Craig Dunham, who lived fully and happily, despite ALS.
Every year I join the Walk to Defeat ALS and send out the emails to all my friends asking for their support. I always worry that they will feel "spammed"... It feels awkward to ask for money or ask for anything at all. I don't want my friends to feel put on the spot.
But then I remember how hard it must be for those who have ALS who need to ask for help with everything.. I also remember that many of us feel happy to be asked and want to help. In fact, giving or helping others, again, is something that makes us happy. So I really can look at it as I'm giving my friends an opportunity to be happier. You're welcome! ;-) (Just kidding about that. I hate it when people say that "You're welcome!" thing when no one actually says 'Thank you'!)
Yesterday, I was able to walk with Scott Marble and his huge team of supporters in St. Paul. I feel very grateful for those friends who sent in donations, who've walked with me, and support me constantly in this cause. I know there are friends back home in Colorado that walk with me every year and I feel bad that I'll miss that tradition this year, but lucky that I made some new friends to walk with and support me here in the Twin Cities.
Progress is being made.. Thanks to all the donations in these past few years (especially with all the money raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge), a gene has been isolated and a cure is on the way.
Many thoughts and wishes for happiness go out to Scott Marble and his friends and family as he continues to fight for a cure.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
When I headed out to Minnesota in April, I viewed it like an experiment in happiness. Knowing that connection was a key to happiness, and also realizing I knew no one here, I wondered how long it would take for me to feel "connected."
I feel like I hit the jackpot out here.. I love my job and the people I work with at Optum. I've also made friends from Meetups, tennis, and dancing, many of whom I'm sure will be friends for life. I even found some friends to go on the Mediterranean cruise with me in November!
Every weekend has been full of fun social activities with friends. I don't have pictures of all the fun events I've done in the past few weeks, but here's a good sampling.
|At a BBQ at the home of my very cool boss, Emran.|
|Boating on the Mississippi|
|Dancing 'crazy' to an oldies rock-n-roll band|
|Pat juggling at the Renaissance Festival|
|Lunch at Red Wing with Scott, Lisa, and Pat|
|Biking with Scott, Pat, and Lisa|
|At a Polo Match with Lisa|
|At a Hanger WWII Period Swing Dance with Pat|
|Walking Tour of St. Paul Mansions with Lisa and Dennis|
Thursday, September 08, 2016
Two of the biggest names in the world of Agile software development are Mike Cohn and Lisa Crispin. In fact Mike Cohn is listed as the #1 in the list of "The Top 20 Most Influential Agile People." Lisa is best known for her work in quality and Agile testing, and if you're in this space, you'll recognize the book she co-authored with Janet Gregory, "Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams."
These two pundits have authored books, spoken at conferences, been active on social media, and have undoubtedly taught Agile skills to thousands of professionals. I know if you're not in this field, you're probably thinking, 'And what exactly are "Agile skills"?'
Well... that's a long and complicated topic, but one "Agile skill" is "servant leadership." A servant leader does not lead by telling others what to do (that is so 'old school') but rather leads by supporting, and helping those around them succeed and grow. Mike and Lisa lead by example. They are wonderful teachers and mentors and never gloat about their high status nor are they condescending towards others. They don't act as though they know all the answers to every controversial topic, but rather encourage the discussion and debate, giving their insightful viewpoints.
I've been lucky that, as a writer in this industry, I've gotten to meet and interview many Agile leaders. Lisa and Mike, who both live in Colorado, have always been two of my favorites, and I've gotten to know them more personally through different work-related events. Mike even wrote me a referral for the contract I'm currently on at Optum saying (and I quote, because I'm saving this email forever!)
"I can definitely attest to Yvette’s professionalism and knowledge of all things agile."
Just to give you an idea of what that feel's like... Substitute the word, "agile" with a skill you're passionate about. Now, think about the most well-known, respected person in that field writing a referral for you! Definitely something for the career scrapbook!
Lisa, too, has befriended me, and even read and reviewed my book (a humor memoir about dating at an older age!) So much for my professional image! But I was SO flattered that one of my heroes took the time to do such a thing and to get to know me personally!
I know how busy both Mike and Lisa are... Besides their very active careers, they have families, and I know they don't have time to befriend all of their fans, so I try to be sensitive about not bugging them too much.
I do have to brag, though, that they both replied to me about my "Premier Agile Retreats" email that I sent out yesterday. Even though they can't come this year, they both expressed interest in next year.
It's probably a good thing they aren't coming on the cruise this year because it might be embarrassing for them to be burdened by people who act like doting groupies whenever they're around... This way I'll have time to perfect my, "Yeah, I'm cool,... Just hanging out with my Agile buddies, Mike Cohn and Lisa Crispin", pose for all the photo ops..