Yeah it almost my birthday and for some reason this year I’m actually taking notice.  I am turning thirty five tomorrow and I feel different.  I not sure what it is but in the last couple years I have been changing.  I’m still the same person only different.  Maybe it’s the three weeks in Ethiopia?  Maybe it’s that I now have five children?  Maybe my view of the word is changed.  Maybe it the new age?  As I think about this I realize it’s that I’m at peace with who I am.  Ok I may have some strengths and a whole lot of weaknesses, but it’s ok and I am more aware of who I am.  I think before I was afraid to find out.  It’s kind of like finding out your and artist.  Well now that you know you at least have a direction.  You may not be the best artist, but at least you now know.  That is in a small way how I feel.

I feel freer to live.  More open to others.  There is a new level of passion in areas I thought were dry.  So yeah I’m thirty five, but I’m going to celebrate this gift called life.

I love to put on a good face. Normally I see the world through the positive lens of opportunities so it is natural for me to focus on the good thing even in the challenging times. Generally I think it’s a good thing, but sometimes it is useful to my relationships and for others to know I’m human and in need of family and friends.
There is a balance to all this, but if I’m not real about what I’m leaning and experiencing then I miss an opportunity for relationship. I have missed many.
What is it about my heart that always wants to put that best foot forward? Even if we are strong do we really want to overcome our obstacles alone and without sharing what we are learning?

So, I can’t say all that without being a little genuine about the challenges that I have been facing.

Our business has been really challenged and I am having to reach down deep to find the strength and will to overcome. It has cause me to reflect on why and what I’m doing. A question comes up in me over and over, “is this worth the fight?” Yes, it is. That is the silver lining for me. In this season there is a new level of understanding, passion, and vision that is not birthed in the times of comfort and ease.  Isn’t it in the fight that we find out what we are really made of?  So join me in life.

Going through another divisive political season caused what the brainiacs among us call cognitive dissonance.   Huh!  Or you could say smoke coming out my ears.  So many issues so many positions that you can’t help but feel like no matter where you look friends, family are out to destroy your ideas or commiserate about how duped everyone else is.  Think about the feeling you felt toward the people who you may have learned disagreed with your positions completely.  I went from feeling sad to angry to sad again.

We can carry this out to religion, lack of religion,  left vs. right, and on and on.  We are less inclined to embrace the other.  In fact when it comes to the president it seems like every four years our country finds a new devil to destroy by any means necessary.  Since when is being vindictive a character quality we admire.  You can see the same kind of vindictive rhetoric in comments on blogs.  We will always have things to agree and disagree about but we must be mature enough to maintain relationships even when we come to the awareness that we don’t agree.

Wow that was a nice little rant and I have not even got to the point I came to make.  Why do we hold back?  Why are we afraid to give?  Why can’t we give more freely?

The answers are personal so if you can relate great, but if you can’t post a comment about what you think.

First we like to serve people who support our positions and in a sense look like us.  This is that sectarian us verses them approach.  If I help or promote “them” I will hurt my cause.

Second we think that if we give something away then there will be less pie for us.  So we err on the side of caution and are very cautious to make sure we get our due.  You can see this in a business that is looking to exploit through short sighted means.  The CEO’s who are headed to prison.  They decided it was better if they took more then they give.

I better stop there, but now the reason behind why I want to do things differently.

Community and family.  When we help others grow we are growing at the same time.  When we engage others yes they can change us, but we can also change them.  I can work for a serve a better end in every one I come into contact with.  I can engage them listen and share what I have learned.  Should I not encourage a business women who is having a difficult time because we don’t agree on everything.  That business may be vital to our community.

Remember that you used to be admit about ideas that you may be embarrassed about now.  OK your the only one who has never changed your positions.  People are important and they are special and they are worth respecting.  I can hear some of you heckling that last sentence, but its true.

The law of the harvest.  You reap what you sow.  You reap more then you sow.  You reap after you sow.  This works in life.  You sow in your family, friends and co-workers.  Last time I checked right and left shared some of the same vises.  Last time I checked the rain fell on the religious and the atheist.  Let’s be learners who are respectful and seek to have an open heart that is able to see what is unique and beautiful in those around us.

Wow that sounds sappy I admit it.  But really think about who you are and what you did today.  That friend at work needed some encouragement and support.  Why not give it?  Someone wants to share their dream why not engage it and encourage them to develop some goals to make their dream a reality?

So I don’t know how to conclude these ramblings other then to say lighten up, take stock of what is really important and give more freely.  If i wait to make sure those around me line up on my positions I will never give away from what I have.

