Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hope

This bear was just so cute.
And so blue.


Peering in longingly.

November 2010 - Denver, CO

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Balancing Act: Part 2

That long beam on the red box in the middle of a forgotten and gray, gloomy alley - its sturdy and precarious state - caught my attention. Everything is a balance and even slight immoderation, excess, lack... can destroy a moment, mood, or venture.


Here's the follow-up: In my life, I'm often in my own way. I lose the balance. Shake it. Or fail to act on the first quivering signs of trouble. In a Newsweek article on Andre Agassi (and tennis and mental athleticism), Timothy Gallwey asserted:
“There are more players that have the talent to be the best in the world than there are winners [...] winners get in their own way less. They interfere with the raw expression of talent less. And to do that, first they win the war against fear, against doubt, against insecurity—which are no minor victories.”
Every day, we somehow win or lose the balance of all these negatives against our motivations. But, aside from the mental battle with obstacles keeping us from greatness, something else is happening. Economists (of course it was economists) have shown that winner's euphoria comes from the power and success experienced in our own heads - especially when we can compare our achievement to someone's failure -  
"What's better than winning? Doing it while someone else loses." 
Which really, in essence, is linked to the right mix of testosterone and the hormone that regulates it: cortisol. The appropriate amounts have been found to increase winning and dominant behaviors. So, scientists working with business schools have tried to teach students how to activate these hormones through diet and other strategies.

If you're like me and that theory's not really your style, there's also the "do one thing really well" and just that one thing approach (which makes me feel less like we're just a sack of chemicals and life is meaningless because that seems to be what the scientists want you to believe). Study Hacks blog has been touting this mantra for quite some time and I also recently read the same thought on Zen Habits. The idea is that besides trying to manipulate the hormones in your body to help you "win" at things, you'll find success (and happiness) by focusing your energy and talent on being expert at one particular area. Namaste.
This flies in the face of the Renaissance Man and "well-roundedness," like we used to say (I guess this pursuit is so 2000s now).

But I can't let that go. I like having a million things that keep me busy and happy. I hate to think that I'm just one-dimensional and so is everyone else.

I get lost in inspirations.
And I can't realistically toss my other aspirations aside and become a Nat Geo explorer/adventurer/photographer tomorrow (real title - seriously). Can I?

So I just keep trying to balance. And a lot of days, I'll still lose.

October 2007 - Baltimore, MD

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Night and Day

Sunset in blue
June 2010 - Baltimore, MD

Sunrise in lavender
August 2005 - Okayama, Japan

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Man on the Wall

September 2004 - Great Wall of China (near Beijing)

Side note: Photo was taken with this camera:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hearts at dusk

July 2011 - Baltimore, MD
The sunset's glow on the building in the background is the color of love, to me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Layers of Dawn

June 2011 - from seat 11F
I found myself swept up in a dreamy, whimsy as I counted the colors of the dawn's bursting over the horizon-
the mapped, dotted, housed sleepers below-
the once-struck, stuck thump engine drone keeping occupants alone- sound's soft walls-
and for each beam-full color, an equally dense sensation or thought-
aside the advancing yellow radiance.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Colors of Summer


July 2011 - Havre de Grace, MD

Don't you just want to go make popsicles?

Eat a beach ball?
Handstand in the sea?
Paste fuchsia flower petals to your eyelids?
Shimmy in a tree?


Have a great weekend!

Small town, Bright colors

Visited a new spot with some familiar sights...


and gorgeous, vibrant, summer colors.



     July 2011 - Havre de Grace, MD

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

the New Yorker on Women: Sheryl Sandberg

I happened upon the New Yorker's current piece about Sheryl Sandberg yesterday - don't worry, I didn't know who she was either. While the article opens and closes on her work at Facebook, I was so compelled to share it due to the mid-section detailing her career and - much more broadly - the inner-intricacies of women in the workforce in ways I had yet to see printed, spoken, explained.

It begins with women in start-ups, the story of how few women are in Silicon Valley and how few engineer role models are around for young women to look up to. But, it also goes here:
"Sandberg says she eventually realized that women, unlike men, encountered tradeoffs between success and likability. The women had internalized self-doubt as a form of self-defense: people don’t like women who boast about their achievements. The solution, she began to think, lay with the women. She blamed them more for their insecurities than she blamed men for their insensitivity or their sexism."

While her story is clearly one of a woman of caliber with obvious successes, the louder point is the exploration of women's true barriers. And insecurities. Women think in terms of how others will see them and there's definite negativity surrounding the aggressive woman who is seen as "violating the feminine stereotype of being ‘nurturing’ and ‘supportive’" and are "less warm and less nice." Sandberg says:
"The men [at Google] were getting ahead. The men were banging down the door for new assignments, promotions, the next thing to do, the next thing that stretches them. And the women - not all, most - you talked them into it."

Some people read that to mean that women have to be men to have any kind of success in the workplace.
No.

Sandberg lists three things - and the first is "sit at the table," which she follows with a reference to how few women entering the workforce negotiate their salaries (there are SO many tutorials, books, mentors willing to help you learn how to do it effectively - don't be shy). Second she emphasizes equal partnership marriages. Third is her now oft-repeated quote: "Don't leave before you leave." She means for women not to pull themselves out of the running in their careers when they start thinking about having children, but I find that too narrow. It is absolutely applicable constantly to both men and women who sell themselves short.

Sure, none of this is revolutionary. But she is out there championing this point. She spoke at TEDWomen and at Barnard and at Harvard Business School.

And what is hugely essential to anyone's professional development is sponsorship, which is much harder for women to come by. The idea of sponsorship is the more senior employee or executive who ushers along the budding career of the junior star. And it's Sylvia Ann Hewlett's point that is made in the article: "Two-thirds of senior male executives are fearful of sponsoring a junior female executive, and half of these women are fearful of accepting such sponsorship." Her research in the Harvard Business Review last year explains:
"Sponsorship, which often involves an older, married male spending one-on-one time, often off site and after hours, with a younger, unmarried female, can look like an affair; and the greater the power disparity between the male and the female, the more intense the speculation becomes that the relationship is more than professional. If the woman is subsequently promoted, her achievement will be undermined by office gossip that she earned it illicitly."

Women cannot wait for men to be impressed with our abilities, to be intimidated by our negotiating (link to Kara Swisher who was quoted in the article), or to be persuaded by our femininity. Women need to get over themselves and help other women. Right now, very few of us are sponsoring each other. And while this isn't necessarily Sandberg's stance (she's been called a "smoothie" as opposed to a "terrifier"), what we do need is to get over the expectation that the female employee or manager or executive is going to make the tough calls, develop the winning strategy, but also has to bake you cookies and pat you on the back when you're crying at your desk.



If you haven't seen it yet, read the article here.

August 2009 - Ocean City, MD

Countryside

Weekend boating excursion anyone?

June 2006 - outside Amsterdam, Netherlands

Monday, July 4, 2011

Out on the boardwalk

Happy fourth of July!

July 2011 - Havre de Grace, MD




Celebrating the
Red, White, and Blue






Friday, July 1, 2011

Night Fire Fight

November 2010 - Emeryville, CA

Sunsets often hold the most beautiful surprises.



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