Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mission Accomplished (Sort of...)

I'm off to a hilariously good start in my determined efforts to fail more as a path to life fulfillment. After my last post (a mere 15 days ago), I decided that I was getting back on the blogging horse, and would post faithfully at least three times a week.

You can see how that went.

WHEN will I learn that these sorts of DEFINITE DECISIONS WITH CLEAR GOALS ATTACHED always, always (always...) mean failure for me? And yet the promise--the idea that by setting the goal I am somehow requiring myself to follow through--is so alluring, I get sucked in, again and again.

I'm reading HAMLET'S BLACKBERRY, a book about finding a balance between the extreme connectedness the internet makes possible, and the private mental space required for happiness, creativity, and general well-being. I'm thinking of going offline for the month of November (which almost guarantees you'll see a post from me here on November 3rd, 11th & 22nd...), to see if it will help me pin down some of the writing ideas that have been floating around in my head eluding capture. I'm wondering if less time with my internet connections might give me more mental space to build the relationships that go into writing a book--with ideas, characters, and points that come together only when there's some room to move things around.

(Hey--Maybe someday I'll write a book about how writing is like interior decorating...for your brain!) (And that idea, my friends, is utterly representative of why I'm not posting more frequently...)

Have you ever taken a vacation from online connection? If so, how'd it go?
Did it help you maintain real-life connection with people in person?
Just curious :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Failure, Fun & What's the next step?

It's been a great weekend. Steve and I spent the better part of it talking/thinking/planning/hoping/scheming/praying about new possibilities & adventures. I'm a total sucker for this kind of big-vision stuff, but I've noticed that it's only fun for me if, at the end of the conversation, I have some sense of what the next step is. I might or might not take that step...but to feel like an idea is anything more than a pipe dream, there has to be a tangible next thing that can be done.

For instance, earlier this year, some friends and I were dreaming about building a cultural center here in Boston (like the 92nd St. Y in Manhattan, only with more Red Sox paraphernalia). I even met with some folks involved in various artistic non-profits in our city to get the lay of the land. But after that, the next step was: Raise $5 million dollars so we could afford a space. Um...okay... Now, one high-faith friend put out a request for funding, but after that we sort of lost steam.

HERE'S the cool thing, though, which I discovered last week in a post by the awesome writer/runner/blogger Kristin Armstrong: Research has shown that one of the benchmarks for a motivated and challenged life is when you're failing to meet your goals approximately half the time. In which case, I AM A SUPERHERO!!! :) Seriously...on these terms, I'm living the dream...

It makes sense, right? It means you're taking risks and exploring possibilities, and 50% the time you're arriving somewhere near the place you set out for. Those are pretty great odds, statistically speaking (higher than MLB batting averages, for example). And constant success (aside from being unattainable) would be as dull as unrelenting failure. It's the balance that keeps us motivated and challenged, so we circle back to conversations like the ones Steve and I have been in all weekend.

Okay, that's WAY more than Kristin drew from this little tidbit of encouragement, but I'll take it. Here's to trying stuff! Viva la fail!

And now, as I talk/think/plan/hope/scheme/pray about new things to try, I keep the "What's the next step?" question more toward the front...turns out it's best when "Raise $5 million" isn't first or second on the list :)

How's your failure rate this year?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Updates on Minneapolis, NYC, Cambridge...

Hi All! It's been awhile. I took September off from, well, pretty much everything. I needed some time to regroup after a tough year, and to figure out what's next. And I've learned that when I'm in one of these seasons, the less said the better.

It makes sense, right? We all have times when we need to try on ideas...and then have the freedom to discard them immediately (because no, we really don't want to move to Montana and open up a bowling alley...) In the midst of this, the larger hope is that one of these little ideas will take root, and grow into something viable while under the protection of me not saying very much about it. Not sure if that's happened yet, but I have some seeds I'm keeping my eye on :)

In the meantime, what's been going on? Here's an update:

1. Steve and I spent the weekend in Minneapolis (my first time--very cool city) speaking at a retreat for leaders from the Mercy Vineyard. Ever have those times where things come together and you suddenly have all kinds of exciting vision for what's next in life? The weekend was full of those for us. You can hear me rhapsodizing over the experience (and sharing some thoughts about finding your life purpose) here.

2. I'm hopping a train to NYC next week, which is my idea of creative nirvana. I'll be doing an event on Wednesday night, October 13th. It will be a fun wine & snacks party, and I'll be giving a talk about navigating big changes in life (and my secret hope of becoming a superhero). If you're in the city and want to join us, email me at Trishryanonline AT gmail DOT com and I'll send you my friend's address.

3. And last, but certainly not least, I had lunch with the lovely Stacy yesterday. She was one of my first blog friends and always makes me laugh when we talk about the care & maintenance of minions (and ponder how imaginary Ukrainian minions might be deployed to take over the world). Check out her blog...you'll be glad you did.

More soon, I hope. Until then, be well :)