I heart SH

Shanghai has my heart. I cannot tell a fib. I am a bit smitten, but at the end of the day Portland is still my favorite. Every time we travel somewhere new we always compare it to Portland, and every … Continue reading

Why can people be so gross?

I promised I would share stories of my trip to Shanghai, and I will – just not today. See my most recent memory of my trip is the airplane, and while I had a nice seat in business class, it was a bit ruined by the passengers around me. Let me explain.

I spent most of the flight shifting between readjusting the ear plugs and then putting the big headphones over them. When that did not remove the noise, I tried a movie and then some music at a pretty high volume. Why was I trying to tune out the noise? The man behind me cleared his throat, trying to clear the phlegm like clockwork every few minutes. After a great two weeks away, and extremely tired and exhausted — well, let’s just say I was more than slightly irritated. A few times I tried to turn in my seat to give him the evil eye in hopes that he would cut it out. I mean what do you say to someone you are going to spend the next 10 hours with: “Could you stop hocking loogies? The sound is horrendous.” I just was not sure how to politely do it. I even thought about getting the flight attendant involved, but what would she say? A few times I had to rewind: “Neighbors” (funny movie by the way) in order to hear what was said over the noise behind me.

Are people just clueless? I wondered if he knew he was doing it? I think the only worse sound I have encountered on an airplane is someone snoring. Hilarious, but quite annoying. On that flight I do remember the flight attendant waking the man up, I think someone complained. While I am on the topic of cluelessness, the state of the bathroom got increasingly worse over the flight. Why people think that it is okay to pee on the toilet seat and leave it is beyond me. See, I know we have all peed on the seat before. It is hard not to when you are in a shaking, moving aircraft and you are trying so hard for your pants not to touch anything, and you do not have much room to squat and make it in. However, if you do wind up peeing on the seat, WIPE IT OFF. How hard is it? Why should the flight attendant have to clean up after you?

Are we all slobs? You are in business class, have some class yourself. I am glad they give you the slippers to go to the bathroom so you do not have to put your shoes on each time. I loathe to think about the other passengers that I saw heading into the bathroom with only their socks. Gross. We are not savages. Stop being gross and clean up after yourself. While you are at it think of those around you–your fellow passengers and flight crew.

Apologies for the airplane rant, but hopefully we can all spread the word. Oh and to the guy that sat behind me for 11 hours, please go blow your nose.

I heart good people.

It has been a good week. I have been surrounded by genuinely good people. It makes my heart flutter a bit to be reminded of the preciousness of life, of meeting new people, trying new things, and having a wonder and awe that sometimes when you go outside of your routine you are able to look at life differently.

I actually love my routine. I love the structure it provides in my life, what it allows me to do. However, we all need moments, days, and weeks in our life where we live outside the bubble we live in. Where we feel uncomfortable, do something different, and have moments where our awkwardness sheds light into a different or new view on the world. Maybe that is through a new experience or challenge, new food, or a new culture.

I am on my way back from Shanghai, China. I have been here for two weeks, and in a few hours I will be flying back home. Next week I will share some highlights from my trip. It is a fascinating city, different from Portland in so many ways. I will not tell you about that now, as I want to savor my trip and let it marinate a bit. I will tell you that I am inspired by the conversations I had this week, the different individuals I met, the new friends I made.

As I said I want to process it all, put together the story of my week, but all in all, I feel blessed to have been surrounded by good people. It makes me optimistic about the world, it inspires me, and brings a smile to my face. We like what is comfortable. So often we go to work and interact with the same people, get into our car, drive home, and do it all over again. Sure we interact at the grocery store, or Target, or with the gas station attendant, but how often do we get to meet new people and truly connect with them for an extended period of time?

Good people. We should always surround ourselves with good people.

Seize openness

Yesterday morning I had this strong intuition to be open. I went to bed late and set my alarm to wake up early so I could go for a run. When my alarm went off the last thing I wanted to do was to strap on my running shoes. When 6 am rolled around somehow I was awake enough for my brain to start to think about things. When the brain starts going through items of the day it is hard to stop it, and hard to then roll over and go back for a small snooze.

So I got up.

As I slowly dressed for my run, I kept trying to talk myself out of it. “Don’t go. You will be too tired later. You did not get much sleep last night. Stay here, get some work done. Be slow.” The thing is I was mostly dressed and by then when you basically only have to put on your running shoes, why turn back? I went and it felt great. As I was running I had such a strong sense of urgency that I needed to be “open.” While I have hindsight to look back on, there was not some amazing revelation from my day, but there was a freeness I felt. Uninhibited.

I tried some new foods today. I got to know some work colleagues more. I did not go about my normal routine. I was open for what happened, and I seized the opportunities. I still have no idea why I had that strong intuition, but know that it will stay strong with me. I will think about it so that whatever opportunity comes before me today I will look at it differently. It is freeing really. Say yes to life. Be open to the opportunities. Jump on the adventures. In tiny, small, and big ways.

Hopefully you and I can both be more open today, tomorrow, and the day after that.

Know your voice

Your voice. How do you use it? You have to know your own voice, what you believe it, what you stand for, and what matters to you. Once you know your voice, you have to find out how to make it heard. It took me until I was in my early twenties to know what my voice looked and sounded like. Even now a decade and a half later, there are times when it might be strong, but still quivers. Mostly the last ten years have been a time to hone my voice, decide when I am going to open my mouth, and when I will work harder to make it heard.

Recently I came across this article titled: “The Best Designers Bring Their Own Opinions” with such a great quote, I had to share it:

“Knowing your voice—what you believe and why you believe it—and effectively incorporating that into your work can help set you apart from everyone else. There’s very little else that can do that for you.”

What I love about this quote is that it says “effectively incorporating that into your work” – it does not say conversation or meeting, it says work. That could mean how you incorporate your voice into your project, your new product design, your app. It could mean in your artwork, your presentation, or in closing a deal. It could even mean in how you deliver bad news or how you interact with your co-workers. Your voice is a part of you and not something that you can take on or off. It lives in all you do.

At times you might be in situations where you feel like your voice is a quiet flutter and your authentic voice is not strong, loud, and bold. You might not feel comfortable to speak up and put your career on the line, or take a stand with a friend. Over time that quiet flutter will get stronger and louder and our true voice will stand strong. Be ready for it. It will happen.