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on life, ambitions, and dreams

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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Who inspires you?

One night recently, a friend asked a group of us a question that I didn’t have an answer for. It was one of those questions that you ask when getting to know someone and it’s one of those questions that you either know the answer to right away or you don’t. And while everyone in our group shared, one by one, I was scared that by the time it was my turn, I wouldn’t have an answer to share myself.

The question was: Who inspires you?

It’s a simple question, one that you can easily answer by choosing someone close to you who’s made an impact in your life or someone throughout history who has a quote that’s listed on a mug they sell at Barnes & Noble.

But sharing the name of someone who inspires you is like revealing the recipe to your secret sauce. It tells your audience—who honestly may be your best friends—who makes you tick, who motivates you, and who kicks you in the ass and tells you to get the fuck moving forward. And it gives your enemies the plans for how they can take you down.

So here’s another way to think about answering that question. My friend, Mouyyad Abdulhadi of Magic Carpet Blog, gave a talk at IgniteDallas about this subject. His talk is called “24 Years, 24 People, 24 Lessons” and is a snippet from his Ebook of the same name. The premise is he shares stories about 24 people in his life who have taught him something and inspire him daily.

The difference about how Mouyyad answered this question is that he found inspiration from a place that we all know but we always undercut – those we know in our daily, real lives. He also helps bring the question of “Who inspires you?” down from the podium that question has been cast upon. He shows that you can find inspiration not only from one person, but also from multiple people, and each can provide their own kernel that can move you.

I like this. I like that I don’t have to search for one person for all of my strength. I like that I can look to people in my real, every day life and I can admire things that they have done as a way to challenge myself.

If you ask me that question today, I will answer it differently than how I will answer it tomorrow, because inspiration has the ability to change, just like my goals, thoughts, and fears.

So now I turn the question to you, who inspires you? Or how do you see inspiration?

Photo Credit: Louwuselchen

Embracing the F-word: This is What a Feminist Looks Like

Theo Kogan for Kenneth Cole

Everyone knows the saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman.” And then I see an article that one of my friends shared on Facebook about the 10 women who secretly control the Internet (aka “the world”), and I have to ask – what’s with all the secrecy here, people?

The answer is obvious and it has to do with which pair of pants we put on in the morning and how we conduct ourselves in a room full of strangers. It’s the way we shake hands in public and how we introduce ourselves using only our first names. It’s the question of whether our actions are dictated by society or if it’s from the very nature of the “g” word – gender.

Learning “F”

I was 17 when I learned the “F” word. I had heard the “F” word before, but I never really understood what it meant and especially what it meant to me.

Feminist Coming Out DayIt came to me from the most obvious of places; a class called Introduction to Women’s History at the community college. I was still in high school and especially impressionable. So I did what every teenager did and I shared it with my best friend.

My best friend and I were revolutionaries without a revolution. We were like every single teenager on the planet who was looking to be a part of something but we weren’t too sure what that ‘something’ was. (This was also before Facebook.)

To us, feminism was an identity that we could wear proudly on our arm and let it stand that it stood for being who we as it is true to ourselves. It stands for knowing that we are strong, represents the gutsy, and tells us it’s not only okay to strive for what we want out of life, it’s required.

How this Feminist celebrates International Women’s Day

As a girl and a woman growing up in the U.S., a glass ceiling has never prevented me from achieving what I want to accomplish in life. But I know that’s not the case for everyone.

Give2Girls on JolkonaThe role of women and girls in the world is constantly on my mind. I am fortunate to work for an organization that holds these values close to the core of their business. But there is so much left to be done and so much to do. Which is why today, on the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, I’m proud to help power the launch of Give 2 Girls, a campaign that turns activism into action by empowering the women of tomorrow by giving to the girls of today.

Seriously, you should check it out the campaign and see how the Jolkona community is supporting this movement.

So as I clean up my desk, load this blog, and head to one of the few celebrations of International Women’s Day in Seattle, I need to send a few text messages to the women in my life who helped inspire and support me throughout my budding “F” word years. These are women who share their strength, knowledge, and beauty when I needed and when I didn’t know we needed it.

Happy International Women’s Day, Feminist Coming Out Day, and good ol’ Tuesday!

I’m going to celebrate with 100+ ladies and gents in Seattle. What are you doing to celebrate this momentous day?

