Tag: conversation

Labels and Titles

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Labels and titles. Titles and labels. They’re everywhere. Some claim and cherish while others run from restrictions and stereotypes. I straddle a line here. Some labels and titles are appropriate and necessary. But there’s a sad reality that a lot of people self-proclaim and misrepresent and do so to the detriment of others.

To begin, yay Internet. I love you. Social media, you are capable of engagement and entertainment. Together, you’ve taken the world by storm. But what qualifies someone to be an influencer? Is a health coach certified via education and/or degree, or did they pay for a title without experience? Listen, this isn’t an easy topic to discuss. It feels judgmental, but I assure it’s not intended to be. This is about evaluation, which we’ve stripped from many processes and scenarios. We need to evaluate who is an expert and entrepreneur. Just as importantly, we need to decide what authenticity looks like in a world where we can purchase likes, self-label, self-title, and filter images.

Are you ready to hear about my experiment? This week I subscribed to twenty-five websites or services that promised promotion, brand recognition, all the follows and likes one can get, etc. I did so in the midst of the great Instagram sweep, where tons of big named celebrities, influencers, and artists complained about follower loss after Instagram attempted to weed out the imitators and bots of the world. Guess what I learned? This is only a small part of the problem. Soon, my numbers will return to their original state. Currently, it’s about self-portrayal. In my case, it proved anything can be acquired. But, I can also self-label myself without very little informative inquiry or research. Someone quoted me as being an expert in my field. Um, excuse me, but have you read this blog? I’m not an expert in anything. This is about conversation, exchange, and personal development. It’s a need and possibly a niche, but it’s not expert based. Anyone can facilitate. My how and why are self-taught through experience. But I’m not trying to lead or teach. I’m trying to relate. There’s a difference. Sometimes leading and teaching are byproducts. Regardless, I’m not going to claim expertise when it’s not earned or deserved. But I could have and that’s the dangerous reality we find ourselves in these days. We need to evaluate more than ever before.

My experiment also taught me that the quality of product is that much harder to recognize in a world oversaturated with experts. And now, more than ever, numbers matter. This had me wondering what we did before the Internet. Seriously, what did we do?

I’ve decided the reason it’s so hard for me to explain this thing I’m doing is because I fear categorization.

In my opinion, it’s important to know that starting at the bottom, with little to nothing, is still the way to go. It’s entirely too easy to overinflate and misrepresent, and aside from a raised eyebrow or occasional accolade, it gets you nowhere.

Phew. That felt like a lot. I’m off to go unsubscribe and get rid of some shady stuff on my Instagram account. The experiment is over. It’s time to return to being authentically ordinary. But trust me, extraordinary fun and potential are within us all. No lables or titles are necessary. Let’s unearth it together through some coffee and conversation.

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Behind the Hair

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In case your new to the site, I’m in Buffalo, New York this week, which is my favorite city and where I was raised. I’m basking in the beauty of quality time with my parents and watching them become amused and exhausted by my two little ones. It’s a true gift to be home and I’m grateful for our time together.

In desperate need of hair care, I asked my mother if she’d watch my girls while I went for a cut and color. I’m loyal and don’t deviate from the caretakers and custodians in my life, which includes my hair stylists. The woman who cut and colored my hair today had me in her chair at the ripe age of four. After a quick embrace, she got to work on my hot mess of hair horror.

I’ve always the loved the salon setting. Maybe it stems from my fascination with Miss Truvy’s in Steel Magnolias. Or, it might be my penchant for observational gossip. Regardless, I like to sit and absorb the antics. But today my stylist wanted to talk. With a coffee in hand, I explained the concept of fika and we dove right in.

She mentioned her work in elder care. Specifically, she had a position where she ran a salon at an assisted living facility. This allowed older people to look their best and gather in a communal salon setting. She spoke about their stories. Essentially, people pour their hearts out in her chair. Their lives become an open book, which in turn becomes a sharing session for others as well.

We agreed that as people age their need to foster connection grows. For various reasons, people long to leave their legacy with someone. We discussed the joy we find through these connections and the opportunities and insight it provides us in our own lives.

As she snipped here and colored there, she spoke about her desire to gather and share the stories she’s heard behind the hair. It struck me that she’s heard several interesting things, which shaped her career and conscience. Like me, she wants to write and exchange.

In an age of chronic cell phone communication, for the most part, people still commit to conversation at the salon.

There are certain places and professions where fika happens more organically and freely. Today was a good reminder to be open and receptive to the unexpected. Because behind the hair, a story lurks waiting to be told.

A Sunday Special

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Sunday nights are special. It’s my “me” time and I’m grateful for it. In a house that’s rarely quiet, I celebrate stillness. The silence is brief as I’m met with a loudness from within. Words pour out of me. Voices awaken. There’s a story screaming to be written.

I have these incredible dreams of scripts. Titles dance in my head. I fantasize about drafting a modern love story that’s so cliche yet high in demand. But I tend to push these projects aside, not for lack of interest or passion, but because the loudest voices are the ones with real needs, presence, and purpose. I’m drawn to discovery. Where are the authentic and appealing characters?  In short, all around me.

I’m surrounded by rich history and quiet soldiers. People battle through obstacles, carve out peace, or challenge authority in every day encounters. Their lives, like our world, are ever-evolving. Their stories, while interesting and worthwhile, are often reserved for the intimate fikas within their lives. How do I get a seat at their table?

It’s this very question that drives my desire to foster fika. So as I sit hear at my table, dreaming of a seat at yours, think about what you’d want to say. What would you want me to write? If you’re interested, let’s connect.

Tonight I made a list of strangers or very far-removed people who I’m determined to fika with and write about. I’m truly “fishing for fika.” Cast your line with me. I’ll be here dreaming. I call it a Sunday special.

 

Fishing for Fika: FINALLY!

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Hooray! You’re here. Welcome. Today’s the launch of a project that is so much more than a blog or podcast. It’s the culmination of failed endeavors, constant questioning, endless searching, and serious surrendering.

For years I’ve felt like I was fishing for something special. I’d cast a line into deep waters, unsure of my bait, anxiously angling and frantically reeling in.

I was desperate to do something with my writing. I was hungry to connect. A perpetual daydreamer, I yearned for the chance to make my mark. But like so many, I got caught up in the chaos. I swam in emails, became a slave to my phone, and cohabited with my computer.

In this powerful, fast-paced, ever-changing world, I drowned in doubt, fear, and epic excuses.

One day a friend asked me if I wanted to fika.  A true lover of words, she rendered me silent. What was fika?  Upon explanation, I was game.

Fika made sense. It was a chance to break and converse. A pause without a purpose other than fostering friendship or camaraderie. So we sat. We had no technology, no distraction, and no agenda.  She made the most delicious coffee and we let our discussion go in all sorts of directions. It felt strange, freeing, and fun.

As a storyteller, I’m drawn to opportunities to grow and gain insight into others. Fika offers me the platform to connect and conspire while creating stories worth sharing.

You’re a part of this project. In fact, you’re the passion behind it. Let’s fika!