Wednesday, February 28, 2007
In addition to being creative, I believe Ms. Olsen (she is a teacher after all and isn't their first name always Miss? That's what I thought in grade school!) is a brave soul. There aren't too many people that can look forward to facing a room a 30 "suits," only to inform them on topics of: "inner," "tranquil," "healing," "natural" and "auras." But, she did a great job. She gave examples on how to find this "inner self" in a world that is exceedingly busy and chaotic. Her tips were all the more convincing, given that she exudes peace and tranquility.
There were two things that she talked about that really resonated with me. First, was the idea that your energy comes back to you. Simply put, when you are a positive, optimistic person, the world tends to lead you down the positive, optimistic path. Now, I tried to really focus my energy on winning this weeks lottery and it didn't happen, so there are still a few holes in the theory. But by and large I agree with her. I believe in the power of positive thinking. I believe that people who are cynical or jaded- tend to have more bad things happen to them. It's really about attitude. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Mr. Covey talks about a related idea. Don't focus energy on things you can't change. Instead, worry about the things you can and embrace obstacles as opportunities.
Secondly, Ms. Olsen talked about how many of us lose ourselves to life. We get so busy that we forget who that inner person really is. I mentioned this very thing in one of my first blogs. But, we all get glimpses, we all have things that really strike a cord feel like "us." There are times in life when things just feel right. Maybe you meet a person and if feels like you have already known them. For me, the best example I can give is an activity. I have many hobbies I enjoy. In school, I loved sports and played volleyball, basketball, tennis and softball. I loved them all, but the very first day I stepped foot on a tennis court, it felt differently. I immediately knew the movements and excelled at the game. It felt so natural to hold the racket in my hand. I can't really put it into words, but it just feels right. My body just knows instinctively how to place a ball. I can foresee each shot before it happens and I even know if it will hit the mark or go into the net. Ms. Olsen hit the nail on the head when she said that when your body kind of goes on autopilot- and you really excel best when you aren't even thinking about it- those are the activities that jive with your true inner self.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
As a side note- If my husband is reading this- no honey- I will not give up speaking for a week. But I do have a great idea- how about you try to listen for one! Actually, there is medical research that claims men really don’t use their brains to listen! No excuse in my opinion- but that’s another blog all together.
Take inspiration from what you see. In my opinion- nature is the ultimate inspiration. There is nothing more glorious than the color of a sunset splashing across the horizon, the smell of sweet lilac bushes after a spring rain, or the calm that is represented on the smooth surface of a lake.
Few scientists disagree that stimulous promotes creativity. That is why we as parents, at least first time parents- hunch over and read to our pregnant bellies, play Mozart as our offspring shake their tiny little diapered butts around in the baby dance and invest in every shape-sorting, alphabet teaching toy on the market. We all want our kids to be the best they can be- social, creative, happy, healthy and smart. And if laying down $20 bucks for another Baby Einstein DVD will help, then so be it!
The irony is that while most companies are saying it’s time to “think outside the box” or “take this project to the next level,” they continue to jam their employees into “institution-gray” cubes. No pictures, no color, no music (unless you are so lucky as you have elevator music piped directly overhead….all day…..everyday….) and certainly no fresh air. I understand the need for some convention- but does the corporate world have to be so black or white? Maybe it’s time for some gray area- and no, I don’t mean on the walls!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Oh, what might have been! You know, I learned recently of a local doctor who makes $650,000/year! ONE YEAR! Not everyone knows that I started college as a pre-med student(a glorified name for Biology major really. But shhhh, don't tell my prospective students- they feel cool saying they are "pre-med."And it's best just to give them that one little dignity because while I was roadtripping to Arizona for Spring break- they were stuck on campus- knee deep in research!) I spent 1 1/2 years taking science classes and spending all of my time in labs! I grew to hate it. I hated measuring the chemicals, I hated the smell of the pickled animals we were dissecting, and most of all I hated organic chemistry and that darn periodic table. But one thing's for sure, I wouldn't be hating that $650,000 salary right about now!
I realize now that I felt trapped in SCIENCE. Too many measurements and facts. I wanted to explore, and feel alive. I wanted to really think about things. I wanted to feel creative, not just recite the melting point of aluminum dioxide. I wanted to be able to interpret. I ended up with a major in religion and philosophy- a field where as long as you could justify your answer- however wrong it might be- you got at least partial credit!
But, what I didn't realize was that while certain disciplines have constraints, it doesn't mean you can't be creative. Math and science are full of creative individuals. Everyone one has an inner artist if you will- not necessarily artistic- but it's there none the less. Take these knuckleheads for instance:
There is a blog that I love to read! (provided the above photos). It is from the perspective of student at Des Moines University. I think I like it so much because I picture that is how I would have been like as a med student. I mean, instead of working on making the deadline for my latest publication I would attending "ER Club" and no, they don't mean the TV show.
