Nocturnal’s “Paris (Ooh La La)”. And who expected Cher Lloyd to get her ultimate swag on with Keri Hilson's version of Soulja Boy's "Turn My Swag On". The heartbreaking and inspiring journey of the homeless boy in Korea. However, the one who really gave me chills for days was Melanie Amaro when she blew the roof off the house with Beyonce’s “Listen”.
I hadn’t heard of “Listen” before this. Nor had I heard Beyonce sing before this year’s Superbowl Halftime Show (yes, I know…odd). But I love *everything* about Amaro’s performance and its timely appearance in my life. The song choice about finding one’s own voice, being at a crossroads, and ready to make life-changing decisions. Knowing my own child will one day thank me whilst moving on with a similar message, the one I also gave my parents.. Amaro’s family members sobbing and silently mouthing the words with her backstage as she nails it. X-Factor judges mesmerised and brought to tears. The audience…moved and cheering her on, touched by the perfection in her voice and delivery. And Amaro, on fire with the passion of a real chance to realise lifelong dreams. I’ve replayed her audition nearly a dozen times with my own young daughter, and each time it tweaks a string deep within my heart.
At the end of Melanie’s performance, she expels and you can see her return from her out of body experience. It’s exquisite, and I am choked up, tears streaming down my face, and feeling the power of every word she thrust into our universe about how necessary it is for our souls to identify home.
If you’re at that moment in time where you’re ready to take a leap, identify your X-Factor, Listen…and Just. Do. It.
Weeks ago, I was in a discussion regarding the topic of children and their ability to develop inner strength. This Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers from American Psychological Association recently landed in my inbox, and includes 10 tips for building resilience in children and teens. The article also explores the journey from the perspective of pre-school up through high school, and provides some very useful information.
Of particular interest was the importance of the roles teachers and parents play in helping students feel safe and navigate as they adjust to social cliques and efforts to belong. In my opinion, the all-too-common suggestion that they just "toughen up" doesn't adequately address the issues involved. Nor does it nurture an ecology where acknowledging and moving through fears breeds confidence due to one's honed adaptability. Though well-intentioned, it can discount instead of using the opportunity to help a child keep perspective and truly acquire healthy coping mechanisms.
Read the article here and let me know what you think.
Having healthy boundaries and desiring experiences on your terms can lead to a quality earthwalk, but what we subjectively consider bad or unpleasant can also turn into poignant and exceptional opportunities for growth and happiness. Balance a need to control your environment (and those around you) with the courage to face whatever comes your way. In between those rain drops is the opportunity for great joy and strength.
Days ago, I participated in a video conference with several other consulting partners across the globe on a project for a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) client. It was our second meeting, and the agenda's focus was mind-mapping per data we'd received.
Whilst the majority of us asked questions or attempted to clarify strategies to date, one individual kept jumping in with "You should do" recommendations. The first time, our host patiently and quickly explained it had been addressed, and described some of the outcomes and how they'd like to proceed. The second time, the response was similar but with a slight tinge of impatience. On the third occasion, the team member quietly disappeared from our screens.
I've addressed the art of listening on several occasions on this and my Nonprofit Hell blogs, particularly with respect to how it facilitates productive exchange and the ability to deliver useful and effective advice to clients. A well placed "Have you (already) considered...?" will go a much longer way towards engaging and garnering important feedback than continually making redundant suggestions and wasting everyone's time.
Should you feel the urge to jump in and impress with what you consider your brilliant and unique idea, resist it unless your goal is to be zapped like a pesky mosquito.
I had a robust discussion with a colleague this weekend. We covered political correctness and its pros and cons, the impact of the internet and social media on communications, and in his words - the fall of common courtesy.
We are generally of similar mind when it comes to the majority of these topics, though I must say I don't share his draconian view of a society lost with regard to manners.
Still, it was hard to ignore the truth in his comments per my own experiences: occasions when I received emails from a friend, acquaintance, or colleague requesting a favour without so much as a personal greeting or 'hope you and family are well'. Silence after reaching out (or in) to honour those I know when I learned of their achievements, or to offer an ear or good will when I received information that all may not be well.
We live in a hyper-distracted world where some can no longer be bothered with expressing gratitude that someone took a moment out of their day to care. Don't get me w wrong -- I'm sometimes as plugged into work and technology as the next person. Nonetheless, I'm a bit of a throwback when it comes to taking the time for the little things, making the effort to engage in a meaningful way.
Throughout my life, I've traversed the world in search of self whilst feeding my thirst for adventure and connection to Mother Earth. During one such experience, I stopped at the Grand Canyon. Immediately drawn into the surroundings, I walked to the edge of a precipice and climbed over a railing to sit atop a makeshift stool which jutted out over the ravine. A nearby group of Japanese tourists cried out in alarm and gestured wildly in my direction. Either they believed I planned to jump, or were simply dismayed at the risk I'd assumed.
