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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Stay Involved: The Next 100 Days

Stay Involved: The Next 100 Days
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What to Do in the Next 100 Days
So many people showed up to march on January 21stin cities around the world! (3.3 million in the US alone!)

In our city, and in many other, it was the biggest march in history. Wow. What a powerful day. I admit I recorded the televised section of the march in DC so I could go back and watch it again and again. (Especially the Alicia Keys performance!)

It was a great reminder to all of us of how powerful our voice can be. When we are at work, or in relationship, or in our communities, we sometimes forget that our voice matters.
I was talking to one of my collaborators at a big company here in PDX yesterday. She’s internal and I’m coming in to help with a change initiative. We discussed what happens to people in massive organizations like this, how easy it is to stop hearing and sharing the voice of your creative genius. She said, “Their ideas get beat down so much that they aren’t willing to put it out there anymore.”  Embittered, they shut down and just do the work.
Fear is a great catalyst for silence. Governments and employers have all kinds of tactics to help you lose your voice.

A recent article in Fast Company looked into whether it was better to try to stand out or fit in.  Research shows that success comes with a little but of both - being a part of the culture, but not getting lost in that network. Being connected but remaining strong and innovative are the best tactics.

Women are relators. We are wired to work together, but we know this strategy doesn’t always create movement for ourselves. Sometimes we need to stand apart. We need to stand up for our ideas or leave some of our work environments.  The number of small businesses by women and particularly women of color is growing at an astounding rate. These women are not afraid to be independent, but also understand the importance of being connected. It's a fine line, but if anyone can tread it, we can.

Let's be a part of one another's cultures, whether they be female, LGTB, Muslim, African American or other. Let's hold one another up because we are #strongertogether. Let's not get swayed by rhetoric, fear, and misinformation. Let's not allow our ideas to be beaten down. Let's remain curious, critical and innovative. Let's stand apart but remain open, cooperative and kind.
Whether your work happens in the office, the great outdoors, or with your babes at home, your voice matters. So don’t let it stop with the march.

The organizers of the women's march are still organizing. They've come up with a list of 10 actions for the next 100 days. Check out the link, and get involved. Make it fun! Some friends of mine are hosting parties for each action. See what you can do to get people working together in your community.
The world needs Creative Genius You, so stay involved and I’ll be standing right beside you!

P.S If you're finding this week to be too draining, check out this awesome article on some self-care actions you can take to avoid burnout.

Tip of the Week

Get involved

If ever there was a time to get active, it's now! Get out there, make your voice heard, and stand in solidarity with your brothers and sisters who need your support.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Charging Your Connections

Charging Your Connections

I read an interesting study recently about a factor that contribute to our sense of belonging: people.

I know, I know. You're like "Duh." And yes, we've known for a long time that our social circles influence our happiness and sense of belonging massively, but this wasn't talking about friends and family. It wasn't even talking about colleagues and teammates.

It was talking about that fleeting "Hello" when you pass a distant neighbor, and that "Have a nice day" at your local store. It was talking about the vacation stories you swap with your hairdresser, or the smile you give your regular barista. Turns out, all those seemingly superficial relationships can be really important. Together, they contribute to our shared sense of community, and a strong sense of belonging. Barista Joan won't come in the middle of the night and help you out of a pickle, but her smile of recognition in the mornings is a comfortable reminder that you belong here.

So this Holiday Season, don't take those superficial relationships for granted. Give your barista an extra tip, help your grocer pack the bags, give that distant neighbor an extra big smile and a wave. Charge those connections and set your intention on building your community in 2017.

You belong here, Patti.

Tip of the Week

Find Your Match

I found my match this week. Now go find yours!

