The past week, I had the wonderful fortune of being in the presence of two of the few people out there who were born to do what they are doing. You know those people who from a young age seem to be destined for their purpose. It’s as natural as breathing to them..
Last Tues, I took HB to go see the amazing Ed Sheeran at Verizon Center. It was just him on stage – with a looping machine. He recorded his own loops while playing and then played over them. He is a true artist. His voice was so crisp and pure. I thought he sounded better live than on his records. His solo show lasted over two hours – and there was not a moment where the sold out audience was not entertained, included and captured. He was born to write and sing songs – no question. To drive home that point, at the beginning of his show, he played videos on the big screen that captured the blooming of his talent throughout his young life, including when he was probably in kindergarten.
Yesterday, I was in awe and inspired as I sat with Diana Gabaldon, author of the best-selling series, Outlander at a small, invitation only lunch hosted by the non-profit, Fall for the Book. Ms. Gabaldon was in town to receive the Mason Award at George Mason in Fairfax. For those that don’t know, I love the book and TV series Outlander. To me, Outlander is an escape novel, where you get truly lost in the story and want to reread it over and over again because don’t want the the journey it takes you on to end.
What became clear to me within the first few minutes of our lunch was that Diana was born to write and create these fantastic stories that capture people’s heart. She has been writing since she was in grade school, doesn’t use notes to keep track of her characters, doesn’t create drafts and does all the research herself to ensure she accurately capture the time period of her novels. She began writing Outlander for herself –no intention of selling it. She didn’t tell anyone she was writing it and just let the characters take her where they needed to go. Writing is as natural as breathing to her. Listening to her explain how she writes and creates was fascinating.
What am I meant to do?
It appears to me that Ed Sheeran and Diana Gabaldon were born to do what they are doing — it may or may not have not been a clear, easy going journey to get where they are but there is no question in my mind that they were going to get there. Both have passion and talent that you can feel just being in the same room with them. Not to host a pity party, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what I was born to do. I suspect there are more people out there like me and I struggle each and every day with that question. I just know there are bigger things to come for me but how, where, why, who??
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Lately I’ve been reading a lot about gender bias and the treatment of women in general. Maybe it’s because the influencers I follow have been bringing this issue to the forefront or maybe my college minor of Women’s Studies is rearing its head after years of lying dormant. Whatever the reason, it’s an interesting, relevant, shocking and downright disturbing topic that needs attention and change.
Yesterday, I watched John Oliver (who I think I love) highlight a very serious issue – Internet Misogyny- in a way that not only got the point across loud and clear, but entertained as well.
How scary is it that there are very few laws to protect against online harassment and revenge porn? And even scarier to realize that those hired to protect us are not prepared when it comes to what happens on the Internet.
Let’s Talk About Women Gamers
During the video, Oliver briefly mentions the harassment female gamers are subjected to on an ongoing basis. According to Emily Matthew over on the Pricecharting blog, 63% of women polled in 2012 report being harassed while gaming online. I’m sure that number has only increased…
There has been some heated discussions about the lack of ethics in video game journalism, and the role and treatment of women in the male dominated video game industry. Can you imagine being in so much fear that you actually have to leave your home because some anonymous gamer threatens you with bodily harm and death and also publishes your home address for all to see?
Throughout most of the discussions, the focus is on the victim and ‘blaming’ her for just being and living her life. Why should the victim be criticized and pressured to change? Where is the outrage at the behavior of these men? Men who have mothers, sisters, wives, daughters. Yes, of course women need to take basic precautions as a fact of life – we all do. But – being an awful human being is never OK. Lacking integrity and respect for fellow people (male or female) is never OK. Let’s figure out how to address the overall treatment of women as a whole and teach men to stand up for their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters.
We can be the change the in the world –and it starts at home.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there and of course a special shout out to the Dads in my life, including my husband who is the most wonderful Dad and a great role model for our kiddos. I realize this is a hard day for so many out there whose Dads are no longer with us and for those whose Dads were no where to be found.
