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Archive for June, 2014

A Magical, or Moribund Monday?

Monday, June 30th, 2014

If your life is perfect, stop reading.  You don’t need this post.  But if you’re like me, without a perfect life, read on.

This post is brought to you by the following:

  • 2014 (which now, frighteningly, is half over),
  • your friends and family (who yes, don’t see you enough, and yes, I’m included in that pile for my fab 13 – always!)
  • and your doctor (who called you with sketchy, inconclusive test results that you’ve been ignoring for the past several weeks that you need to follow up on, but haven’t).

Ready?

Here goes.

You. Are. Going. To. Die.

Super cheery for a Monday, right?  Well, it is the Monday before a holiday.  (I thought I would hit you with this subject during a holiday week, at least.)

Here’s my point: no one is going to get off this dirtball alive.  If you’re doing something that absolutely knots you up inside on Sunday nights in preparation for another 80-hour week from Hades doing pointless work–why are you doing it?  If you’re in a terrible, abusive or neglectful relationship with a significant other–why are you staying?  If you’re drowning in a sea of bad choices and bad decisions–why are you continuing to make even more bad choices to keep yourself down in that deep, freezing ocean of despair?

The longer you wait, the more you put it off, the more you ignore it – the closer you are to death, and the further you are away from happiness.

If you can’t remember what makes you happy–what brings you magic and joy–do what Isaiah Hankel recommends in his new book, Black Hole Focus: take an inspiration inventory.  Sit down with a cup of that coffee or tea you love, away from the cacophony of telephones and the internet and people interrupting you every 2 minutes, and think about all the things throughout your life that inspired you.  Stuff that gave you joy.  Stuff that made you feel warm and fuzzy inside.  Even if it’s silly little stuff.  Even if it doesn’t seem big.  (Trust me, it is big.  It’s the little things that truly make the biggest difference in life.)

I’ll let you go read the rest of Isaiah’s book to figure out what to do with that inventory once you have it–but just writing it down is a great first step. If nothing else, it will remind you that you do have joy in your life, you just need to dig it up, dust it off, and hold on to it a little more closely.  TODAY. Not a minute or month or year from now.

Why be miserable?  Life is short.  Twain said, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”  Are you ready to go now, if God forbid something happened, or are you assuming that you’re going to have next Monday, next month, and next May to live and maybe just maybe–THEN–you’ll get your stuff together…?

Ponder that this week for me, will you? I will…

The Cheeky Scientist: Party Crashing

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

When I read this article, the first thing I did was email its author, Dr. Isaiah Hankel, and stated I couldn’t agree more with him if I tried.

That started a conversation.

Which led me to joining his crew over at the Cheeky Scientist.

I know what you’re thinking: “Albert, why?  Don’t you have enough on your plate? Aren’t you already coaching others in this space?”

Noted.  I hear you.  But the reason why I wanted to join Isaiah’s posse is simple: it fits my mission.  My personal mission, as I’ve shared here with you before, is to litter the universe with knowledge.  That includes career development.

Also as I’ve said here before, career development used to be easy, as it was the following process for professionals:

  1. Go to a good school,
  2. graduate,
  3. pass boards or the bar,
  4. get a great job with a great company,
  5. work in that one job for 30-40 years,
  6. retire with the gold watch,
  7. the end.

It’s not that easy anymore.  The more and more I study and view the world, the more I see the most fascinating people doing a bunch of things.  They’re attacking their careers as multipationals–they have a cool stream of projects and interests.  Some gigs are paid, some are not–and I can’t really tell which gigs are paying them, and in what type of currency (monetary? social capital? philanthropic karma?).  Most are writing, speaking, holding down the day job, taking on cool side projects, and getting on their soapboxes about things they care about.  They are saying Yes.  They give a damn about many things.

And this is energy I dig.

On the other hand, however, creating a multipational career is really hard to do.  There’s no 7-step guide on how to do it.  There’s no rubric for cramming in something you care about on top of all the other things you do.  There’s no calculator for priorities anymore.  THEY NEVER TAUGHT ME HOW TO DO THIS IN SCHOOL.  All bets are off.  It’s a lot more complex–but potentially also a lot more rewarding if you can figure out the right multipational life for you.  And people like Isaiah want to help you make this happen.  I want to help you make this happen.

