The wonderful thing about inspiration is also, in some ways, the awful thing about it: Like a panic attack you usually can’t predict when or where it’s going to strike.
Last week I was lucky enough to make it off the waiting list and get a ticket for this wonderful thing called Creative Mornings, a free monthly lecture series, which includes coffee and, at least for July, bagels, too. The speakers, culled from diverse creative fields, give 20-minute presentations (give or take). Afterward there’s time to answer a few questions and, depending upon how early you arrive, there’s a good deal of time before things get underway to mix ‘n mingle.
The Creative Mornings presentation I attended introduced me to guest speaker Kelli Anderson, a wonderfully talented young designer, whose work is, dare I say, clever and inspired. Check out the paper record player wedding invitation she created for some friends of hers—it’s pretty freakin’ cool and original!
Creative Mornings, the brainchild of Tina Roth Eisenberg, is approaching its third anniversary and now includes 24 chapters spread across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Drink that in because it’s a remarkable thing and stands as a testament to what can be accomplished when an inspired idea catches fire.
Like so many others before me, my Creative Mornings experience blew me away and it got me thinking that being regularly inspired is as necessary to ongoing success for your business or career as setting the right goals and objectives and charting your progress. Yet, how many of us make a concerted effort to put ourselves in inspiration’s path on a monthly basis? After all, what’s the point of all our hard work without those joyful, fleeting moments when the stars align and everything is clear and bright and the world makes perfect, absolute sense?
The wonderful thing about inspiration is also, in some ways, the awful thing about it: Like a panic attack you usually can’t predict when or where it’s going to strike. What you can do, however, is create fertile opportunities that increase the odds of its occurring by finding your own kind of Creative Mornings to regularly attend.
If you’re not doing this already, take some time to start looking for a monthly gathering that suits your interests now. And, don’t make it all business. This isn’t about making networking contacts that can advance your career or extend your sales revenue. This is about expanding your way of thinking, seeing and being—you know, the kind of stuff that charges you up and gets you excited all over again about the things you love or maybe has you falling in love with something totally new. It’s about inspiration—giving it, getting it and, most of all, being in the midst of it so you don’t forget that yours is a life filled with passion and purpose driven as much by inspiration as by the gritty determination and perspiration it takes to see your biggest and best ideas and dreams come to fruition.
Have you found a way to be regularly inspired—your own Creative Mornings? I'd love to hear about it and, perhaps, so would others. Contact me and let me know.
While our middle-aged brains may get distracted (and there is a reason for that), they are actually performing many higher-level brain functions better than our younger selves.
So, I just finished reading a book that I can't stop talking about; it's called The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind by Barbara Strauch, which I came across while wandering around Powell's Books on my recent vacation in Portland, OR.
If you're a bookstore lover and you've never been to Powell's, you may just have to make a special trip to Portland for no other reason than to spend a week roaming the rainbow-coded multi-floor, mega-mecca-emporium's floor-to-ceiling stacks of new and used books. Needless to say, the hour I had was hardly enough to cover a measly corner of the place—but, oh, what a corner it was.
Strauch's book immediately appealed to me on several-levels:
Now, if you frequently find yourself:
What does all this mean? While our middle-aged brains may get distracted (and there is a reason for that), they are actually performing many higher-level brain functions better than our younger selves. So, as Neil Charness, a psychologist at Florida State University says in the book, "if what you are doing depends on knowledge, then you're going to do very well as you get older."
Who among us, in today's economy, whether a business owner or career professional, isn't trading in knowledge and expertise, in some way or another? There's some comfort in knowing that as we get older our experience actually does count for something—it really does make us better at our jobs, smarter than our younger selves (and competition) and wiser than even we may have expected (really, there have been studies to prove it). Read Strauch’s book if you don't believe me.
And if you need a strategic edge with your business or career my one-on-one sessions are a great way to get the support and boost you need to get you to that next level. Call or email me today to for details.
Participating in this fascinating social, educational, and even cultural experiment that has the power to transform learning and teaching worldwide, is a pretty amazing opportunity in and of itself.
I’m going to admit something that for some, I'm sure, isn't going to shatter any illusions, but I did not entirely hate school when I was a kid. In fact, I kind of dug it. Granted, I didn’t love the uneasy feeling of not knowing what awaited me at the beginning of each school year, but from an early age I grew addicted to learning and the opportunity to dive into the things I really enjoyed like literature and history and music. I also loved the wonderful feeling of discovering something new that left me breathless and excited.
I suppose that’s why I always look forward to Labor Day like a small child welcomes the coming of Christmas, even though my school days are long behind me. While, of course, I know and believe we are lifelong learners—well, I am at any rate—my days of formal education ended with a graduate degree not quite two decades ago. Well, at least that’s what I thought.
When my BFF emailed me earlier this year about a website called Coursera, which offers free online courses from prestigious institutions of higher education, I was immediately suspicious. I worked in higher education once upon a time and know that courses weren’t just given away for free. My friend mentioned she’d already signed up for a course being offered by Stanford University, so that certainly made me curious. When I check out the site for myself it all seemed on the up and up.
I ended up signing up for two classes: Gamification offered by The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which I took for business purposes, and Introduction to Philosophy, offered by The University of Edinburgh, which I always wanted to take in college, but could never quite fit into my schedule.
My Gamification class just started at the beginning of September. Taught by Wharton Associate Professor, and co-author of the ebook For the Win, Kevin Werbach, it’s one of the first university-level courses on this timely subject. You can take the class for a certificate of completion, which means you need to do the weekly homework, complete the quizzes and final exam, and participate in the discussion forums, or you can simply watch the lectures and do whatever aspects of the homework, quizzes, etc. you want if you don’t really care about the certificate, which requires a passing grade.
The course itself won’t earn you any college credits, so, other than the certificate, which I do think you could list on your resume and anywhere else such credentials would be of value, here’s what I’m getting out of my online educational experience that’s certainly worth the time investment, never mind the tuition:
And, although it’s not on the hit list above, participating in this fascinating social, educational, and even cultural experiment that has the power to transform learning and teaching, not just in higher education, but across the entire spectrum of education worldwide, is a pretty amazing opportunity in and of itself.
So, while I watch all the kids in my neighborhood acclimate to their new school schedules, their shiny new backpacks already weighted down with more books than their small frames are meant to carry, this September, rather than feel a twinge of envy, I’m actually commiserating. For I, too, have quizzes and a final exam for which I need to study and homework I have to devote a portion of my weekends to (aw, man, that’s so not fair).