My relationship with my own Dad has been complicated for most of my life and I wouldn’t necessarily describe us as close. Just in the past few years, I’ve come to realize that it is what it is. I can’t change what happened or who he is — all I can do is strive to be a better parent to my own kids and accept him for where he is today. Doesn’t make the past right or feel any better, but since I can’t change it, I choose to forgive and move forward. Now that he and my Mom are both getting older – it’s just not worth holding onto the anger and the resentment about my childhood. My dad’s health is failing and he is consumed by that fact – and he isn’t capable of being a different person. It’s not easy to give up on the dream of a different relationship but at the end of the day – I am who I am because of all I have experienced. It’s all in how you see things —
If it’s not obvious, Dads have a huge influence on our lives. According to Dr. Gail Gross, “Studies show that if your child’s father is affectionate, supportive, and involved, he can contribute greatly to your child’s cognitive, language, and social development, as well as academic achievement, a strong inner core resource, sense of well-being, good self-esteem, and authenticity.”
Also, according to The Importance of Fathers (According to Science), the effect fathers’ have on their sons is profound:
The Grant Study, the longest longitudal study ever done on the lives of men, found that a man’s father influenced his life in many ways exclusive to his relationship with his mother. Loving fathers imparted to their sons:
- enhanced capacity to play
- more enjoyment of vacations
- greater likelihood of being able to use humor as a healthy coping mechanism
- better adjustment to, and contentment with, life after retirement
- less anxiety and fewer physical and mental symptoms under stress in young adulthood
Speaking of family and Dads, we all went and saw Pixar’s InsideOut yesterday and I loved it. It really was able to demonstrate what goes on in all of our heads one time or another. One of the funniest parts was watching the family at the dinner table and the Mom is trying to signal the Dad to help figure out what was going on with their daughter. He just wasn’t picking up on it, just completely oblivious to what was happening. I was so amused and impressed at how perfectly they were able to capture the real life experience of many Dads. So, even though Dad’s are sometimes quirky and out of it, they have the opportunity to leave a big impact on the world. Go see it if you can and take time today to thank your dad for all he has done…
Every day I check out Humans of New York and meet the people they are highlighting. Depending on the snapshot and the story they tell, I have felt sad, angry, or mushy inside – sometimes just from a few sentences. On a good day, I’ve feel all three. I think what draws me to HONY regularly is I love “meeting” so many interesting people and learning about all the things that bind us together. Everyone has a story to tell…
There is one that stands out and it was shared again recently because it’s that good…
Here are a couple gems of wisdom from the author Regina Brett:
- “Ask yourself, in five years, will it matter?”
- “Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.”
How many of us wait to use something for a special occasion or delay what we want because we want to make it really special? What I am finding out as I gain more experience and get older, every day is special. We are special and deserve to be around people who love us, make us feel happy and deserve to do things that make our heart sing, or feel fancy and pretty. Why are we taught we must wait?
A writer and friend Lisbeth shared a writing of hers: Don’t Save It for Later that speaks to this idea of not saving things for a special occasion. It reminded me of an Oprah episode years ago with Luther Vandross. Luther was an amazing, talented, flamboyant, bigger than life singer who died way too young. During the show, Oprah was walking through his house and remarked about how all of his every day dishes were very fancy and his regular drinking glasses were crystal. I’m not sure of his exact response, but the gist of it was that every day is special so why not enjoy the nice and pretty things all the time. It’s strange that I still remember that part but none of the rest, but he’s right. None of us is promised tomorrow or a ‘later’, so why are you saving or storing things that bring you happiness and joy?
It’s also food for thought around your career or personal life. Why are you putting up with things or sticking around those that suck the happiness out of you? We all deserve happiness and love. If there are people in your life that are sucking your joy or if your job makes you miserable – it’s time to start the process of change. Many times it’s not easy and the journey may be long and hard, but in the end you can choose to struggle and be unhappy or struggle to reach your happy place. Which one would you choose?
It’s hard to come back to the ole work life after the long Memorial Day Weekend. It was such a spectacular weekend – getting time to workout, spending time with friends and being outside for much of it. It was one of those weekends that was perfect in it’s simplicity. I spent time with kind, fun people including my own family. I got to appreciate the feeling a great workout gave me, got in some napping and the weather was perfect. Kumbaya!
