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lessons learned (part 2)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

more about my travels last month:

My trip to St. Louis was a business trip. It was actually a great honor. Only the top 10% of people in my job in the company are invited to go. But I really wasn't looking forward to it. I was just tired of being on the road. And to be honest, I'm pretty anti-social. I was just about socialed out!

The first time I really got excited about the trip to St. Louis was when we were told that we'd be going to NLCS Game 5 while we were there. And here's how I know I'm a Sparker – the second time was when we were walking through the buffet line at lunch and they had quinoa stuffed peppers! They were really good.

It was a great trip. The hotel had a really good gym and I was there every morning. I also did Pilates in my room. Lots of walking (our corporate campus is HUGE), but the walking was in heels. I don't have any dress pants that I can wear with flats. I took my most comfortable heels, but after several hours on my feet, my dogs were barking.

Plus all that airport walking. Somebody once said that Hartsfield must have 1000 miles of hallways. Unless I'm going past concourse B, I usually walk instead of taking the train. I do use the moving sidewalks. Wish I could get 3.1 miles of those! Talk about a new PR. The St. Louis airport is undergoing renovations, so it's a maze right now too. Glad our travel department was waiting for us as we came out of the concourse.

I met a lady from Boynton Beach and we hit it off immediately. The more we talked, the more we found we had in common. I found out that she had done a few marathons, and she has extremely bad arthritis in her ankle. She also has a bad knee (her legs almost form the letter 'K' when she's standing as straight as she can). Her son died in his 20s after a long battle with leukemia so she does lots of charity walks and runs to raise funds for cancer. She is such an inspiration! If she can complete a marathon in that much pain, I can definitely do the running I want to do! I doubt there will ever be any marathons in my future, but if can get to a consistent 10 minute mile pace for 5 miles or so, a half wouldn't be out of the question.

Our closing speaker was Dewitt Jones, a National Geographic photographer. He was amazing. His presentation was called Extraordinary Visions. He talked about looking for the good and changing your focus. He had slides of some of his gorgeous photos. He told us many stories of his childhood, his photography experiences, and his travels.

When Dewitt was a boy his father told him many stories. One that really resounded with Dewitt was a story of two men working very hard chipping away at massive pieces of stone. A stranger passes the first man and asks, “What are you doing?” The first man replies breathlessly, “I'm a stone chipper. This is my job – to chip away this stone day in and day out.” The stranger walks on and encounters the second man. When asked the same question, the second man responds, “I'm building a cathedral!”

Two individuals, doing the same job. One is exhausted and sees himself as a stone chipper; one sees himself as a cathedral builder. Dewitt wanted to be a cathedral builder!

In his many travels for National Geographic, Dewitt often had an issue with his camera or film and felt he'd missed the shot. His experience taught him that when you feel you missed an opportunity, you just need to find another (often better) one. If you think something is good, look for a way to make it GREAT! Focus on what excites you and you'll find greatness.

More advice from Dewitt:
>There's more than one right answer
>Reframe problems into opportunities
>Is your goal success or significance?
>The difference between a good frame and a great frame is measured in millimeters, not miles.
>Take it all in...and give it all back!
>Quit your flapping and ride the thermals to great heights

and one of his favorite quotes: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” ~ Michelangelo

One of the stories about a missed shot Dewitt shared with us: He was out walking in a valley one day and saw a field of dandelions in bloom. He didn't have the right lens, and rather than walk back to get it, he decided to come back the next day. By the time he got back to the location, they had all gone to seed. He was disappointed at first, but decided to try some shots anyway. He ended up getting some great shots.

The funny thing about that – I have been on a personal mission for over a year to lessen the dandelion population. When I'm out walking and I see one of those yellow flowers, I pick it before it can go to seed. Since the housing crisis it just seems that dandelions are spreading like...well, WEEDS! They are everywhere. I figure for everyone I pick, that's 50,000 or so that won't show up elsewhere, right?

I had to leave the closing presentation early to head for the airport. As I was walking out, we received a parting gift. One of Dewitt's photos!

I'll frame this and hang it beneath the award plague from my employer ;-)

yes, God. Message received and lesson learned! Be open to changing my focus. Yes, sir!

Dewitt's website:
if you are ever looking for a keynote speaker, I highly recommend him!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Anti social? You?

    This was an awesome read. I am glad you pointed it out to me. I need to go back and read all your blogs. (When God adds 3 hours to a day)

    Thanks my friend.
    1020 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Wow, this must have been an awesome presentation! Great lessons in this blog, thanks for sharing the words of wisdom! I might just take some of this to work and share it at the next staff meeting. emoticon emoticon
    1918 days ago
    Great lessons learned!
    1922 days ago
    What a wonderful week you had! You took advantage of every opportunity to eat right and exercise. Great job!
    1923 days ago
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