wonder if they were part of a tribe that didn’t see the world as a beautiful, diverse place filled with people striving to make it better. Or were they alone with no tribe to council them. Or were they sucked into thinking hate-filled strangers hiding in the dark crannies of the Internet were their tribe. If one believes “life sucks”, then does one believe life has little value and therefore makes it easy to take someone else’s life?

No one knows why these brothers terrorized a city that from all accounts had embraced them. I hope for justice, but not vengeance. I pray for compassion and wisdom for all involved. I hope their act doesn’t fuel the fear of others into thinking that all Muslims or immigrants are all part of terrorist tribes.

I pray that someday we will all see the interconnectivity of all our tribes. As Spring wraps its warmth and beauty around the world; as runners jog down our streets; as parents push their babies in strollers in flower-filled neighborhoods; I hope that we all see Spring as a time to heal and as a time of new beginnings. A time for all tribes to see we all need to strive to make the world a better place. May we all believe “life is great.”