Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

  • The Power of “Power Posing”

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    Nicole Wallace writing for the Chronicle of Philanthropy described a rather unique presentation at the Pop Tech conference last fall.

    Wallace writes: “With strains of the ‘Wonder Woman’ theme song opening her talk, Amy J.C. Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, discussed her research on body language and how it can change the way people feel about their status—something that could come in handy for the people nonprofits train to get jobs, and many other purposes. She and a colleague found that holding ‘power poses’ —open, expansive body postures that convey confidence and power (imagine a corporate titan with his feet propped on a desk or an Olympic runner raising her arms in victory)—for as little as two minutes changes people’s levels of testosterone and cortisol (hormones associated with leadership), increases their appetite for risk and helps them cope with stressful situations.”

    Watch the video of Professor Cuddy’s conference presentation: The Power of “Power Posing”

    Do you need a power pose to ask the right questions and nail your next job interview? Or, imagine how a power pose might impact your presentation to a bank, micro-finance institution or venture capitalist to secure funding for launching your own business.

    The applications are unlimited. I remember, for example. when my son’s traditionally reticent, somewhat elderly, first grade teacher dressed as Wonder Woman and assumed that icon’s power pose on an float in our small town’s Independence Day parade. Parents lining the parade route were stunned and children were awestruck.  And I can say with confidence that woman never had a discipline problem in her classroom again.

    “Power Posing” could that be just another way of saying –  take charge of your life???

  • In Memory of a Friend and Master Photographer, Eve Arnold

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    Eve Arnold on the set of "Becket," 1963, photographed by Robert Penn

    The renown photojournalist died peacefully at age 99 last Wednesday.

    When I first met Eve Arnold, she was an elegant, feisty yet unassuming woman of 80, still capturing astounding moments in her photographs. Though her London apartment building had an elevator, she preferred to vault up to her 3rd floor flat under her own steam – which is the way in which she had lived her life for decades.

    Eve never labeled herself a feminist, but she believed that women saw the world through a different lens. She was the first woman to become a full member of the Magnum Photos cooperative. She was a major star in what is considered the golden age of news photography, when magazines like Life and Look disseminated news through big, arresting pictures captured on-the-scene (in war and peace) by adventurous photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gordon Parks, Robert Capa and Margaret Bourke-White.

    She learned the trade at the New School in New York City where she studied under Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for Harper’s Bazaar magazine. One day, when he assigned his students to photograph a fashion story, Eve remembered hearing from her babysitter that fashion shows were held in Harlem — in churches, bars and other untraditional places.  The fashion photos she took in Harlem became her first portfolio and she continued to follow unconventional paths throughout her lifetime.

    During the 1970s, after waiting 10 years, she visited China twice, becoming one of the first westerners to be granted a rare visa after America and China established diplomatic relations. Traveling 40,000 miles, she photographed Communist officials, Mongolian horsemen and children at work. The trip was chronicled in a book, one of dozens she wrote and photographed.  Though she became even more famous for her intimate photographs of such celebrities as Marilyn Monroe and world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth, In China, which won the National Book Award is my favorite book of Eve’s. This is not only because of her stunning photographs, but also because I had just returned from a photo journey of Tibet when Eve and I first met in London.

    Eve was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers in 1980. In 1995 she was made a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and was elected “Master Photographer” – the world’s most prestigious photographic honor – awarded by New York’s International Center of Photography.

    When asked what kept her working with such insight and skill over the decades, Eve answered, “Curiosity.”

    It’s there – in her eyes – and now in in the images she captured: her legacy.

  • Resources, Resources, Resources… in the “Spirit of Giving”

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    Recently, I came across – actually, I think they started following us, @savvysrswork, on Twitter – Mojo40, a blog designed to help folks 40+ get their career mojo back. That’s all well and good the the 40 year-olds, but every tip and morsel of advice at Mojo40 applies equally to those 60+. Yes, we’ve all heard the new mantra that 60 is the new 40, but it’s time to take back those years. Sixty is the “New” Sixty!

