Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Happiness is... the Theater

Earlier this month, I got to experience the theater twice! I got to see my granddaughter perform in a production of "Princess and the Pea" and I also was able to experience a behind-the-scenes tour at the Denver Center of Performing Arts.

My granddaughter, Reneya, is the middle "dust-bunny" in this picture..  the one smiling from misplaced floppy ear to floppy ear.  Her performance was flawless! (I'm not at all biased!)

Now, I know I'm only her Grandma and know nothing about dramatic talent, but you can't help but be happy just to see her excitement when she's on stage. (She also was absolutely the best "hopper" of the bunch.) That fearless confidence just makes my heart swell with pride. It's so opposite of the shy, scared little girl that I once was. I got such terrible stage-fright as a kid that I quit piano after 8 years because I just could not handle the anxiety of recitals.

Even though I've never been a performer, I've always loved the theater. I love the creativity and artistry of the sets, the special effects and the costumes. And, of course, the stories that come alive thanks to talented actors.

It's amazing to see all the work and efforts that go into every production from set design to costuming. For example, for a single wig, each strand of real hair is sewn into place. Each costume is designed to the exact measurements of the actors and actresses. They also have to allow for the 'quick changes' since often the actors only have seconds between scenes.

Over the years, I've overcome my shyness and pushed myself to do things out of my comfort zone.  One thing on my bucket list that I have yet to do is "Perform in a Play" so I thought that a fitting goal to write on this "Before I die..." board that was out on the walkway on our theater tour.

I'll probably have to learn to act first and then find some community theater group that gives me my big break, but..  it will happen! Some day you may all see me on stage as a Grandma Dustbunny.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Happiness is... New Friends

For the past few years I've been very interested in friendships and social connection. According to all the 'positive psychology research,' social connection is the key to happiness. According to this video, 25% of Americans report that they have ZERO friends! The lack of friendships is literally making people sick. The guy in the video says what's needed is "a framework for people to connect."

A framework? That's exactly what I teach, coach, and write about. It's a "framework" for Agile software development, but there's a lot about teamwork, leadership, communication, collaboration, and emotional intelligence.. all things that could be used for a social connection "framework." If I add in stuff that I've learned from positive psychology, I could absolutely create a framework! Move over, Oprah, I'm about to get famous.

Only one problem. Meeting new people is totally out of my comfort zone. But since deciding I was going to be the new expert on how to make deep friendships, I've been trying to practice all the things I would teach. And guess what? It's been working!

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a woman on my bus ride home from the airport who was wearing really cute, comfortable-looking shoes. After 10 minutes or so of thinking I'd really like to have a pair of shoes like those, I did the obvious thing.. I surreptitiously took a picture of her feet, figuring I could show the picture around at shoe stores like a detective searching for a missing person.

But then I thought, "Wait a minute! I don't need to sneak around like a predator with a foot fetish. I can simply ask her what kind of shoes she's wearing." She kindly tells me, "They're Dansko shoes."

After searching Dansko shoe images and not finding any like hers, I intrusively move to her seat and tell her I REALLY like her shoes but can't find them when I search. She graciously offers to send me more information if I give her my number. I do. While we're still on the bus, she texts me the exact ad from Nordstrom Rack, where she bought the shoes.

We both get off the bus at the same stop and I find out she's a contractor in the Tech industry like me. She says maybe we could get together for a hike some time. This is crucial in making a friend out of a stranger..  The suggestion of getting together. I'm usually not brave enough to do this, but luckily, she was! And she hasn't even read the book I have yet to write! It's like she intuitively knew "the framework."

I got home, ordered 3 pair of Dansko shoes, and when they arrived, I texted my new friend, Deseree, to thank her for her help and ask if she wanted to go on that hike.

The next week we hiked along Boulder creek and got to know each other better. She even tried to set me up with one of her friends who likes to dance. Now I'm not really looking for a setup right now but it was thoughtful of her and made me feel good that she would even want to set me up.

Since then I've been smiling more at strangers and stepping out of my comfort zone so much that it's getting easier and easier to meet new people and make new friends. 

The book I wrote 10 years ago was about looking for romantic love. I've dreamed for a long time about finding love, but as I've written on this blog many times, love comes in a lot of different forms.

So.. that's going to be what my next book is about! Stay tuned for a bunch of embarrassing new stories, a workbook, and workshops as I author the new framework for creating loving friendships!