Monday, December 29, 2008

A Welcome Break and a Place to Think

The last couple of weeks have been very strange in terms of activity levels.  MBA classes ended on Dec.6th, and don't resume until Jan.9th, so I'm able to shutoff my B-School brain for a little while. Throw in that my company has decided to shutdown from Christmas to New Year's, and this is about the longest stretch I've ever had of no school or no work.   One of the things I've been doing lately is to create some 2009 plans and goals, both for school and work.  With all the doom and gloom in the media these days, many people are worried that 2009 is going to be miserable, a 21st century depression.  I'm taking a different outlook on 2009.  I think it will be the beginning of huge opportunities for people willing to change the way they think about the world.  It's a year of re-investment in yourself, in education, in new ideas and in new ways of thinking about difficult challenges.   

These aren't minor tweaks I'm talking about here, so it helps to have a place to get away and think.  If you don't already have that place, wherever it might be (coffee shop, in a library, yoga class, rock climbing, etc.), I highly suggest you find one.   Mine is usually in the backyard (pictured above), overlooking the pond.  I find a great set of music on the iPhone, and periodically use QuickVoice to keep track of ideas.  Today was a great example.  Leaves from about 15 trees still needed to be raked and the kids were off with mom at the mall, which meant 2hrs of uninterrupted quiet time for me.  The combination of fresh air, some moderately hard work and nature are a great way to refresh your mind or think clearly.

btw - One of things I thought about today was sort of a combination of two things:  (1) an upcoming Strategic Marketing class, and (2) the 300,000 applicants for 3,300 roles in the Obama administration.  With the odds of success at no better than 1%, how would I go about creating a way to get myself noticed in less than 1 minute (probably less) as the applications are reviewed?  Thinking about this led me to think about all the noise we deal with on a daily basis and how any of us can get ourselves or our products/services noticed in today's world. Needless to say, it generated a number of ideas that I need to explore further in 2009.