Pick Extraordinary People

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Who are you?

“You are most like the five people you spend time with,” so goes the saying.

Sure, sure. It makes sense. We spend time with the people who make us feel good (the definition of good being a relative and deeply personal one).  We hang with people who affirm what we know (or hope) is true.

I decided to name what makes my people so special. Not just special to me…I went bigger. How do the people I know make this sometimes-really-shitty-frustrating-and-imbalanced-planet a better place to live?

See for yourself.

I put those ass-kickin friends in this Wordle:

WordleFriends

The answers humbled me. I pinched myself. I said “Self, do you even KNOW how blessed you are? Do you even GET that you run among remarkable people?”  Yeah, I know. I really do know.

So, who are YOUR people?

Forget, for now, what it says about you. But who are they? Don’t stop with the five people closest to you; consider anyone who influences your life.

What is their mark on the world? What is the imprint they leave on you? If your experience is anything like mine, this is an exercise in extraordinary gratitude.

Dwarfed. And okay.

Funny thing is, I don’t see myself perfectly reflected among my friends. I see myself as a dwarf among giants.  These people do, see, and say things I need three lifetimes to have the balls to do.  What I do see, though, in every one of them is the person I hope to be.

And for now, I’m pretty okay with being a work in progress — and I’m banking on their goodness rubbing off on me.

Your turn ~ If you do this exercise, let me know. I’d love to see what you came up with.

P.S. If you aren’t familiar with Wordle, give it a whirl. It’s a simple, free word cloud creation site that allows you to form mini works of word art.    

4 Manifestos for Change Makers

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'Stand Your Ground.' photo (c) 2010, akshay moon - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It’s ironic, don’t you think?

It’s ironic how we respond to change. We want change, yet we fear it. We crave change, then we claw at it.

We’d rather slip to the back of the line (of change) than butt our way to the front. We shrink, we hide, we duck.

Screw change. Let someone else do it.

So goes the sentiment of far too many people. There’s little chance of upside. If you stick your neck out, there’s risk; there’s no guarantee of reward. Failure is possible and humiliation is downright probable.

And this is how we end up swirling around in the toilet of mediocrity.

Change may scare. But mediocrity kills.

10 Random Questions: From One Creative to Another

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Annie Leibovitz Portrait

Annie Leibovitz by John Keatly

Moment of truth. Today I couldn’t bring myself to write about anything social, trending, controversial, educational or overly deep.  So coffee in hand I let my thoughts tumble around, and they landed (bullseye) on something I’ve always wanted to do.

Shoot Me, Annie.

My secret wish has long been to appear in Vanity Fair‘s Proust Questionnaire column.

I’d be witty, honest, and bang-on with my answers. My sparkle would mesmerize the writer. In a flash, they decide to break tradition of using a caricature. The creative director would come careening into the room with an unexpected Annie Leibovitz in tow. My hair would have it’s best day EVER, and my skin would be clear and creamy — no Photoshop needed.  The published piece would paradoxically leave me awed and humbled. My mother would wipe a proud tear from her crinkly eyes as she read my words.

Well, some dreams come true and others — ones like my tongue-in-cheek Vanity Fair fantasy — may forever be a fable. So what’s a creative girl to do when she still longs for some good Q&A? She whips up her very own questionnaire for all those people who — like her –don’t mind peeling back the layers and sharing who they are.

So here you have it. 10 very random questions I’d ask YOU if we had a sit-down to compare the minds and ways of being right-brainers.

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Mind Maps, Mobility, and Breakthroughs on SMChat

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I experienced a right-brainer’s fantasy on May 4 as I facilitated #smchat (social media chat) on Twitter. The topic: mind maps and collaboration.

Back by popular demand, we had the honor of hanging out with Chuck Frey to discuss mind maps.  A lot has changed since Chuck joined us on #smchat well over a year ago.

Can we, as innovative folks, use mind mapping to drive break-throughs and eliminate the waste of good brain power?

The hour-long chat chased these core questions. Make sure you check out the full chat transcript. Continue reading