Creative Genius COFFEE

Blast Off Coffee

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

I'm With Us

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I’m With Us

Yesterday a woman that I work with mentioned she was starting a group to help bridge the divide between us. Since the government can’t seem to do it, she felt it was up to us to begin the dialogue that will help to bring us together.  “We live in the city of bridges”, she explained, “Doesn’t it make sense to start here?” There would be t-shirts that said, “I’m With Us.” I love her idea.
The world around us is so polarised. When we watch the media, everyone appears to be for or against everything.  We avoid dialogue and deliberation and instead, just try to find a forum to shout out our opinions, especially on social media, as if none of us feel heard. The frustration people feel on all sides is palpable.
It’s fascinating to me the level of distress and disruption. Many people were shocked by Trump winning, but just as many people were happy. The gaps in who voted for whom were wide in some demographics - race, educational background etc. What does this tell us? Here we can clearly see the width of the divide.
And what keeps widening that divide? Fear. Our fear of the other, our desire for a better life without a clear route to get there, our constant comparison to others who have or have not. All this set in a culture of blame and lack of empathy. Right now it feels like a hot mess out there.
But we vent and cry and take a deep breath. We pick ourselves back up, we carry on, and we try to shift our perspective. "I’m With Us.”
We can choose love over fear.

We can choose to look beyond the surface of our beliefs and examine the perceptions we hold of others to imagine what it’s like to stand in their shoes.

Why does this new President strike fear into the heart of an immigrant?  Why do mothers of black sons lie sleepless at night?  Why would someone choose this President? Ellen DeGeneres said on her show, “If we take away the labels, we’ll find out just how alike we really are.”
We are love at the root. Have compassion for yourself and those around you this week.  Then dig down for the love.

You will hear bad news this week. You will hear stories of violence and bigotry. Don't let them scare you. There are bad people out there, but the vast bulk of people (Yes, even Trump supporters) are good people. They are people who are afraid for themselves, and for their families. And yes, they may have voted for a person with disgusting views on women and minorities, but they were scared. Many voted for him despite his views, not because of them. Remember that. And remember we are love.
"Good and bad are mixed. If you don’t have both, you don’t belong with us."                                                                                                                        — Rumi

Creative Genius COFFEE


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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Love Scale

The Love Scale

Yesterday I was speaking at PSU Women’s Forum in Portland, and everyone there was really amazing  – speakers, participants, panelists. One of the morning speakers was Victoria Lara, and she told a story that stuck with me.
Victoria said that some years back she had been under a lot of stress and was working all the time. One day she passed out due to exhaustion and stress, and had a mild heart attack.  During the time she was unconscious she had a near death experience. In her experience she saw a long, long line of all the people she had ever known, helped or connected with. It went on and on. There were all kinds of people from her work world, from her personal life, from her community advocacy and service. In that line were her two children, and her brother who had passed.

The people were in that line because they were waiting to get on a scale. A love scale. One-by-one, they would step up to this scale, and it would tell her how much love they had given to her and how much love she had given to them in exchange.
The love scale. That powerful image reminded me of what we're measured for in life.

What she learned from this - and what she shared with the audience - is that it's so, so important to connect with those around you. Not that fake, “How you doing?” “Oh just fine,” kind of connection, but to really take the time to fully experience another human being, or living creature, or just the world around you.
You have the capacity to be a powerful vehicle for love. This week, step onto the love scale and see how much love you give to yourself and how much love life gives to you. I think you’ll be surprised at how much there is to go around.
#givelovegenius #givelove

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Weather Wondering

Weather Wondering  
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Weather Wondering

It’s fall and when the weather starts to change here in the PNW, I notice a few people around me commenting about the feeling of melancholy.

While SAD (seasonal affective disorder) doesn’t affect everyone (especially you Virgo/Libras whose birthdays are coming up) other people are affected, and find themselves eating more bad food and carrying around a deepening sense of gloom.
So how does this happen to us? Is there some brain reaction to the change in weather? I did a little digging...

A little brain backstory…there are two parts to the autonomic nervous system, which work together to control bodily functions. The sympathetic system stimulates body processes, while the parasympathetic system inhibits them.

According to George Wilson of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, SAD could be a "programmed reaction to shorter daylight hours in winter."

Before an animal hibernates, their parasympathetic system works to decrease body processes like temperature and metabolic rate. A colleague of Wilson - Margaret Austen - looked at SAD in humans, and found a similar response.
"Animals prepare for winter by fattening up and then sleeping though it," says Austen. 'In humans that is not practical." Instead of hibernating, we #CreativeGenius humans gain weight and move less in winter - it's part of a natural adaptive mechanism that conserves precious energy. 
This watered-down form of hibernation is part of our genetic encoding, and it’s natural to feel its affects, so why not embrace it? Sleep deprivation is becoming a bigger and bigger problem in society, so why not use this natural process to nudge you in the direction of more naps?

