Category Archives: life-work balance

I would rather …

I would rather die of passion than of boredom — Vincent van Gogh

March 30, 2014 marks Vincent van Gogh’s 161 birthday. March 29 marks my considerable lower number birthday. I

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas

didn’t know that van Gogh was also a “March Baby” until I was doing a bit of research about him after being taken with the quote which prompted me to write this post. But the timing, coupled with the inspiration, seemed an appropriate opportunity to write.

Dear readers, if you’re still there for me, know that in my absence I have been working hard to come up to speed in my newest endeavor. For those of you who may not know, I’m honored to be working with the Salesforce Foundation supporting the world’s best nonprofits and higher educators with their digital and social media programs. My only purpose at the Foundation is to help organizations – amazing, inspiring, and excellent organizations – be even more amazing, inspiring, and excellent.

I’ve had many “I can’t believe this is my life” moments in the short time I’ve been working with the Foundation, and the promise of many more to come. But here’s the thing, I am also getting to feed my customers’ thoughts, challenges, and feedback to the incredible product team who is equally up for the challenge of building the future. It’s a thrill ride. It is the junction of my passion and my skills.

It is – simply – a #DREAMjob.

My involvement with my customers has already profoundly changed the way I view time. I’ve never had more to do – never – and yet I feel more invigorated than ever. Somehow, I’m also finding the time to give back to my community more than ever, taking up hobbies, learning a language, and enjoying my family deeply. Time has expanded in this even more deeply passion-driven version of my life.

In previous (and also awesome) roles, I was always busy. Hell, anyone who knows me knows I prefer to be at least a bit over-committed in my professional life. But this is a different level of busy, this is the kind of busy that is impossible, but worth trying. Worth really, really going for it. Why? Because I get to work with the people who are literally building the future.

I am honored. I am challenged. I am up for it.

Happy Birthday, Mr. van Gogh. And to you, whoever you are, may your day shine brightly and your talents expand to reach the challenges in front of you.

Learn more about the Salesforce Foundation, their 1/1/1 philanthropic model, and how their customers rock it out. And then spread the word. 

Have a thought, feedback, inspiration, or comment? Do tell!

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March 26, 2014 · 7:13 am

Today’s Goal: High Fives All Around!

Today, I’ve got some really juicy puzzles in front of me. And a big block of uninterrupted time to focus on how to re-engineer wonkiness into efficiency. Will I rock it? That’s the plan. And since today is National High Five Day, I hope you’ll all be available for a #VHF (virtual high five) when my work day is done to celebrate a day of puzzles solved, improved margins, and happier customers.

While you’re feeling the camaraderie, might I suggest that you consider supporting the American Red Cross today? Giving to those in need is the sweetest type of #VHF!

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Filed under life-work balance, Service

It’s About You and Me and the Newness [MiniPost]

Meeting new people is a gift.

Figuring out the ways you connect, your similarities, detecting differences, and considering how your future may change as a result of this catalyst can be exhilarating. In those same initial moments, you may also be confronted with your own shortcomings from a completely new perspective. This mirror-view is made possible by the unique chemistry created by the newness of the connection in front of you.  These new connections tend to shed light on the best parts of yourself as well as your opportunities for improvement.

Why the MiniPost?

Well, recently I’ve been lucky enough to get to hang with an entirely new bunch of people. Because I’m a consultant, I do get to meet new people pretty frequently, but it’s rare to have any significant amount of time with the people I meet to simply ‘hang’. So, when given the opportunity to connect in real life to new people, I’ll take it  – with a vengeance!

We started out a group of strangers, and over the course of just a few days working, eating, and socializing together we came to genuinely know each other. And – for my part – I really liked the lot of them.  But just as fascinating as it was to meet a completely new bunch of people who I respected and enjoyed, it was almost as if I was “re-meeting” myself. It got me to thinking:

novelty breeds clarity.

In this clarity, I remember things about myself I’d forgotten. Good and Bad. It’s in those moments of newness that each of us have the opportunity to reflect and refine who we are. As individuals and as organizations, we should take it.

Even though some of the realizations this clarity brings may be unpleasant, or less than flattering, isn’t it our responsibility to ourselves to relentlessly pursue the very best version of ourselves? By setting this pursuit as an unflappable goal, we then remove shame as an option when realizing there’s an area ripe for improvement. In fact, it makes that discovery rather exciting!

Thank you to my new colleagues and friends for reminding me that life is evolutionary. And that I still have plenty of room to evolve. May you find your own evolution just as exhilarating a proposition.

