WORK FIELD TRIP: Ran off to the circus!

Julia Cameron calls this an Artist Date, I prefer Work Field Trip.  

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I’ve already mentioned how the invitation to attend the Premiere Event for Cavalia’s Odysseo in Irvine this weekend already fulfilled my dreams!  This show, and this assignment, took me on a creative journey magically stirring something awake in my soul. When I received another invitation to attend press preview day, I immediately accepted this gift.

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As with many favorite childhood trips, my experience started from the freeway once I spotted the flags atop the tent.  The idea that the largest touring show in the world sat on land where nothing existed a week before astounded me.

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I mingled with other bloggers, press, and VIP guests. Though many were there for an assignment, most bubbled over with passion for horses, music or art.  

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Hah! My gear vs. their gear – I need an upgrade!

The show itself was more spectacular and high-energy than expected. The beauty of the show overwhelmed me and invigorated all of my senses.  Each act flowed into the next gracefully – even the 18-ton merry-go-round!.

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Even more amazing, we received behind-the-scenes access from Odysseo’s Founder, Normand Latourelle.

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Odysseo’s Creator: Odyssey = Journey with O = “eau” (water) at the end of the journey

He explained that computers traditionally direct musical cues for a show of this caliber. Because this show features live animals with individual temperaments, this show’s cues come from a live director. With the timing of so many seemingly death-defying acts, timing was crucial.

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The live music added a delicate veil of beauty to our experience.

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Conversations with performers brave enough to leap from their career paths to follow their passion truly inspired me.  One performer studied marine biology before attending circus school, another hoped to earn money while studying for the Bar exam. Some turned their professional riding into performance careers.

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Most people I know dreamed of joining the circus at least once in their lives. The nomadic family lifestyle mixed with the artistic beauty and danger of a circus mystify and entrance us.  

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WTF: Way too fast – can’t wait to see the full-length show!

Normand pointed out what I feel represents the true beauty of the show:  With the many different breeds and cultures represented here, everyone gets along. They believe that peace is best for a beautiful show. It’s been thrilling spending my hours on a “job” submersed in such creativity and such beauty.

 

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Lea Riviere Mixed Media on Canvas

 #OdysseoOC

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VIRGIN HANDBOOK

His radiant smile attracts one’s gaze as the wind flutters through his hair. His British accent draws one in rendering people far less willing to resist. His irresistible confidence, magnetic energy and passion for everything he touches keeps us unable to avert our gaze! In a minute, I would turn myself completely over to him. I want to live inside his mind and see things through his eyes.  Richard Branson fearlessly leads the Virgin Empire with 400 company conquests worldwide. His experience and philosophy makes people yearn to be Virgin.

From Richard’s mouth to your heart, here’s how he stays on top:

BreakRecords

1.    Don’t be afraid to try anything at least once
Live life to its fullest – do what is fun! Test the boundaries so long as you won’t be embarrassed or imprisoned. Forge new paths where previously none existed! Don’t be afraid to take to the air!  Set your eyes on the most apparently impossible challenges then you’ll be forced

Here is how Branson waterskiis

Here is how Branson water skiis

2.    Let others watch: Restricting someone excites them more!
When people tell you something isn’t possible, become more enthusiastic and determined to show them they’re wrong.  Don’t let failure dissuade you: Identify the flaw, find a solution, and try again… and again.

The most attractive point - an open mind!

3.    It’s what’s inside that matters
Trust your gut.  Consider your customer’s first time – planning how to make a good first impression and keep them coming back for more could be far better than complicated, impersonal analysis.

Don't be afraid to redefine what's possible!

WTF: Wave to Fishies
Don’t be afraid to redefine what’s doable!

4.    Know who’s at your backside
Businesses are like busses, there’s always another one coming. Take the competition seriously (but not yourself).  If someone isn’t sure how to do it – or not doing it well – take control, make him or her over as your new pet project

ValueofRisk

5.    Don’t pay money for love
Follow your passion in a way that serves the world and you. If it’s just about the money, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Don’t separate work and play – it’s all living. Don’t do anything with the feeling that one must do it – enjoy every minute!