Once I reached my perch, I sat for hours taking in the smell, sounds, and sights...watching a feather float, twirl, glide, and dive. Occasionally it would caress a landing, but inevitably it rose again to wind its way on the path to nowhere and everywhere. By the time I decided to depart for my next destination, the feather had still not made its approach towards the bottom of the canyon. The Floating Feather had no agenda as it danced and surrendered to the wind and elements on each aspect of its journey. Whether it reached the bottom of the canyon or found a final destination wasn't the point.
In some respects I envy that freedom, but the ultimate takeaway was a reminder to appreciate living in each moment fully - sometimes without expectation or attachment to outcomes. Though not always easy, putting this into practice means extending myself to others without dwelling on those who don't say thank you, or who are accustomed to taking without an interest in soul-connection in the same manner I tend to prefer. This doesn't excuse rudeness, mind you - and I have healthy boundaries which minimise association with those who might repeatedly trample through my garden in combat boots. Hard to beat the feeling which emerges from the true Spirit of magnanimity, however, which can make it well worth the bumpy terrain.
So back to my colleague.
For the past few months, his email signature line read (And yes, he's an attorney; don't hate him): “A lawyer can be firm and tough-minded while being unfailingly courteous. Indeed, there is a real power that comes from maintaining one’s dignity in the face of a tantrum, from returning courtesy for rudeness, from treating people respectfully who do not deserve respect, and from refusing to respond in kind to personal insult.” - Lander v Council of the Law Society of The Australian Capital Territory  ACTSC 117 at paragraph 24 (22)".
Needless to say, I've borrowed this spot on sentiment.
As someone called upon to vocalise in my profession, my true introverted and 'woman of few words' nature comes as a surprise to those who get to know me better. Suffice to say I believe most things in life have already been said before, and when we can honour messages which resonate simply share the road and let those pearls of wisdom float. Exhibit A is a colleague's blog post below. Congrats to Michelle and all of my SMB 150 colleagues. - Doña Keating
SMB150 + Women in Technology = Bright Future
I am honored and privileged to have been nominated and awarded a second year in a row for the SMB150! Over the past several months, hundreds of IT professionals from around the world have been engaged in the SMB 150 Channel Influencers contest. The SMB 150, which is a collaboration between SMB Nation and SMB Technology Network, declaring the third annual SMB technology channel's list of its 150 most influential members.
"I encourage everyone in the SMB channel community to join with me in recognizing and celebrating the winners of this year’s SMB 150," said Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation. "Each individual whose name appears on this esteemed list has strived to ensure that our SMB community is one that will continue to thrive and succeed. I am beyond excited to toast them at the awards dinner on May 4 in Redmond."
The following is the list of esteemed winners:
Twitter, Facebook,Google+, LinkedIn and Blogs have been a buzz with the excitement and congratulations of joining this esteemed list. As Jay McBain, co-founder of ChannelEyes (and my fiance) stated in his most recent blog, "We are thrilled to be in the company of such well-respected professionals". As am I, but there is a certain group who really make me proud to be in their company. As you might have noted, I have highlighted (proudly in pink) 23 extraordinary names which stood out to me. As I sit on the Executive Council of CompTIA's Advancing Women in IT, it is always a privilege and an honor to see those hardworking women in our community represented for their excellence.
In my blog last year, Chic and Geek, I took a look at the amount of women represented in this and various other awards and lists, as nominees and winners. Statistically, women make up approximately 10 % of the IT Industry. Although I know we (as women) represent a minority in the IT community, I was surprised to see how few women make up the percentage of leaders and influencers in the IT industry.
Awards Gala recognizing the SMB150 2012 Winners
On a high note we can see the since it's inception in the 2011 SMB Awards we have seen a rise, and diverse amount of women represented in nomination and recognition over the past three years. In 2011, 13 women won the SMB150 award (8.6%), 20 won in 2012 (13.5%) , and 22 as of 2013 (15%) ; thus female representation in only a few years has almost doubled! Now that is a powerful and wonderful step in the right direction.
A huge kudos to the community vote, and esteemed panel of industry experts consisting of Harry Brelsford, (SMB Nation); Karl Palachuk, (Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc.); Josh Peterson, (MSP Score); Dave Seibert, (IT Innovators); and Dan Wensley, (Level Platforms), evaluated each nominee based on a pre-established criteria, on the recognition of such wonderful and diverse list of men and women on this years award recipients.
A few months back, I had the pleasure of participating in a video project entitled "Leadership in the Digital Age" with Clif McKenzie, CEO of Watson Furniture. In it, excerpts of our respective thoughts on leadership were shared. The producer was Rodika Tollefson, a well-loved journalist in the region who created this for University of Washington's MCDM (Master of Communication in Digital Media) programme where she is receiving her Masters.
Below is a longer Q&A version of our conversation.