The ceramics te…

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot — albeit a perfect one — to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

Quote from Art and Fear shared by a colleague. So, so true. 

new mantra: Make More Pots

People may not do things the way I want them to, but you have to step back and realize that people achieve things in different ways.

Jenna Fagnan, president of Tequila Avión

People who are negative tend to want to demean people’s ideas. They say what they don’t like, but they don’t really say what they want to do. It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there. It’s very hard to be vulnerable. But those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They’re the magic people of the world. So try to strive to be one of those.

Amy Poehler

How to Be a Connector

Nine months ago, I shared an article called Forget Networking. How to Be a Connector. Since then, I have developed and offered a class on just that. It’s been a popular class – surprisingly so – and I’ve learned a lot through teaching it. For instance:

  • People have a hard time realizing their existing network.
  • There’s genuine interest in developing stronger connections with people, but fear of going about it the ‘wrong’ way.
  • It’s a tough sell on why you’d want to go out of your way to connect two people with each other, because people want to unveil the hidden agenda.

I’ve also fine-tuned my definition of a Connector, which I think was a huge self-learning for me in 2012. I didn’t previously parse out what exactly makes me a Connector, nor did I think about why it is an asset that I can leverage in my career or otherwise. Here’s how I define it:

Connector is a person who…

  • has lots of great people in their network
  • naturally introduces members of their network to one another
  • is socially fluent
  • is known and respected in their communities

…and who uses that power to bring individuals in their network together constructively and with overall success.

This year, I have embraced this personality trait and run with it, and I’m proud to have connected people over ideas, shared interests, collaborative potential, accountability, research, and resources. I enjoy connecting good people, and am fortunate to have (or to create) many opportunities for doing so. It’s a science, an art, and an energizing delight. 

Most exciting to me is that connecting people unleashes unlimited potential. I can’t wait to see what partnerships, conversation, and social change are sparked through catalytic connection; the power never stops!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

The more we love someone, the more that is on the line if that relationship were to fail. The more we let someone in to who we really are, the more fodder they have access to if they were to try to hurt us. The more a parent loves a child, the harder it will be when that child seeks independence. If an addict gives up his drug habit, it means he will be healthier and happier but it also means he may have to face the inner demons he was hiding by using.

Rabbi Marc Katz, in his Kol Nidre sermon about vulnerability. I thought the sermon was really fantastic and well-delivered. In fact, I strongly encourage you (Jewish or not) to read it; it has several good teachings and questions for us all to ponder.

1. The Listserve is a massive e-mail list — a ‘listserv.’
2. Each day, one person is randomly selected to write one e-mail to the growing list. That’s the only e-mail allowed to be sent to The Listserve.
(And the winner’s e-mail address won’t be disclosed to the listserv — unless they want it to be.)
I’ve only been subscribed to The Listserve for one week and I love it. I implore you to sign up today; you really have nothing to lose and all the insights and wisdom and fun to gain.
[UPDATE: I no longer love this since word limits were expanded; the emails are sounding more trite in many, many more wasted words. But, there are occasional great ones.]