I got a sweet note from a friend today who read the last couple day's blog posts and said they were helpful (I also got a note from another friend saying he thought I'd missed a couple key points, and I'm interested to hear his perspective...will share when I do!). Her message got me thinking a bit about inspiration today. The idea that I could do, or say, something small that could positively impact someone else's life, who then goes on to improve someone else's, who then goes on to improve someone else's, and so on. Powerful and exciting.
Back in the Fall I was chatting with a friend over a period of weeks about life, taking risks, positivity (blogger is telling me this isn't even a word...but I digress), and all sorts of interesting things. In the midst of all of this, my friend took a huge step in deciding to go after a master's degree in a subject he's really in to. In the matter of a six week period he went from deciding, signing up, and going across the country for his first class in a two-year program. Awesome! Now, he would say I had a hand in all of this, but I suspect he's just not giving himself enough credit, and I think he would have got there regardless of my involvement. But here's the funny thing...ultimately he's totally motivated me to think about taking my interests outside of my career to the next level through more formal means.
As much as I find a masters or MBA interesting, I'm not willing to put in that much effort for something I'm not sure will help me career wise. But, I've always loved to take classes. I've probably sold more community education classes than a catalog ever did! You know, it's those catalogs in the mail that you always throw right into the trash? Yeah, those ones.
So, my first thought? How can I get work to pay me to learn more about something I'm interested in that would benefit me beyond my formal career?
Around the same time I was on an eight-hour drive with a close friend and colleague. It was a personal trip, but the conversation dipped into work and we started discussing an upcoming event we were involved in around personality types and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I actually blogged about MBTI last year in Decisions, Decisions (the same post I referenced last night. Apparently it was a good one!). One of the four dichotomies is Thinking or Feeling, so I'd focused on that in my previous post, and you can read more about MBTI basics there. Anyway, needless to say, the topic of personality type and the way that we look at the world in such different ways has always intrigued me. I've been involved in a number of programs and sessions on the topic over the years, and I knew that you could get certified to administer the MBTI assessment and interpret results, but I'd never given it much thought. So here we are in the car, about hour four, and it hits me..I should get certified. I can learn more about it, use it at work, and maybe it will spark some other inspiration somewhere. And, not only that, but my close friend and colleague should do it to! He was totally in.
When we got back to the office a few days later I sold the price-tag to one of our bosses, got it approved, and signed up. After a four-day session in Colorado in May I'll be certified. Sweet! Do you ever notice how, once you decide to do something like this, things move swiftly?! Love it. Just by being close to someone who took a leap, here I was making something happen - and dragging someone else along with me. Brilliant!
But, it gets even better. Back in January, I had told my cousin and her mom (my aunt) about the masters program that my friend had entered in to, since it seemed really relevant to my cousin. Some background; she was adopted from Russia and has some learning disabilities. She's in her twenties now, and has always struggled with school and staying motivated. A few weeks after my MBTI revelation, I was back in California. And my grandmother told me the coolest story. I came to find out that my cousin drove to check out the school and their certificate and undergrad programs. She has her associates degree and, while it may not ultimately be a good fit for her, the fact that she went to check it out when she's always had a challenge finding inspiration to get out and try new things was so incredibly cool to me (and my whole family).
Even if nothing comes of it, the fact that one person making a personal leap for a masters program inspired a whole chain affecting me, a close friend and colleague, and my family. This is serious shit! I owe some real gratitude to my friend who's kicked all this off (don't worry, I emailed him a few weeks ago to tell him all about it :)
I read an article about inspiration this week. It gives some simple tips for breaking your routine to expand your horizons and get inspired. Number one? Take a different route to work. Now, if I was reading this for the first time, I admit that I might try to call bullshit. But, you know how sometimes you read about a subject or topic and then it just keeps popping up? Last week I had just got sucked into Hulu's Day in the Life episode on Mario Batali. Want to know what I remember most about the episode? That a man who is running around NYC all week, and who's empire demands creativity, remarked that the worst thing for creativity is to “settle into the same day every day.” So, do you know what he does? Even if he’s walking into one place a few days in row, he makes a point of taking a different route each day to engage his mind. Son of a bitch! Maybe there's nothing to this, but it certainly sounds worth trying, eh?
What are you doing to get inspired? To break the routine? Cause' here's the really exciting thing. If you get inspired...people around you just might do the same. And that's positively wicked...