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Archive for June, 2010

The Energy Cloud

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Today, I got called an “energy cloud”…LOVED THAT!

But, also was told when I met two different people for the first time today, after they read my bio, that they felt like “underachievers”.

Look, here’s my policy on this:  there is one and only one person I compete with when it comes to my own accomplishments, and that is me.  I can certainly admire others, and I really hate it when others feel “less than” when they meet other people.  Everyone should compete only with themselves.  Besides, each and every person on the planet has her or his own definition of what success really is, right?  So, it is really like comparing apples to oranges.

I compete only with me, because at the end of the day, only I can come up with my very own personal definition of success.  Just like you can only come up with yours.  If you catch yourself feeling like an underachiever or overachiever compared to someone else – just stop.  That’s what I recommend.  Otherwise, you’re just going to feel like you’re keeping up with the Jonses…!  And the Jonses – who the heck are they anyway?!?

Instead – just keep up with yourself.

Are Men….Time Vampires?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Don’t shoot the messenger on this one, because I personally didn’t say it….and I’m a little amp’d up on diet coke this evening.  In about an hour, I’m heading to the Fishers, IN premier of…Eclipse! (Yes, in case you were wondering, I’m still Team Edward.)  So, methinks it was befitting to discuss whether or not men…are time vampires.

I’ve been researching for my new book on what I’m generically calling “solopreneurs” right now – that title probably isn’t right yet – but I digress.  I’m researching the differences between single/divorced/widowed men and women vs. marrieds in how they start businesses, as I’ve posted previously.  Anyway, curiosity killing me tonight, I had to peek at the survey generically, and someone in the survey actually used the term “time vampires” to describe men.  Wow.  I’m wondering if that was a woman who said that…hmmm.

If you think about it, s/he is right in a lot of ways empirically, correct?  Relationships are work.  New businesses are work. Hence, they take time.  Not sure if “vampire” is the appropriate word to describe a relationship between a woman and a man…or a ‘significant other’ relationship….?  ‘Vampire’ has a bit of a negative connotation.  Maybe ‘investment’ is a better word?  But if the vampire is Edward, I think a ‘time vampire’ wouldn’t be all bad.  I found the term this particular evening…ironic.

Last but not least, please don’t complain that this blog has become a platform for bashing men…I didn’t use the term, I’m merely reporting it as the writer capturing the thoughts of others.  But that thought screamed pretty loudly to me tonight, as an interesting choice of words.

The Canvas for the Best Ideas in the Universe

Monday, June 28th, 2010

…are you ready for this?

Where are the best ideas in the universe written?  It isn’t a notebook (which I freely recommend everyone individually carry with them, BTW), nor is it any legal pad, chalkboard, dry eraser board, nor computer.

Another guess?

Give up?  Ready?

It’s the N-A-P-K-I-N!

The best ideas that ever are made, created, and placed into the universe are written on napkins, my friends. Just had another fantastical example of this today at a lunch with a friend of mine today (thanks PK!).  She started drawing my brand (yay) and homework (boo) on the napkin.

I say boo, but I really mean yay!  Any time you have a (butt-kicking) friend who you can lunch with (and who gives you homework) is a grand ol’ way for the universe to announce that you’ve got work to do.  In fact, I do have work to do -so I’ll get it out there and get to it.  But before I go, next time you’re out with a pal and talking about your next big dream – save that napkin to draw that fabulous idea out on paper – you never know where it may lead!

Drumroll, please…Book 6

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

So–I’ve been yakking about it – now it’s time to make it official.  Here is the topic of my next book. So, if you fit the bill and would like to participate, just fill out the mini survey online at the link.  There are already bits of intriguing data out there, but no one book clearly focused on this topic.

That’s why it needs to be written.

Riddle Me This…

Friday, June 25th, 2010

I’ve been somewhat lax on my posts this week, probably due to the fact that I’m slowly but surely getting over my jetlag and have been sleeping it off.

There’s one piece of news here locally I’m trying to rectify in my head vs. a news piece we discussed in China, which is this.  This week, a bunch of people waited in line for an iPhone 4 at our local Apple store.  For hours.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Foxconn, makers of iPhone and iPad parts, had up to 10 people commit suicide in their Chinese manufacturing plants of late (I’ll tack “allegedly” on here because one never knows how far the Chinese media portrays reality…allegedly…).  A motive for those who committed suicide was the payout to their families, and that they were working arduous hours for not so great pay.  Subsequently, Foxconn raised salaries and stopped the payout to families of workers who killed themselves (again, allegedly).

What is this?  Irony?  Western consumerism taking a toll on eastern manufacturing?  Cultural revolution in the sense that the east sees the west’s consumerism as a nearly unsustainable force, and an opportunity they don’t yet themselves have?  I don’t know.  Labor law was one of the modules we studied in China, and a lot of the modern labor law in China stemmed from the Olympics in 2008 (the labor laws were put on the books in 2007), so it is brand new law in their eyes.

