It is an unusual Sunday for me when I do not have a blog topic enter my consciousness and then start writing. But at the moment, with a workshop coming up in January and some ideas I want to sift through and outline I find myself with an unusual single-minded focus there.
I am grateful for that, since I tend to bounce around a lot of things in my noggin all at the same time. Generally they are on a theme, but they tend to be interdisciplinary. For example, I almost never have less than 3 books I am reading at one time. For some people, that might be challenging. For me, it is the intersection and collision of unique ideas that I enjoy.
I allow for sifting and sorting of what I’m learning to percolate through my consciousness. Sometimes this leads to interesting metaphors to describe concepts in new ways.
Thus, in honoring that focus, which obviously indicates some passion about my topic, I am keeping this short. I know better than to declare less frequency of writing here, though I have been able to take Tuesdays off reliably. I leave open the possibility of serendipity.
On New Year’s Day this year I finished reading Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. It felt like a fitting time to finish the book, given the reflective time of the year. I truly enjoyed learning her insights, understanding her struggles, and relating to her need for achievement, given her humble beginnings.
It got me to think about my own journey of “becoming” and the ways in which our beliefs, decisions and actions in our lives determine our journeys. I love the way Michelle Obama owns her story, and reveals a full experience of living her extraordinary life, in a way that feels genuine. She is definitely an example of what is possible to so many people in the world.
We all need to own our stories. We need to take responsibility for the choices and mistakes we make. The power of self-belief and having supportive families really comes through through in her writing. Michelle Obama takes nothing for granted in terms of having parents who sacrificed mightily in their lives so that she could excel professionally and personally. She also helps us understand the internal and personal conflicts of a feminist who had to assume a different role when deciding to support her husband’s visionary candidacy and Presidency.
I believe her wisdom will resonate with so many women of our generation (she is only 10 years older than me). I am grateful that a group of my friends will be able to attend an event in St. Paul in March, a conversation with her, where we will hear her speak. Women’s voices have powerful resonance when they speak their truth. Her story is courageous and inspiring, and I would bet that yours is too.
Who are you becoming? What have you had to overcome to be where you are today?
I want to riff a bit on a chapter of Jenny Blake’s book Pivot on “High Net Growth” individuals. It is a concept that resonates so deeply with me. We all know that there are “high net worth” people who measure their success by the amount of assets they accumulate. They value material measures of success.
In contrast, high net growth individuals are driven by purpose, fulfillment, impact and learning. When we become too comfortable in a role, we get bored. Rather than settling in, we aim for projects and roles that will stretch our skills and capabilities and allow us to grow.
It is not that financial resources do not matter. Indeed they do, and they allow us flexibility and choice. But beyond taking care of our needs and earning a comfortable living, the real reward is knowing you have made an impact in a significant way. This perspective reflects some privilege. But it is one in which we use our privilege to expand possibilities for more people.
While I was at a prospective student interview for my alma mater this evening, I got inspired by the openness and curiosity of a young man in an exciting phase of his life, just before choosing his college path. When we are young, this orientation toward growth and learning is easy to cultivate. But it is a lifelong journey. We never stop growing, and though it can be uncomfortable at times, I find it is the only activity that truly satisfies me.
Are you a high net growth individual? How do you cultivate and support other high net growth team members?
I kept my word and took a couple days off writing recently. Well, I managed Saturday and Monday. Apparently I cannot resist writing *something* like a haiku on the weekends, even when I was determined to take a break. There really is something to a daily habit that is kind of irresistible.
Yesterday I shared a post from a favorite blogger, and I think I will do that a bit more during the holiday season. I am trying to get organized to keep that information and schedule it out in advance, which is fortunately easy to do on the “old” WordPress editor to which I managed to down-grade.
Lately I have been binge-listening to a podcast show that I really enjoy, called the Pivot Podcast by Jenny Blake. I actually discovered the book while I was in an AirBnB in October, and it felt like the perfect read for my business transition. When I realized Jenny had a podcast, I also checked it out. She introduced me to Penny Pierce, who wrote The Intuitive Way, which is also precious wisdom.
I have been musing on why I cannot get enough of Jenny. I realize it is partly her voice, and the sincerity and openness with which she approaches her craft. Most of her shows are interviews of authors, but a few are solo riffs. She is a public speaker and does keynote addresses, so obviously she has practiced. But I find it easier to connect with authors who are willing to risk the relatively more “vulnerable” practice of using their voices as well as their written words. Also, she is about a decade younger than me, and the wisdom beyond her years amazes me.
It makes me consider whether I want to experiment with such a medium someday, even though I know there’s a crowded media market. It is interesting how podcasts are democratizing a “radio” market, somewhat like blogs democratized the written media market.
I typically like to listen while I’m in my car running errands. I’m a fan public radio and I support my local station each month. But with the news the way it is, I stopped listening daily after Trump was elected. I just couldn’t absorb it all the time. I switched to podcasts so I could “curate” my listening experience a bit more. This post reminded me to update my Audiophiles page. If you are traveling for the holidays and looking for some audio companionship on your journey, check it out. Cheers!
I got another writing contract today. It came in just as I submitted a couple more proposals and wondered what I could do to improve my chances to keep my work pipeline flowing.
A sentiment came to me as I realized the new assignment was exactly on a theme I recently wrote about on my personal blog the day before. It gave me a little chill, knowing that following my interests and pursuing questions that matter to me is now manifesting in work.
So the answer was: just more gratitude. Keep feeling and expressing the gratitude for all the grace and blessings in my life. The emotion of gratitude carries a higher vibration than fear or scarcity. And it leads to more creative energy than anything I know.
I am taking a blog break for the next few days and considering what schedule I will adopt for the future. I may start a weekly column on Linked In so that I can indulge my need to write regularly, along with building up my business credibility. Please connect with me there so we can stay in touch! It is time for me to start giving more attention to that process, if I want to succeed in staying self-employed.
Lately I have had a stronger inclination to blog less often and work on a bigger project. I hesitate to write this here, because it feels a little raw and personal, but I have book aspirations. Some other part of me says, “don’t we all?” This community will understand, surely.
Ever since talking with a potential client about ghost-writing a book he wanted to work on, I started questioning what direction my writing will take me. I feel so fortunate to have worked for three different clients on a few writing and research projects in the past month.
I can now claim an identity as a “professional writer” in getting paid to actually do this thing I love. It felt good to know that this daily blog practice has led to a portfolio of writing samples, several of which may have been instrumental to landing the contracts.
And now I find myself with stirrings toward working on a book idea. Titles come to me sometimes while I allow for quiet reflection. I turn stories around in my head to figure out how they might resonate, if I can find something of value in them. I think I may owe it to myself to figure out whether I can write something bigger and more substantial.
When I considered the idea of working for a client for a fairly low dollar figure to write his book, my response was: my time would be more valuable working on my own book! Then I thought: why not? I do have to earn some income, and I hope to keep a pipeline of projects going. But why not set aside the time, blog a little less often, and really invest in that bigger project?
Big projects feel daunting to me. I remember how hard it was to complete my master’s thesis, and that was only 40 pages long. Something deep within me beckons me to work on it though, to set aside regular time to turn my attention there.
I feel I have been distracting myself with little things, afraid of getting lost in one big project. At the same time, some “gear” clicked into place when I heard myself ponder the question, and I felt excited by the idea. So I have not totally committed yet, but I am imagining ways I could make it happen. I am considering how to block off daily and weekly time chunks for tapping that inner well and seeing what comes of it.
Do I have the endurance for that longer game? We will see. It seems a pity not to make the attempt.