This is why I’m on board with Isaiah.  And I hope you are too, if you’re in the M or D space like me. (Here’s the official PR if you’re interested.)

STEM-ADE: Why we need Art, Design and Entrepreneurship on top of STEM – My Story

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

snoopy alphabet and e You probably already know what I’m going to say. But let me discuss my own personal experiences a little further today after my other article on STEM education plus art, design and entrepreneurship, here at Inside Indiana Business came out.

First, STEM education is absolutely spot on.  Sixty five percent (65%) of kids in school today will have jobs that aren’t even invented yet in the future. I’ll let that number sink into your brain for a second.

That’s more than half.

So, how are we possibly able to predict every key skill a student needs in order to be a successful employee of the future, for an unknown job?

Answer: we can’t.  However, what we can do is arm them with critical problem solving skills that STEM affords.  But, I don’t think we should lose sight of the ADE bits of education, either.  Art, Design and Entrepreneurship are also important.

Here are my own experiences in ADE.

Art – I was a band geek growing up.  I started playing piano when I was 5, and music always stuck with me.  In middle and high school, I played the saxophone.  I sang in choir, and I tried out for the annual musicals at school.  Now, was I the best musician ever?  Clearly not, since I didn’t go to Julliard.  However, I learned key skills from my musical experiences – as tiny as – use your diaphragm when you speak to project, all the way through to – take the lead when no one else will.  I’m also including visual art and literature here too, although others may expand the idea of what art is.  I care less about the definition, and more about the skills I gleaned from my artistic experiences.

Design – This of all the -ADE, I had the least of in formal school.  But it’s the idea of continuous quality improvement.  Listening to the customer, then creating features and benefits and designing something “better” for the customer, then executing upon it to make something – BETTER.  (Get it?) Anyway, my point here is this: take a look around.  There are plenty of things that could use some improvement.  Our cities.  Our communities.  Our streets.  Our blocks.  Our front yards.  Ourselves.  We can ALWAYS be doing, being and living better, continuing to grow, and making the world a little better than we found it.

While I don’t think of myself as a designer, the way I try to practically implement this skill set is in 2 steps:

  1. Stop whining when something is broken and
  2. Fix it.

A recent example might be the Social Media Dames Unconference.  It all started with a whiny twitter rant between myself and a few other women about the lack of women on social media in Indiana.  So, instead of continuing to whine, we tried to fix it by creating this educational series we are now taking around the state.  This is design thinking!

Entrepreneurship – When I think of a true entrepreneur, she’s taking a crazy idea that she had, putting it on paper, selling it back to the universe, then implementing it.  (This really isn’t that far away from design thinking either.)  While I really never had any formal education on entrepreneurship, I did grow up surrounded by two very entrepreneurial parents, who taught me things like: working your &*^% off, studying, persevering, and never giving up when everyone else does if it’s something you really, really want.  That is the secret sauce of which I think of when I think about entrepreneurs.

I started a couple of businesses on my own, wrote a few books, and somehow scrapped my way into getting my ideas into print to share with the rest of the world.  This skill set should be taught EVERYWHERE, so EVERY KID has a shot at being an entrepreneur too if s/he wants to be!

So, there you have it.  While STEM is an excellent start – if we really, really want to do a good job at preparing our kids for those 65% unknown jobs of the future today – we’ve got to stick the -ADE in there too.  STEAMED is the right acronym moving forward.

It has to be.

That, and a little more Snoopy never hurt either…

What Stuck with Me from #SMDames14

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

First off, and on a somber note, I want to state that while my head is here at home, my heart and my spirit are with my friend, E, in New York.  Hang in there, lady.  I’m with you in spirit today and this week.

Second, I attended the second of (in a hopefully long, long series) the Social Media Dames Unconference in Ft. Wayne, IN (#SMDames14), hosted by Ash Brokerage today.  Here’s what stuck with me.

Best new social media widget to tryTrello.  Seriously – if I can eliminate lists on post-its, I’m all about that in my life.

Gadget I knew, but have been on the fence about tryingBuffer.  On one hand, it’s cool to prep posts and let ‘em cook.  On the other hand, what if something in the real world happens?  I feel a little better about how to manage this now with Buffer, so I may cue it up soon.