    Mojo40’s modus operandi is, “getting you unstuck in your career, wherever you are in the process, and giving you practical advice that doesn’t assume you grew up with wi-fi in your bassinet. We know that a big chunk of what’s preventing you from moving forward is the four horsemen of fear, ‘compare and despair’, lack of support and information overload. We’re here to blast through all that with:

    • Practical and easy-to-understand advice on how to create your digital profile
    • Straight talk about your lagging technical skills and tips for getting current
    • Recommendations for getting noticed and standing out from the crowd in this age of crunched attention span and the 24/7 on-switch
    • Pointers to sectors that are growing, trends that will impact business success in the future, and ways you could fit in the mix, and
    • Words of encouragement to build your courage to continue.”

    Two posts not to be missed are

    Learn From The Bees How To Do Social Enterprise and Tech Tips: 10 Free Tools for Platinum Marketing and PR

    Regarding “How the Bees Do It,” Mojo40 describes their labyrinthine process that takes social collaboration to new heights. Mojo says, “There is a sea change happening [in the culture of business today]. It’s not just social media and social networks. It is social collaboration… and bees [unlike many of their human cohorts] are social in every aspect of their life cycle, from cooperative brood-care to the overlapping of generations and the reproductive division of labor. They’ve got social brain in their DNA.” We can learn a lot from these pragmatic, industrious creatures and the highly successful life within their hives.

    Mojo’s “10 Free Tools for Platinum Marketing and PR” are smart marketing resources to help you convey your brand, get people’s attention, keep track of your networking and discover who and what is being said about you on the web.

    If the bees can do it…

     

     

     

     

  • Seven Self-Marketing Tips

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    Courtesy babacita.com

    Fast Company Magazine published a terrific article in this week’s Co.Design section called “7 Steps for Creating New Retailing Experiences.”  True, its ideas and innovative examples are aimed at retailers, but what I found extraordinary is how these  “7 Steps”  are just as valuable for individuals keen on boosting their own self-marketing.

    The article begins, “To truly design a great experience that’s right for your company, we need to look beyond the field of design to sociology, economics, organizational behavior, and even theater. These seven principles will help you be strategic about the experiences you design and choose the right script for your company.”

    Take a look at their tips and see if you don’t think they might apply to your image experience as well as Starbucks:

    1. Experience design is not about luxury. Southwest Airlines, for example, applies a combination of heart, humor, and efficiency as a distinctly Southwest script for air travel that’s different from the norm.

    The “Premium” is what separates you from the rest of the pack – no matter if you’re a chincilla or a chipmunk. See our posting,  Creativity and the Power of Imagination – for CEOs as Well as Wizards!

    2. Start with empathy. Understanding and challenging social scripts requires stepping into your customers’ shoes.

    Remember Leonardo’s “Working Resume?”

    3. Do your own thing.…. People will value originality as long as you continue to serve their needs.

    Take a look back at our Your Originality: How to Capture and Market It 

    4. Utilize all elements of theater. Create an immersive world with consistent rules. To reinforce the script, think of the whole experience as a “play,” including the cast, costumes, set, and props.

    Details, details, details – or as we posted earlier: Rabbits, Privet Hedges and a Planters Peanut Bar: How John Updike Brought What Is Peculiar to the Moment to Glory

    5. Use different incentives to create different behaviors. Align your people, including their incentives and motivations, with the desired experience.

    Remember our contribution from Australia,  Color Your Way to Success: Learn What Colors Reveal About You and The Organization Where You Think You’d Like to Work

    6. The devil is in the trade-offs. The experience you offer should have a clear point of view.

    Focus, focus, focus –
    Thanks Be To Shakespeare: Those Telling Details in the Story Behind Your Resumé Really Do Matter

    7.  Evolve to stay relevant. Never stop prototyping and testing changes to make the experience better and to change in step with people’s needs.

    Reinventing yourself You Have to Step Out of the Batting Cage to Hit A Home Run!

  • “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

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    Photo courtesy of www.indivisualism.com

    Seniors should take heart in this courageous quote from the English novelist, George Eliot (1819-1880). She was often called the last Victorian, and we know that was not exactly an era open to creative thought – nevertheless articulation.

    We hear the term “reinventing themselves” often as seniors – with many extended years to live – are taking on new jobs and even starting to launch their own businesses.

    This week’s “Fact of the Week” from the Sloane Center on Aging & Work at Boston College is:

    “According to a 2011 report on retirement trends, ‘continued employment in something other than the career job…rises to a maximum of 32 percent of the men and 37 percent of the women when the HRS respondents are aged 59 to 69, but still remains significant (more than 20 percent of the sample) even among those aged 67 to 77.’ ’’

    The key phrase here is “something other than the career job.” These seniors are truly breaking new ground.

