Seth Godin: Buy The Book.

Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors.  Pure brilliance.  He wrote this yesterday, and I would like to have it written across the sky.

You should buy the book

Mitch Joel is a generous and perceptive blogger. Well worth the daily read. He has a new book. You should buy it.

David Meerman Scott writes an essential blog, daily. His book is a classic. You should buy it.

Tom Asacker writes a very thoughtful blog about marketing. Worth the read. He has a new book. You should buy it, too.

Every day, Mark Frauenfelder and Corey Doctorow blog tons of goodness at Boingboing. They each have books. You should buy them and share them.

Bernadette Jiwa’s blog keeps getting better and better and you are probably already reading it. She has a new book on the way. You can guess what you should do.

There are authors and actors who only show up when they have something to sell, who hit the road to briefly entertain us, pitch us and then leave. If you love their work, then by all means, buy it! But the frequent blogger is here for another reason. He or she has something to share and is relentlessly showing up to teach and lead and connect.

If you want that to happen more, if you’re getting something out of it, buy the book.

[I actually hesitated to write, “should,” because it puts books into the same category as classical music and supporting NPR. No one says you “should” buy comic books or go to action films…

Buying books is actually scary for many people, so they make up excuses about not having enough time or money. The reason that books are frightening is that they might make us feel stupid, or we might get a lousy one or we might end up feeling like a failure for not finishing it. This is pretty common, actually.

I think buying books from consistent bloggers is a little different, though. First, you’re probably not going to be disappointed with what you get. Second, it’s almost always their best work, because it doesn’t feel as ephemeral as a blog post to the writer or reader–it’s a far more focused and direct shot to your neocortex. And third, most important, because it’s a very concrete form of encouragement (not just for the writer! but for the reader too), one that will selfishly make it likely you get more blogging from the very people you’d like to hear from more often as well as reminding you, the reader, that you’re worth the effort and investment.

Plus, when you’re done reading, it’s a generous act to share one.]

A Word to Graduates

I have been invited to speak at the Continuation Ceremony of a class of kindergarteners I taught nine years ago.  (Nine years ago!)  I have marked this date on my calendar for many weeks now, so honored to join them for this celebration of such a victory.  Plus, I couldn’t wait to see them again.  It always jars my brain when the children stand before me, forever changed.  The boys have muscles; the girls have curves.  It’s an alarming thing, really. 

But so very sadly, I am sick today.  Bronchitis has hit our home with a dark cloud of ferocity, and I can’t barely utter a whisper today.  So there’s no sense in handing me a microphone.  With great resignation, I will not be able to go tonight.  A friend will read my words to them on my behalf.

So, I’m sharing with you the words I planned to share with them. 

* * *

 

First of all, congratulations.

Congratulations on finishing the last nine years, from the first day of kindergarten to where you are now. Those of you who have excellent handwriting, I hope you’ll remember we started that skill in my classroom. Those of you who raise your hand before you blurt out answers in class, I hope you’ll remember that nobody knew the importance of that on the first day of kindergarten. We worked and worked on that until you became proficient at waiting to speak.Those of you who sing songs throughout your day, who sing good morning songs to yourselves and your families, I hope you’ll remember how we did that too, for every transition. Oh, we sang, sang, sang.

I am exceedingly proud of you, eighth graders. You are a beautiful bunch, and you will forever live in my hearts. Although in my memory, you’re much smaller.

So, congratulations on finishing the last nine years, but more specfically, congraulations on finishing the last three years. Sixth, seventh, and eighth grades are notoriously the worst years of school, and you can ask almost any adult: they will say they didn’t enjoy middle school or junior high.

Everything gets harder in those years. Everybody get a little meaner. They’re some tough years. And you did it. Congratulations, my friends. You have finished middle school.

Let’s think for a moment about the Green, Yellow, Red card system in a classroom. Everybody begins each day with a green card, and then your choices throughout the day will determine if you stay with green, if you get a warning yellow, or if you must suffer the consequences of red. I have a kindergartener of my own now, and we celebrate his green cards with grandeur. For a six year old, it’s the definition of a good day of wise choices.

The best thing about the Card System is this: you get to start over everyday. Everyday begins with green. No matter what happened yesterday,
how many times you cut in line
or shouted an answer
or giggled in the hallway
or made a mess of paper towels in the bathroom
or argued with your teacher
or got out of your chair to roam the room,
the next day is a new day.

And every new day starts out Green.

Guess what? Here’s the best news about graduating from eighth grade: you get a brand new card. Each one of you. New card. And it can be any color you want.

When you enter high school, you’re starting a new stage, and for some people, those are their favorite years of school. (They were mine!) It doesn’t matter what color your cards were in grade school and middle school – it doesn’t matter anymore. You get to start fresh. With your new card, you get to decide who you will be.

Will you get good grades?
Will you be on time?
Will you do your best?

Will you manage your planner and finish your homework and study for tests and be prepared?

You get to decide. It doesn’t matter who you were before now. It’s all new.

More importantly,
Will you be kind?
Will you encourage others?
Will you show compassion?
Will you share what you have?
Will you love well?
Will you make decisions that are respectful and honoring to you and your family?