SM Most likely to pruneFaceplace.  Sorry, Zuck, but there was a lot of buzz today about taking a “Facebook Holiday” at the event.  We’re all tired of seeing how awesome everyone’s lives are AND seeing the stream out of order.  Seriously, if I want to see the most recent posts, I want to see the most recent posts! Not popular stuff only. Next…

Freshest ideaBlog to Book.  I kind of did this with my law school book (at least as a Kindle book) – but @emdt had a great idea on taking a set of blog posts and making it a physical book.  There’s printing like at LuLu, or of course the ebook is an option.  Rock on. I dig.

New thing we tried – a ‘what stuck with me’ board.  You can see the photo over at my instagram stream.  I hacked through some ideas on it – but honestly, we need to get someone who can draw out the discussions for #SMDames14Indy2 this fall.  Also heard that instagram and faceplace are merging one of these days, of course since Zuck bought ‘em out.

Other gadgety SM stuff we used or discussed today – Google presentations, tinyurl, and bit.ly.

What I discussed – Adobe Voice.  It’s like the best of Adobe without all the complication.  (BTW, my slides on it are here.)

Another fine day of #socialmedia learning at its finest.  But, as the first #SMDames13 did, it just leaves me wanting to know more.

Last but not least, thanks to all the sponsors, presenters, host (Ash Brokerage), and attendees today.  From the cupcakes to lunch to the knowledge shared in a fun, easy spirited atmosphere, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered for a girl like me today!

#SMDames14 – 6/24/14 – Ft. Wayne – for Women and Social Media

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Follow Amy Stark’s board Social Media Dames on Pinterest.

See this cool little Pinterest widget up on this post above this text?  That, along with a million other little tiny ideas I’ve picked up from attending and networking with the fabulous social media dames from #SMDames13 and soon to be (tomorrow) #SMDames14!  I LOVE learning about the power of social media from these gals, and cannot wait for tomorrow!

I’ll be talking about my new little pal, Adobe Voice.  Others are talking about an array of social media tools that we can all go home, think about, and reapply to our businesses and our lives, in order to share our stories.

If you’re a gal seeking social media nirvana and in Indiana, OH or anywhere near Ft. Wayne tomorrow, you should join us, here’s the link to the tickets….I think we still have a few left.

I have the privilege of attending a lot of training courses throughout the year, but of all of them, this is one I always look forward to the most.

See (some of you) tomorrow!

Cafe Death

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

So…nobody really wants to talk about it.  (But I do, because if nothing else, I need to take a break from building a slide presentation I’ve been working on all weekend. So, let’s do this.)

What is the ‘it’?

Death.

But–some are daring to get the moose on the table.

My friend and one of my mentors, Dr. Elaine Voci is starting a Death Cafe here in the Indianapolis area in July.  You can check out her work over at her website, here.  The Death Cafe information is also included at her site.  I love that Elaine is taking on this tough, taboo subject matter.  After all, we’re all going to die.  Why not have some healthy conversations around it?  Besides, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own legacy.  Shouldn’t we all think about what we want to leave behind, before we leave it behind?

The Death Cafe conversation series with Dr. Voci is free, but you must register in advance.  If you decided to attend, please tell her I said hello, and remind her that Indianapolis is very, very lucky to have her!

My How Tempus Fugit

Friday, June 20th, 2014

I’m certainly no past dweller, as I’ve said here, repeatedly.  But the keyword here is “repeatedly.”

This little tiny blog has now been part of the internet ether for nearly 6 years.  It’s kind of like a diary for me too, since I’m getting elderly (ha!) to look back and see what I was up to when.  Here, for example, is a tiny list of things I was thinking about in:

June, 2013:  Women’s Campaign School at Yale
June, 2012:  Studying for the bar. Ick.
June, 2011:  Tooting your own horn, without being a tool
June, 2010:  Men as time vampires
June, 2009:  The Reese’s Peanut Butter Conspiracy

And I don’t have a June, 2008, because the blog was born in August.

Still happy I went to Yale.  Still not happy about cramming for the bar, but happy it’s behind me.  Still trying not to be a tool while promoting stuff online.  Are men time vampires? I’m not going to go there right now – but I will say that generally, I’ve not seen any healthy return on investment worth it in regards to that department.

Last but not least, I’m still glad there’s a happy ending for a marriage between chocolate and peanut butter.  At least there’s a relationship I can get behind.

