Maybe You Need a Larger Canvas

On Saturday night I went with some friends to see Michael Franti & Spearhead play at Pier Six in Baltimore. Before the concert one friend extolled Franti’s gifts and promised it would be an uplifting experience.  Really?  A concert?  I expect concerts to be good fun and entertaining but uplifting? Hmmm…
He was right.  Franti’s paints his blend of reggae, hip hop, world music on a larger canvas.  Throughout the show he brought people of all ages, shapes and sizes onto the stage to dance and play with him.  He danced and sang his way to the back reaches of the venue.  Each band member shared time in the spotlight and their wireless instruments enabled them to dance their ways into the crowds too.   They exuded such energy and joy I knew that they were having a blast playing for us.

Enrolled is the word that came to mind.  And explains the perceptible difference in my experience of the talented, energetic opening act and the fabulously engaging Franti and band.   It got me to thinking of how this could be translated into a work experience.  How can we enroll others in what we do?  How can we ‘go out into the audience’ and bring the experience we want others to have to them?

Some strategies based on what I saw from Franti:

– Engage: Understand the audience and meet them in your delivery

– Work on a larger canvas: Get rid of artificial boundaries

– Dance & Play: Build fun into the experience

And keep adding to the list to make the experience you deliver uniquely yours.

An homage to Freedom

My favorite piece of sculpture in Philadelphia is Freedom by Zenos Frudakis.

There is something about the piece that brings me joy every time I see it.  The clarity of what it means.  The exuberance of the figure who has overcome a struggle and broken out of his confining wall.   The piece rewards the driver who spies it while waiting impatiently for a light to turn, the passerby who happens upon it and pauses to take it in, and even more so the individual whose regular path takes her by.   There are many intricacies embedded in the backdrop of its journey: faces, tools, bodies.

The one who seeks most to understand freedom is in the best position to be delighted by its presence.

PS My homepage pictures were both taken in front of the sculpture and spliced together by my partner, Geoff, in the early giddiest days of our romance.

Operation Corrupt & Spoil

auntie-kt and ainsleyOperation Corrupt and Spoil started in earnest yesterday when I met my niece, Ainsley Summer Anderson for the very first time. As I peered at the beautiful and strange little coffee bean it was still hard to fathom how the lives of my family had wonderfully and irrevocably changed. Within seconds I had her in my arms, all warm 5 pounds 11 ounces of her quietly snuggled against my chest.
It was hours before I saw her with her eyes opened. But only moments before I was in love.

Start a virtuous cycle.

A job search can be overwhelming particularly in economically challenging times. And in times when the need to be searching has come as a surprise and catches you unaware and unprepared it can feel like a crippling blow. Forgo the personal recriminations and shoulda’s-coulda’s-woulda’s. If that’s just not in your composition let yourself wallow for a day or two and then be done with it.

Start a virtuous cycle. Pick three things to do today that will help you feel good about yourself and about your day. Start with some easy stuff—making it to the gym, eating healthy (or healthier), updating your LinkedIn profile or connecting with a long lost former colleague. Write them down. At the end of the day, check them off your list and acknowledge yourself for doing so.

You know the drill: lather, rinse, repeat…tomorrow, pick three more.