As a child, someone labeled Branson as a future prisoner or millionaire. Branson blew past both predictions and never looked back.

“Screw it, let’s do it!”

Bucket List: Go to Necker Island!  Bonus: When Richard is hanging out!

Bucket List: Go to Necker Island!
Bonus: When Richard is hanging out!

WOMEN’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY: Who are we really fighting with?

Many women go to work knowing they’re paid significantly less than their male counterparts. More men than women are high-level executives, sit on boards, and become politicians.  Women feel they don’t get the same respect and blame glass ceilings or “Good ol’ boys” clubs.  When half of our population is female, how can this still be so imbalanced and why does progress seem to be reverting?

WTF: Way to flounce

WTF: Way to flounce

Part of the battle originates with the media’s portrayal of women. The must-see film MISSrepresentation shares shocking statistics on how media companies, run primarily by men, spent decades telling stories from their perspective, portraying women as helpless sexual objects for men to overpower or rescue. The absence of female role models or multi-dimensional characters on tv or film kills any proof that women may aspire to be more. The film points out that history preserved primarily male perspectives and while not wrong, it remains extremely one-sided. Our country is far behind other countries’ empowerment of female leaders.

Highly recommend the film for everyone as we're all media consumers.

Highly recommend the film for everyone as we’re all media consumers.

Two trends emerge in the workplace:

  1. Women feel power comes from being bitchy or sexy – This alienates both genders while painting women as emotional and unstable
  2. Women are our own worst enemy, as Sheryl Sandberg states in Lean In – Women constantly compete with both genders to earn a coveted top spot on the cutthroat career track. However, the few sporadic individual victories won’t launch women into more equivalent roles quickly. Additionally, women can be so catty and quick to criticize fellow women’s appearances or behavior in magazines or in person.

WTF - Straight up!

WTF – Straight up!

Shift perspective:

1)   Stop fighting and join forces – The battle shouldn’t focus on knocking others from the top, it should be to earn positioning, building a balanced representation of both genders and working together.  A more cohesive unit has more strength than a disputing unit.

2)   Lift each other up – Rather than running to stay in front of the competition, turn around and give them a hand. You gain far more than you lose by training someone to be your replacement.

WTF: Work through friction (C) Peanuts

WTF: Work through friction
(C) Peanuts

MISSrepresentation and its supporters chant, “If they can see it, they can be it.”  Stop to think of what you want others to see and learn from you.

I've said it before... Always a good lesson!

I’ve said it before…
Always a good lesson!

INFJ – WTF!

Let me introduce you to Meyers & Briggs.  You may recognize the implication of these letters – to identify one’s personality type – even if you don’t know their meaning. While researching the colors of my parachute, I tested to see if my instincts and the experts agree about what I do well.  This stemmed from contradictions of getting high SAT math scores yet abundant budget headaches.  I felt I would thrive at job interviews presenting key words that effectively communicate my strengths.  What I found became an insightful window into my self!

I started with this easy to follow book.

I promptly popped strong, accurate keywords into my job-search cover letter. Next, I turned to the well-known Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator.   Employers trust this test to find quality complementary employees to build effective teams. I hesitated for a moment knowing tests may reveal things you don’t want to hear about yourself, but I prefer full-disclosure so I would rather know.

Definition:  Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging – Way Touchy Feely! 

Introverted (vs. Extroverted) doesn’t mean I am shy. More it that I need to recharge in between social events with some quiet time living alone inside my head for a spell. Some characteristics below have extroverted tendencies.

Intuitive (vs. Sensing) doesn’t mean I’m psychic or follow my gut well all the time. It means that I prefer an abstract big picture train of thought and letting my imagination wander for a while.

Feeling (vs. Thinking) doesn’t imply I never use my head, rather that I consider the impact that decisions may have on others with the goal of restoring harmony when possible.

