Think Spring and Goalsetting

7 03 2011

daffodilsThe crocuses (or are they croci?) have popped their colorful heads above ground, the Bradford pears are budding, and the rhododendron are adding a splash of yellow to the side yard. Next will be daffodils. Then I’ll know for sure spring is here.

And with that, I’m looking back over my New Year’s resolutions. Two months have flown by already. I’m still on track for all of my goals, but I’m not progressing as quickly as I’d envisioned. I discovered something along the way, though. I started putting realistic time estimates beside the items on my to-do list each day.

The first time I tried it, the items on my list for that day added up to 46 hours. No wonder I never got through the list. I was exhausted, discouraged, and mentally berating myself for falling short of my goals. So I’ve eased up on myself a bit. Now I only try to squeeze 32 hours of work into a day. Obviously, this is an ongoing project…

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Ghostwriting

9 01 2011

I began a totally new project in December–ghostwriting a romance. I’ve ghostwritten nonfiction, but this is my first attempt at working from someone else’s synopsis. That’s been a challenge.

I find that my brain starts popping out kernels of ideas until I have bowls full of popcorn, but I have to sweep more than half of it in the trash because it doesn’t fit the outline I’ve been given. I’m convinced that my additions would make for a better, stronger story, but they’d take the book in a totally different direction.

I guess writing to a preset outline is good discipline, as is setting aside several hours a day to work on fiction writing, but I wonder if my creative brain will suffer if I constantly ignore its ideas and directives. Any thoughts?





Rethinking Goverment

3 10 2010

I’ve been exploring the concept of holacracy—a new form of company and leadership dynamics. If I understand it correctly, it’s based on the principles of holism, where the whole is greater than the parts. It also involves being in harmony with something beyond yourself. It may be a social unit (family, nation) or an ideology, or even creation (or perhaps beyond that to the creator).

I’m excited by the possibilities of applying these ideas to business. Management expert Gary Hamel, ranked as the #1 most influential business thinker in the world by the Wall Street Journal, believes that to build a company for the future it must excite passion in its people. People who care about the company and are invested in it will be its greatest resources. I believe a company can harness that passion by freeing those who work there to find their unique purpose and to follow their higher calling.

Holocracy frees a company to evolve beyond the limits of set values. Rather than polarizing toward one value, say innovation, which then automatically excludes its opposite, stagnation, this construct embraces both values. Redefining stagnation can mean maintaining the status quo and retaining ideas and systems that have worked well in the past. It may encompass stillness, reflection, and stability. Innovation without balance can result in exhaustion and instability, and change for change’s sake. By allowing room for both values, the company can make the wisest decisions.

That also means a diversity of personalities and backgrounds are vital within the company. Each person brings a unique take on the world, with varying ideals, values, and thoughts. A company that appreciates these differing viewpoints and integrates them into a meaningful whole greatly benefits from the expertise of each person. It also means doing away with the top-down structure and empowering people to work autonomously.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could apply these principles to government? Perhaps a blend of the best of the traditional political parties would work wonders for balance, unity, and harmony.





From Communes to File Sharing

6 08 2010

I’m fascinated by the Pirate Party (see previous post), and the more I talk to twenty-somethings, the more I discover they’re big proponents of sharing intellectual property.

One developer I talked to works a day job so he can afford to spend his free time doing what he really wants to do–create and share his developments with others for free. He’s not alone. Many programs such as Spybot, Open Office, Paint.NET, GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program, and other free downloads offer security, wordprocessing, and photo-manipulation programs that are comparable to those you pay big bucks for.

I’m wondering if the Baby Boomers who grew up in the “me” generation spawned these givers. Was it a reaction or even rebellion against the “do-what-feels-good” and the “take-care-of-number-one” philosophies? Interestingly enough, many Baby Boomers dropped out of that lifestyle in the 60s and touted a back-to-nature lifestyle. They joined communes and shared their possessions. But quite a few of them went on to snag high-powered jobs later in life and moved up the corporate ladder.

Perhaps, though, deep down, they still believed in that original philosophy and passed it on. The present generation caught that spirit and now lives out that philosophy of sharing.

I wonder, too, if all the competitiveness of our society encourages people to hide their talents, to refuse to share unless they’re adequately compensated. Perhaps if we collaborated instead of competing, we could pool our knowledge and cure cancer and other illnesses, create viable solar cars and houses, eliminate poverty, and negotiate world peace. The younger adults in our society seem to understand this and are moving in that direction.

One of the most exciting ways to discover new ideas is to brainstorm with a group. Each person adds to another’s knowledge. If we shared discoveries, rather than trying to keep them secret so we could profit from them, who knows what we could accomplish.





Have You Heard of Prezi?

21 06 2010

I love discovering new things to enhance my presentations, so I was intrigued when I read an article in School Library Journal about it and was intrigued enough to trek on over to the Prezi site. It’s advertised as intuitive and easy to use. And supposedly it beats PowerPoint hands down.

I see that it could be fun to jot down ideas and play with them. Make them larger, draw paths, make sense out of random jottings, but I think right brain and left brain functions are two different things. I wonder if all the creative people end up with fabulous ideas that are messy and disorganized as they bounce from idea to idea with no clear path for others to follow.

My guess is that the super-organized will be so busy lining their jottings up in outline form or alphabetically or some other linear format that they’ll miss the fun of brainstorming, and the scattershot approach will totally pass them by.

So who is Prezi for? Probably those people who don’t mind making an initial mess, then have the ability to edit, organize, classify, and categorize random thoughts. Writers, perhaps? Isn’t that we’re expected to do? Throw creative ideas down on paper without censoring them, then go back and turn them into coherent stories?

Believe me, I wondered about writing a novel on Prezi. Think it would work?

Lesson 1: Prezi in 3 minutes





I Survived… I Think

21 04 2010

So, one day after the event, I can look back with equanamity. If you read my public speaking post, you might have gotten the impression I don’t like to speak in front of groups.

That’s partially true. And I’m a procrastinator who avoids thinking about the presentation until the last minute, then…gulp!…realizes that it’s time to go out the door, and I have no time left to prepare. Why do I do that? It means I panic as I rush to pull some thoughts together as I drive to my destination and pray that I’ll come up with an interesting and inspirational topic. Yes, I was asked to talk about myself, but every talk should be structured like a story, with a beginning (inciting incident), middle (rising action), and ending (dramatic conclusion).

Luckily for me, my muse works well under pressure. I came up with several exciting (at least I hoped they were) events in my life and made them steppingstones, using an underlying theme of how I jump into careers, then learn on the job, often after I being forced to change directions by a tragedy or a roadblock. That helped me choose my anecdotes.

But I also like to give each audience a takeaway, something meaningful that they can apply to their own lives. My muse, my creative mind, my subconscious didn’t fail me. It dredged up a wonderful idea–one I’d heard years ago in someone else’s speech that had a powerful effect on my life…

Stay tuned for: Seeing the Other Side