One thing I do know, after my trip east:  I’ll be much more aware of where the things I buy come from now on, and I’m willing to pay more to buy things that are local.  I would ask that you to ponder the same…where do the things you purchase really come from, and were they made by people who have a good life, or are they made by people working in unacceptable conditions?  And if they were made by people who are in deplorable situations, do you really, really want to support that with your wallet?

My Next Adventure

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Those of you who know me know that I get pretty restless and bored quickly (maybe it is a product of my astrological sign, or just my genes).  Hence, with 10 weeks off, I definitely needed another adventure before heading back to law school, and I thought I’d share with you what I’m up to.

In August, I’m headed to a training program in NYC called Boardology with Boardroom Bound.  You can read about the program here, but basically, this program helps train women and minorities how to serve on for profit company boards. I’ve done my fair share of not for profit board work in the past, but it is time to kick it up a notch and figure out how it is the same and different from for profit board work.

Also, after trying to sleep off jetlag from China (still) tonight, I woke up and was pondering–if I could be on any company board, what boards would they be?  Here’s my fantasy board list:

1. Google – duh!  No brainer!
2. Target – my favorite retailer…would love to help them be #1 in the US! (Sorry other big boxes, I just love shopping at Target more.)
3. P&G – biggest consumer products company in the world – have been an employee of theirs in the past, why not a board member?
4. Burberry – CEO is from Indiana – so why not a board member from here too?
5. Hershey’s – would really like to be their first woman board member!

It has been shown in research that the companies who have women on their boards actually are more profitable as companies than boards and companies who do not.  I’m a woman, and would be happy to help any of these companies increase their profits, but more importantly, help these companies and brands succeed in the future.

Who is on your fantasy board list?

Madonna v. K-Tel

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Ok, I lied.

Although it was previously the last post of my trip to China, I’m still going to blather on about China when I have random thoughts of it.  Here’s another one I had that has been bugging me during and even after the trip.

A lot of people in China like to call the US a “young” country.  In some respects, it is.  However, China, although it is 5000+ years old, it, technically, is a younger country than the US.  China in many ways is like Madonna–older, but constantly reinventing itself.  Just look to the formation of the PRC, cultural revolution, older opium wars, opening up, etc. to see all the ways it has tried and is reinventing itself.  That, in many ways, makes the country younger than the US.  The Cultural Revolution took place in the 1970s-1980s, and many of the modern laws formed after the CR in China…thus, it legally is younger in many ways than the US.

I view the US kind of like a K-Tel album. (Lord only knows how the IP lawyers let K-Tel get away with and publish/produce albums during the day.  And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, thanks, now I feel old.)  Anyway, K-Tel albums used to take the best hits of a year or era and combine them on one record.  That, to me is how the US was set up.  It took the best hits of many other democracies and blended them together into one new fresh mix.

So, those are my best analogies to explain what China means by it being an old country, while the US is young.  Even though, in many ways, they aren’t.

Confusing?  Welcome to my life for the past 4 weeks!

The 36 Hour Day, and the 3 Minute Flight: An American Girl in China, The End

Monday, June 21st, 2010

This is my absolute last post about China.

Yesterday, I had a 36 hour Father’s Day.  I went back in time, with a 12.5 hour flight, which took off from Beijing at 4:10 pm, and landed in Chicago at 4:13 PM.  Technically, it was really only a 3 minute flight.  It felt longer. However, it was also a 36 hour day since I gained 12 hours coming back.

First thing, I never thought airplane food and beverages tasted SO GOOD in my entire life!  Secondly, I just stared at my cups of ice before I poured my cold beverages over them.  Last but not least, in Chicago I ate a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato that also never tasted so good in my entire life.

Here’s the good news: after a 13ish hour flight – a trip to Europe in the future is going to be a cake walk. Here’s the bad news: I’ve got a pile of email and mail as tall as I am, which I’ll be plodding through today to catch up on (and if you’ve written to me about something and I haven’t yet responded, I’m so sorry, and please re-remind me if it is urgent).  Pics are on Facebook too.

Last, as I exit the Chinese visitor portion of my life, I want to thank you for sharing the adventure with me over the past month…and, if you ever have the luck and good audacity to visit China, please feel free to contact me…I’ve got suggestions galore for you.  It has been fantastic to share this experience with you, and get all your feedback on it.

This, my friends, is the only way we’re all going to figure out how to make the world a better place – by traveling, connecting, collaborating, and foremost, understanding one another.

Zai Jian: AAGIC

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

The Chinese have many ways to say goodbye – zai jian is only one of them.  I had to look it up, as this will be my offical last post from Beijing before I hop on a plane and get back to the best place on earth in my currently totally biased opinion: The United States of America!