This summer I am going to start to tackle one of my biggest challenges – decluttering and tidying up my house. I am going to start with my own closet and clothing situation. It’s a trait I come by honestly by way of my Mom and it’s one that drives me crazy. I read this article the other day:
“It’s not just about tidying up to get rid of things,” Ramsey says. “It’s about having gratitude for the objects you choose to be in your life.” So if something (or someone) doesn’t bring you joy, don’t try to justify its place in your world. Just say thank you and move on.
One of the points made is that you should try to get it done in one project. So not by room or bit by bit. You need to sit down and go through all of your clothes at once. I am going to organize my clothes and closet by the end of the summer because it’s starting to drain me of energy. Seeing the big piles of clothes all over my bedroom isn’t healthy and I can’t find any of the pieces that bring me joy and that goes against the principle of having the clothes I do.
I have been trying to walk during my lunch hours and listen to podcasts that focus on certain themes like leadership and improvement. Not only does it allow me to be close to nature, it’s also an opportunity to learn and grow and also just have time to think on regular basis. When was the last time you spent time just thinking? I have spoken about this problem before: We as a society don’t know how to carve out even just a little time to THINK.
Lately, I am enjoying The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes. Howes is an American author, entrepreneur, and former professional Arena League football player who hosts The School of Greatness, a talk show distributed as a podcast.
“The goal of the School of Greatness is to share inspiring stories from the most brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities on the planet; to help you find out what makes great people great.”
During my walks, while I am listening, I find myself regularly noting down advice or things that strike me as relevant. I usually send myself a text so it doesn’t get lost. Last week, I was listening to The School of Greatness podcast entitled Become Superhuman at Any Skill with Tim Ferriss. In this podcast, Lewis wanted to learn some things about Tim that most people don’t know.
If you aren’t familiar with Tim Ferriss, he’s a noted speaker and author of the Four Hour Workweek. He’s a pretty cool, innovative and interesting guy.
Tim was asked to name three people in his life (beyond his parents) that made an impact by showing him kindness. This question struck me for some reason. Maybe it was having to name three people. How many people can clearly identify three people (in the past or today) that fit that description? How did those people impact your life trajectory? It’s not a question I have ever really considered and I am not sure that I can name three people that have had a marked impact on my life’s path by their kindness. I have had lots of kindness shown to me throughout the years, but have not had the pleasure of finding a mentor, coach or leader that I would put under that category. Kind of disheartening if I am being honest. When I think of kind people, my first thought is my husband Scott. He is seriously one of the kindest people I have ever met – from day one until today. He rarely if ever has an unkind word to say about anyone and I credit him with teaching me to see see things with a different perspective.
What about you? When was the last time you thought about who in your life has shown you true kindness and helped set you on your path to greatness?
Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world… Helen Keller
I’ve been doing some more soul searching the past week –
The past few days have been pretty stressful. Scott’s mom is in the hospital. My dad and step mother got into a car accident this past weekend. Their car is totaled, they are banged up but going to be OK. The thing is, experiencing your parents’ getting older is tough especially when they didn’t take particularly great care of their health in general. It’s another reminder that lifestyle definitely catches up with you as you age. And when you are experiencing it from a distance – it’s hard to really see how bad a situation is. You have to rely on your parents to tell you what’s going on. Reality is different depending on the filters we put on.
In other stressful news, Scott and I are both not feeling well with different maladies. Nothing too serious but enough that we both went to the doctors last week and are on meds. And to top it all off – Scott’s car broke down on Friday evening and a bunch of money $$$ later, the car should be fixed by tomorrow.
All of this has me thinking about what I really want out of life and why am I not feeling as happy as I think I should be?
Career wise: Do I want to continue heading into an office and working for someone else? The culture and company I am looking for based on my experience with my last position is a lot more clear than it has ever been. The issue is, I’m not sure my current situation is meeting the requirements as I had hoped it would. In the past 90 days of me starting, there have been a ton of changes and restructuring. Things I didn’t know about when I accepted the position. The changes aren’t really in line with my background, interests or what I was looking for. It’s disappointing to say the least. I was hoping to be able to grow, learn, be challenged and thrive in this environment. At this point, it’s not really looking like many of those opportunities exist. Never say never, of course, but having learned my lesson at my previous job, I realize that if it doesn’t feel right, I need to explore options.
