Where to begin….?

When one hasn’t blogged in a while, it’s like failing to write in one’s diary. It’s a loss of the continuous thinking that acted as a needed outlet and perhaps also as the connective tissue between ideas that span days, weeks, even years. So to restart necessarily requires first a new plan or idea or framework or process – or does it?

I think, given the amount of change not only personally but globally, that has occurred over the past three years means that something new is required – but what? I think the process to follow is the same as the design process I use for my business and which coincides with many books I’m currently reading. That is to say, we first start by thinking through the space. Typically, we are looking to solve a problem but perhaps we could also approach “the space” as less of a problem and more of a changing landscape. In defense, there is a common statement that it’s not that a certain set of strategies and tactics are broken or or poorly designed but rather, the operational environment has shifted, and in order to continue to be effective in that changing space, we have to evolve our ideas, tools, and actions. I think this is the best way to think about personal evolution as well: The world has shifted, literally, how might we want to shift as well to meet our needs in this new space?

For me, two things have happened that have had the biggest impact – and ironically, they are the same “thing”. With the ability to work from home has come enormous free time and autonomy in my day. This has made travel easier, my house cleaner, my time with my kids more robust, and generally speaking, I am less tired, in better shape, and more productive.

I am also bored and lonely.

So how do we capitalize on this new found freedom while managing the double-edged sword that it brings with it?

We embrace it! I used to say that if I had time for a hot bath once a week, I’d be happy. Now I can take them twice a day if I like. And as a long distance runner, this opportunity is gold for my muscles. But what else, what more can we do for ourselves that we couldn’t before? Perhaps, we can heal from the expectations that our worth is defined by the number of hours we work and instead realize that our ideas, creativity, and the solutions we can provide companies is where we better shine.

And as for the feelings of boredom, perhaps we need to reframe our definition of living, focusing more on experiences and less on achievement. To do that, we’ll need to re-think our priorities. What are your top 5 in this brave new world?

Images by Pitsch and Engin Akyurtfrom Pixabay

Here’s to new beginnings…

It’s been two and a half years since I felt inspired to write. Why?

To be honest, I was exhausted. I returned from the tour and entered straight into Covid. I went from spending every day surrounded by more people than I could manage with my limited social energy daily allowance to nearly no interaction with humans outside of my immediate family. There is a balance in life and instead of feeling that, I transitioned from one extreme to the next. Simply put, it was too much for my body to endure. It was too much change. It was too much shifting. It was just too much.

But here we are, years later. Life has changed. The world has changed. Our jobs have changed. The people around us have changed. Are we better for it? Some, yes. In other ways, no.

Today I sit in a swanky bar in Boise, Idaho,

having just finished my third marathon the day before and

having spent a wonderful weekend with my oldest son, and

for the first time in years, literally, I feel the compulsion to write.

But what to say? Where is my focus? Where is the focus of our nation? Our world?

If I could encapsulate what I’ve seen, and to be fair, what I’ve experienced, I’d say it’s “change”. The world, our worlds, our lives, and ourselves, have changed. Some have evolved. Others have devolved. Which are you?

For me, it’s been both. I’ve dived deep into the design space. I’ve fully remodeled a house that is intended to highlight design in every way: It boasts high ceilings to elevate the mind, many windows and sky lights to let tremendous natural light in to the inspire the mind, it is covered in paintable and writeable white walls to encourage creativity, and it is covered in big, bold paintings, pictures, and original drawings meant to tell a story about me, my family, and my views of the world. In a phrase, I love the space and all that it stands for. I’ve also dedicated myself to physical and mental health, spending time working through former traumas, changing my diet to fit the needs of my body, and becoming a long distance runner. I started out running for my kids but found that I truly love the personal challenge of these races and well, what can I say, I’m hooked.

But there is also the other side – the places I’ve devolved. Most of it stems from the confluence of getting older, seeing the underpinnings of our nation, and Covid – but can be summed up in the realization that much of what we try to do to help the world falls short of making an impact. It’s a sad thing to come to terms with but fairly typical as we age. And ironically, freeing. It frees one from the rules, expectations, requirements we all try so hard to meet as young people.

And so, I am free. As I hope everyone is feeling. Perhaps not because laws are being written as they need to be. Perhaps not because politics has made more sense. Perhaps not because any one of us has more money. But perhaps because we’ve all learned that no one can own our minds. We do not live in the dystopian world described in 1984 and so, we are not obligated to believe what we are told. We are free to have our own opinions, be our own selves, and love as we wish. Everything can be regulated, controlled, even forced, but our minds…our thoughts…remain our own.

Images by Patricio González and  Alfonso Cerezo