Thursday, January 26, 2012

Does Your Association Move Like Jagger?

It has become apparent to certain persons who did not previously recognize it - critics and the like - that Mick Jagger has perhaps the single greatest talent for putting a song across of anyone in the history of the performing arts. In his movements he has somehow combined the most dramatic qualities of James Brown, Rudolf Nureyev, and Marcel Marceau. He makes all previous movers - Elvis, Sammy Davis, Janis Joplin, and even (saints protect me from sacrilege) the great James B. himself - appear to be waist deep in the grimpenmire. This tradition (of movin' and groovin') had its most modest beginning with Cab Calloway at the Cotton Club in Harlem where he would occasionally strut or slink about in front of the bandstand by way of "illustrating" a number. After each, he would take his bow, mopping his forehead, beaming up his gratitude for the applause as he reverted to his "normal" self for the next downbeat (and invariably a change of pace). The phenomenal thing Jagger has accomplished is to have projected an image so overwhelmingly intense and so incredibly comprehensive that it embraces the totality of his work - so that there is virtually no distinction between the person and the song. This is all the more remarkable when it is realized that there is also virtually no connection between the public, midnight rambler image of Jagger and the man himself...

  - Terry Southerner, writer, 1972
What can association executives take away from this?
  • Mick's job was to put a song across to people and he achieved it remarkably well in unconventional ways. Know the mission - yours and your association's mission - and do the best you can to achieve it looking to whatever innovative, improvisational, unique ways you can to own it. 
  • Jagger the performer and Jagger the man were different. Be able to take time away from your job to "fill the well" and find inspiration to make your life fuller. Doing that will fuel you so you can bring more to your work and not burn out.
  • Jagger brought tight pants, big lips, and conviction to his performances with the Rolling Stones. Take a look at that list and see which one your association needs more of when communicating to members (hint: it's not the tight pants or big lips). Know what your members need from your association and be it, know it, own it. Work with your colleagues and board members to be audacious enough to be what your members need you to be.
Then you might get some Satisfaction.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Finally! A Year With Some Balls

{EAV:d5be4453707ce396} There are some things about 2012 I already love.

  • "2012" takes fewer syllables to say than "2011"
  • I've been accidentally writing "2012" for most of 2011, so I'm ready for this
  • Whether it's a crock or not, the whole "end of the world" transition predictions from all kinds of prophets and calendars makes 2012 take on an air of "now or never" and I can't wait to see what that looks like for people
I have always looked forward to creating resolutions for a new year, but this year I have been hesitant. Even coming up with five words or terms for 2012 à la Shelly Alcorn's goal-setting exercise has been difficult. Partially because I'm afraid of tainting future goals with memories of past resolutions ignored and partially because I am no longer certain of what EXACTLY I want.

However, if 2012 has the balls to be the year when everything ends, what am I afraid of? Certainly not using the word "balls" in a blog post.

So here it list of three terms for 2012. Many thanks to Shelly, Lowell, and Jay who already wrote some great blog posts on their own words for 2012.

KiKi's Three Terms for 2012

1. Do the work.

I always scoffed when people said they were afraid of success. After all, who would be afraid of success? That's not only counter-productive, it's stupid. 

However, I recognized some traits in myself this past year suggesting I might be guilty of this fear. I realized I wasn't putting as much focus into my efforts - any and all of them - as I knew I should be. I rationalized. I made excuses. I played the time-management card. But the truth is this:

I was afraid if I put the effort in, I would still be disappointed or come up short.

This sounds weak, I know. Condemning words all flood my mind: egotistical, melodramatic, pathetic, sad, self-important...there are more.

But getting hung up in what it sounds like or how it might appear to others is just another place to get caught and not accomplish what needs to be done to make any initiative or project the best it can be.

Do the work. Do the work. Do.  The.  Work. 

Take the time to make each presentation the best it can be. Do the work.

Take the time to make each blog post the best it can be. Do the work.

Take the time to make each interaction, each meeting the best it can be. Do the work.

Take the time to make each report the best it can be. Do the work. 

Enough with the "multi-tasking" excuses. Enough with the "time-management" excuses. 

Screw Nike for saying it first...

Just do it. 

2. Say "Yes" less.

When I asked on Facebook and Twitter for advice on how to be better in 2012 (essentially an attempt to crowdsource my resolutions), one piece of advice rose to the top: to say yes less.

I credit Jeff Hurt, Sandra Giarde and Jeffrey Cufaude for taking the time to post to my Facebook wall with this suggestion and why it is so important for me.  In Jeffrey's words, "Remember you can't mean yes if you never say no."

This one is difficult for me as I tend to want to say "yes" all the time, but not always be able to really effectively do everything I say I will do. My career, family, friendships and health have suffered (probably more than I know) as a result of taking on too much. 

Just like marinating steak can make a huge difference on the outcome and quality of the meat once prepared, so can taking time to think about how a speaking gig, meeting, or other project will impact my life so that when I say "yes" I can really mean "yes" and do what I do with gusto.

3. Find the white space.

When I imagine a tranquil place for rest, I automatically envision an almost adobe-like...maybe grecian...domain with a very minimalist interior with white everything inside and windows with white filmy curtains in the middle of  green, rolling fields...lots of space. I have imagined this place since I was in grade school and always imagined it as a healing kind of place. A place for reinvention and renewal. 

I need to find the white space in my life to survive and thrive. 

2011 brought with it many challenges, including health issues, that made me hyper-aware of a need to create breathing room in my life and establish some kind of pause practice, like meditation, in order to take better care of myself and my spirit lest I give way to the "ghost in the machine." 

My hope for all of my family, friends, and readers is that we may all accomplish great things in 2012 in a "balls out" embrace of who we are and what we wildly need to do to be our best. To avoid conflagration and instead collaboratively rise from the ashes so when we celebrate 2013, we know we fully lived 2012 without regret.

Happy New Year!