I am stressed out and feeling a bit lost. Life sure doesn’t stop for you to catch your breath…
- 7 Weird Reasons Your Back Hurts
- TED: Depression: The Secret We Share
- Are Super Athletes the Secret to Health?
- A 2-Minute Walk May Counter the Harms of Sitting
I came across 23 BRILLIANT LIFE LESSONS FROM ANTHONY BOURDAIN and thought so many of them were worthwhile. I especially liked this one…
“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”
I think this one resonated with me because it’s the advice I would give my younger self. When I was in my twenties, I was so gripped with fear of instability that it caused me to see things in very rigid terms. The person I am today realizes clearly that that fear held me back from so many adventures and experiences. They are the things I look back at and wish I had just jumped into the opportunities that presented themselves during that time. I guess that’s the beauty of hindsight though. I know it’s never too late to jump in and go for it but there are adult life responsibilities that have to be considered that prevent me from just dropping everything and going for it now. What I can do is take chances and travel when opportunities exist and encourage my kiddos to not be controlled by fear as they grow up and taken on the world. They can learn from the lessons I experienced…
This doesn’t just apply to travel either. How many things in our lives do we avoid or quit because we are scared? Scared of what’s on the other side. Afraid of change. Afraid of the unknown. I’m not sure who wrote the following “Reality of Fear”, but it definitely gives you some points to consider as you start to confront fear holding you back…
REALITY OF FEAR:
You’re not scared of the dark;
you’re scared of what’s in it.
You’re not afraid of heights;
you’re afraid of falling.
You’re not afraid of the people around you;
you’re afraid of rejection.
You’re not afraid to love;
you’re just afraid of not being loved back.
You’re not afraid to let go;
you’re just afraid of accept the fact it’s gone.
You’re not afraid to try again;
you’re just afraid of getting hurt for the same reason.
It’s well known that my husband has worked for AOL for 20+ years. We met at AOL and it’s where I started my post college career. When I finally left for good, I had 12 years under my AOL logo belt. AOL is a big part of our history together and the thread that binds us with many of our closest friends. Today’s announcement – Verizon to Acquire AOL: Deal Creates Unique and Scaled Digital Media Platforms for Consumers, Advertisers and Partners may or may not have a profound affect on us.
But it will have some affect I am sure. Scott and I were both at AOL when they merged with Time Warner in 2000. What was so exciting in the beginning, ended up being one of the biggest failures. It’s no wonder that this morning’s announcement has many former AOL’ers recalling previous experience and wondering whether it will play out the same. AOL’s current leader, Tim Armstrong, seems to feel strongly that it’s the right direction. In CNBC’s coverage online, Why we sold to Verizon: AOL’s Tim Armstrong says “the Verizon deal was the biggest, fastest way to provide a return to AOL’s shareholders and a bright future to its employees.” This explanation is pretty nebulous and not unexpected since the merger was just announced.
I am not sure what to think about this merger yet. Like many others, my first thought upon hearing the news this AM was “How will this affect my family?” Until I feel comfortable with that answer, the rest isn’t as important. I am curious what others out there are thinking. A former respected AOL colleague shared his thoughts with me…
In 2000, our deal was about “content and cable distro”. Problem was, people fought, and won, and we never got onto TW cable. That, plus illicit conduct, ruined the deal. I had thought in 2005, that they should just fill up CC2 w/ mobile app developers, and let em rip. This deal, is about content (and ads management) on mobile phones. In 2 years, 80% of all content will be consumed on a device. Vz needed reliable content production, with ad platforms built in. TA will get a huge job at Vz. He hit it big, again. Overall, prob a good thing, and maybe becomes a good place, again?
All any of us can do when things like this (aka change) happen, is to be as prepared as you can and learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Who doesn’t love Tina Fey – not only being super funny, but also subtlety showing the lengths women go to conform…