I am inspired.
Since the start of the year, leap has driven me to show up, connect with others, and give old dreams new shape. It's hard to write through this transition because I have all these ideas swirling around and no clue how to express them in neat little paragraphs. But surely I can leap through this, too.
If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably noticed my new fangirl crush on Seth Godin. I've known about Seth for years because of his impact on my industry, but it wasn't until I heard him speak at a marketing conference last month that he made a lasting impression on me personally. His talk of the post-industrial revolution, purple cows, and don't be a sheep MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN brought me to tears. The whole conference was like that. Most of the presentations directly related to marketing but pulled in ideas that also resonate on a higher level. Some quotes from the speakers (and I'm paraphrasing):
"Embrace the weird."
"If someone asks how your day was, and all you can say is 'fine,' what opportunities are you wasting?"
"It's not about time, it's priorities."
"Where do I find the people who are waiting for me to lead them?"
Godin gave copies of his books to every conference attendee. As a result, I've been reading Poke the Box - "a manifesto of starting" - in snatches over the last three weeks. More than 10 pages per sitting and I literally might combust.
More quotes, because why not?
"If you have quality and they have quality and that's all either of you offers, then you're selling a commodity, and I'll take cheap, please. We have little choice but to move beyond quality and seek remarkable, connected, and new."
"Poking doesn't mean right. It means action."
"If you've got the platform and the ability to make a difference, then this goes beyond 'should' and reaches the level of 'must.' You must make a difference or you squander the opportunity."
"Part of initiating is being willing to discover that what you end up with is different from what you set out to accomplish. If you're not willing to discover that surprise, it's no wonder you're afraid to start."
All of this and more is setting fire to my heart and shining a light on my need to affect change.
I've given myself a pass these last five years because living knee-deep in morning sickness and night wakings and temper tantrums is HARD, you guys, but most of you know that because you're living it, too. That said, I'm now at the point where I'm ready to step up. Even if it's baby steps, even with a young family and demanding career. If not now, when?
Years ago, when talking with another mom about balancing civic and domestic obligations, she said (and again, I'm paraphrasing), "If all I do is raise smart, healthy kids, that can be good enough. Who knows what they'll go on to do because of what they learned from me?"
I appreciate her point, but I don't agree.
Luke and I signed up for a membership class at our church as a way to get involved. One of our assignments was to take a spiritual assessment to learn what our strengths are when it comes to serving God. Hokey, sure, but the older I get, the more I appreciate hokey, so okay.
According to the quiz, my gifts are in administration, leadership, and writing.
The results didn't surprise me - it was the realization I should be DOING something with these on a larger scale.
What kind of person am I if I have resources others only dream of and yet do nothing? Do my kids' future accomplishments absolve me of personal responsibility today?
I may never find the perfect balance, but I have a platform. I have ability.
I have a voice.
I am Dorothy Boyd, abandoning conformity, shouting, "I will go with you!" and crossing my fingers my hunky new boss offers health insurance.
At the same time, I am Jerry Maguire, writing (blogging?) 20-page mission statements and stealing office goldfish, ready to lead.
(I am way more excited about finding the above link than is appropriate.)
Even before Seth Godin's book, I've been poking the box with a vengeance. I rejoined the volunteer board of directors for my undergrad's alumni association after a three-year hiatus to get my baby on. Meanwhile, others around me are initiating change of their own. My dad is considering politics. My sister Ryan is going back to school. Obama supports gay marriage. Luke is blogging again!
We are all moving forward.
What inspires you?