Judging (vs. Perceiving) doesn’t mean I’m judging or diagnosing people, it means I try to control my environment to bring about closure.

Click here for a full explanation – it’s scary accurate!

Fun facts for INFJs –
Known as “the Confidant/Visionary”
Less than 1.5% of the population
Famous INFJs: Oprah, Gillian Anderson, The Tinman from The Wizard of Oz

I can’t wait to spend time with Google to learn more.  Note, I took the free test, not through M-B website, but I took two different free tests and they agreed… feels great to be understood.

What are your letters?

WTF: WAIT THERE’S FIRE!

We mindlessly wander through our routines, hopefully paying attention to what you’re doing, but hopping from place to place. Every so often, life throws a stick in your spokes and knocks you off course. Yesterday I flew so far I landed disoriented, quickly feeling for a familiar path. Wait, a signpost up ahead – next stop, the Twilight Zone!

1) Son’s wakes up with a temperature – a LOW temperature: Give me a fever of 102 and I know exactly what to do. Of course, right when I hand over my know-it-all parent book to my sister for my baby niece, life throws a new one at me.

2) Applesauce lid – Popped or poison: Shopping at the store for “sick” food, applesauce is the one thing my son asked for. When I get home, it didn’t pop when I opened it. Eat it or return it?

3) Get a call for a new job opportunity: A call from a previous temp employer asking me if I am available. Thankfully the timing from my current role may work out perfectly! Or, it may come down to who do I want to disappoint the least?

4) A friend called from E.R. to have me pick up her kids: One good note, I was in the right town at the right time for a seamless, swift detour.

5) Got daughter to softball game on time w/o begging favors: Second good note, at least now I could get my daughter to her game on time – or we would have been on time if we went to the right field.

6) Pitcher was an Olympian in a 7-year old body – My daughter’s WTF (Whoa, Tail of Fire?!) face was priceless after watching the meteor leave the pitcher’s hand, barrel through her strike zone and knock over the catcher without even flinching to hit it.

We couldn’t have dreamed all this possible in one day without sounding ridiculous, however, it worked out perfectly as it wouldn’t have run so smoothly had I been on my normal path, probably stuck in traffic!

Oh, and, everyone is better today except my daughter who still has a glazed look while mumbling “Fire, from ball, too fast!”

BLOGGING PROFESSIONALS: START LOCAL, THINK GLOBAL!

My name is Sarah and I am a blogger! I no longer have to hide my dirty habit!

I couldn't have said it better myself!

After celebrating my 100th day blogging by attending a blogging seminar I am validated and energized that one can follow many realistic paths to various careers that didn’t exist 5 years ago or even 5 days ago!

One encouraging gem shared was to know your skill set, know what you can do for a company, then convince them you are the person to do it! A whole generation of hiring managers exist that get the willies from the words “online presence.” They pray that you will come along to direct the effort. As Oprah says, Preparation + Opportunity = Success! Once inside, keep telling people what you love to do and customize your job into something that tickles your fancy.

This theme kept coming up. The seminar’s stellar cross-section of blog founders, web content managers and editors agreed that their start came from researching then sharing information in areas they were passionate about. The ultimate expression of their affection was to write about them.

Even if creating your own money-earning blog, they had realistic advice that the job can be flexible, yet under grueling deadlines. Instant feedback becomes a blessing and a curse, but it adds to the view bottom line! Keep chipping away towards your goal. I love their mantra: Start local, Think global! Rather than share specific lessons, look for networking groups or seminars in your area, it’s worth it! Don’t have any? Build a support group and bloggers will come!

I’ve saved the best for last… 

I have been humbled by my blogging journey thus far. The support from my 82 and growing friends joining me as I wander motivates me. Your comments inspire and help me improve – so keep them coming!! I love checking as many of your blogs as possible, and vow to do more as my learning curve flattens out. I’ve passed 4,800 views and even received a few much-appreciated nominations for awards – I vow to catch up on the quizzes this month. I hope to keep improving and expanding the site so we never run out of shared adventures!

THANKS!