    For those who might be contemplating a bold entrepreneurial venture, the US Small Business Administration’s website offers a nifty self-assessment tool to determine just how ready you might be to start our own business.

    The SBA notes, “Your responses will be scored automatically when you click the Submit button. This score will be used to develop your assessment profile. Based on your score, you will also receive a statement of Suggested Next Steps, directing you to the most appropriate SBA resources to help improve your business preparedness. These suggested next steps may include free SBA online courses, direct access to online counseling or targeted links to appropriate resources.”

    Take their note with the appropriate grain of salt. It is, of course, a bit of shameless marketing for the SBA. There are multitudes of other reputable online resources to help you plan and start your own business. Granted few are directed at the 50+ year old entrepreneur, but we are working on finding more of those targeted resources and will bring them to you as we locate and evaluate them.

    To extend George Eliot’s wisdom, we would add, “It’s never too late to be who you might like to be!”

     

     

  • Character Actors and The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

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    Gabby Hayes, Courtesy, www.things-and-other-stuff.com

    Reading Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott’s tribute to character actors, The Name Might Escape, Not the Work, in the September 14, 2011, NY Times, I was struck by the parallels between these actors and those of us who wish to create a new and distinct role for ourselves in our seniorhood.

    Dargis and Scott write, “A star imports outsized individuality into every role, playing variations on a person we believe we know. A character actor, by contrast, transforms a well-known type into an individual.”

    “Screenwriters don’t always give much thought to the feelings and aspirations of the zany co-worker, the flaky best friend, the low-level expendable criminal, the assistant D.A. or the doting or disapproving mother. But if [played by a gifted character actor] our familiarity may grow into interest, our interest may blossom into sympathy and, without our necessarily knowing why, our emotional stake in the story may shift and deepen. An otherwise disposable character takes on the complexity of a real person.”

    “The complexity of a real person…”  Is that not the true crux of the matter? Are we not challenged to “transform a well-known type” (the senior stereotype) “into an individual?” And that gets to the second part of this post “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” 

    Daniel Pink, author of  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future has a new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

    Publishers Weekly claims Pink writes with “visionary flare” and perhaps this is true for today’s techno, business savvy readers, but not so surprising for those of us who remember 40 years ago, when another visionary trolling about the streams of  humanistic psychology, Abraham Maslow, proposed a hierarchy of needs that represented various needs that motivate human behavior. The hierarchy is often displayed as a pyramid, the lowest tiers representing basic needs and more complex needs located near the top of the pyramid. The top of the pyramid being, “self-actualization.”  Here, Pink and Maslow converge as they describe what motivates us once our basic survival needs are met is the ability to grow and develop, to realize our fullest potential or as Dargis and Scott said, take on the “complexity of a real person.”

    Or, too, as the Bard said, “All the world’s a stage and everyman must play his [or her] part.”

     

     

  • Extreme Tidying Up

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    We’ve shared all manner of ways (Zen and not so Zen) to tidy up and simplify your lives on this blog, but this one, courtesy of National Public Radio, is surely the crème de la crème!

     As Robert Krulwich says, in his recent NPR Science Blog,

     “There are levels of tidiness.

     1. Tidy.

    2. Very Tidy.

    3. And Totally Deranged Tidy.

    Ursus Wehrli is in Category Three.”

    Ursus Wehrli, whose uber creations are depicted here,  is a Swiss artist and comedian . Clearly, he’s a tidy virtuoso! 

    Check out this fascinating brain candy.

  • We, Too, Are the Fruits of Our Labor.

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    Courtesy: mycommentcodes.com

     

    When I think of work, I think of creativity – both in terms of jobs we perform for others and in entrepreneurial work we create on our own.

    Courtesy: danliterature.wordpress.com

    And, when I think of creativity, Albert Einstein comes immediately to mind. This week “The Heart of Innovation” posted “35 Awesome Quotes from Einstein.”  Four that I find most meaningful are:

    1. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” (They did not include the rest and perhaps most poignant part of this quote – which is: “For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

    2. “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

    3.  “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

    4.  “If you cannot explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

     

    Happy Labor Day!  May the fruits of your labor be nourished with curiosity.

