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Posts Tagged ‘Opportunity’

Are You Ready to Do More Than the Status Quo?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Seth Godin speaks about Redefining Failure. Godin says, “We think failure is the opposite of success and we optimize our organizations to avoid it.” In other words, we treat everything we do as if it ought to be a non-failure. He thinks we have narrowly defined failure. Godin continues, “Failure creates urgency. Failure gets you fired. Failure cannot stand; it demands a response. But the status quo is simply embraced and, incredibly, protected.”

There are so many places in our life when keeping the status quo seems easier than going with something new that may fail and we might learn from that. What if we redefined our definition of failure so we could experience something new, make changes, and create new opportunities?

Stepping up with a new idea and failing and then making changes is far more successful than doing the same thing with little or no result. I think of my friend Joe who will move to the West Coast in January after twenty years in New York to live his dream or my friend Clayton who invests in promoting his LGBT organization by offering gift card incentives to homeowners.

I am looking at how I could redefine failure. I could stay with the status quo and continue doing really good work in New York or I could expand into Provincetown and/or other global parts of the world and see this as an amazing chance of growth—even if there is some failure.

I am ready to do more than the status quo. Will you join me?

Mary Anne

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The NYC Subway Is My Teacher

Monday, April 19th, 2010

After more than 18 years of taking the NYC subway, I still am learning lessons of patience and opportunity. I take the subway into Manhattan daily to go to work. It’s pretty tedious and most days I drive on autopilot to park my car near the subway. I hop on an “express train”, which takes about an hour to get into lower Manhattan from the Bronx. I have become accustomed to delays due to “train traffic”, “sick passengers”, “signal malfunction”, and “police activity” (and other delays that are not announced, but am sure are for good reasons). Just recently, the MTA announced that due to necessary track work, my express train is going to run local in both directions until August 2011. This translates into an additional 15-20 minutes on the train (despite the MTA saying it would mean an additional 5 minutes). For the next year and half, my train will run on the local track.

I started this local commute a few weeks ago and realized I was standing a long time. By the time I got to my office, I noticed I was more tired and cranky. The first thought was to blame the MTA and their track work. Then I blamed the train for being too crowded. I was getting ready to go onto a new rant, when I stopped myself and asked what this slower ride could teach me. I realized that this slower commute was an opportunity. I had more time to read, to draft ideas, to scan a blog, to nap, and to meditate. With the train moving slower, I was able to notice the sunrises and sunsets that I normally just blinked through.

Then I began to list other ways I could commute into the city. I could take the express bus or try a different train route. The NYC Subway became my teacher. It taught me that I could slow down and that I have options. How many times have I thought I must do something one way and that’s the only way it could be done? And why am I in such a rush to get into the city? Is slowing down such a bad thing?

The subway ride is teaching me to slow down. I can look at other areas of my life and see I have options. And most importantly, I don’t have to always be on the express track.

Are you willing to get off the express track in life and head onto the local?

Mary Anne

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