Life Lesson

Take A Curiosity Break

Earlier this week I came across an excellent article about the link between curiosity and living a happy healthy life. It outlines the ways being consistently inquisitive can contribute to healthier brain activity, IQ and relationships, as well as, increased happiness and personal satisfaction. I am a huge proponent of creative thinking and would like to think curiosity has fueled some of my more inspired moments so, the correlation presented in this article weren’t a huge surprise. However, the article did get me thinking about the benefits of incorporating “curiosity breaks” into a personal workflow.

New Business Opportunities:

Allowing yourself a bit of time each day/week/month dedicated to pursuing new interests or random thoughts may lead to the new business opportunities you’ve been attempting to discovering through more traditional channels. Learning about a new hobby, culture or experience can reveal a new industry/audience in need of your products or services or a new solution you can adopt to expand your offerings and attract new clients.

Reinvigorated Approach To Existing Business:

Exposing yourself to alternate environments and processes can shake up the way you approach your existing projects and customers. We all tend to fall into a pattern of thinking about how we do our work and the methods we use to solve problems. Investigating new topics – as assorted as they may be- can break up cyclical thinking and unconsciously new context and mindset can sneak in, breathing fresh life into a stale routine. Even something as simple as observing someone else do their job in an entirely different professional sphere can inspire new ideas for improving your own work. A “curiosity break” could also be the fix for a mental rut, those periods – sometimes weeks long- when you can’t seem to operate as productively as you’d like. Allowing yourself the leisure of curiosity replenishes mental creativity and energy.

More Enlightened Holistic Perspective:

On a larger scale embracing curiosity can help you become more satisfied with your life & work. Building your knowledge and familiarity with an assortment of activities, cultures, hobbies, place or wherever your interests lead brings more opportunities for enjoyment into your daily reality. The more you engage your mind and it’s curiosities the more energized your overall outlook will become. Investing in an intentional curiosity practice and truly integrating creative wonder into your routine will unleash a ripple of fulfilling satisfaction through your entire perspective.

In the process of writing this post I have reminded myself how important my varied professional interests have been to creating a rich, dynamic and satiating career. I would encourage you to start making time for “curiosity breaks” in your routine.

For some simple ideas on how to start feeding your curiosity refer to "The Power Of Curiosity"

A Follower Revolution

In life and, in particularly, in business heavy emphasis is placed on becoming a leader. From a very early age we are told to lead by example; we are groomed to think like a leader; act with the confidence of a leader; constantly seek the leadership position etc. Every once in a while the importance of teamwork is highlighted however, even in those situations the teams are often composed of a bunch of people who have been raised to believe they are truly “leaders;” the ego often becomes a hindrance; leading to ineffective or imbalanced efforts and/or output. They have lost sight of the importance of all the followers that are required to support a successful leader and ultimately to realize a shared goal.                                        

The more time I spend in the “professional world” the more I notice the negative effects of this sense of leadership entitlement. Projects are often derailed by a wide variety of ineffective followers; saboteurs, dispassionate contributors, frustrated collaborators; people who have become so fixated on only wanting to be the one in the lead they overlook the importance of being an equally productive and quality follower.

There needs to be a renewal of follower pride. Schools, organizations, businesses need to reemphasize the value of every person that contributes to the whole of a successful endeavor. Culturally we need to focus on patience, shared accomplishment, genuine support and widespread hope for betterment. There is no one person who can affect great change or create revolutionary products. These things are only achieved when people work together.

I am not saying people should no longer aspire to leadership positions nor that good leadership will no longer be essential to navigate difficult projects. I am simply asserting we need to reestablish the characteristics of an excellent “follower.”


  • Quality listening needs to be emphasized just as much as quality speaking. Collaborative efficiency weighted as much a astounding results. 
  • A great leader will not only have once been a follower but will welcome the opportunity to once again contribute as a follower on future projects. 
  • Great followers will realize that, while this may not be their time to lead, the experiences and lessons taken from following will ultimately make them a better leader when their time comes. 

Schools, organizations, businesses need to reemphasize the value of every person that contributes to the whole of a successful endeavor. Culturally we need to focus on patience, shared accomplishment, genuine support and widespread hope for betterment. There is no one person who can affect great change or create revolutionary products. These things are only achieved when stellar leaders AND suburb followers work together. So go out and start the follower revolution. 

**I just stumbled upon this TED talk by Derek Sivers about First Followers. It seems the revolution has already begun.  

What Would Your Last Lecture Be?

In May I was given The Last Lecture, a book by Randy Pausch with Jeff Zaslow, and it provided me with my latest dose of reality.

On July 25th Randy Pausch died. A professor at Carnegie Mellon he took an opportunity to give a "Last Lecture" usually given by a retiring professor. Randy's lecture wasn't about being diagnosed with terminal cancer or what to do with a life with an expiration date. His lecture was all about achieving your dreams and the great realities we make as a result. Not only did he achieve almost all of his dreams...but he has inspired millions. One of those millions was me.

The book is the background history, thoughts and feelings that went into the content he chose to share in his 116 min last lecture  you can watch "Really Acheiving Your Childhood Dreams" on YouTube. I'd also suggest checking out The Last Lecture website too to find out more about Randy and his dreams.

This posting isn't about Randy's lecture. It's about yours. What will you leave behind? What legacy will you leave for others to ponder? What will you be remembered for? What are you doing right now that you'd be proud to leave for others? Will you leave anything?

Surely we don't have to do anything. Death and taxes I believe are the only two certain things, so said Ben Franklin. They're the only two things you have to do...and some people even try to cheat both of them.

I could stop here and just leave the rhetorical question hanging out there and leave you to figure it out for yourself. We both know no one can answer the question except you.

I've thought about what my last lecture would be but like many other things in my life...I'm not done yet. The power of education, the experience of seeing beyond common borders and the impact others bring in life are three things that I have used to help me make my trip thus far both enjoyable and rewarding. But there's much more to it. For now I'm going to remind myself that the ride won't last forever and I'll keep on being the student of life I am and share it with everyone I meet as well, especially those closest to me.

Take a few minutes and watch Randy's video and see the passion, curiosity, love and reward Randy had for life. Think about what your last lecture might be...and if you don't like the title or the can change it. You just have to make a choice to do so.

Keep the learning going...pass it on!



It's All In The Process... Well, Most Of The Time

Stevemartin190_2(I knew that would grab your attention. No need for a double take, that's Steve Martin. I found this photo in the New York Times book review section. The photo credit goes to Sandee O.)

What does it mean to be a Renaissance Man?

After some intense thought and brief research, I found that a Renaissance Man is thought to be a man or a woman of many accomplishents.  The success of these accomplishments is in part due to the Renaissance Man's proficient knowledge in a wide range of fields.

Where am I going with this?

I came across Steve Martins' Born Standing Up earlier this year and it really got me thinking about processes. This book is an autobiography, but reads like a biography because it's a
step-by-step take, by Steve Martin, on how he accomplished his success.

In business terms, Born Standing Up is about the process. It's healthy to ID what customers need and then give it to them, but having a process in place on how to accomplish giving the customer what they need is stellar. Do you know your process?

Beth Schneider over at Process Prodigy has nailed the topic and has created a business based on processes. It is my understanding that in order to be successful in your deliverables for the customer, you have to have a process (system) in place to be sure it happens the way it's supposed to happen, every time.

What's your process for keeping your customers?

Send me a comment, I'd like to know. And if you've read the book, what are your thoughts about it?

Keep the learning going...pass it on!