 Here’s a few hibernation to dos:
  1. Get ready to get some sleep!  Make some new pillows or find a deal on new sheets for your bed – if you are going to sleep more, make sure it’s comfy cozy!  Then organize a “sleep in” date with yourself to get more than the usual shuteye. Woohoo!
  2. Refresh your winter stores with quick, healthy, satisfying options. Make it easy for yourself to resist the temptation to order more Domino's!
  3. Germinate some of those good ideas. When visiting a friend who is working on a new book, he mentioned he was going to put it away for the winter and look at it in the spring.  This might seem illogical to some people, but sleeping on your ideas can give you excellent insight!
Why not embrace the fall? Go pick up leaves and press them into books, or use them to decorate a space in your house. Pick out some pumpkins and litter your porch with them. Light some candles, pull out your warmest, most snuggly blankets and prepare your space for that long winter’s nap. You earned it #creativegenius!

*SIDENOTE: Have some extra blankets, coats, towels or canned food you need to clear out? Skip the trash can and donate them to a shelter! Both human and animal shelters need just this kind of thing in the Fall. Have a Google around to find your closest drop-off point. Everyone deserves to be warm and well-fed this winter.

Friday, June 24, 2016

What Do I Do?

Tip of the Week


Be Sweet

Sometimes, all we need is a little sweetness to remind us of who we are.
#BeSweet #BeKind #BeLOVE

What do I DO?

Recently I have received a number of emails from those of you creative geniuses who have watched the Draw Your Future TEDx talk and afterwards wondered, “What if I don’t know what I want to do?”
Whether you are just starting off your career life or you're switching things up, “What should I do?” is a hard question. It's often loaded with expectations from parents, family or friends. People have lots of “shoulds” when it comes to your life and what you should do with it. Shoulds have a tendency to freeze us in our tracks.
Let’s step back and start by asking a different question, to see if we can open up our options and turn our search into an adventure. Anyone can find a job or a career, but finding something that will fill you up and allow you bring your best self into the world requires a deeper dive into what you desire.
I like to leap over my confusion and anxiety about “how” I do it, to imagine what it could feel like. In the best case scenario, what will I feel like 3 months, 6 months or a year from today.
It's your turn. Start by getting a blank piece of paper and pen or pencil.

Write DESIRED NEW REALITY at the top.
 Then ask yourself:
In this new reality, what are the qualities and characteristics I'm experiencing?
On that piece of paper, write and draw what you want to experience. Scatter everything around the page, until you have a mishmash of the things you want to feel a year from today.
Maybe you want to be more creative, or to feel more love. Perhaps you want to know what you are meant to be doing in the world, or you want more friends.  Write down all of these things in simple words like “Creative”, “loved”, “happy”, “clear”. Then add a few pictures to remind yourself what that might look like. If you don’t think you can draw, do it anyway, drawing, both good and bad, helps juice up your brain.
Now you know what it will feel like. These are the things you want to be experiencing, no matter what you are “doing” in a career or in your life.
Let’s add some booster fuel. On a separate piece of paper, create a list from 1 to 100.  Now, brainstorm and come up with 100 ideas for what you could do, and let yourself really have fun with this. When you have to come up with 100 you are bound to break out of your box. (I know belly dancer wasn’t first on your list, but put it down anyway!)
Now look at the two pages you have created. There are bound to be two or three things on your “do” list that match the things you want to experience in your desired new reality.  Let the adventure begin. Choose one or two of your “do” things and come up with 1-2 actions that you could take right away to work towards that goal. 
Right away today, go do something to help yourself move towards that goal. Keep it super simple to begin with. Maybe it's a phone call, a Facebook post or a Google Search. Start taking those baby steps towards your desired new reality.

Know that you might not experience the feelings you desire right away because getting there takes work. At each step in the journey, pull out that Desired New Reality picture and ask yourself, “Does/will this new thing fill me with more…(creativity, love, friendships…etc)
Finding your “What Should I Do?” is an evolving process.  Know that the more fun you have in the process, the more room you’ll make for #creativegeniusyou.