Sunday, March 17, 2013

(h)IN(d)SIGHT is growing

Visit the new site at
Bookmark the site, add it to your reader feed or follow me on wordpress.

All past posts have made their way over to the new site and are settling in just fine. See you there.

Photo credit: eloranta

Saturday, March 16, 2013

And this, too, is true.


The on the road to a more enlightened self and life, I am quick to share my “successes”—lessons learned with “good” results. Pleasantries and things that please and appease.

Part of my personal mission is to inject as much uplift and joy into the world as possible. After all, many folks are free with the negativity. If you’re in the mood to feel down or get outraged, you’ve got a lot of options. Start with the nightly news. 

I aim to bring more balance into the world. My mentor in graduate school said, “Mary, it seems like you live in opposition.” And he’s kinda right. When I moved to the progressive western MA area, I got a little more conservative. Growing up in Republican Springfield, MO, I was a screaming liberal. That’s my nature, I reckon.

However, authenticity and integrity are values that rank high for me. In order to inject joy and uplift, I actually have to feel that way. And truth be told, I usually do. What you see, read, or hear is what you get. That’s me, baby.

But my authentic experience of this life includes ups and down. It’d be misleading then, to never write a blog post like this one, sharing my hardships, moments of grief and suffering that are wilier than I’d like. The kind that keep my mind racing while I’m trying to fall asleep at night and incite such fidgeting that I avoid my meditation cushion altogether.

So I’d like to tell you…

Right now my heart is breaking for a lost relationship right alongside incredible suffering-producing impatience for knowing and making my next move (re: physical location, job/career/income source, life in general). All this topped off with a generous scoop of self-doubt since my usual intuitive guidance system feels like it’s malfunctioned. I went from impatience to frustration to heartbreak to total surrender in two days time.

I haven’t given up, but I’ve loosened my grip. I’m taking a breather and taking time just to feel what it’s like to be here. Perplexed and wanting. Hurt. In and out of tears.

All this has stimulated me to think about the ultimate goal in my efforts for self-growth. It’s not the end result I desire to change. That is, I’m not aiming to eliminate suffering entirely (or I’d shave my head and get to meditating 15 hours a day at a monastery).

I am seeking, however, to work with my relationship to the inevitable pain that arises in life…and the inevitable pleasure. The mark of improvement for me is in how I process the bliss and the turmoil. Can I truly feel what it’s like to be with joy? To sit with a broken heart? How tightly do I hold onto the pleasant things? How hard do I try to avoid the pain of the unpleasant?

This is our shared journey. The human experience. And to that end, I offer up this humble post and share a slice of my story that normally wouldn’t make it to the blog roster.

Photo Credit: Sebastian Kobs

Monday, March 11, 2013

The best things in life are free.

Hello lovely readers,

This post is gonna look a little different from my previous ones. Chris Guillebeau over at Art of Non-Conformity is doing a social experiment, asking his readers to offer up something for free. I've been offering my services to a few friends, and I wanted to extend my offer to ya'll to participate in this experiment.

How to participate:
Have you had the experience of knowing you're on to something? You're sure this is an amazing idea, story, concept, etc. In your mind it all makes sense and is too powerful to deny. Yet when you put pen to paper, something is amiss. You got some elements on the page, but it doesn't match the vision in your mind....yet...

If you are beginning a project, writing an article, or adding content to your webpage and you know it can be better, but your confused about how to make it better or about just what the heck you're trying to say, send it my way.

The one any only caveat is that you must submit a document of some sort. My strength is in working with documents as a means to work with people. I may give feedback via skype or a phone chat, but I don't excel at working things out with people, exclusively via conversation. I'm a visual person, I need to see it or read it first, have time to digest and get some perspective.

What I'm offering:
My services as a Deep Editor. I give feedback using a combination of my skills from NVC which help me to be objective and compassionate and my creative problem solving abilities as The Imaginator. This basically means, I see where you're coming from and what you mean first. Then I work to punch it up. I want your ideas to shine in service of your vision.

Are you in?
Send your document and a blurb about yourself and your project to marykoppes at gmail dot com and let's get started.

