Updates: I’m bursting at the seems with about a hundred posts I want to write, and they are all currently buried in my notebooks, brain, and on half-finished word documents on my laptop. I just took a peek at the unpublished drafts in my queue (110) and the number of essays I’ve hit “publish” on (173) and I realized that I have a lot I need to hurry up and ship— to not be afraid of doing, as Seth Godin says. For the moment, though, I’m caught in the spin-cycle of travel (see below!) and I don’t have the time to sit down and write as much as I want to, since it’s been back-to-back weekends of traveling and engagements. Before my next scheduled post goes up, here are a few updates and miscellaneous notes from the last of March and early April. And before I get even further, Happy Spring!
Welcome to all the new faces!
It’s been a busy few weeks with this website, and I want to say thank you (and hello!) to all the new faces who have stopped by or who have crossed paths with me lately. If you haven’t yet, send me a message or a tweet to say hello. So many of you have emailed and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude at the thoughts and conversations happening offline. You are all brave, marvelous, and stunning people: I hope you all know that. I am so inspired by the stories I get to read, by what you share and by how much each of you are doing to make things happen. When I get tired, stressed out or worn out like the best of them, I get to read your stories happening around the web and world, and I get re-energized.
Seen and Heard: Recent Posts
In the writing world, there’s been quite a few posts going around that I’m delighted to be a part of (and I’ve got some more in the works, coming out soon, so stay tuned!) If you missed it, here are some of the latest:
- Chris Guillebeau and I chat about how to figure out whether you’re happy in your job — and what to do about it if you’re not. In the interview, Chris and I discuss how change can happen if you’re unhappy. My answer? We need to take responsibility for our own happiness. It’s no one else’s job or responsibility to help you feel satisfied, happy, or inspired: it’s yours. Read the full interview here. (Don’t believe me? See the recent post on The Atlantic about how changing your personality can make you happier).
- Lifehacker liked the post and the cheat-sheet so much that Melanie Pinola picked it up and shared it, making my twitter and internet stream go quite crazy for a few days. (Whoo! Exciting! I’m famous in the internet world!) The fame has worn off, but I definitely saved the re-tweet from The 99 Percent in my keeper file. Yes, I do stuff like that.
- A huge thank-you to Get Rich Slowly and my friend J.D. for sparking the conversation about pursuing your passion. With thoughtful commentary by Marie Forleo, Knot Theory, and others about finding the right balance of work you love, or a life you love (or both), there’s good arguments to be had for why several options might work–there isn’t a “right” way to getting to your dreams.
- And lastly, the post about People and Energy Factors over on Accidental Creative with Todd Henry, who I had the pleasure of meeting in person at SXSW, has been picking up a lot of steam lately. Tell me, what, when, how, and who do you get your energy from?
March & April Presentations
In the speaking arena, I’ve been involved in several presentations lately and I’m thrilled with the outcome (and amazed, again, by the amount of energy it takes to prepare and conduct these events. A huge round of applause for the teams that put each of these events together). After I unpack a bunch of this work, I hope to put together some guidelines for what I’ve learned so far. More to come.
- At UC Berkeley, I moderated a panel on Landscapes of Uncertainty in conjunction with the new Ground Up Journal being launched this May. Check out the image from the presentation (above!). I was fortunate to be on stage with Ila Berman, the Director of Architecture at CCA, Douglas Burnham, Principal of envelope A+D, Scott Cataffa, Principal at CMG, and Sha Hwang, Design Technologist at Movity-Trulia. Our conversations meandered through the uncertain terrains of technology, landscape, economics, and professional practice. (My notebooks are filling up faster than I can empty them out into the blog-o-sphere!)
- Two days later, I went to the University of Pennsylvania to talk about the work that I do with SWA Group and saw a lot of familiar faces at my Alma Mater. It reminded me how much changes, so quickly, in the space after being a student to becoming an alumni and an employer. It seems that not so long ago I was just on the other side of the table, handing my resume and portfolio over to be perused by prospective employers.
And there’s more coming up:
- This Friday, I’ll be presenting at “Post Press Plot” at the University of Virginia, School of Architecture alongside two of my favorite writers and thinkers in the design space: Geoff Manaugh, of BLDG BLOG, and Cassim Sheppard, Founder of Urban Omnibus with the New York Architectural League. We’ll be looking at the intersection of design and writing, and I’ll be talking specifically about the story of Landscape Urbanism, the idea and the website.
- And finally, next week, I’ll be back in San Francisco to participate in the upcoming Knowledge Architecture KA Connect Conference, April 12-13. I’ll be speaking about the intersection social media and writing and the power of networking to build your story.
Sheesh, I’ll stop talking about me:
There are other things in the web besides what I’m doing! Here are some of my favorite posts and events I’ve seen lately:
- GetAround’s curation of the top ten TED Talks to give you the power to change the world. I just re-watched Simon Sinek’s and Seth Godin’s and was re-energized by the power of ideas and the power of figuring out your WHY. One day’s homework? Watch these two TED Talks.
- Gutsy? Paul Graham’s blog post “Frightengly Ambitious StartUp Ideas,“ is a free list of ideas that (“just”) need to be implemented. If you have the guts, the time, the ambition, and the belief in a way to figure out these problems, go get ’em. The world needs you.
- Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability. You don’t have to be rock solid all the time. (Cue forthcoming post: “Things That Make Me Cry.”)
- Your Clothes? Maybe they actually are important: they affect your self-perception. Turns out image does matter — at least in that it influences our confidence and how we feel. Maybe it’s time to go shopping after all?
- Your Brain On Fiction: Turns out, story time is important after all because it re-wires and changes our brain. Maybe next the science will tell us that recess is important, too, and naptime is essential for creativity. (I don’t know about you, but I’m going to read stories, play on swings and take sunny naps and long runs whenever I can during the day and not wait for someone else to tell me it’s good for me. I believe in trusting the soul and the body. Our bodies are pretty smart, if we’ll let them be.)
- And lastly, the story of someone who emails back. (And this is why I try, even as I’m sitting behind my computer eating late-night dinner and I should probably be sleeping–to always send at least a reply back. I can’t always do a full conversation, but sometimes it means something to realize that on the other side of the internet, there’s a person, and we get it. We’ve been there. It’ll be okay).
Health, Sanity and Balance
I’m not sure I believe in the old axiom of “work-life balance,” but I’ll definitely be the first to admit that my schedule lately has been a little… askew. I’m excited and grateful for these opportunities, and also wary of burning the midnight oil too often. Cue a good question: why don’t I take a break from this blog? The answer, to me, is simple: Because I can’t not. My notebooks are full to the brim, and the more things I do, the more I learn, the more ideas I have, the more I want to write.
In a recent rant I enjoyed, John Carlton summed it up well:
“I am reminded of the constant possibility for adventure and plot changes in our lives.
I’m appalled when I meet folks who are bored with life. Are you fucking kidding me? Bored? We’re a race of brainy, built-to-endure loonies on a spinning orb in the middle of a vast universe…
… with absolutely nothing or no one holding the power to control what you do next. Sure, there are laws, steel bars, fences and scowling mates (plus your own sense of decency and fear) abounding everywhere…”
I laughed out loud at this. YES. If you’re bored, go do something: there’s too much going on to sit behind your screen and spend any more time thinking when you could be DOING.
Above all, I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and wonder. As Jill says, happiness is an attitude, a framework we can develop — but even people with a positive outlook sometimes have bad days. :) On those grumpy days, you can bet I’ll be curled up in my bed, pillow over head, hiding and recovering. I’m fairly certain that will be happening very soon for this blogger.
With love, wonder and gratitude.—