Confronting Failure

Sistine ChapelI was working on an outdoor project yesterday – probably one of the last before winter – and looking around saw how many different failures that I’d had in getting everything wrapped up prettily.  In the same moment I reminded myself that each of the failures was simply just a project that has yet to be completed or still in process.  What I was judging success by was based on the time it took to finish, which has nothing to do with whether it ever gets done or is even necessary.

I’m sure if you looked at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on day 4 as a complete work you might have though that Michelangelo was not doing his job very well.  But you see, that’s the point.  At any given moment we are only looking at a piece of the process.  While some things so seem to be finished products, or projects we can always re-visit them.  This means that we are really only ever looking at a piece of a process.  Know this as well that the greatest beauties can come from what seems in the moment to be a disaster.

Don’t stop trying to achieve.  Don’t stop dreaming big.  In fact, dream bigger and try for more because you can’t ever fail at following your heart’s calling.

Going Upstream

What’s the real problem here?

Recently I was pondering shifting the burden while blogging about City Bees and it lead into something that sometimes gets missed in the process of finding a solution to our challenges.  Often when looking at a problem you need to go further upstream or deeper into the process in order to find the origin and create a more systems aware solution.

One of my favorite solutions came time and time again when I was working as an Associate Dean.  Part of my job at the time was to met out punishment for absences.  I took it a different way though, if there were no absences then I was also doing a good job.  So when the teens came into my office there was no heat or anger, we simply discussed why the absence had occurred and worked on going upstream to find out what the real problem was.   Continue reading “Going Upstream”

City Bees

Cities could save bees?

Reading The Grist I came across a blurb about cities saving bees. Following this summary back to the original article in the Telegraph I read up and developed a few questions about the real potential for city apiaries’ ability to provide a safe haven to these stinging pollinators.

So what is the solution to our declining bee populations? Well in order to figure out any challenge you have to look at the underlying problem and then try to find a sustainable solution for that situation. Continue reading “City Bees”

Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals

The challenges of operating in a changing world

The ‘old school’ as some would say with regards to being in business, has a lot to do with hierarchy. Domination of a sector ensures success and how much money you have enables that to happen even faster. Business owners sell most of their business to investors in order to bring life to their dreams, politicians kowtow to backers losing their morals and their concern for citizens in the process, and people sell their future earnings to companies for the privilege of taking care of their basic needs from day-to-day. As I was watching Les Miserables last night I thought of how people in the future would look to our current situation in disbelief and grief in the same way I viewed Jean Valjean. How could that possibly be ok that someone went to prison for stealing the bread to eat? Can easily turn into today’s predicament → How could someone not have a place to live when there are empty houses? Or → How could the government let that happen? Continue reading “Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals”

I’ve Got the Election Purples

The apparent binary division of our political system is evident in the red and blue swaths that typically appear on the election maps. (Anger and sadness?)  But have you seen there are also maps showing shades of purple arising out of the dust of the very recently over election?  People are starting to actively acknowledge, as evidenced by this idea’s birth as a widely spread meme, that the binary does not exist.  We are not divided, just arranged on a spectrum of beliefs.  (Of course with this being said the spectrum is not linear at all – but for the sake of simple understanding let’s go with it.)

Purple Map 2012
2012 Election Purple Map

With the closeness of this year’s presidential election I heard an outpouring of emotion connected with being on the ‘right’ side and wanting to win.  Some threatened moving to another country if their candidate didn’t win, an idea that Jet Blue turned into a marketing idea. Others sank into fear and despair at a projected future that in all likelihood will not happen. Continue reading “I’ve Got the Election Purples”

Sharing Knowledge

At the recent PVGrows Forum one of the speakers reflected that he was there to share his knowledge so that others wouldn’t have to bump their heads into walls the way that he had to learn.  This is a sentiment that I’ve heard expressed in socially responsible business circles for years, but something about the frank way in which this was shared inspired me to write about it.  Continue reading “Sharing Knowledge”

In crisis? Remember Your Roots.

I’ve been thinking about the cycle of the year as the leaves begin to show beautiful colors and drift languidly to the ground.  On one level trees appear to be dying.  We know they aren’t because this cycle happens every year in the Northeast. First, the trees change color, then they lose their leaves, and by Winter’s commencement they stand stark as skeletons against the cold and the snow.

But, we also know that every Spring trees bud, sending out new chartreuse leaves to capture the light and grow fully green again. Continue reading “In crisis? Remember Your Roots.”

Hitting the Reset Button

Having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day like Alexander?  The first thing you need to do is recognize that the plan aren’t isn’t going the way you’d hoped.  Maybe the meeting stalled, maybe collaborators started being more gruff than helpful.  Next thing, Stop everything.  Take a minute to yourself to think about whether or not you want to see the project or work progress.

Don’t get down though, it is possible to turn a bad day into a good one.  To make a meeting where fighting is happening into one in which a lot gets accomplished.  Press the reset button so to speak.  So, if you are banging your head against the wall and nothing is changing, take a minute to determine if you can get past the hump.  Don’t forget that is also alright too to put something aside, since sometimes the best move is to walk away, but first try one of these… Continue reading “Hitting the Reset Button”

Nurturing a Dream

Recently when I was talking to someone about wanting to do more game and education design I found myself starting out by saying “I’m thinking about maybe…” I had to stop myself because I’m not thinking about maybe, I’m really very interested in and want to actively pursue this. What I decided was that the wording of the phrase didn’t allow me to own the truth of the matter. My new phrase, which feels much more in line with how I’m feeling is that “I’m nurturing a little dream in my heart.” I’m going to use this phrase more to express my desires and intents.

Try it on for size: I’m nurturing a little dream in my heart…

Vacation Nightmares Reversed

-or- How to save your community garden plot after time away.

So you went on vacation or perhaps to a conference this summer and come back to find your garden a jungle. Things flourished while you were away, which is good because you can now easily feed a family of 16, unfortunately the other things that are doing well are the weeds…

Don’t fret! Your garden can depart from its current status of being in a shambles without backbreaking, sweat-running-into-your-eyes work. Here are a few tips to get back in shape before the next round of inspections without losing your mind or hurting yourself. Continue reading “Vacation Nightmares Reversed”