Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I talked to Sammy

An often asked question as people return to work after the holidays is “did you do anything interesting?” There will be plenty of family, travel and religious stories to tell.

My answer – “”I talked to Sammy.” I’ve seen this guy walking the beach path for the last 3 or 4 years as I do my Sunday long run. He is easily noticeable. He walks with a serious limp, has one arm in a painful looking cast, has many serious scars and talks funny. This guy always has a short buzz cut, sun glasses and a big smile. Each Sunday I say to myself as I run by, I should stop and talk to that guy sometime.

Last weekend I did and as often happens when you put in the extra effort, it was inspiring. Sammy is a self described ex-partying surfer who was drunk and high one night around 2:00 AM and got hit by a car going 55 MPH while crossing Pacific Coast Highway. Sammy said he was told he would die, then he would lose his arm, then that he would not be able to walk and then that he would not be able to talk, …. On and on. He told me in the middle of the drama that he decided it was all about “tude.” (attitude for those that don’t know). Sammy said he learned that the only thing he had complete control over was his attitude. Sammy now coaches and mentors (Waves of Motivation)others on being positive. Here I was out for a run and talking to a guy who could barely walk or talk and he is telling me about “owning” your positive outlook on life.

Next time you think you have a lot going on, go talk to your Sammy.

So – anything enlightening happen to you over the holidays?


Monday, November 3, 2008

Epirit de corps

Last Sunday evening, my wife and I were invited to a charity art and culture event hosted at the Eden Salon in Huntington Beach. For those of you that know me, you can only imagine how excited I was about this and how comfortable I was going to feel with the people I was about to meet for the first time – beautiful and artistic folks. Add to this that someone forgot to mention that the invitation suggested proper attire could include a Halloween costume. Walking in was as uncomfortable as you might guess. I did not know anyone, they were mostly in costumes (we were not) and the topic was local art.

So how is it that within about 10 minutes I felt right at home talking to the artists and learning about the charities? Mark Granovetter’s (Stanford University Department of Sociology) research on ““strength of weak ties" might be right on target. It’s all about espirit de corps “an intangible term used for the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal, or even in oneself and others.” It also helps to explain the growth in social networking and the expanded use of blogs. We all want to be part of something, to find people like ourselves and to be a member. All those educated and experienced teammates that have not tried these technologies feel like I did at the doorway of the event. Not part of something and uncomfortable about what might happen. It is our job to help them enter and become welcome.

Have you had the opportunity to welcome someone into web 2.0-land? Do you have success stories to share?


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