You get to decide. It doesn’t matter who you were before now. It’s all new.

And keep this in mind, in case I don’t get to see you on the day you graduate from high school: you’ll get a new card that day too. There are are a few times in your life when you get to start over, define yourself, and choose who you really want to be.

This is one of those days.

As you enter high school, as you’re deciding who you will be and how you will be known at this new school, let me let you in on a secret. Lean in close. Closer. This is an important secret, and you might not hear it from many people. Ready?

Everybody around you is a little bit miserable. Everybody is worried about something. Everybody is afraid nobody likes them. Everybody is afraid they’re not good enough. And everybody’s trying hard to look like they’re not miserable.

When you look around your high school next year, when you see so many new faces and they all seem to have their friends figured out and they have found their places in the social structure of high school, remember: everybody is a little bit miserable. You’re not the only one.

The best way to help yourself feel better is to make someone else feel better. If you see someone sitting alone in the cafeteria, make it your responsibility to help them feel included. Join them at their table or invite them to yours. Look for ways to make other people feel better about who they are and how their day is going, and I promise, yours will get better too.

So let me challenge you with two words: Choose Kindness.

There are lots of words about anti-bullying right now. Posters, bracelets, commercials on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, all against bullying. I agree. Bullying is never acceptable and we need to rescue those who are being bullied.

But.

Instead of trying to bring an end to the trend of bullying, what if we try to begin a campaign of Kindness?

There are enough of you in this room to make a serious change in your high school next year. You won’t have even have to do it alone. Look around you. These people are the faces of your teammates. Choose Kindness.

I love every single one of you, and I’m so sorry I’m not there to say these words myself.

You are loved.
You are important.
You are kind.
You are brave.
You are one of a kind, one in a million.

And remember: nearly everything you need to know, you learned in kindergarten.

So be kind.

That’s What Leaders Do

Leaders make life better.
They believe and develop.
They identify giftedness and call it out.
Leaders leave the works and others better as a result of their presence,
And they influence those they love.

But for whatever reason, a lot of us run away from it. This makes me angry for you, one of our world’s best leaders. It makes me angry for all of us: the world that needs us to come out of the shadows and be the leaders we were created to be.

God designed women to lead. He designed us to use our place of influence to change lives.

Think of a woman in your life who has made a marked difference for you.
What would your life have been if she hadn’t noticed you, affirmed your gifts, challenged your strengths, and kicked you in the pants when you needed it?

Perhaps it was a teacher, a coach, an aunt, your mom, a boss, a friend.

Whoever she was, she led you to a place you had never been before. She led you to something you didn’t see possible. She inspired hoped and infused confidence. That’s what leaders do.

You have a sphere of influence, a circle is people who are looking to you and desperate for you to call them to greatness.

The question is no longer, “Are you a leader?” It is whether you’re ready to be a great one.

~ Just Lead!, Sherri Surratt and Jenni Catron

Where Are You Speaking?!

Tricia, you mentioned Ohio.
But where in Ohio are you going?  
When are you coming?  
What’s the story, and can we come?

Here’s the story, my friends.

I am traveling to Ohio this weekend for a women’s retreat in a Cleveland hotel, sponsored by the unbelievably gracious women of West Hill Baptist Church.

We are going to talk about the seasons of the heart – winter, spring, summer, fall – how I have experienced them, what we can learn from them, and what journeys and tasks are most futile and most fruitful in each season.

It’s going to be beautiful.  And even now, I’m praying for the women who will sit in every chair in the hotel ballroom.

So, that’s where I will be this weekend.  And I do wish I could invite you all.  But hotels get finicky about things like fire codes and capacities and paid registrations.  :)

If you’re interested in inviting me to speak at your church’s retreat or event, or perhaps to teach at a writing seminar or conference in your community, I am honored and very open to the idea.  So, shoot me an email.  We’ll talk and brainstorm and make it happen.

tricia@tricialottwilliford.com.

xoxoxo.

t.

Area Code 818

Yesterday, I received a group text with 10-12 recipients.  The sender is a young, fresh thinker, one whom I deeply respect as a person, an artist and a leader.

Here’s what it said:

An Experiment in Group Texting

While I do know each of you personally, you may not know each other.  So let me introduce you.You are all leaders and creative forward thinkers from all around the country.  Some of the thoughts and conversations you and I have had together, just the two of us, would benefit and be of value to all of us.

So here’s what I’m proposing:  Any thoughts, quotes, books, lessons, links, or axioms you’d like to share for the good of leadership and creativity, make this a virtual space for that.

A few guidelines and ground rules: Avoid replies and discussion.  I think this will work best if this is a space just to introduce new ideas and avoid long threads.  Of course you can follow up with each other individually.  Maintain anonymity, or don’t maintain anonymity.  It’s completely up to you.  Free free to start your own virtual mastermind group space, but come back and share some of the nuggets here!

Let’s see how it goes!

***

Now that’s an invitation to which I’ll click Yes, Count Me In.  So now there are about 12 of us, some of their names are on my caller ID if we already are friends, and some of them are listed only by their phone number.  So, in my clever mind, I have named them by their area code.

I got this nugget of goodness this morning:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~Marianne Williamson

***

Thank you, Area Code 818.