First, I must offer my apologies for my little pity party yesterday. That's probably what I get for blogging in the wee hours of the morning. Several of you offered quite helpful suggestions, which I appreciate.
Today, I'm in a much better frame of mind, having attended the Smaller Indiana, Bigger Ideas conference yesterday. Who knew a business-ish conference could be inspiring, or at the least, uplifting?
Smaller Indiana is a social networking site aimed at connecting business people from all industries in an attempt encourage collaboration and drive economy. Sounds boring, but really, I've met some very cool people over at SI.
So yesterday's conference was 6 speakers presenting over the course of 4 hours. Someone smartly summed up the conference theme as "Passion. Connection. Execution." I won't regurgitate all the details, but wanted to share a few tidbits that stuck with me:
Singer Jennie Devoe spoke about being authentic and true to who you are. About not letting people box you in to a persona that doesn't fit.
"Break yourself out of the box no matter what you're age," Devoe said. "Dream until you die."
Devoe is the kind of woman I'd love to have as a friend. On stage, she was funny, honest, spiritual without being overwhelming.
Dave Foresell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, was a Garrison Keillor-type story teller, immediately engaging. Talking a little of his own personal health struggles, including his recently diagnosed kidney cancer, he said (I may be paraphrasing a bit here):
"I realize what a gift this life is and I don't want to sleepwalk through it."
Foresell also used one of my favorite quotes from Abraham Heschel:
"Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy."
The final speaker was Ken Johnson, motivational speaker and chaplain for the Indianapolis Colts. This hulking, football player-size black man was energetic and powerfully uplifting. The Twitter stream from the conference (search #sibi) was full of quotes from Ken:
"It's what you learn after you know it all that really counts."
"If you are the smartest person in your life, your circle is too small."
He told of how he encouraged his children to be eagles, soaring high above any adversity, telling them to be "an eagle, not a chicken."
"Eagles find a way. Chickens find excuses."
As a self-professed writer, I was inspired by what Johnson had to say about the power of words.
"I use words to make this world a better place."
"Words can make you feel better or bitter."
Finally, he asked a question that is still ringing inside me:
"Is anyone calling for greatness anymore?"
Smaller Indiana, Bigger Ideas was certainly worth the investment of my time. All the videos of the speakers will be posted soon on the Smaller Indiana site. I didn't leave SIBI feeling like I wanted to take on the world. But I did leave inspired to take on my kitchen, which was a significant improvement over the "I don't wannas."