Photo Credit: erica noel

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fear at Game Time

"Imagine that you're a team coach and you're giving your emotions a pep talk before the game. 'So how's everyone feeling about the game?' you shout.

Enthusiasm shouts back, 'I am stoked! Can't wait to get on the field!' and pumps the air with his fists, smiling, looking to everyone to smile. Anxiety is pacing in the back of the room, in his own world, and looks up briefly to say, 'I am so scared I could puke,' and keeps on pacing. Abandonment Issues says, 'Look, if we don't score in the first quarter, we should take the ball and go home-- end it before they do, you know. But, hey, I'm in!' As the coach, you're nodding, listening to each player intently, and assessing which players to put in the lead for your best chances of victory.

Fear stands up. 'Are y'all crazy? If I lose this game, I'll never play in this town again.' And then Fear starts picking on the other players. 'Enthusiasm, it just ain't natural to be that happy; you gotta get real. And anxiety! Shit, if you get on the field and have a freeze attack, we all go down.'

Finally you step in, 'All right, McFearstein, we appreciate your point of view, and you've got some good points. Now let's listen to the others.' Just like all of your emotions, Fear just wants to be seen and heard.

Confidence (who is also the team captain) says, 'I'm feeling steady. If we stay focused, this win is ours. And when we win, the offers will start pouring in.' Insecurity says, 'If you want me on the bench, I, I understand, Coach.' Well, if that's where you want to be, then that's where you'll be, you think to yourself.

Pragmatic shrugs and nods at the same time: 'Odds are stacked in our favor. Anything could happen.' Love raises her hand, 'Listen you're all fucking amazing! And I believe in every single one of you!' Woot.

Time to drop some truth bombs Coach. Time to lead, not accommodate. You can't let Fear steal more air time. And Anxiety is hanging out on the edge distracting everyone. Here's how it's got to go down: 'I echo what Love said. You're all amazing. We're contenders. Enthusiasm, you're in front; Confidence and Pragmatic have got your back. Abandonment Issues, your job is to trust your instincts. You will know when it's right to pass the ball-- we trust you. Anxiety, you're alert, and we need that on the team. You need to stay close to Confidence. The important thing to do is just stay in the game-- keep playing.

'Fear, thanks for looking out for us. Yep, we could fail, it's possible. This is risky. But we'll come out on top no matter what, because that's who we are. You've done your job, and now you'll be playing from the bench.'

When you can see fear as just an emotion that's hanging out with all of your other emotions, you gain some clearer perspective. It's not superior, and it's not even inferior. It's just an emotion that you can choose to focus on or not."
This is an excerpt from Danielle LaPorte's Fire Starter Sessions. It's one of the best things I've read about dealing with fear. Plus I was cracking up as I read it. Good information, inspiration, and humor. Can't beat that.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Introducing The IMAGINATOR


Quick review from my last post:

In the Human-Centered Resume, WHO, WHY and HOW are the 3 KINGS.

The message is:
WHO I am as a person, WHY I chose my past experiences, and HOW I went about doing them drives WHAT I've done, WHERE I did it and WHEN I did it. Therefore WHO, WHY and HOW  are the best indicators of my ability to succeed in the job I'm applying for.

Then I left you hanging with this suspenseful phrase: The resume itself looks like:

Drum roll please…..

            Short (one line)
            Story based
            Tie in with previous employment AND non-employment experiences

The first construct/superpower I’ve developed for my personal resume is “The Imaginator.” 

Never content to do something the conventional way if a better way is possible, the Imaginator always has an eye to possibilities.
When empowered in my workplace, I also have the efficacy to make improvements and experiment to help already awesome organizations spiral toward even more greatness.

As the Imaginator, I improved the line for more efficient and ergonomic short order cooking for two seasons at Stanley Baking Company. Ask the manager Becky about this; she was game to try nearly every suggestion I put forth. I also executed a number of wild lesson plans as a Teaching Assistant in the Sociology department at UMass Amherst to increase student engagement. Imagining a brave new life, I’ve lived in a new location every six months for the past 5 years.

 Woah, Woah, Woah. What Just Happened There, Mary?!