Which side of my brain will win today?  That’s what I asked myself the other day.  I fluctuate between the dreamer creative side and the analytical structure uptight side.  It depends on what day it is and what is required to know which one I happen to like.   This has been a humorous exercise since I started to recognize which side of my brain I was working from.

It’s like my creative side always wants to move out and explore and my analytical side would like to stay put and create a little more order from the chaos of these big dreams.  The truth is I need both sides of my brain to win for the dreams to be realized.

I will write a review when I finished but you can down load a free audio version here.

Focusing on the economy why we are here and what we need to do to get out of the situation we currently find ourselves.  Very much a defence of the entrepreneur.  I found this talk very interesting and informative.  It is extremely relevant to the issue we are currently facing.  It is important that we understand what brought us to this place.  We a just a week away from an election so it is hard to have a rational debate or inquiry, but all the same we must try.

The Call of the Entrepreneur was definitely pro free markets.   It was inspirational and emotional.  This documentary highlighted the entrepreneurial spirit of innovation and determination to get things done.  It revealed the positive side of the entrepreneur and enterprises that are not always seen.  It gave a true sense that enterprise is a challenging and at times painful risk taking adventure.

The strength of the film was also the weakness.  The strength was getting a brief overview with these three characters in a way that your are moved and inspired.  We got a very brief look at their rise and success.  As an entrepreneur I would like more take away value than inspiration.  There are real life examples of crime and corruption in business and I think that comparing and contrasting would be much more effective.  What ever the organization, government or business the values reflected in the organization reflect the values of the leaderships vision and collective culture that is intentionally and unintentionally built.  I think it undermines their point to gloss over and ignore real life ethical issues that every company faces.  The free market and new enterprises take entrepreneurs who have character and integrity to build companies that we can admire.

I know that this was made before our current economic crisis, but we can see that large centralized power and mixed with governmental involvement have created a huge problem in our banks.  There are some serious issues we have on our plate and to gloss over the moral issues is to weaken the argument that entrepreneurs should be held in high esteem.  The whole world is counting on entrepreneurs to sustain the growing needs of global markets.  This new age is full of potential for great good and great harm.  I for one will continue to seek understanding in these issues.

So in conclusion I thought the film was a good inspiration tool but could have been stronger if it gave some tools to reveal how to become that inspirational entrepreneur who is a servant in the marketplace.

I look forward to watching this documentary.  A friend (thanks Graham) recently passed this along to me.  I think there is a shift in the way people are seeing business.  I will let you know what I think after I watch it.  I will write a review on Servant Entrepreneur blog.

Visit the official Documentory Web site

A negative reveiw of the documentary.  I still have not seen it so I will try to remain objective.

I was invited through a Facebook friend to vote for one of Project H’s projects recently.  I was glad to do so and follow up by looking deeper into the vision of Emily Pilloton.  I want to share this video because it will help you to see the vision of Emily and Project H Design.

Watch the video Social Minded Product Design: Emily Pilloton

Project H Design

From watching the viedos and hearing what she had to say I think that finding entreprenuerial visionaries to partner with designers to get these products and ideas out to those who need them.  I will be seeking to grow and inspire others to become the kind of entrepreneurs who are ready to build the kind to enterprises that can produce and distribute these products that empower.  I am greatful to find designers like Emily who have a big vision.  I love to hear about turning points in our lives.  In the video Emily talked about make a value desicion.  She really wanted her life’s work to matter.  I admire that ability to assess the path we are on and make a clear and desicive desision to walk in a new direction.  Emily did that.  In my opinion she asked questions of herself that we all need to ask.

I have been set on this new course or maybe I should say this clarified course.  So how am I going to get there.  Well in my daily life it’s about doing the work of building the company (Shiloh Painting) I am currently working on.  Receiving and implementing the vision and goals that I have for this project.  It is the process of personal growth and at the same time it’s building an organization that will out last me.  This is the micro vision.

The macro vision is what I believe I can in very small way give and build into now.  That is learning what it takes to empower those small entrepreneurs locally and in developing countries.  This week I found a new person to be inspired by, Paul Polak.  Paul founded International Developement Enterprises in 1981.  Reading through two web sites, reading an aritcle in Business week has really inspired me.  I can’t wait to read his book.  I hope you will watch a couple of his videos at the site promoting the ideas he lays out in his book, Out of Poverty.  Two things really stood out to me.  One was that he said that it was absolutly essential that you talk to the poeple you are trying to help and second that he obviously gave respect and dignity to those he was work with.