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Filed under life-work balance, Social

This is very exciting [real edition]

Photo Credit: BeautifulPeopleATX [Flickr]This week marks a milestone for me. One year ago, I officially moved from being an “internal resource” and became “A Consultant”. Those that know me well know that I agonized over this decision before taking the plunge.

My previous gig was awesome. I had cool puzzles to solve, an expectation to be creative and the trust of leadership to do my things my way. Mostly, that’s a rare and beautiful thing, especially when you get all the best tools to play with. Add to that the fact that I was lucky enough to have some really passionate and dedicated folks on my team and, well, you’re in a post that is (if you’re like me) hard to abandon.

Esteban Kolsky was right

But I went for it anyway. And here I stand one year later absolutely certain that it was the best career move I’ve ever made. I love consulting. I love my clients. I love the insane deadlines and my new-found ability to rock a presentation that didn’t exist like 15 minutes ago. I love having (even more) of an inside scoop on what’s going on in the industry. I adore working with the analysts, bloggers, and product developers who are – literally – shaping tomorrow for the rest of us.

While at a Social CRM conference in Silicon Valley last year, I asked Esteban Kolsky how I’d know if “Going Consultant” was the right move for me. I was feeling very fragile as this was in the first weeks of having made the move. I probably looked like a human version of a newly hatched bird experimenting with its wings for the first time. Sad. Uncertain. Needy. Gross.

Anyhoo, Mr. Kolsky looked into my eyes and said (essentially): Give it a year. You’ll never look back.

On Going For It

I’ve given it a year and I’m not looking back. I love the velocity of the SCRM industry. I an thrilled to know and to meet and to work alongside the incredible people who are making magic happen every single day. I love that this community is so connected that in almost any city in almost any country I can reach out to folks I’ve connected with through our shared passion and have lunch, dinner, or coffee with a friend.

I’d wager Mr. Kolsky doesn’t remember this exchange. However, I won’t forget it. His (probably polite) encouragement coupled with my desire to strike out into new frontiers and the support of a truly amazing mentor all helped me to quiet the monsters of doubt. These monsters were the voices in my head who derided me for walking away from the Corporate America sure thing on the fast path to VP-dom. They’re silent now.

Have I been too busy this year? You bet! Have I (still) been a workaholic struggling with work-life balance? Absolutely. But I’m working on it. I really am. And in the meantime, I just love this stuff and I  can’t wait to see what the next 365 days holds.

Next Stop: The Hat Store

To those who are on this ride with me: thank you. For your support and encouragement and patience. You know who you are (and if you don’t, I’m taking the next week or so to let all of you know!). Without you, I’m nothing. Really.

So, what do the next 365 days hold? Who knows! I can wager, and I know what I’m excited to work on…but the industry is accelerating and life just isn’t guaranteed. My goal: hang on to my hat and swing for the bleachers. 

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July 9, 2012 · 9:03 am

I remember.

Ten years ago on this date, Americans were attacked in an extraordinarily brazen, disgusting, and shocking way. It was, to Americans as well as to our allies, a seemingly debilitating blow that  in its nature changed the American mindset immediately. We were vulnerable. We were fragile. We were wounded. We lost our innocence in the moment we lost our beloved friends, family members and our paragons of prosperity and strength.

I rememberI thank first responders all over the world for choosing their role. I thank the families of these brave men and women for offering up their support and for their bravery which is of a tensile strength unimaginable. Ten years on, my heart breaks for each firefighter, police, and citizen who were directly and indirectly impacted by 9/11.

I’d never before and never since been so completely apart by mankind’s overwhelming abomination against himself. In the same emotional space, I was and still am inspired by the indomitable resilience and love mankind offers toward mankind. As staggering the loss, the sheer bravery and tenacity of the United States in our recovery was equally astonishing.

Today, I offer you this short (and by no means comprehensive) list of 9/11 resources and the challenge to use your skills and love to honor the 9/11 victims, survivors and those brave souls who act in service each and every day. I also challenge myself and you to engage your representatives in Congress to act on the recommendations delivered in the 9/11 Commission Report.

http://www.911day.org/

http://9-11stairclimb.com/

http://www.911memorial.org/

http://makehistory.national911memorial.org/

http://www.youtube.com/september11

http://storycorps.org/

http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/index.htm

http://911memorialapp.com/

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Filed under Honor, life-work balance, Service

Failure is an Option.

Every journey has unexpected twists and turns. This year for me (both personally and professionally) has been riddled with them. I’m pretty good at planning to work and working my plan, but at times this year even the best plans were waylaid by situations beyond my control. That’s reality, folks.

