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.  

2-5-16 blog gear

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

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:

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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!

WHO MOVED MY HOVERCHEESE?

Challenges, any changes, energize me.  Call me Grace (under fire), I’m a sucker for deadlines – they’re part of my creative process. When sudden reorgs at work occur, I hunker down and work through tumultuous times. When baseball adds another 2 teams’ practices in one week, I rolled with it. Strengthsfinder 2.0 says I’m a problem solver – I live for solving the family’s carpool problems.  Nothing throws me, until I’m faced with myself.

When first semester of grad school started I spent my first 48 hours fighting non-stop with technology but triumphantly gained a working knowledge for my class.  I beat technology. When first semester ended, I spent my first 48 hours reading books to escape the textbooks. I beat the class!

But then nothing…  Don’t get me wrong, my break rocked! We enjoyed the first holiday with 3 excited cousins (last year only 2 were old enough to anticipate traditions), cruised the Caribbean, caught some movies… But when given the chance, I didn’t do that “thing I would do even if I didn’t get paid”… I didn’t write. (Thank you if you noticed, I appreciate your support)!

I planned to blog, write a book, poetry – even haiku.

IOHaikU: Here, I brought you a gift!

IOHaikU: Here, I brought you a gift!

When I stepped away from my laptop on the last day of class, I turned my back on it.  I didn’t want to touch it, look at it, nothing!  Knowing this, I bought myself a composition book for writing, but, did nothing. I lost the opportunity.

Believe it or not, 6-7 weeks into the break, I craved returning to the rhythm of the master’s program.  I missed my classmates, the weekly feeling of achievement; I anticipated an easier first 48 hours this time, and relished in the slight confidence of being a return Grad Student! The topics this semester thrilled me as I love the problem solving, creative work, and had some experience with strategic corporate and marketing communications. I looked forward to drawing on personal experience.

But, things changed. The blend of students was new, the rhythm of the class feels like a remix, and even the material seems opposite from my true-life experiences.  This time, I recognize the fight-or-flight reaction and am rolling with it. I’m acclimating to the new semester with excessive amount of calendaring, spreadsheets and post-it notes, as well as commiserating with other students.  It’s a change in perspective to see that change doesn’t thrill me, but it will only bring about positive changes in me.

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And now, for today’s show-n-tell, I brought Hovercheese!! Can you please check my homework?!

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON – O YOU!

Since none of my high school girlfriends, nor I, had the opportunity to fly to Chicago to see Oprah’s show before it ended, today my friends (that I’ve known for almost 25 years!) and I attended the next best thing!  Oprah’s O You 2012 in Los Angeles!  I learned many gems and will share them in weeks to come!

O what a great group of women!

There were so many activities throughout the day, but our largest challenge was “You … in six words”
Mine life story in 6 words is: Make lasting impression, love all equally!

What’s yours?

Can you write your history in 6 words or less?
Click on photo for some great ones – Including Oprah’s!
Artwork (C) Harpo

All the experts (including Oprah) got on stage:  Her best friend, Gail, Suze, Dr. Phil, Peter, Dr. Laura B., Martha, Adam, Iyanla!  You too can win a set of Oprah’s amazing Swag Bag (Click on this link!).

I know they’re tiny, but they’re all there!
Lingering idea: It’s ok for women to put themselves 1st!

What a great way to celebrate women!   What a great way to celebrate my 1/2 way point with my first grad school class!

Where the magic happened! WTF: We’re thrilled, fantastic!

#OYou2012

8 I’S THAT CREATE SUCCESSFUL WE

Believe it or not, this life’s lesson is plucked from an article I’m reading on Business Alliances for my classes on how to create excellent alliances…

Worst case scenario – great working relationship
Best case scenario – LOVE!

Individual Excellence  – Both should be independently strong and bring something of value to contribute to alliance. Have positive goals, not just looking to escape something.

Importance – The relationship should fit your strategic objectives so both want to make it work

Interdependence – Partners complement each other and neither can accomplish on own what both can together

Investment – Invest in each other to show mutual respect, commitment

Information – Open communication, share goals, trouble spots, changing perspectives

Integration – Link operations to teach and learn from each other, bridge on many levels

Institutionalization – Make relationship formal, not easily broken, set clear responsibilities and decision processes

Integrity – Behave honorably towards each other, no abuse of power, no undermining!

Seems like pretty wise advice for any relationship!

Citations:

Kanter, R. M., (1994). Collaborative Advantage: The Art of Alliances. Harvard Business 

    Review, 94405, 96-108.

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON TODAY

“A river cuts through rock not because of its strength but because of its persistence!” –Jim Watkins

“Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals.” –Henry Ford

Grand Canyon: Obstacles, what obstacles?
Think of the possibilities!
Photo by YoTuT

(thanks Karina Saenz-Gutierrez for dropping these two gems in my pathway today!)

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?

IF YOU COULD COMMISSION ANY LIVING WRITER TO WRITE A BOOK…

I’ve been asked where I get ideas for my daily blog. My better posts come from wandering after a train of thought intersecting my day. Some days I rely on prompts.

Keep conversations going and creative juices flowing!

Today a question leaped off the page at me continuing the train of thought for where ideas come from. I immediately had an answer that sparked music and daydreams woven with memories.

Stephen King! In school I obsessively read his books to drown out droning textbooks. His books strayed far from my day-to-day experience and blew the walls off of my imagination leaving me to wander through dark, scary gardens, creepy neighbors’ homes, even the degenerating mind of a rabid dog. I’d never read a book so frightening that I couldn’t finish until The Shining. I was its prisoner. While it panicked me, it hurt more to stop reading it!

I admit that I am not caught up on his works because in the role of fearless head of my family, I can’t be cowering in the corners under covers. Instead, I bought his book On Writing so I could sit a while longer with Mr. King’s genius. I’ve got a few books on writing but his was the first book from an author whose characters I was on first-name basis with. I loved following his train of thought and the realistic perspective he shared.

I would commission him to help me rewrite my horror film screenplay, “Mother’s Day.” I’d been curious about moms like Wanda Holloway who hired a hit man to kill the mother of her daughter’s cheerleading rival hoping the distress would cause the rival to drop from competition. I asked, “How far a mother’s love goes to ensure the success of her child?” Even more, “what if” the opposition came from within their family? I killed off the necessary players but wanted to spend more time with the psychology of the sub-plots.

Sadly, I checked his website, he doesn’t collaborate or even read and comment on manuscripts due to fear (Stephen King afraid?!) of plagiarism lawsuits. So with his books for inspiration and for pacing the story, I’ll give it another go on my own knowing Stephen has my back.

Photo borrowed from http://www.stephenking.com (C) Stephen King

“I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’ ‘What if’ is always the key question.” –Stephen King

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!

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