HUNGARIAN FOOD TRUCK DREAMS

My family and I visited family in Hungary recently. I won’t bore you with tales of family fun and unforgettable memories; I’ll get straight to the food!  One day I’ll drive a truck full of mouth-watering Hungarian food to a neighborhood near you if I can talk my family into quitting their day jobs to hit the road with me. If someone else tries, they owe me dough (fried).

Food in Hungary boasts beautiful colors!

My chemist brother-in-law and my didn’t-cook-for-30-years-of-her-life sister, boast mad recipe translating skills!  My lawyer brother-in-law handles the paperwork and cooking rig – the man knows how to tailgate.  His wife, (my other sister) sets the perfect scene on our stretch of blacktop near you layering dried red paprika, hand-embroidered tablecloths and lively Gypsy music! I build and promote the social media community. Once we get people to taste the food, they’ll be hooked.

Favorite pasttime on our trip!

Here are some delectable ideas to simmer on. These items are portable, easy to prep anywhere (or pre-prep and heat on the grill before serving):

Langos:

A family favorite my grandmother used to make and I fake. These flat doughnut-size fried doughs tasted awesome with garlic, or sugar sprinkled on them. In Hungary, it’s like street pizza in size and toppings.

Sour Cream and Cheese - very popular!

Pogacsa:

These crossed the heartiness of a bacon buttery scone, and a light dinner biscuit tasting like gold  when popped into one’s mouth!

See my noseprints on the glass?

Kürtőskalács:

This chimney cake was light andcrispy sugary outside.  Baked on wooden cylinders, we’d need a mechanism to cook a few at a time, like a wall of gyros meat spits.

Twisted, the way I like it!

Gulyas:

Possibly the most popular soup in Hungary, which varies by region or what one finds in the kitchen, gulyas simmers meats with veggies and hand-cut dumplings for hours in a pot manly enough for your guy to tend to.

Every Gulyas tasted better than the last!

Chicken Paprikas in Palacsinta:

Knowing portable food sells well, these crepe-like wraps hold a rich mushroom and chicken paprikas inside. RICH!

Chicken paprikas and palacsinta? Pinch me!

Fried fish:

Not on the menu.  Here’s why.

Stop staring at me!

Fanks:

A sweet treat, these light fried pastries boasted fresh sour cherry filling within their powdered sugar, bubbly exterior.

Can't stop at just one!

There are others, but these lingered longest on our taste buds.  If you created a food truck, what would it be?

NO DUMB LUCK, NO FIRST-TIMER’S LUCK, NO SUCH LUCK!

What's your good luck charm?

I’m with Oprah, if you come prepared when opportunity knocks, your dreams come true. In college, although working toward a major, I rarely pursued relationships with my professors. Now, more than ever, workplace successes depend on whom you know so networking counts. Some advice:

1) Find mentors – I regularly learn from every interaction. If you know someone whose career path involved your dream job, humbly ask for a research interview to get current advice for training, industry insider information and even important contacts. Don’t “mildly insist” that your mentor meet with you – its a fine line between determination and arrogance. If they only offer an email, take it – the first step is the hardest, but it could lead to other things.

2) Be courteous – Anyone at any level could be the person to give you the spot on your mentor’s radar and hopefully on his calendar. Depending on who they are, they may be asked to share their opinion of you. Don’t take anyone for granted.

3) Be clear – Clarify your interests so the mentor gets a better feel for what information you desire, your current knowledge and how best to help. Don’t expect them to read your mind. You wouldn’t want to waste the opportunity. Come with specific questions.

4) Follow through – Confirm appointments, provide an agenda, know where you’re visiting. Your mentor took time out of their busy day to graciously meet with you, please be respectful of their time. Don’t hit the Snooze button. When this reminder appears on your calendar, do not reschedule it for later. Assume your chance to pose your questions will only come around once.

5) CALL! – In the unique situation where you have to miss or reschedule an appointment – Tell them in advance! Don’t make them track you down.

