Tag Archives: The Art of Non-Conformity

In Review

Oklahoma ChristmasThinking back.

During the summer of 2009, I tracked how I spent my time. I was prompted to do this because I often couldn’t tell you what exactly I did during my summer break by the time school started. I knew I was productive but I couldn’t remember specifics from one afternoon of floating on my raft to the next. I began listing my accomplishments, books I read, new workouts I tried, new artwork I made and trips I took.

By the end of 2010, however, I had found Chris Guillebeau and his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity  and began utilizing some of his suggestions for reflecting on an Annual Review . During the ending weeks of December, and possibly sliding into the early weeks of January, I take time to note past accomplishments and future goals so they won’t escape out-of-reach and out-of-memory as days get hectic. For me, the older I get, and the faster time flies, it is reassuring to read through the goals I had a year ago and recall all that I’ve done to fulfill my life. This makes me feel good and it helps me further continue down the Path Of Life with an idea of how I can use my time in the days ahead. Although there are a myriad of templates and suggestions online about how to reflect upon the past year, Chris’ method utilizes two primary questions:

• What went well in 2012?

• What did not go well in 2012?

This reflective tool not only helps me organize the year ahead, but it helps me easily track the highlights of my life, in the very short form of a bulleted diary. In my Annual Review, I also continue to include notes on books I read and travels I took as these continue to be important aspects of my life. Last December, one of my goals was to start this blog. By reading my thoughts on that from a year ago, it makes me feel proud to know that I not only accomplished that, but also inspired a few people along the way. Looking forward, I will visualize what lies ahead and how my blog may change when I live overseas.

This past holiday week I’ve been fortunate to spend time with my daughter who lives out of state. She is about to begin her last semester of college and is entering into a time of transition – just like I am. All we’ve grown accustomed to is about to change. We are both considering new jobs, new cities and new people. We are about to step out into a place we’ve never been. As she watches my life unfold, she is observing how life continues to be about change. We’ve talked about how exciting a new time can be and how stressful it can be. We feel out of control because we have opportunities that we didn’t have before and we have no way of knowing what the future holds.  Although she and I work out decisions through our faith, there is still the first step, which can be scary. Risks are involved. Taking that first step has the power to alter the course of not only your life but also the lives of others. It’s a big deal.

During these last days of 2012 I want to thank you, my readers, for inspiring and motivating me. You have been my accountability partner to stand firm in being courageous as I take the next step. Thank you so much.

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Proud To Be a Non-Conformist

Take a chance.

Months ago I signed up for a conference in Portland, Oregon called the World Domination Summit. This summit was Chris Guillebeau’s creation. For the past two years I’ve been following Chris’ blog, The Art of Non-Conformity. He fascinates me both with his advice on traveling the world and his ability to inspire his readers. Tens of thousands of people follow his blog and his “small army,” as he calls his followers, live all over the world. This army of people is changing the world, one day at a time, in very diverse ways. One thousand small army members have joined forces to learn from one another in Portland this weekend.

On Thursday, I flew from DFW to PDX by myself. I didn’t know anyone on the plane and I don’t know anyone in Portland. I had an idea that I would likely be one of the oldest “army” members, as this summit has much to do with new technologies in the forms of blogging, eBook publication, world travel and living life without conforming and it seems to me that thirty-somethings have the corner on this market. There was a slight hint of fear in me if I stopped long enough to give that negative energy a foothold in my mind, but I tried not to. These little, creeping fears included thinking I’d be “too old”; fear of knowing how to get from the Portland airport to my hostel, fear of feeling inadequate amongst these amazing small army members, fear of fitting in. I love adventure and making friends from all around the world and I really do believe I have something to offer the world in myself, so I didn’t allow these feelings of fear sit for too long in my head in the days leading up to the summit. Every time one of these little, creeping fears started to tickle my imagination and turn my stomach, I’d squash it the way you would an annoying Texas mosquito by reading a blog from an inspirational writer or imagining what exciting paths could be opened to me at this summit if I would only just keep walking in that direction.

From her blog, Shanna Trenholm posted an article for those of us arriving in Portland who had never attended WDS before. Her mindful advice helped soothe my restless soul. As I was reading her list of “pitfalls”, I connected with one in particular:

“You’ll struggle with comparison-itis. You will be sure that everyone else is living a remarkable life, that your life is the only small life in the room. Stop it. Don’t fall into that trap. It isn’t true. Being remarkable is on a continuum and it can be measured in many ways. Make your own measure. Create your own amazing.”

Create your own amazing. Isn’t that wonderful? I wanted to share it with you.

Finding my way to the hostel, I remembered the last time I was in Portland about 25 years ago. At that time I attended the NCECA conference. It makes me smile to remember that even back then, I went to Portland by myself. I’ve never forgotten it and always yearned to go back. So here I am.

This is a very partial listing of a few of the seminars I’ve gone to and persons I’ve listened to:

• World Premiere screening of “I’m Fine, Thanks”

• Indie Publishing with Matthew Gartland

• Finding Freelance Jobs Online with Andrea Warner

• What’s Curation? with Jodi Ettenberg

• How to Have the Best Year of Your Life Traveling with Erick Widman

This week why don’t you try something different? Give yourself to the world. You’re awesome and the world needs you. Get involved and don’t ever stop.

Oh, yeah. The first day I arrived I found a super hip, interesting and fascinating group at the summit: The WDS Baby Boomers!!! Why was I worried? 🙂

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