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Self-Respect or Sit n’ Spin – 100 Day Challenge Diary

When I was a kid, I loved my Sit n’ Spin. I would sit on it. And spin. And spin and spin and spin and spin AND SPIN. One Thanksgiving, I spun around so much that I missed supper. You know why. Sitting in one place and doing nothing but staring at one’s navel is dizzying at best. And you don’t get anywhere fast.

This is the diary of my 100 Day Challenge of Self-Respect. I’m sick of sitting and spinning when I should be making a beeline for the finish line. My journey is inspired by Matthew Trinetti. Here is his diary; he’s worth a follow. For transparency’s sake, here’s my progress in the categories of “fitnessy” and “writerly“:

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100 Days of Self-Respect

Have you ever jaywalked? Taken a shortcut to get from here to there? Dashed in a flash out in front of traffic, only to slow the pace halfway across to an insouciant saunter? Like getting to the other side didn’t really matter?

I have.

My resolution at the beginning of 2014 was “To treat myself with the respect I deserve, and deserve the respect with which I treat myself.” A pretty phrase that got me a few attagirls early in the year.
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Sneak Peek Book Look! #47LearningsForLeaders

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
~ from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

#47LearningsForLeaders – A Quick-Start Guide for Greatness Thrust Upon Us 

Coming soon!  Here’s a sneak peek:

1. We have to do it before we know how to do it.
2. Please. Please please please. Shut up.
3. Now that we have your attention… Listen.
4. Notice people.
5. Discover before you decide.
6. Everyone has a superhero skill. Suss it out.
7. Our greatest strength is often also our greatest weakness.
8. RESPECT
9. Talk to people, rather than about them.
10. Watch for wacky ideas from the new kid. Try the tried and tested from old faithful.
11. Free the “Za!”

Za! A particularly potent example of personal panache:
Jane the Phoole

Zest. Verve. Panache. Awesomesauce. Call it what you want, it’s all personal style. The flair folks have for their own way of doing things brings personality and differentiates. Create an unfettered environment where people feel free to invest their uncensored selves, and you’ll be wholly delighted with the results.

12. The corporate curmudgeon may be your best cheerleader.
13. Speak in positives.
14. Give credit where credit is due.
15. Every day is your big audition.
16. Be visible and transparent.
17. Get uncomfortable.
18. Today is a good day to be smarter than you were yesterday.
19. Ask yourself… Can you really squeeze anyone through a knothole?
20. You can start (or stop) anything. Right now.
21. Laugh at yourself.
22. Buy a disco ball.
23. Learn to ride the mechanical bull.
24. Hey cowboy, hand over the reins.
25. Start training your replacement NOW.
26. Make a list. Check it twice.
27. Say what you are going to do and do what you say.
28. Tell the truth.
29. Own up.
30. Skip the freakout.
31. Know your options and choose your battles.
32. Measure twice. Cut once.

33. Encourage self-select.
34. Take seriously what others take seriously.
35. Vacation. (From the way you usually do it.)
36. Forget secrets.
37. Title entitlement is tedious.
38. If you want a different answer, ask a different question.
39. Be the first to bust a move, and boogie ’til the end.
40. Inspiration happens.
41. Timing is everything.
42. Ditch the armor.
43. Bring your gift.
44. You can do it alone, but you don’t have to.
45. Macromanage.
46. Three little words. Please come back.
47. You get it. You got it. Go get ’em!

Driving FOREWORD: #47LearningsForLeaders

Today I am pedal-to-the-metal word-sprinting. Going the distance between the flag drop and the finish line. Instead of spending fuel, I’m filling the tank with text of my second book:
#47LearningsForLeaders – A Quick-Start Guide for Greatness Thrust Upon Us

Leadership Road Trip

Feel like revving your engine a bit? Read the first-draft foreword:

FOREWORD
I grew up in the 70s, a time we think of as progressive, poignant, and perched on the edge of idyllic freedom. Flowers in the hair, cross-country road trips, and Neil Diamond on the 8-track. I was princess of the back seat, sprawled out and surrounded with Little Golden Books, homemade oatmeal raisin cookies, and a handmade doll my mom fashioned for me out of a pink fabric Handi Wipe. My dad drove and my mom held the map. Her job was to navigate, but he didn’t always listen. He was the boss. Sometimes we got lost, bobbing along pothole-riddled back roads, not entirely certain that the shortcut our leader had chosen was a sure thing.

Leadership is like that. We wake up one day and find ourselves in the driver’s seat, the road unfurled before us and the car already rocketing a little dangerously above the posted speed limit. We hesitate to pause or take our eyes away from the road long enough to peek at the map. We neglect to ask for help or directions. We get frustrated, clench our teeth, sink in our heels. We guess and end up rattling down the wrong track.

The further we went down that dead-end road, the more my dad fumed. Even at five, I could see how scary it must be to be the boss. No wonder he was grumpy. No wonder my mom was silent and still. I wondered over it for a while, chewing on a cookie, looking for a solution.