Photo Credit: ego technique

On Friendship: There is No Such Thing as a Population of One

When I read last week’s #reverb10 prompt on friendship, one person entered my head immediately. But I don’t want to pull out and highlight how one person’s friendship has really ignited me this year because 1) I don’t want to sound gushy, and 2) I’m a nice person. And in keeping with the trend of thank you speeches at the Oscars, I don’t want to leave anyone out.

Let me tell you a story. You know that I admire people who open up, are vulnerable, and share their ideas about world domination with me. Ideas are infectious and inspiring. When I see someone I care about achieve greatness, it launches me down the same kick ass adventure as them. No one does it alone, and that is so true, especially in my life.

It takes a village

It takes a village to lift an individual to the next degree of greatness. A village made of people who share common interests, speak the same language, and weave in and out of each other’s lives. There are the regulars, the newbs, the tourists, the every-once-in-awhile’s and the causal acquaintances. This village may also be known of as a community.

Every once in a while, the every-once-in-awhile’s and casual acquaintances drop by the village on a more frequent basis. They take a liking to you and you to them. You open up to them and they open up to you. You reveal ideas to them and they reveal the most honest feedback back to you.

You become better because of your conversations with them, or worse. Either way, you’re different from how you were before and a stamp of them is left on you (whether you realize this or not). (more…)

Networking in the Cave of Wonders

The Blue Room, left-hand (Stuart Richards)

The word wonder makes me think of a cave where you can find everything you want and everything that you desire. Once you find this cave, however, you have to be smart and not be tempted by all of the wonders that lay in the way between you and what you want to find most. This cave is of course fiction, a la Aladdin.

This is the first #reverb10 prompt that came through and I didn’t know my answer right away. This question is large, deep, and vast, like all wonders should be. And the author is asking us not to find one wonder but to share the recipe for how wonder existed in our lives over the past year.

Kind of a hard prompt if you didn’t march through the past year searching for the marvelous somethings that exist in life.

So I went to Twitter to look for inspiration, read a few posts to see how others interpreted the prompt, and I found my answer. (more…)

Being Silent, Unplugging & Going Dark

Everything Goes Dark, Leah Makin Photography

Every so often someone on Twitter or Facebook boldly declares that they are unplugging this weekend, going dark. Usually they’re on their way up the mountains where there’s no cell phone reception. Other times they’re staying in town and just need to mentally unwind. And sometimes they don’t announce it at all and they fall

off the blogosphere.

And it takes awhile before we notice.

Falling off

A friend of mine, Andrew Swenson, recently “fell off the face of the social media earth,” without announcing it (or if he did, I completely missed it). A few of us piped up in between that we missed him. And when he resurfaced, he explained what happened and what he had learned. I admire what Andrew did. He had a lot of things going on in his “real” life and he needed the space to really figure it out for himself.

Being silent & holding back

When someone says that they’re doing this, it is just noise. But when someone just does it, it leaves me wondering what’s going on, what’s really going on in their life. Going dark without letting someone know is like staying out past your curfew when you were in high school; those who care about you get worried.

Being silent online means that something is happening that you can’t quite articulate. There have been a number of things that have happened since I’ve been social-media-ly-social that I have held back from explaining or taken a few days to figure out the right message to deliver the news with. Most of the time it’s about things that don’t matter in the scope of the universe but that matter a lot to me, otherwise I wouldn’t care and would just say it.

That leads to a series of questions—if we are extra social, why do we hold back when life is the most out of our control? Why do we develop these relationships when we’re feeling on top of the world and retreat offline when we aren’t?

Simple: we want people to view us in the way that we want ourselves to be viewed. We are attracted to people who are attracted to us. We want to surround ourselves with safe, positive energy and ideas. It’s human nature. And if we expose ourselves as anything but that then we leave ourselves open for something else—an unknown.

And this unknown is pretty damn scary because it’s our heart that we have bared from our chest and we don’t know how you or anyone else is going to react to it—if they’re going to dance around in it or stomp it out, leaving it and all our ideas pulsing, waiting for the blood to stop flowing and dry out.

If you look across the blogosphere, the “unknowns” we blog about are things that are exciting and exhilarating. We write about challenges that we’re ready to face, how we’re living a life according to our own rules, and how we’re crushing it.

Being affirmative is sexy; being vulnerable with a purpose can be too.

Photo Credit: Leah Makin Photography