The other ending here, people: the end itself.  Time flies. Tempus fugit.  Don’t forget that you have exactly one life,* and that means that your time here is finite. Make the most of it.  Make it the best and most interesting you can.  For it will be gone before you know it, and you’ll look back and ponder where it went.

*Unless you believe in the 11 parallel universes theorized by quantum physics, in which, allegedly, there are 10 other parallel universes happening at the exact same time as our current perceived universe, right next to us.  Or, if you believe in reincarnation–but really, are you going to remember your past life or lives?  We have people (myself included) who can’t remember all the details of THIS LIFE NOW.

Legacy: Littering the Universe With Knowledge

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

So, yesterday, my law mentor asked me a series of tough questions, which I’ve been pondering ever since.

“What do you want your legacy to be?  What do you stand for?  What are you passionate about?”

At first instinct, I started thinking of all the tribes I dig.  But the problem is, to most folks, they are seemingly disparate–STEM and girls, entrepreneurs (full and part time), those who are multipational or slashes, those who care about Indiana, women in social media telling their stories, those who want to do good and create good business as social entrepreneurs, my peeps in pharmacy, business and law, and hybrid professionals.

However, after sleeping on her series of tough questions, here’s the 50K ft view of what I want my legacy to be after I leave this Earth:

I want to be known for littering the Universe with knowledge.

I think that’s the common thread.  Whether it’s a:

  • five year old who gets giddy about geology (or some other corner of STEAMED or STEM),
  • to a 19 year old pharmacy major who wants to learn how to build and write a business plan,
  • to a 25 year old pharmacist who wants to go on to law school,
  • to a 30 year old mom who wants to learn how to utilize social media and share her story,
  • to a 35 year old who wants to write HER OWN first book,
  • to a 50 year old who wants to redesign her life and start a business,
  • to a school that wants me to draft a summary of a meeting or an event to share with a bigger audience,
  • to a legislator who wants to know more about social enterprise business forms,
  • to a pre-retiree who has been there, done that and gives me the opportunity to share his or her wisdom in a talk or a book.

I want to be a force for good and sharing education at all levels.  Besides, there’s PLENTY of work to do in this arena, judging by the mass media and their lack of edutaining and educating materials right now.  I want to be an advocate for knowledge.

I joked with my mentor yesterday that the one “career” that always came up high for me on all the personality testing that I’ve never been quite sure how to reconcile is “PR.”  After sleeping on it – I already do PR – it’s just PR for knowledge!

If that’s too big, lofty or wonky, I don’t know yet.  But I do know that this is the common thread throughout my crazy career, my books and articles, my talks, and my projects.  It’s being curious about the world, going on a learning journey, and taking others along with me on the ride, and leaving the universe just a little better than I found it…

…that’s it in its simplest form.

What’s yours? Here’s hoping you can come up with it faster than I could.

The Bottom Line

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Today was my last official meeting with my mentor for law.  It’s a program that is for 1 year, where you have to meet several times and talk about law stuff.  Although, the outline for the program was shockingly for lawyers in law firms.  Luckily, the mentor I had doesn’t work in a law firm either, so we had some really good conversations.

The bottom line: Mentors are good – I highly recommend having a bunch of them.

I also had a chat with illustrator extraordinaire on the #STEMPrincess project–Pam Fraizer today.  We’re gearing up for more in this arena…stay tuned, or check your inbox if you were a backer – you already have an email from me.

The bottom line: Backers are good – I highly recommend having a bunch of them.

Last, the wifi at work wasn’t working today, which threw a crimp in my plans for the day.  This was unproductively annoying.

The bottom line: Backup plans are good – I highly recommend having a bunch of them.

May the odds be ever in your favor…

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Everybody loves a good Hunger Games analogy, right…?

Right.

Said another way (by one of my friends from law school) the universe can be…creepidty. Full circle on the weirdness today for moi.

And I know I’m vague-blogging here, but suffice it to say that…sometimes, the stars align NOT in your favor. But, sometimes they do. The difference is to know and be aware of when they’re aligning for you…and against you.

Not to go all Sheryl Sandberg – but lean in when they are aligning for you. Obviously, lean out when they’re not.

And remember–when things are dark and you feel you’ve lost your way, keep moving forward. Onward. One step in front of the other. And hopefully, tomorrow the odds will be in your favor…even if they aren’t today.