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Open Book October... What Would YOU Like to Know?

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

About once a week, I steal away and work from this little nook at Boxyard RTP. It’s perched next to the cupcake shop on the second level and has the perfect view of folks coming and going.

Yesterday, after I set up “shop,” I ran into a colleague I hadn’t seen in a while. In the midst of exchanging pleasantries, she mentioned that she keeps up with this column and then said, “I try to read between the lines, but I’m always left wondering HOW you are.”

While I sincerely appreciated her interest, I got the sense that what she really wanted to say was, “I’m always left wondering WHO you are,” opting for the more polite inquiry instead.  

Either way, she’s right. I often write from the perspective of an observer – more as a guide or a good friend, rarely centering my own experiences. It’s a growth opportunity and one I decided to work on…immediately. 

To help inspire a shift in my perspective, I watched this year’s One Shining Moment, again and created my personal highlight reel. Now, if you’re a college basketball fan like me, One Shining Moment will strike a chord. It’s the video that plays at the end of every NCAA Division I Men’s National championship game and is the most spectacular example of a highlight reel I can think of. I cry every time.

After 30 minutes of brainstorming my own list of shining moments, it turns out my highlight reel is a vault full of crazy stories and cool moments long forgotten. From my encounter with Irv Gotti at Murder Inc. to a masterclass with the CEO of Procter & Gamble, I suddenly had new stories and insights whirling around in my head that I couldn’t wait to share.

That said, I think I’ll call this month “Open Book October” where each week I’ll feature a personal and meaningful story that will hopefully provide some inspiration and offer new insights. Here’s what I’m thinking: 

  • I’ll introduce you to the two people who have had the greatest impact on my life and share the life-changing lessons they taught by example.
  • I’ll explain how I went from working on an Amish farm to working for the ‘World’s Most Admired Company.”
  • I’ll reveal my Top 10 Takeaways – a list chocked full of funny bloopers and memorable moments each with helpful tips and takeaways.

I might imagine that reading a few of my highlights might have you curious about your own. If so, give yours a try over lunch or after dinner with a glass of wine.

  • Write down a chronological documentation of the moments that made you proud. Think about your childhood, early career, relationships and your professional/entrepreneurship journey.
  • Now ask, what made those moments so special? Who was impacted by your decision or good work? How did they change you?

This exercise has the power to shift your mood and mindset instantly! It’s evidence of how incredible your life’s journey has been thus far.

That said, remember that everyone has a highlight reel full of the same merriment, mess and milestones as you. Your highlight reel is the ”WHO are you?” that brings people together in new ways and creates the common ground we’re all seeking.


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