Then I looked at the pink blankie on my lap; my symbol of comfort and safety. I thought about how reassuring it is to hide underneath the pink blankie, how nothing scary can penetrate the safety of the pink blankie, how everyone could feel better cozied up to the pink blankie.

I put down my cookie, picked up the pink blankie, scooted forward on my perch in the back seat, and popped the pink blankie over my dad’s head.

He stopped.
We reset.
We consulted our compass and set out fresh.

Sometimes we need a break from the breakneck speed of leadership to reconsider our trajectory. A leadership role is often popped upon us unexpectedly, providing little time to prepare or plot a course. Of course, others have blazed the trail of leadership before us. I’ve set my compass by the examples of some of the best, and mapped my 47 favorites.

First day on the job (aka school) wielding my lunchbox
LIKE a BOSS!

Keep Calm and Ninja On

Editing a book is a roller coaster of love.  Some days are lofty and divine, each word floating into place with a satisfying series of keyboard clicks.  Some days there is a plunging feeling, sotto-voce screaming, and tossing bombastic words overboard like ballast.

My mantra?  Keep Calm and Ninja On.

Writing The Ninja Network is an HONOR I take to heart, because it is from my heart.  Thanks for hanging in there with me, while I get it good enough for Mighty & Awesome YOU!

Here is a bit from the most recent text:

Ninjas are the result of in-person collisions I call “nuclear proaction”:  
the sparks of life that ensue when you throw yourself wholeheartedly into the midst of community, making connection points and transitioning to new ways of being.

Proactive Proof of Nuclear Ninja Kapow!
Image capture, Ryan Haro.

Flexing our Lexicon – The NaNoNinjas

My boss is one of my besties. Attendant with that territory is her right to be occasionally bossy, which she is in the nicest possible way. Frankly, someone had to put a foot down. Folks had been after me for ages to put the pedal to the metal and get words on pages.

Text message. Late. 11:58:
“I signed you up for this. You have 30 days to write a book. Starting tomorrow. Go.”

I jolted awake and clicked the link. Uh oh. NaNo.

NaNoWriMo to be clear. National Novel Writing Month. That once-a-year get wound up and write it all down free-for-all. 30 days. 50,000 words. 300,000 writers. That’s a lot of words.

The Alot help us smooth the rough edges
we get gritting our teeth over grammar errors.

Kudos to Kris.  Due to her I discovered the wonders of writing with abandon in 2007. I lost track of time, lost interest in the laundry, lost taste for food except – inexplicably – popcorn and Gummi Bears. Most importantly I lost my ruthless and unforgiving internal editor, the muttering curmudgeon who whispers “not good enough” in the ears of aspiring authors.

NaNoWriMo is the gateway to unabashed imperfection and the truth that our ceaseless spiel of self-correction is sometimes better left unsaid. Write all the words. Be brilliant and boldly inclined to make great sweeping grammatical errors while purging onto the page what just might be a bestselling novel.

What I think I look like when I write.

I didn’t finish my first novel in 2007. Or my second in 2008. In the end, 50,000 words weren’t enough to tell either story. A bit heartbroken, I set them aside, wondering what would happen to my characters. Still, I found myself drawn to writing. New words crept into my regular vernacular. I discovered an abiding affection for annoying my friends with arcane definitions. In 2009 I started hammering out a business book. In 2010 I became hypnotized by the dizzying pace of 30-minute literature. In 2011 I admitted – I’m a sprinter – a storyteller in bite-sized bits. The Ninja Network took shape, one story at a time, and I time-stamped a completed first draft a few months ago.

What I really look like when I write.

Late in October, at the cusp of NaNoWriMo 2012, I was good to go. Not to write a novel, or something from scratch, but to edit and tie up the loose ends of my manuscript prior to publication. I registered, made a donation, and waited.

And waited.

And came to terms with the condition that had left me flat in previous years: writing alone can be lonely business.

So this year I’ve set about the business of kicking that bad habit. This year I’m a NaNoNinja.

NaNoNinjas enthuse while I write,
will meet for coffee,
and remind me that I need to take a shower
at least twice a week during NaNoWriMo.

We are the NaNoNinjas and we are devoted.  Some will abandon ourselves to NaNoWriMo “the good old fashioned way”, by carving out an average of 1667 words a day. Some will tell our story verbally, speaking our minds, dictating as we commute and then translating to the printed page. Some will build the tower of our tale with poetical phrase, others as a picture with pigmented layers; a tale in tincture. Some will sprint 30 short stories. Some will edit and expound upon existing text. Some will cheer from a distance. Together we will create in community.

We gathered, each with our unique prose or poetical peculiarity. While NaNoWriMo is primarily pointed at provoking the novelist, I’m here for the literary nudge and because I RELY on community. It makes me a better woman, a smarter writer, a kinder editor, and a lot less lonely when I’m wordsmithing in the middle of the night. Because I’m not the only one burning the midnight oil.

P.S. If you’re a writer, up in the middle of the night and wigged out over word count or discombobulated by writer’s block consider this:

Inspiration is everywhere. Now… pick up your pen and MOVE IT!