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Taking the Side Road

Have you ever decided on a change of scenery for a short period of time? It might’ve been a couple of days or maybe even a few hours. I did this recently because I needed more perspectives and I made it a productive trip, too.

It’s easy to want to run away. That was not my goal. I know I’ve been missing some of the connection I have really wanted (craved, even). When I began to think about the last time this existed in my life, I thought about a particular organization. The connection existed, and to some extent still does, within the last few years during my involvement. In fact, the organization is known to connect entrepreneurs all around the world. It doesn’t exist anymore in my community, so I have to travel to attend an event.

Travel Required

I can’t say I miss running the events. On the other hand, I LOVE attending them. After thinking about it, I created my trip around one of the Chicago events. It gave me a chance to see a friend and pass along my leftover swag so it would still be used. Plus, I had a chance to tour the venue as part of the event, a definite highlight! I even managed to keep down overall expenses, meet new people, and listen to an awesome interview all in about 3 hours of time. I only thought about home in relation to the venue and tour.

I returned home the next day and still had one more day before seeing the usual crowd and to work. My scenery change continued into a second act set in the local area. The difference happened to be the crowd. I met with a group celebrating recent academic achievements, mostly related to undergraduate graduation and being accepted into graduate programs. Talk about another perspective – I usually only met the group on campus, so being out for dinner with them was a new type of interaction, at least for me.

More on Running Away

Let’s return to the “running away” thought. If I followed what my dad modeled as I grew up, I probably wouldn’t be writing any of this because I would have given up a long time ago. My dad seemed to pull me out or keep me from activities because of a conflict. My dad even had a conflict with what to name me. According to my mom, my Dad chose “Stacy” as a normal and known name. My mom had a different name choice that had my dad worried I would be picked on more. So, instead, I grew up as one of many others named “Stacy” (various spellings). The intention may have been protection. What does this type of protection tend to teach? Instead of learning to navigate while still a child, I am figuring it out decades later.

Things might be tough or feel unfair. When I feel like I want to give up on something I make sure to evaluate why. Ironically, while watching videos for work, I watched a bonus video that had an interview with Todd Herman. The video inspired me to search out more.

What He Said

You may have heard that it is important to surround yourself only with supportive people and to drop the rest. In this interview, Herman disagreed and stated “If you only know how to handle positive people, you’re very one dimensional.” Herman added that a thing not to do is to share new ideas just to hear a negative perspective. Both of these points make a lot of sense to me because people normally do not live in a bubble. Knowing how to handle the negative as well as the positive is beneficial. Hearing this point of view supports my decisions to stay involved in an organization that I believe in while learning how to handle the range of personalities.

Further in the same interview, Herman noted that if you do not have supportive people around you, don’t wait to find good people. He suggested experimenting with different groups and make it part of a three month theme to find a support network. Part of why I like Herman is because he supports what he states with scientific evidence. My effort is going to be more intentional now. Who would have thought that a video for work would end up leading me to additional videos with topics that overlap thoughts on one of my blog posts? A pleasant surprise!

Finally – here’s the bottom line – taking a pause for a change of scenery opened up new doors through the experience. I gained connections, strengthened current relationships, and I found it inspiring. It re-opened and expanded my world. I felt energized and a part of something and that people were happy I was there. I want more of these days and feelings locally, in the area I live in. That seems to mean that there is a need to get out and mix with people and organizations beyond where I have been focused and expand the connections. Taking a side-step for a day contributed to this conclusion. What do you think?

Thanks for reading!




The Windy City, The Bay Area, and my Apartment

fb_img_1465007913722.jpgIt was hard to leave Chicago last week. Really hard. I noticed the same thing when I was in the San Francisco area in February for Startup Grind. Both times, I was connecting with people who I knew, making new friends, and learning. The education was through the sessions, discussions outside, and discovery of the area itself. I finally feel like I might not get quite as lost in downtown Chicago, for example. I can also name all the cities in the San Francisco Bay area I visited and sort of have an idea of where they are in relationship to each other. After all of that, returning to Kalamazoo has seemed so – ordinary.

Ordinary or not, it is still home, and I am always working to make my apartment, in particular, as comfortable as possible. Lately, I decided that as part of the downsizing of stuff, I need to go bigger in taking back my space. What I mean by that is I want to see more floor than furniture. I love having wood floors and I would act20160605_103450.jpgually love a reason to use my Swiffer. People have already tried talking me out of the next part. Just remember – I’m not asking anyone else to follow. This is my story. I’m taking back my space by donating all that I cannot carry on my own – my bookcase, my futon, a chair and a file cabinet. The futon has been my bed in the last year and a half. I’m going to create bean bag type chairs and sleep on those instead. The chair is always covered with stuff or hard to get to. For files, I have been using plastic tubs designed for file folders. The books are probably the toughest, since I have been trying to determine which ones I want to keep and which ones I don’t need or can go to the library and borrow. The books I keep are going in my plastic crates, which I can carry and stack.

To tie this together, I have been exploring internally, what I already have, as much as exploring  externally when I go traveling. An afternoon of reading is just as joyful as walking around San Francisco or Chicago. I probably won’t get to add London like I was hoping to this month. It would have been a reunion since I miss my Startup Grind family. Plus, I would have a chance to start using my passport and explore another new area. That’s ok, though. I’m really excited about sharing my apartment transformation. Stay tuned!