Some of those situations were really devastating. At times, I felt ready to throw in the towel and at times my convictions were tested. On the whole, 2010 was a tough year for me, I’ll tell you. And I’m a pretty tough cookie. I called upon my mentors, my friends, my family, and my dad (he of the dial-a-pep-talk fame). Even with such tremendous support, I recognized a different level of challenging. I found myself thinking about “making it through this” quite a bit. And “this” kept being redefined.

So, when life comes at you harder than you expected, what do you do? I think a lot about winning.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  –  Thomas Edison

Honestly, It’s about continuing the journey. Success is reading the map, the conditions, and adjusting your course. the one-two punch of unforeseen situations can be exhausting. Was and is exhausting. I can share with you that there were times this year I found myself thinking, “What else could possibly go wrong?” and then steeling myself superstitiously as if simply asking the question would bring more bad. In fact, just writing that last sentence scares the hell out of me on some level.

But here’s the thing: something will go wrong  if wrong means “not the exact way you planned it”. I also know – with absolute conviction – that those things that went “wrong” in my life this year have also been the very same things that taught me a great deal about how to handle tough situations with grace. How to put things in perspective. How to remember the little things. How to love people while they’re still here. How to let crazy people be crazy and stay out of their drama. How to find the funny in anything. How to stay creative even when tired. How to keep. getting. up.

I’m reflecting on this now in mental preparation for the new year. I won’t miss 2010 for its challenge and heartache, but I will remember 2010 as a year of tremendous personal and professional growth. I’d love to tell you I’ve been energized by my successes this year but since they were in the “well, I got through that one” camp, I’d be lying to you. I’m still tired, but I’m happy to report I’m certain of my success. I’m planning on my success.

Now, you may not care about my success but what I’m getting at here is this: keep going. I can promise you that failure is only one of your options, not your foregone conclusion. Keep going. You never know, your success may be just around the corner.

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Filed under Corporate Culturati, life-work balance

Now Departing: Lessons from Alcatraz

While catching up with some of my favorite folks at Salesforce.com’s annual AMAZING Dreamforce 2010 global gathering, I kept running into people who were feeling a bit stuck. Some reported that they were excited for the future, but just not sure about “What’s Next” might mean for them. Others knew they had a problem with their NOW situation and were overwhelmed with what, how, when to do about it.

All of them had jobs. That’s the first thing that struck me. My take on this – even in my own NOW – is that we’re uber-smart or uber-lucky to have been delivered to a profession that is in demand now and will be in even greater demand in the future. But this blog isn’t only for people like us. I’m just pointing out that if you’re employed at all today, you’re one of the lucky ones. Don’t forget it and BBlook for ways to give back.  In the U.S., walk into a room with 10 people and one of them will be out of work. Another one will most likely be under-employed. If you’re working at all you’re fortunate. Network your colleagues less fortunate on your social feeds. Offer time or resources to helping get people back on their feet. A couple of things will happen as a result: you’ll appreciate your current reality in a new light and good things will happen for other people. It’s a win-win.

About the “What’s Next” dilemma…

Talented people want to be recognized, challenged, and compensated. We want to be a bit famous in our own stratosphere. This means recognized for our contributions and challenged to bring more to the table. These folks need to feel their moral compass is aligned with their employers’ or clients’. If not, it’s a deal breaker. These are people working from a place of passion, and passion ignites innovation when nurtured. So that “What’s Next” feeling is natural for passionate folks.

If you’re one of the people wondering what is just beyond the horizon for you, I want to share what I learned while visiting Alcatraz Island yesterday. While on the penitentiary audio tour, I found myself standing in front of the solitary confinement cells. The Hole. A former inmate incarcerated at Alcatraz explained that while he lived for 23 hours a day in complete darkness and isolation for months at a stretch, his mind was free to travel. He closed his eyes and envisioned light. He left his isolation even if only in his mind and traveled freely where he chose. This was his mechanism to cope with his current reality.

It hit me in a profound way. Not only because this man was expressing so beautifully the human reality of perserverance. but also that his solution is so powerful for all of us.

Even in those moments where we aren’t ready or aren’t able to make a move, our minds are free to wander.

Creative, passionate people: Is your mind free to wander? Or is your mind tied up with circular thinking on unhappiness? Solutions are born when you’re open to conceiving them. Quit ruminating on what you’ve already defined as unacceptable. You’re clear on that, now move on. Seth Grodin has a great blog on using your current reality as a platform for change. Then remember: you don’t have to be able to see every twist and turn and end state clearly to begin the “What’s Next” phase of your journey. Just be open to the journey and the adventure of it all.

“What’s Next” is the adventure you create. Close your eyes and Dream Big.

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Filed under Corporate Culturati, CRM Evangelization, life-work balance