This advice is common sense, but people forget significant steps! You’ll learn how small your industry is and how many degrees of separation are between you, your mentor and Kevin Bacon when you’ve left a positive or negative vibe with your mentor. Start your career path off on the right foot and arise to each challenge and play on weekends while relaxing after landing your dream job!

FCW: BE TACTFUL, DO NOT OVERLOOK YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES

Part of my growth involves remaining open enough while wandering to see the signs that the universe broadcasts. The message comes from people, whether friends, work-study students, or the Almighty O herself. Perhaps they come from social media status updates. Today’s wisdom presented itself in the oldest form of messaging with limited characters – fortune cookies! I don’t consider the fortune valid unless I’ve eaten half the cookie, otherwise, I am just cracking open cookies looking for fortunes to support my agenda.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom!

The cookie advised: “Be tactful, do not overlook your own opportunities” [in bed]. Do you still play that game?! Since the odds of those opportunities presenting themselves today seemed slim-to-none, I asked WWOD? while focusing on the message. The obvious place to locate opportunities was in my new, albeit temporary, job. After two weeks, I remain blissfully in the honeymoon stage not sensing any craziness. The only time I feel unsettled centers on contemplating this job’s fit into my career path. The exhilarating excitement of a new adventure mixed with the devil-may-care short-timer attitude creates bold creativity for facing challenges. To function well, even if short-term, one must know the processes, histories, and root oneself in the establishment.

First, I must be tactful: treat people well with respect and manners (Duh!) and don’t get sidelined by drama. Then, before I “don’t overlook my own opportunities,” I must identify them.  I know that I love brainstorming ideas and but don’t have the [insert one: patience/attention/balls] to carry them out before the next idea comes. Perhaps, it’s because I lack formal method training and not being young enough to allow a steeper learning curve with trial-and-error, I’m afraid to waste time guessing. I know that there are no guarantees. Miss O wisely points out that luck results from preparation intersecting opportunity.

So from my vantage point, I see experts who teach and mentor. Perhaps I’m backing myself into another position where I will, again, realize that I was meant to be here all along. This time, I’ll look over my shoulder to plot the journey some and enjoy the view. After backing myself up and positioning myself, I’ll launch forward in the direction meant for me.

Check all your mirrors to make sure you don't miss something spectacular!

IF I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW!

Walking through campus today reminded me of when I worked at the happiest amusement park on Earth. As part of the cast, my role contributed to the highlight of a lifetime for many, while not distracting from the moments. During their visits, guests shared their personal or collective biggest thrills, chills, challenges and happiest day in the sun. When their time ended, they left permanently touched, often changed, by the experience all the while, blind to what magical extremely complex operations happened behind the curtain.

Allow me to expand your mind suggesting that going back to school felt like not simply a full-circle moment, but what I think a circular moment in time feels like! With every great first and ongoing impression, every wise use of my time searching out great opportunities, and rubbing elbows with connected people I am not only benefiting my future ultimately, but also redoing my past at the same time.

Maybe the perm frazzled the well-laid plans I had at the time!

How many “If I knew then what I know now” moments do you look back on in college or life? I’m grateful for the opportunity to be back in the welcoming, familiar college environment. When I attended college, I went to classes, stayed up for a few all-nighters and hung out with my roommates. I truly did not go out of my way to find parties, mentors or career connections. Being fully submersed once again in the exuberant, hopeful and hungry energy of students, with the benefit of adult perspective, brought me full circle.

I greet my colleagues as we pass on campus, pausing occasionally to catch up – having been gone six weeks between assignments. Out of the corner of my eye I see the co-ed I was shadowing my behavior with other students or professors.  If asked, my shared wisdom to students is “It matters who you know.”  College presents the unique opportunity to not only increase the numbers of people you know face-to-face, but also the chance to expand your horizons and make the borders friendlier. While every student travels a similar path, individual’s life experiences and lessons learned along the way are invaluable. Also, never forget that “Lessons appear anywhere” and “It’s never too late to start.”

Anytime is a great time to start the rest of your life!

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