Sunday, March 30, 2014

What I'm Going to Do

Since announcing my intention to leave my ten year tenured position at Bellevue College many people have asked me what I'm going to do. I'm serious about taking a break with my kids this summer and dead serious about having more fun. And more importantly, I'm dedicated to creating an environment for myself where I can test out some theories and ideas I have about work, life, creativity, change and leadership. For now, I'm keeping those ideas close; they need to incubate while I focus on finishing strong.

BUT, I can't help thinking about the question "What are you going to DO?" The well-intentioned question, sometimes framed as an accusation (What are you going to do?), sometimes disguised as coercion (What are you going to do?) and other times just from sheer curiosity resonates with me. Of course, I have asked myself the same thing, many, many, many times.  I’m eternally committed to the whast, the ams and the dos for myself.  The answer is that I’m certain of a few things that will carry me forward. 

So right now, in this moment of time, here is how I can answer the question:  WHAT ARE you going to DO?

Of course, as some friends have already guessed, I’m going to travel, write, climb and crossfit.  And I’m going to meet my kids, husband and friends where they are in play, in the pool, the playground or in a handstand. 

And I’m deadly serious about this: Work should be playful.  Without play, creativity and possibility die.  Without play, there is no discovery.  How can ideas emerge and thrive without the opportunity that play gives us? How can work be love if it isn’t playful?

Grow Younger
I will not be creaky, dusty, and/or stale in mind or body. I'm turning 40 this year and as far as I’ve been able to determine after much reflections, there are vast more benefits in reaching this number than deficits despite what our culture tells us. It is age bias that makes us “feel old” not age itself.

Here is a short list of benefits of becoming 40 over becoming 30: 

·         I care a whole lot less what people think of me, and stand comfortably in my own skin.

·         I say what is on my mind and believe solidly in the validity of my opinions.

·         I easily laugh at myself and my own jokes.

·         I’m a lot better at forgiving myself.

·         I’m empowered to believe that I can do anything that I envision, if I dedicate myself to it.

·         And damn what society says, I’m healthy, fast, strong and good looking.    

And doesn’t a healthy child feel about the same way about themselves?

Boss Myself
I’ll collaborate. Nothing is more satisfying than working towards a common goal. I’ll seek counsel and take advice from those I respect.  Multiple perspectives help guide my decision making.

But please don’t tell me what to do.  It just won’t go well.   This is in everyone's best interest. It would be a completely unsatisfying endeavor and leave us exhausted, nuts and miserable.

My best moments are when I have connected with the people.  We plunge into synchronicity and become greater than each individual.  Belonging to a group of strong, like-minded humans working, strategizing and planning towards a common goal is energizing and life-giving.

I intend to continue to seek connection and synchronicity. This includes stalking the moments both small and grand; a conversation, a fleeting moment or a passing exchange more meaningful than an unwise witness may consciously comprehend. 

Ideas are no different.  Connecting ideas means bringing them to life.  Concretely, so they are greater than their original parts and empowering them to have their own life. Guiding and witnessing worthy ideas birth is fulfilling life work.     

Laughter and humor are survival skills. Truth: Laugh every day for mental health.  I adore finding the hidden humor in events.  I hunt giggles, guffaws, belly laughs and joyful tears.  You may think I’m crazy and irreverent, but I’m content.    

Limit Butt Time
No long hours in a chair at a computer please.  I need to move to feel alive.  Whatever is next, I will not be sitting on my ass all day doing it. 

Promote Love, Beauty and Magic
Whatever I do, it will be connected not just to the appreciation of the life-affirming but promotion of it.  The wild spreading of what brings us purpose and joy will be central to my day to day profession. 

Ban Bad Assholes
Truth: Everyone is an asshole sometime or other. 

But I like the good assholes. A good asshole pushes the status quo, cries for change, sees that the world is simply not good enough, calls it out and in doing so makes people uncomfortable. I respect them and the world needs them though some would call them assholes for it. Good assholes are courageous, dedicated, thoughtful, insightful, moral, equitable and even visionary. They are dedicated to their goals, they don't care if you think they are an asshole for it. They need that energy and courage to carry them. I am energized by them and their mission.

Bad assholes are incompetent, rude, condescending, time-wasting and/or dysfunctional and even worse. They suck the energy from you and go out of their way to ensure everything stays the same, stale, tasteless and uninspiring. They like the status quo and see no use in any improvements and often times will go to lengths to make sure everything stays the same.  They are soul-damaging if they are put in leadership positions.

With so many other, inspiring, authentic, challenging humans on the planet it makes no sense to empower bad assholes with my time. 

Push Failure
Fear and failure mark the learning edge.  And the learning edge reaps the most personal and global benefits in all we do.  If I’m not feeling the razor sharpness of my actions, then I’m not pushing myself enough.  And I’m not marking the path to my true potential. I’m going to push failure and feel the fear as a marker that I’m on the right trail.    

Explore because there is more than I can possibly know. Discover the new in travel,  life, ideas, profession, and relationships.  In the process of letting the known go, doors upon doors of possibilities open.  Like a traveler, hitching their backpack and boarding a train to a new destination, the excitement of a new voyage awaits and I’ll embrace the change and journey with the spirit of an adventurer.       

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