Because Local…

Your favorite popular brands were once small businesses, too.

On this Small Business Saturday, don’t forget to check out the best your city has to offer.

Shop, eat, drink local. It’s great stuff and services by great people, close to home.

All the jazz about economy is nothing without starting at home first.

Advertisements

A Bad Day…

Everyone has bad days.

The good news is you (should) get another one tomorrow.

Until then, here are a few great ways to get back to par:

  1. Sleep. They say sleep is like hitting reset on your mind.
  2. Exercise. Nothing changes the chemistry in your mind and body like a great workout.
  3. Meditate. Clear your mind (I’ll admit, this one’s hard for me!) and mind your feelings (you know, like Master Obi-Wan says).
  4. Talk Right. Have an uplifting conversation with a close companion or bring forth positive cognitions.
  5. Do Right. Help someone. Make a small step toward a positive impact somewhere, anywhere.

Even the best of us can have bad days. Fix it. After all, we aren’t necessarily guaranteed a tomorrow.

Home Away from the Office…

Hello Peter what’s happening. I’m gonna need you to go ahead and come in tomorrow. So if you could be here at around….9 that’d be great.

Bill Lumbergh (Office Space, 1999)

I’ve worked in a large retail store, a small retail boutique shop, a huge cubicle farm, the edge of someone else’s desk, an open-air semi-walled cubicle farm, a count-my-tiles office, a collaborative space, at home, at clients’ offices, at coffee shops, and even in my car in the parking lot, stealing someone else’s WiFi.  Having served my fair share of professional (and sometimes not-so-professional) roles in the last several years, I’ve had experience working in all manner of places and spaces.

There is one type of space I had not tried until recently: coworking.  As a consultant, I’m typically at the client’s office, or wherever they need me to be.  Occasionally, I’ll have meetings at various places – typically coffee shops – and at other times, I’ll be working at home.  Each of these places, though, have their cons.

At the client/at the office.  This belongs to the client or the company.  Even if I work for them, this is their space.  I go where they want to put me (at my last job, I moved so many times, I lost count at 24).  I don’t get to complain or ask for anything special because I am there to do the work, not necessarily enjoy any office niceties.  When you’re at the office, you don’t always get to customize it and you’re often at the mercy of whoever is around you.  When you’re “at the office”, it’s not your space and you can’t necessarily hide when you need to get away and focus.

At the coffee shop.  I love my dual monitors or my ultra-widescreen.  I often have to have multiple things up at once to manage projects, write queries, track tasks, handle emails…you know, all that stuff.  My laptop is great, but it can get pretty unwieldy trying to work off a compact screen and a small keyboard.  At least I have my mouse (I don’t understand how the hell people can work without a mouse!).  There’s a thousand people around at coffee shops – sometimes the grumpy old men’s club will get really mad if you take their table with the good space, the outlet, and the spot where the WiFi is the best.  Depending on where you go, the coffee might be great, but the WiFi rarely is.  I like the buzz of coffee shops just fine, but you can’t always work from coffee shops – unless you’re a screenwriter or whatever those people who always seem to be there during the day do.

At home. Geez, working from home.  Again, WiFi is a problem.  Plus, there’s only a billion things you need to get done if you’re there.  The cats are all over you.  Look, working at home?  Only if you’ve got an awesome office and amazing internet – and no one else home.  I can’t even do this justice –  if you want to know about what it’s really like to work at home, read this article instead.  Working from home – only when you need to.

Anyway, my point here isn’t to dog on all the various places there are in the world to work – sometimes you need all of them in different circumstances.  But, every now and then, you need to get away and find a great space – a creative space, a collaborative space that is both comfortable and professional, but also as much your as it is others’.  Coworking might just be that answer.

I have a nice desk at the client’s office.  Because my consulting firm is virtual, we don’t have a home office – because we don’t need one!  I have a decent setup at home.  I like my coffee shop days, too.  But lately, I’ve been enjoying my own spot, a dedicated desk, at Haven Collective.  I have great WiFi.  There’s coffee.  I have a meeting room at my disposal for when I need it.  I get to collaborate and network with other professionals to kick around ideas or knowledge share.  It’s a neat, convenient space that isn’t necessarily something I need to call “the office” – and I get to get away from my team (sometimes you just need to).  It’s some mixture of the best parts of a collaborative suite and a coffee shop (but without the snarky old men’s coffee club).  It’s a space in between – and you know I love the whole “in between” theme…the coworking concept is catching quite a bit of steam across industries and it’s a perfect alternative to the office and my condo.

This is a real place and space that’s a home away from home…and the office.

 

Check out Haven Collective and get your own space, too, by visiting www.havencolumbus.com or calling 614-407-5323.  I’ll see you there. 

Man’s…and Woman’s Search for Meaning…

Simon Sinek says, “Start with Why.”

Most people will strive to do their best if directed properly. Most people want to do a good job.

We often hear about “Millenials being lazy” or “Gen X’ers don’t care”, or some variation thereto. All excuses. What we often forget is that beyond the paycheck, we want to have meaning to our work. We want to know that what we do makes a difference.

