It’s time for a major change. Effective at the end of the month, I am leaving my full-time role at the Boston Foundation to begin working for The Community Roundtable, a social business and community management network and advisory services firm started five years ago by my wife Rachel Happe and her colleague Jim Storer.
Oh God, here it comes. It’s another end-of-year-navel-gazing-I-want-to-be-better-and-here-are-my-three-words-for-the-New-Year post.
Yes it is. It’s also a way to end 2013 with my first post in 381 days.
But on some level, this post isn’t really for you. It’s for me.
Having had a week off (as off as one can have through Christmas with a 3-year-old), I have had a chance to look in the mirror and recognize a person who is not just his job. And I’m neither fully enchanted nor disappointed with what I see. I see someone who has a job he likes, who has a family he loves, who has a body that’s gotten a little heavier and has a mind he needs to stretch.
He’s a little grayer, a little older, and maybe a little wiser.
He’s comfortable, but not satisfied. He’s challenged, but not fully fulfilled.
On the one hand, that’s a pretty good place to be – and reality is, I’m never going to wake up and say, “Oh gosh, this is it. This is where I always wanted to be and I never want to leave.”
But maybe this year is the year that I (and maybe you, if you want) will try a little harder to get close to that perfect place. Maybe this is the year I try to find that balance between work I care about and working to provide for the people I care about. Maybe it’s the year I worry a little less about stuff for myself and a little more about my self. It’s time (and I have said this before, I’m sure) to tap into what really matters – and not worry about the extraneous things.
That slides me into my second word. Part of being able to focus on what’s important is to be able to express what’s important. And maybe it’s the year I learn, after 20 years of working in media and communications, providing the content for other people’s voices, that it’s time to let my own voice out again – to highlight not just what I have to say, but what others say that has value to me.
And it’s funny, until I started this post, I didn’t have my third word. Now I think I do. I want to find ways to bring light to things that matter. I want to bring forward and polish up the pieces of me and the environment around me that I value. And I want to find ways to radiate and reflect better those things that others value in me, and brighten the space around me. My third word for 2014 might be my favorite – at least as the clock tolls midnight and the new year begins. It has the most meanings, and also may be the hardest to live up to.
Three words for 2014: Simplify, amplify, shine.
So, I’m known to be an Apple fan, but not a fanboy. But I don’t think that’s why I’m noting that I for one am not ditching my Apple Maps app for iOS for Google just yet.
I’ve been running an interesting (to me) experiment with the two, along with INRIX traffic on my phone. I haven’t had to use Google Maps much yet for directions, but I have used it on my commute to tell me how the traffic is and when I might actually pull into my parking garage and get into the office.
And so far – Apple Maps is killing Google when it comes to giving me the right time when I am farthest from the office – and in fact, Google has been nothing short of atrocious.
Wednesday morning, leaving my house, I was informed slightly depressingly by Apple that I was going to be at my office 1 hour, 1 minute later. INRIX was less optimistic, at about 1 hour, 3 minutes. But Google had me panicking by letting me know that actually we were looking at a 1 hour, 24 minute ride – to the point where I considered adding about 10 miles to my ride as it suggested to take a route that would get me down to 1 hour, 10 minutes.
But I stayed the course, and lo and behold, as I got closer to Boston, the time improved on Google, all the way to, wait for it, 1 hour, 1 minute when I was about 2 miles from the office. (Of course, at that point, I didn’t need an app to tell me how much longer it would be.
So I scored a victory for Apple and moved on. But on the reverse ride, it happened again. Apple was almost on the mark and Google was about 15 minutes off in its estimate. And Thursday AM. And Thursday PM. And Friday. And Friday night, going to a different destination – same result.
The old Google Maps didn’t have this issue. But then again, maybe Google is thinking like the restaurant maitre d’ who tells you it will be 30 minutes for your table and seats you in 15. You feel like you saved time and it makes you happy. If this is a feature, I’m not sure I’m a fan.
Or maybe they’re just wrong.
As friends of mine know, I am highly enamored of the idea of giving to people (or at least giving to me) by giving to the charity of your choice in their (my) honor. I am blessed to not want for much, and when I do want/need something, I tend to be impatient enough to go and get it.
But as it is Cyber Monday, it is a busy shopping day and there are opportunities to save money. By all means – take advantage of those offers. But maybe this year you have a chance to do something different with the savings.
It’s as simple as this. As you shop this Cyber Monday, keep track of the amount you are saving in your purchasing. Then, share the savings with your favorite nonprofit or community organization.
Save $200 today? Give $100 to your favorite organization. The nonprofit sector is embracing Giving Tuesday tomorrow as an opportunity to make this a real season of giving, with many groups having lined up matching gift programs and other incentives for the day, so there are chances to make your money go even further.
For those of you looking for nonprofits with a Massachusetts focus, the Boston Foundation’s Giving Common is a wonderful portal for learning more about more than 500 Mass.-based nonprofits, and you can give to your favorites right from the platform – one-stop shopping for your philanthropic dollar.
Happy savings – but please consider sharing the wealth. It’s a way to get into the true spirit of the season.
It’s easy to blame the commute for a lot of things.
I blame it for not seeing my daughter as much as I would like.
I blame it for my inability to find time to exercise.
I blame it for not eating better, since it’s less possible for me to get home in time for family dinner, and gives us less time to cook and eat healthy foods.
While I am working to address each of these issues, rather than simply living with the excuses, the hour to 1:30 I spend in transit, twice daily – nearly 10 percent of my life – is something I have to accept, and use more effectively.
So this weekend I thought, “Maybe it would be a good time to blog?” At least a few days a week, I will use the ride home to put together my posts for the Yankee, and maybe, just maybe it will provide the structure I need to think, gather, share and start discussion.
Hoping to take this blog in a new direction as a way to get it going again. Not sure if this strategy means I’ll stick to it, but it’s worth a shot.
Have a blog? What are your strategies for getting it done?
As I get ready to move into a new position in the coming weeks, I am discovering that I am learning a lot from my toddler and day care.
She’s been going through a transition of her own – moving from the infant room to the toddler room, which is probably the biggest transition of her young life. (Except for well, being born. That was a shocker.) It’s something that we’ve all been a little sad about. Her infant teachers were about as awesome as we could possibly imagine, and we were all tearing up a bit at the thought of the move, and bracing for her reaction.
But here’s the thing – two days into her new world, she’s handling it fine. In fact, it’s changed her attitude at home – and I think it’s because she’s embracing the new experience.
My theory is this – Kate loved the infant room, but as one of two older kids in the room, there weren’t a lot of things to challenge her. She wasn’t unhappy – at all. But she wasn’t overly stimulated, either. Now, it’s a new world, and each day begins with the tears of discomfort as she gets dropped off in this still largely unfamiliar place. But she settles within minutes, and when she comes home, she’s like a different kid.
Previously, she’d come home after a day and she’d be curious but sometimes cranky. More than anything else, she wanted to eat. It was totally fine. She was fun and great – and hungry.
But this week, something different has happened. She’s happier. She’s even more engaged. And food is fine, but she wants to laugh and explore even more. She runs and smiles and listens and communicates and connects.She’s motivated when she comes home to learn even more.
That’s what a new experience can do. It challenges you in new ways. It stretches your horizons and taps into new parts of your brain. And if it clicks – that exhilaration carries over to the rest of your life. For the kid, it was time to move up. And it was for me, too. I hope I get half of the boost from the change that she has seemed to get from the move to toddler.
What about you? Is it time for you to step up to the toddler room?