My window of opportunity has passed for medical school. I will never live the glamorous life that is "Grey's Anatomy." My "McSteamy" is a computer nerd (you know I love you honey)! When will NBC give us a nice drama about MBA students (please- don't even try to count The Apprentice)..... well... ok, maybe not.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Dear Troubled in Tallahasee- Thank you for your kind words. I've never seriously considered "penning" a novel or short stories but think I would enjoy it immensely. I come from a family of writers, so maybe we could make it a family venture in some way!
Me: "Hey Ma, it's your turn to edit the copy!"
Ma: "Forget it, I edited last week. Let's call Aunt Linda!"
Me: "Good idea! Hand me the remote....wanna go grab some donuts?"
Any-who, if life ever allows the time, I will think about it. PS- Don't be troubled.... life is too short. If it's man troubles, just forget it about him he's not worth it!! If it's money troubles, hey, money can't buy happiness anyway. Life is too short to be troubled!
To my other comment:
Dear Tim the Teach- Thanks for the comments. I think it's great that you journal, where do you find the time? Oh and I have a headache today, wanna know why? It's because I haven't slept inn 3 nights!!! Too many night terrors!
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Couple that with the "lecture" I had in class Monday night and it makes for a long night. Our guest lecturer started like any other. "Hello, my name is John Quinn." He talked about his credentials, his background, his family. He even had a nice little PowerPoint that outlined such: "1. Background 2. Credentials (etc, etc)." I settled into my chair and thought about my day. I thought about my grocery list and all of the things I have to do this weekend. But then, my mental shopping list gets sidelined as all of a sudden this typical, polite, guest speaker turns into interesting, kind of vulgar, homicide detective. His topic for the evening is nothing we've covered in class. There are no theories and no more outlines. His topic is Iowa's first serial killer, Donald Piper. Agent Quinn details the 4 murders Piper commits, shows graphic slides of the crime scenes and explains the ins and outs of the investigation. He talks about the victims and their families, he talks about the mistakes made in the investigation and he talks about the toll the case takes on his life. The entire class was riveted. He spoke for 2 1/2 hours and we probably would have listened for 2 1/2 more.
When I saw the pictures of the crime scene I felt sad, outraged, even sick. They were innocent victims, randomly selected. Crimes of opportunity by a mad man. I think the whole class felt a little jumpy heading out into the cold night after class, I know I did. All night I laid in bed awake. I kept thinking about the victims and their families. I kept seeing their lifeless faces in my mind. I felt so sad for them- that they were disgraced and their life was stolen from them for no reason. Sometime after 1 AM, I did start to drift off into sleep. But every creek of the floor and swish of the furnace jolted me awake, half panicked that someone was in my house.
Why is it that when the sun sneaks behind the horizon, our feelings of safety and security go with it? With darkness comes uncertainty, questions about what lingers. Our fears start off as monsters under the bed, and eventually turn into a mad man sneaking into our home. Our logic and rationale go out the window and our imagination and creativity take over. I believe Agent Quinn is good at his job because he has a unique blend of logic and creativity. If the right brain is chocolate and the left brain is vanilla- he is a real twisty cone. He has to follow legal procedures, he has to soak in every detail of a crime scene, he has to remember facts and cases from the past. But at the same time, he must keep his mind open. He has to use intuition and most of all, he can't overlook possibilities that seem to defy logic. His "twisted" personality allows him to be great at his job.
Monday, February 5, 2007
Who am I???
The most amazing thing I've ever experienced is holding my own newborn child. Shopping can be theraputic. I love exercising and if I had more time in my day I would love to work out and be one buff chic. I am intriqued by body builders- it's kind of creepy yet I can't tear my eyes away. A tennis court feels like home. In my next life I will be a professional card player- or an orchestra conductor- maybe both! I love basketball. I could watch a movie every night in a theater- I just love the experience- the darkness- the smell of the popcorn-everything. I love to read- anything and everything- fiction, nonfiction, biographies, cookbooks, you name it! Ray Bradbury was a man ahead of his time. Thunderstorms calm me. I worry that cancer will claim everyone I love. I wish I would have traveled more. I do freelance photography. Fall is my favorite season- the weather, leaves, football games, hot soups- it's my heaven. My favorite foods are pasta, mexican, green olives- and of course- chocolate. I'm fascinated by the great apes. I'm fiercely competitive. I'm moderate in my views. Chocolate brownie ice cream is amazing. Sometimes I wonder if I am crazy- but do crazy people question their own sanity? I think Chrysler 300's are awesome- wish I could drive one- but it's all minivan all the way. I eat too many french fries. Drunk diriving is a horrible crime. I'm too serious and always have been. I like my job. I tend to worry. I aspire to be as good a mother to my daughter as my mother is to me- she is my hero. I hate mean people- does that make me mean for saying it? Wouldn't it be cool if..... I was in an Abba coverband. Cars could fly. I could play the violin. We could play in anti-gravity chambers whenever we wanted. Humans had gills. I could go on African Safari. People could fly. If we could all eat whatever we wanted and never ever utter the dreaded D-word (dingbat? dung? dumbbell? DIET, that's it!). If I could write a novel. If children didn't ever have to know suffering. If I could see my grandpa again.