So…what do we do when that meaning isn’t clear? What do we do when we don’t know Why?

1. Dare to Ask. If it’s out there, someone knows. Go and discover it.

If no one knows,

2. Dare to Define it. If someone can’t articulate the importance, figure it out and share what you’ve come to understand. At least give it a shot.

If it’s still unclear,

3. Dare to Create It. If for no one else, find the meaning in what you’re doing for yourself. If it’s the case that it can’t be created from where you are, go find out where you can create it from scratch.

A good leader can articulate her story. She can tell you why you should follow her. She is able to paint the picture of not only Why, but How it is that you are a part of it.

We all want to ascribe meaning to what we do. If we strive to care just a little more, we can either Ask for it, Define it, or go and Create it ourselves.

What we do matters. What you do matters.

Through the Center…

Most everyone who practices a traditional Asian martial art remembers learning his or her first form, Basic Form 1.  It usually has some variations between styles, but typically created a basic “I” pattern.  As simple as it may seem from afar, the transitional motions, combined with the stances, steps, and technique can be quite difficult to learn at first.  The coordination required for the simplest movements is often much more than one might initially think. 

While working with a new white belt this evening, I discovered a new way to better explain how to remember which way to pivot for the turns.  Before, we might say “left hand do this” or “right hand do this”, “look left” or “back hand do that”.  I found that having the student remember to focus on the area as a whole and go through the center, it became much more natural to remember in which direction the next turn would be. Being aware of the whole area while focusing on the center. 

This might be a good lesson for just about any other area of life, too.  Be aware of the whole and focus on going through the center. 

The first cut you learn in sword is the center cut.

The part of the road on which you need to focus to drive is the center.

In meditation and yoga, it’s always about finding your center.

In business, the peripheral activities are nice-to-haves, but you have to find the primary goal, manage the critical path, and go through the center. 

There are likely many other, even better, examples. What are some of yours? Especially in a world that moves so quickly and is full of distractions and zig-zags, do we make it a point to focus on the center of our wide circle? 

How are you mindful of the whole and make it through to your center?

Getting…Growing Older…

Response to:  https://qz.com/670483/dont-be-anxious-about-the-arc-of-your-future-what-i-wish-id-known-at-30/?utm_source=atlfb

In a nutshell, the real truth is that live constantly evolves. For me, it’s been impossible to predict and even less, improbable for which to plan. If I went back in time and tried to convince myself at 21 what it might look like at almost 34, I would’ve laughed at me. There’s nothing wrong in chasing what you want, so long as it’s a virtuous pursuit and there’s nothing better than winning it, so long as it was won righteously. God will take you to where you need to be, at every moment, ourselves realizing not why or how at that time. Life will kick is in the <wherever> when least expected. It will also bring us to fly farther and higher than we could have imagined. As time moves, you move. It’s still you, just different. We’re here, after all, to experience, learn, and live. The understanding comes with time, as does wisdom we can’t expect to ascertain.  Though we can say that people throughout time have likely been “here” before, and that every circumstance has like likely been experienced by someone, some time, somehow before, it’s still the case that our own existence and experience is and will be like none ever before or ever again.  Things change, and even those of us that are perpetual planners who can play out entire timelines, nothing will prepare us for what’s in store, who we will become, or what we will come to understand.  Growing older may be the biology, but growing in all the unexpected directions is the spirtituality we can’t predict. 

Warmth for Today’s Cold…

Winter in Columbus varies quite a bit, but when it’s cold…it’s cold.

The other morning, as I got into my car and started driving to work, I complained (to no one in particular) that it was cold and how I really needed to get a car that has remote start. The leather was cold and the seat heaters were slow to warm up, so I thought about a car that had both remote start and would know to pre-heat the seats. Shivering, I thought,  “Geez, it’s cold!”

Hold on.

“Stop it.” Now, talking to myself. “You are being a fool.

At least you have leather seats that need heating…

You have seat heaters in your car…

You have a car that you’re driving…

     …to a job that you have.

You just came out of a warm home…

    …that is yours and well-heated. 

You could be waiting for the bus…or walking to work…

…or maybe you don’t have a job at all…

…and you can’t afford to heat your house…

…or maybe you have no home at all. 

We so often forget what we have, not realizing that the cold we recognize so quickly is because of the warmth we know well and take for granted. 

Shawn Achor and other researchers tell us that gratitude is a critical part of happiness and well-being.  Without knowing it, in an instant, I wasn’t so cold anymore.

With so much craziness in the world, with the quest for success, the loneliness that comes with a culture that focuses on individualism and with happiness always seemingly just beyond reach, we must remember to practice gratitude, acknowledge what we have, and do what we can to help others. 
The world today can be a cold place, but we have the power bring it warmth…through our own lives, in our attitudes, and the way we interact with each other.

Warmth must be something we practice…something that burns by choice, in our hearts, our minds, and in our spirit.