  • When What You See Counts More Than How You Look!

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    Paperweight Glass Eyes, Courtesy allproducts.com

    As I sit in the eye of Hurricane Irene, I have a few moments to reflect on a world turned upside down in the past seven days.  Earthquakes, a powerful hurricane and a barrage of doctors’ appointments – all in a week’s “holiday” for this senior living in northern Virginia and on the coast of Maine.

    Amidst the wobbly joints, and patches of old, sun-baked, skin spots needing to be zapped to ward off skin cancer, I was stunned to learn that my eyesight has actually improved.  I had to ask the doctor to repeat that twice. Then, when the news finally sank in, I thought, “What an extraordinary metaphor: as we grow older our life experience actually does enable us to see better.” We see new options, we see what works and what doesn’t because we have lived both. That kind of experience cannot be forced. It evolves over time and is our most valuable asset. Our challenge, if we should wish to continue working or to begin a whole new entrepreneurial career, is to convince others who may stumble over how we look at 50, 60, 70 and more years, is irrelevant because of our unique perspective wrought from all those years of living and working. The convincing cannot be done through telling. Rather it is best “told” through the sharing of that experience so others, too, without as many years under their belts can see more clearly.

  • Sidewalk Wisdom!

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    If  you’re genuinely interested in taking a new path in life, one of your first steps should be to read Portia Nelson’s little gem of a book, There’s A Hole in My Sidewalk.

    Born in Brigham City, Utah, in 1920, Portia Nelson became a Renaissance Woman. Her name was originally Betty Mae Nelson. She grew up in humble circumstances and was the youngest of nine children, four of whom died before she was born. Her grade school friends nicknamed her Portia after a popular radio soap opera ”Portia Faces Life.” Little did they realize how prescient their naming would be.

    When she died in New York City in 2001, her obituary praised her as a “beloved singer, songwriter, actress, and author. She was best known for her appearances in the most prestigious 1950s cabarets, where she sang an elegant repertoire in a soprano noted for its silvery tone, perfect diction, intimacy, and meticulous attention to words.

    She was one of the most popular cabaret singers of the 1950s, the era when such New York supper clubs as Bon Soir and the Blue Angel featured glamorously gowned singers of sophisticated songs. Besides singing the finest torch songs of Kern, Porter, Gershwin and the other greats of popular music, she would rescue neglected songs from oblivion, introducing audiences to such forgotten gems as Jerome Kern and Anne Caldwell’s ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ and Rodgers and Hart’s ‘Nobody’s Heart’.”

    The actress Jane Russell, a lifelong friend who was the first to encourage Portia to sing, commented, “Her lyrics were sung with such understanding that you felt you’d heard a poem sung.”

    Nelson was also a prodigious songwriter. One of her most famous compositions, ”Make a Rainbow,” was sung by Marilyn Horne at President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inaugural ceremony. Her acting career included playing the indomitable nun, Sister Berthe, in the film version of The Sound of Music. ”

    Her best-known writing is this “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” from her book, “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk,” originally published in 1977 and reissued in 1993:

    Chapter 1
    I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I fall in.
    I am lost… I am hopeless.
    It isn’t my fault.
    It takes forever to find my way out.

    Chapter 2
    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I pretend I don’t see it.
    I fall in again.
    I can’t believe I am in the same place.
    But it isn’t my fault.
    It still takes a long time to get out.

    Chapter 3
    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I see it there.
    I still fall in… it’s a habit… but,
    My eyes are open.
    I know where I am.
    It is my fault.
    I get out immediately.

    Chapter 4
    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I walk around it.

    Chapter 5
    I walk down another street.

    As valuable as this advise is about not doing the same things over and over again, I still think one of my favorite Portia pieces is this poem from the very beginning of “Sidewalk:”

    I don’t know what I want sometimes.
    But I know
    that I want to know
    what I want.

    I know that once I know what I want
    I will be able to get it.

    Of course, I may not want what I get
    when I get it…
    But, at least
    I’ll know that I don’t want that!

    Then, I can move on to something else
    I don’t know if I want.

    That’s progress!


    I wonder if she ever read Shel Silverstein’s, Where the Sidewalk Ends?

    I think she would have like it!

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