Last evening, a group of us took out our Chinese law student mentor to of course…none other than TGI Fridays for an American dinner, and to thank her for her help.  Star was very appreciative and gracious, and we told her if she ever had the chance to come to Indiana and/or the states, to look us up.  She’s only a freshmen at Renmin University, and she has so much life ahead of her, and speaks far better English than I ever will Mandarin, or for that matter, ANY dialect of Chinese!  We ended our dinner with pictures and a group hug.

Then, a friend on the trip and I took our final ride on the subway to none other than Olympic Plaza, to see the Bird’s Nest and the natatorium in all of it’s lit evening splendor.  It was a relatively clear night, and a fantastic way to end this tour of Beijing we’ve been experiencing over the past four weeks.  (I’d highly recommend you see it at night too if and when you get to Beijing…way cooler than during the day.)

Another friend and I went and got some very non-Chinese coffee this morning and commented on how far we’ve come in the past 4 weeks (which has been my first coffee in over 2 weeks.  For those of you who know me and my passion for coffee, yes, I know – it was difficult.)  To have survived and even thrived, learning while inside and outside the classroom during the time here is truly something to behold.  I agree with her.  Not every American will have the opportunity to see how amazing we actually have it in the US, nor how lucky we are to live where we live, and being away from it for a month makes one appreciate what it is we’ve left behind.

Another group of (gutsy) students was off to Tibet this morning for a few days, and left early Sunday morning.  To them, and to all on the trip – thank you for your friendship while here, safe travels home, and I certainly hope we all look back on this trip as a wonderful opportunity to not only explore and learn about China, but also to explore and learn about ourselves.

Oh, and it being Sunday here – happy father’s day to all the dads out there!!!!  My dad gets the best gift of all on Father’s Day – his daughter back in the US – ha! : )

Bon Voyage & What I Will Miss: AAGIC, cont.

Friday, June 18th, 2010

On this, my final full day in China, I took a stroll through campus and decided that there are some things–unique and not so unique–I will miss about the PRC.  Before I started packing (YAY), and in case you were wondering, I thought I’d share them with you, my faithful readers.  And here they are:

1. The Yongali exit off the subway to the Silk Market.  It’s like stepping into a rave, and gets you pumped for bargaining!

2.  Roses – they are EVERYWHERE in this country – leftover from the Olympics, I suspect, but they do VERY WELL in this climate and they were beautiful during the time here!

3.  Sandy at the track – she made us get up and get out of bed with our best workout on for most of the 4 weeks at 6 am in the morning.  Nothing like passing a 70 year old woman on the track to make you feel great about your (lack of) athleticism…we will miss your inspiring motivation, Ms. Sandy!

4.  Free donuts at breakfast.  (Ok, they’re really not donuts – and there’s a Chinese name for the fried little bits of heaven, but we needed to dump the sugar on them.)

5.  McDonald’s – Honestly, I rarely if ever eat McD’s at home.  But without them in China, I fear I might not be alive today.  McD’s was fantastically consistent, which is a golden thing when you can’t read a Chinese menu and your stomach is trying to get used to an entirely different way of eating. And way to go, McD in the PRC – you have delivery on bicycle…BRILL!  When I get home, I probably won’t eat it for awhile, but at least I know it is there waiting for me…on both continents.

6.  Peking duck – not so much for the taste (don’t get me wrong, it is tasty) but for the production around the meal.  It is a feast to be shared with friends.

7.  The bakery across from the east gate at Remnin – I never thought ‘meat floss’ could be so tasty on bread!

8.  K box – if you ever get to karaoke in private rooms like at K box across from the subway stop on the west gate of Renmin university – DO IT.  It was an absolute BLAST last night (we didn’t get home til 4).  Why don’t we have this in the states?

9.  Flaming green beans – all the green beans served at traditional chinese restaurants here were spicy hot and hot hot at the tables.  Red hot peppers and green beens?  YUM.

10.  Last, but certainly not least – the silver and gold friends – to all the awesome student mentors we had (mine was Star – LOVE her and we’re taking her out to dinner tonight because she was so very super helpful), but also to Beverly, big D, Diva, Summer, Chen Lei, and all the amazing help we had over here trying to acclimate to law school and China – you all rocked the house and are WELCOME to visit in Indiana anytime!  Also, to the friends I already had through law school in the states, who I got to know better while during our tenure here.  You were a blast, the group was never dull, and it was great to see another level of my law school homies here in the PRC.  Lastly, to the new law school friends I met at other law schools who joined our summer program – it was a pleasure to meet you, and you too made our experience so much the richer by your participation.

Safe travels home, to all the 30 participants in the program.  Don’t know about you, but the first thing I’ll be ordering on the plane is a HUGE cup of water, WITH ICE.