The end of the calendar year makes many people, including me, look back and reflect on the previous 12 months. Having done a little of that, I’m happy to report that my optimism–some might say delusional optimism–is intact as I end 2014 with a lot to celebrate.
My joy flows in part from friends and colleagues who scaffold me in life and work. Sometimes they are one and the same–friends and colleagues, that is. While there are many who guide and support me, and I love them all, today I wish to recognize two women who have helped me AND the Women’s Learning Studio grow and refine our focus. They are Lyn Boyer and Lisa Levinson.
Lyn, founder and former partner in the Women’s Learning Studio, departed in June to return to her coaching and writing practice on affective leadership. Before she left, she led the way on developing e-books, self-discovery quizzes, list of top 100 tools, and our blog in 2013. We wouldn’t see her (online) for a few days and then she would show up with a comprehensive draft of something really neat to show us. It was impossible to keep up with her quality and rate of production when she was motivated. I’d like to talk about several of her blog posts of great value to me and others.
Lyn is open to inspiration from everything and everyone. She dives into topics and moves the learning edge forward for herself and others. So it was with her Top 40 Websites for Women blog post. She had seen a list of the top fifty bloggers on leadership and management based on Alexa rankings. Very few women were on the list. Indeed, the top woman was twelfth from the top of the list. Lyn did her research and compiled her own list of favorite women bloggers as a “gift” to all of us and simultaneously recognize the widespread diversity of female thought leadership online.
Unlike the recent article by Pamela Paul in the NYT on “How to Be liked by Everyone Online” (subtitled “How to Speak Internet”), when I want to “favorite” two other blog posts by Lyn, my favoriting them is not a tepid response but a solid endorsement. Lyn’s how-to blog post on projects as learning vehicles to coincidentally change the world came out in May 2014. She coupled the value of learning new skills and tools with “doing things that were previously impossible” that could “solve very pressing social and economic problems.” This combo-purpose is in keeping with Lyn’s desire to improve and leave things better than when she found them. She believes that with the internet and skill, any of us so motivated can now have an unprecedented impact as a force for good.
She revealed both her dry sense of humor and intense work schedule in her Lean In, Lean Out, or Lie Down post. She also spoke about her personal challenges and interests. Her sharing impressed me because I sometimes wrestle with what to disclose whereas she handled it directly and entertainingly. She professed to long for a hammock that day but we know that Lyn can’t slow down much because she is determined and eager to add value wherever she is. Lisa and I look forward to reuniting with Lyn over lunch in 2015 in Sarasota when Lisa, a Mainer, becomes a Floridian for a while.
Speaking of which, Lisa Levinson informs and incites readers to act with her posts, too. I could have named more but three blog posts stand out for me. Most recently, Lisa wrote Five More Insights from the IFWE–International Forum for Women in ELearning, i.e., a convention held in San Antonio in early December. She saw the “spirit of sisterhood” in action at the conference as they embraced her and me as first-time attendees and presenters. Lisa also saw the emphasis of mind/body connections and included a top-notch demo video from a workshop in her post that sparked me to practice The Breath of Joy. Not only did she awaken me to how the Studio could and should do more with the mind-body connection, she helped me see the conference in a totally different and meaningful way. Finally, she put her Mona Lisa picture at the end of the post to invite readers to laugh; at her and with her. Her zest for living and laughing lighten my spirit.
Lisa’s blog post in September on her Top Ten Online Tools of the Year still draws looks and links. This post was prompted by Jane Hart’s release of her world-wide top 100 learning tools survey. Lisa took the time to share and compare her top ten tools with Jane’s personal tool selection. In this way, it is very easy for others to see why and how different tools could become necessary to one’s work every day. And the references back to new tools in the list of 100 keeps informing readers of possibilities to try.
I also enjoyed Lisa’s post about Business Blogging. She notes that in a networked world, blogs “that promote collaborative thinking and discussion” are best for meeting others and engaging with them. Here she cites the influence of Ernesto Priego, Euan Semple, and Bryce Williams to help readers grasp why blogging is good for business. She urges readers to try working out loud in blogging and ends with this Semple quote: “…with a business blog, whether internal or external, we have a place to play. We can make the blog our own and we can write with our own voice. We can learn to notice more and value our insights. We can learn to use plain language and say what we mean. We can write in a way intended to be read by others like us and in doing so encourage them to follow our lead. We can together raise the prospect of reinventing business writing – and not a moment too soon!”
And with that, I will close by thanking Lisa and Lyn for being wonderful business partners, life allies, and role models in learning, and leading others to learn and take what they know to do more good work in their workplaces and communities. I also thank everyone who came to the Women’s Learning Studio this year to read, to participate in an e-vent, and to share perspectives. I hope you will come back often in 2015 to help others learn from your stories of experimentation, learning, setback, and victory.
Please remember: we crawled first as babies, then walked, ran, and can now fly (with assistive devices of course!). It doesn’t matter where we are on the developmental continuum, the critical thing is to take the risk of moving forward in a purposeful way. I send wishes for happy endings and new beginnings in 2015. And encouragement to stop for a Breath of Joy to elevate your spirits when you need a boost.
Photo credit on hands and world image to John Hain at Pixabay