Work hard, don't make excuses. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Always stand up for the person who is not in the room to defend themselves. Find something nice to say.
Don't ever take health, happiness or love for granted. Be kind, not nice. Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead the dog, the scenery never changes. (OK, this one just kind of makes me laugh). I'd rather face 50 lions led by a lamb, than 50 lambs led by a lion.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."-Helen Keller
This is who I am. I've recently read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One exercise really hit home for me. It was to envision my funeral. What were people saying about me? Of course people would say kind things and be remorseful, but I don't think many would truly know who I was. I do try to be true to myself-I try to be kind, be honest and have integrity in all that I do. What I see is a problem in translation. I know the person inside of me, but not many others do. It's not that I live in contrast to my beliefs, but I gaurd emotions tightly. I'm not entirely sure why- I suppose Meyers or his good buddy Mr. Briggs would say it is because I am an introvert. I see this as a weakness in myself. There is a long list of things I'd like to do to become a better person- but I suppose that will have to be another entry someday....
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Admittedly, I ALMOST joined the ranks and left after my first year, for all of the above reasons. But, one day I realized something and it changed the way I viewed my job- not only was creativity allowed in this job- it is actually encouraged! It turns out that is a big priority for me in my work- it certainly makes a job more satisfying!
About 50% of my time is spent actually "recruiting." There are 30 private schools in Iowa. Per capita, we are one of the most competitive states in the nation. 29 of the 30 schools are "tuition driven" (Who needs a billion dollar endowment anyway- sheesh- talk about boring Grinell) which means we all want and NEED the really good kids to line up and pay $30,000 in tuition dollars. (OK- honestly- hardly anyone pays $30,000 these days- thanks to our 29 other competitors-it's a buyers market!) So, my job is to convince students my school is the best. And I get to go about doing that anyway I please! (as long as it's legal.... and ethical..... and allowed by the NCAA). So, sometimes I write students notes, sometimes I send them clippings from the newspaper, sometimes I comment on their MySpace blog- whatever it takes to connect with them. I feel a bit like a chameleon- or a pschitzo......hmmmm.....reptile/mental, reptile/mental, reptile/mental?? Either way, I wear many hats and end up learning something from each student.
Another reason I love my job is because I get to travel. Granted, most of it is driving the backroads of our great state, but that is what I love about it! Just me and the open road (and the smell of cow manure...and the slow tractor/combine thing I have to follow for 6 miles in order to get to a passing lane that seems to last about 50 yards so I have to gun it to get around him in time!) Sometimes I listen to audio books, sometimes not, but many of my most original and effective ideas come to me when I am staring out that windshield. My mind just races as I drive along- the rows of corn and soybeans and everything Iowa are hyptonic. I often stop in little towns along the way- check out the daily special at some grease pit mom and pop cafe or just drive through town and wonder what the story is. What is the crumbling old brick building on the town square? Is it abandoned? Who built it? What if pigs could fly....how weird and gross would that potentially be?
Anyway, the other 50% of my job is spent managing projects. My biggest responsibility is managing our many publications and e-recruiting and I also work with some other marketing avenues like our commercials. This part of the job requires a lot of "scratching" and "exploring." We compete not only with the 30 private colleges in Iowa, but also the State schools, community colleges, the military and other schools across the nation. Much of my research is spent pouring through publications I receive from other colleges and cruising college websites. I look for things with the WOW factor- then I ask myself- can we do this publication? Or, can we do this publication even better? From there, each publication is like a snowball rolling down a hill- it continues on the path toward completion, picking up bits and pieces from other individuals and losing clumps now and again.
Finally, it reaches it's end and it is what it is. Sometimes fabulous- sometimes not. But I got to help create it and that is something.
I know enough about myself to know that while my job has it's pitfalls- having creative freedom and autonomy are two things that are really hard to replace! So, 6 years later I remain- a Road Warrior and proud of it!