Every day, I encounter a new challenge to the idea that things can and should be open and real.

Be it social, political, or personal, serious or trivial -- every time, I ponder the implications.

I hope you'll join me in the conversation!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Proper Wilderness

I had a lot of fun writing this post for Corporate Idealist; so much in fact I thought I'd cross-post it here to kick off the year. To see the original post, visit http://www.corporateidealist.com/2009/07/a-proper-wilderness/

I’m an unrepentant Bear Grylls fan. His show on Discovery Channel, “Man vs. Wild,” always inspires and encourages me. Most of us will never encounter the challenges and outright risks and dangers Grylls does, but this weekend’s show got me thinking about how we may not be so far apart after all. He used the phrase, “a proper wilderness,” and that feels like a great metaphor for so many people striking out to find their new best careers and goals.

Grylls served three years with a special forces unit of the British army. One can really only officially be on active duty in the army for so many years before one has to start thinking about other things; particular if one has broken one’s back in three places during service! But what if what you do, what you love, what you were meant to pursue and prove and teach, is the very thing you feel required to depart?

Today’s economy and the dramatic shifts in the work place have required many of us to take a step back and start thinking about how to answer this question. If you find yourself required to make a change, don’t be too hasty to assume that all of what you loved about what you used to do is now out of reach. Spend some time in self-analysis, identifying not only your hard skills but your favorite pursuits and activities. Think not only about yourself as an individual, but about your skills on a team, and within an organization.

Grylls left the special forces, and one might think he would never skin a rattlesnake barehanded and eat it raw for a living again; yet here he is, still doing what he does better than anyone, and doing that in which he finds the most personal and professional satisfaction. (He earns a nice paycheck as well. Coincidence? Probably not!)

Give yourself a taste of something new and off-the-charts innovative this week, but bring your favorite existing skills. You might just find yourself rethinking what is and is not possible for your own next adventure.

Year-in-Review: The 10 Most Commented Posts of 2009

My friend Dennis Taylor has a great blog, sprezzatura! http://dctadvisors.wordpress.com/, and it is the inspiration for this post -- I thought his taking the time to analyze the Top 10 most viewed posts from his first year of blogging was an interesting idea. http://dctadvisors.wordpress.com/2009/12/24/year-in-review-ten-most-view-posts/

My first post was April 13, 2009 -- I got started really to break the isolation of staying at home with a newborn. Since then, this blog has become much more than that for me, and I hope you've had some fun along with me over the past few months.

I don't track the views, but I do track comments. Let's take a trip down memory lane and see what we learn, shall we? Here's what got people exchanging ideas:

#6 Scarletts and Melanies (October 30) tied with How you Look, How You Feel (June 22)

My female readers could really relate to feeling the big "UGH" after having a baby and wanting to set goals to feel better. They also had a few things to say about how extreme characterizations of female personality are interpreted and misinterpreted on film and in real life.

#5 Meeting Needs, Sustaining Shadows (December 28)

I appreciated the acknowledgement that responding to stereotypes is not always a slam-dunk easy answer. Once more into the breach, dear West Virginians!

#4 The Skinny Branch (December 3)

When Tiger Woods fell from the heavens, I think we all were a little more troubled that we expected. This post was a challenge for me to write, but I'm glad I did. Thanks to all who were brave enough to comment.

#3 Fly Away Home (June 17)

It's uber popular to talk about "keeping our kids in West Virginia." It's less popular to talk about letting them leave. I'm grateful to all who wrestled with this one.

#2 The Tattoo and the Beach (June 1)

This is where I learned that I was, in fact, being an idiot. I'm over 40 years old. I need to get a grip. Mucho props to those who shared their tattoo confessions and resolutions.

#1 Something Wicked This Way Comes (May 29)

Sometimes you just are plain surprised by what people want to talk about....I really just posted this for myself to purge my own frustration with unhealthy marketing and products for young children. I found out I'm not alone, but also that not everyone views what I think of as plainly problematic as a big deal. I'd say what I ultimately learned is that this problem is on a slippery slope -- there are individual small things that incrementally add up to big issues, and by the time you're avalanched at the bottom of the hill it's too late.

Let's be careful out there, everyone. Wishing you a 2010 full of authenticity, peace, and understanding. Thanks for reading Esse Diem. It means a lot to me.