In A Shot Of Optimism

Is there a conference or gathering you go to every year or more? How much fun it is to see old friends and catch up on life and business. It’s like returning for a class reunion or going back to camp as an old hand, someone who “knows the ropes.”

I just came back from one of my favorite conferences, the Social Venture Network, where I was invited to offer one tip for getting the most from our three days together.

This is what I told them: Surprise Yourself.

By this I meant . . .

If you are the first to talk, hold back and let others speak first.
If you are always head driven, lead with your heart.
If you are always a helper, try being a receiver (that may be harder than you think).
If you are always in control, then go with the flow.

This is one of my favorite pieces of advice, and it is especially timely during the holidays when many people (including me) engage in traditions around family, food, music, parties, and volunteering. Surprising yourself doesn’t mean you have to give up what you normally do! Attending a performance of Handel’s great choral masterpiece Messiah is one of my personal must do’s, but give yourself an opportunity to do something different.

This year, instead of sending gifts to my clients, we’re donating to their favorite charity in their name. It will be exciting to see what causes the companies and people I work with care about. There are other ways I’m going to surprise myself but I don’t know what they are yet! Opportunities will present themselves and I’ll have a choice about whether to do the usual or surprise myself by doing the unusual.

Here’s my invitation to you: Surprise Yourself.

Plan at least one activity or eliminate one activity that you normally do during the holidays. Then stick a note to your mirror or fridge with those two words: Surprise Yourself.

Let me know what happens!

Until next Tuesday,




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