Planning the New Year, Again

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I don’t know about you but planning for the new year, any new year, seems like an exercise in frustration. But so does NOT planning what I want to have happen in the new year. So I started a list, several times. Still don’t have a final one.

I remind myself. Progress not perfection. Glass half full not half empty. In the midst of abundant dreams focus on a specific few this year.

It’s a discovery process. Setting goals means finding out which ones you are willing to sacrifice for, say no to other things for and which ones you are surprisingly not. It’s quite fine to discover you didn’t really want something as badly as you thought. What’s not okay is to waste the time I / you have been given. Invest in being all that you are capable of being.

Plain Reimagined

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I walked upstairs right underneath this hanging sculpture and didn’t even notice it. Heading back downstairs, the soft mid-morning winter light played the glass like bells, ringing out the dusty stems and slapping a resounding white outline on the bowl of each glass.

A kitchen cabinet, reimagined. Functional form turned into beauty by arrangement, placement and light.

What can we reimagine today?

Roses in the Snow

Seeing roses in the snow gives me hope. Hope that beautiful things can flourish in inhospitable circumstances. The snow and freezing temps did not damage these beauties. They persisted, vibrantly. So may we. When snow falls and frost fingers our story, so may we.

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Happy Accident

Pencil shavings usually remain hidden inside the sharpener or the trash can. But my sharpener got clogged and rather than walk the few feet to the trashcan, I dumped the finings out onto a tray where the messy bits and pieces captured my eye. They are beautiful evidence of preparation and refinement. Perhaps some things when left behind are still a work of art.

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Proper Work

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“To pay attention. This is our endless and proper work.”

~Mary Oliver

Start Living It

“Our power is never about how pretty we are. Our power is about how we live our lives. Start living it.” Cheryl Strayed, interviewed by Lisa Congdon in A Glorious Freedom.

This grabbed me. So I spent the last 2 weekends investing my spare time in working on art. What does that even look like? For Saturday, October 7, 2017, it looked like this:

  1. Removed old portfolios from view on Behance. – 10 minutes
  2. Searched for and finally found the color negative of an image that Mom had asked for. I went through 8 completely full negative binders, some more than once hunting for this image. Finally found it in 1994.  – 1 hour
  3. Watched the layers basics tutorial for Photoshop on Adobe. – 20 minutes
  4. Scanned the image I found, Paul on the PCT trail – 15 minutes
  5. Ran into tonal range issues with the image so I worked on it in Photomatix 5.0 but that wasn’t enough. Found out there was a version 6 available and downloaded the free upgrade. 10 minutes
  6. Edited the image on PCT in Photomatix and combined 2 versions in Photoshop. – 10 minutes
  7. Ordered 10 prints of the final version printed on Moab Bright from Giclee Today. Not sure that was the right decision. Maybe should have ordered one to test. But the shipping is killer. $7 minimum!  – 40 minutes
  8. Added the image to those available for sale on Red Bubble – 5 minutes
  9. Revised file from sRGB to Adobe RGB color profile in the final file and asked Giclee Today if it was possible to replace. 5 minutes
  10. Wrote this blog entry. Including thinking time in the car, maybe 30 minutes.

On the whole, a good investment of about 3 hours and 30 minutes of time on a Saturday.

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Hood to Coast 2017

Recently, I undertook the physical challenge of running Hood to Coast, a 12-person 199-mile relay from Mt. Hood, Oregon to the Pacific Coast, with the Building Champions team. Physical challenges like this are a genre of leadership development (through extremis) programs. Benefits from breaking a sweat with others include increasing confidence in your ability, learning to trust others, and a better team. I was honored to be asked and loved the experience. I learned 4 big things over the 3 days:

Set the tone, maintain the tone.

Our sponsor, Daniel Harkavy, set the tone for the team from the start by holding a team dinner for us at his family home the day before the race started. Many of us were complete strangers and several were newbies. We had a chance to rub shoulders, learn faces and names, get some advice and fellowship. Daniel didn’t stop there. He also met us at the midpoint to see how we were doing and cheer us on. And he met us at the end as the team crossed the finish line and spent time with us celebrating. His sustained interest and attention gave us something to look forward to, a sort of punctuation and structure for a run-on sentence. 

Believe you can

Several team members had stories that would make you think they couldn’t run that far. One person had 4 knee surgeries and knee pain, one person had sprained an ankle the weekend before, another person hadn’t worked out in awhile after having 2 children and he had the hardest leg. And yet. Each person did it because they believed they could (or were at least willing to try) and had the support of the team.

Follow the shepherd

Todd Mosetter was our shepherd for the 6 runners in Van 1. He consistently put the needs of the team first. As an example, he made sure each runner had what they needed at the start of each leg and made sure each runner had someone to meet them at the end of each leg. His approach was  incredibly powerful at building trust and followers.

It’s amazing what a team can accomplish together.

I know. It sounds like motherhood and apple pie. Who could dispute it? But there’s something different about feeling it. On my 3rd and last leg, tulle fog settled over cows, a horse, two sheep and a donkey. Queen Anne’s lace furled tightly against the wire fences as I struggled to move my quads of cement down the 2-lane asphalt road in the gently hilly coastal mountains.  At that point we had run roughly 150 miles since 10:30am the day before and on little or no sleep. Like an ice cold glass of water in the face, I realized in my daze, that’s far more than I could or would do alone. I was awed by what we could do together. Later that day, as the last runner on our team, Steve Kelly, came into the finish line, my amazement was complete.

In the weeks since Hood 2 Coast, I’ve endeavored to put into practice what I learned, most especially approaching team work with greater encouragement, commitment, support and respect.

The next time you’re thinking about developing your leadership skills, consider a physical challenge, if you’re able, undertaken with others, in service of a goal. It will for sure reveal a thing or two.

Here’s to the amazing cast of characters who made up the 2017 Building Champions Hood to Coast Team:

Van 1: Bob Noack, John Bermudez, Michael Harbin, Emily Hartley, Todd Mosetter, Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

Van 2: Sean Ritchie, Matthew Schatz, Evan Redos, Derek Rotz, John Budd, Steve Kelly

Sponsors: Daniel Harkavy, Kristen Moreno

[Easter Egg: and sometimes you get to see amazing beauty along the way:) This photo is from one of the exchanges. We parked in a field full of overgrown old cars, trucks and equipment. A lost in time moment.]

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