Notice how I gave some job history/experience information, a tie in to a reference, and demonstrated how this superpower works in two vastly different work situations.

One reason I wanted to create this kind of resume is because I’m transitioning out of my “career” as a seasonal line-cook and into any kind of work that nourishes my mind, body, and soul.

Housing my variety of experiences under a construct/superpower is so empowering for me because I’m a Meaning Maker (it’s another superpower). I see continuity in my life where others see chaos and skills-based resumes represent my life as disjointed and confusing to employers.

Wait she was a Teaching and Research Assistant for two years at a top university and then she worked for free at a Buddhist center and then became a line cook working in a town I've never heard of in the-middle-of-nowhere Idaho?

Actually, yes. That’s my life. And it may well be yours, too. Bold folks do weird things, ya know?

Keep In Mind

This is what I wrote off-the-cuff without a specific job posting/position in mind. 
My vision for the Human-Centered Resume is to tell relevant, short, simple stories that illustrate things at the intersection of:
·      Deep personal resonance in terms of illustrating who we are as gifted and capable humans
·      Deep resonance for employers in terms of our ability to rock their world by meeting eligibility requirements and then some

Value-added at every turn and completely in the realm of “show not tell.”

I am from The Show Me State after all.
As I play with this more I also want to make it visual. For example, “The Imaginator” would be represented with a symbol (e.g. imaginator x-ray goggles). I’ve just begun exploring how the visual element can be incorporated, but I love the idea of images and words dancing together on a page.


My first ask:

I'd love your feedback on the concept I've presented here. What, if anything, gave you an "aha" moment? What, if anything, made your brow furrow in skepticism? How can I make this better or present the idea better?

Compassion-fueled feedback is welcome; be aware this is rough and I am tender.

Reach me at marykoppes at gmail dot com


Photo Credit: photobunny

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Human-Centered Resumes (are the way of the future!)

Since I attended StartingBloc mid-February, I've been full of excitement, ideas, and energy. One major benefit of attending SB is that I got some perspective on a personal blind-spot. I was among a group of 100+ do-ers n' entrepreneurs. 

Though I think of myself as more of a be-er than a do-er, the blind-spot that I got some insight into was my own ideas ---> action gap. Sometimes I have "good" ideas but they seem "minor," so instead of taking them seriously and pursuing them, I just dream up more ideas. Having some insight into this blind-spot has piqued my curiosity about what would happened if I fully explored even one of these "good" ideas. 

Follow thru, baby.

To make this all more concrete...

I've had numerous conversations with folks in the past several months about the process of applying for jobs, constructing resumes, writing cover letters and interviewing. I'm (f)unemployed and so are a number of folks I know so these kinds of conversations surface frequently.

In all my conversations about the job-hunting process, I've never heard anyone say, "I love it. I wish I could be a professional job applicant. Chronological resumes make my heart sing!" 

I myself may have used a couple expletives in expressing my views on the topic. My frustration has fueled what I'm now calling The Human-Centered Resume project. It's part of my practice of harnessing the power of "negative" energy and channeling it into building something better which, along the way, converts the "negative" quality into a "positive" one. It also shines the light on my blind-spot.

Bi-product: Happier Mary. Happier world.

So this: 

"I f*&%ing hate searching for jobs. It's so $#%&ing frustrating to make a resume that reflects who I am." (Full disclosure: I was stuck in this thought process for about two months.)

Became this: 

What would a swoon-worthy resume and job-hunting process look like? Why am I so irked by the current process? Considering those irksome properties, how can I build something better that eliminates them?

Then I actually started to build it... The Human-Centered Resume was born.

Let's start by examining the logic of the current resume model...

I call it: 
The Skills-Based Resume
It treats WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE as the 3 KINGS
The message is:
WHAT I’ve done in the past, WHEN I did it , and WHERE I did it are the best indicators of my ability to succeed in the position I’m applying for.

On the resume itself, this looks like:
A description of duties in previous positions and/or professional titles (WHAT
Displayed in reverse chronological order, showing "progression" in career (WHEN
Headed up by the name of the organization & the physical location (WHERE)

Here comes the irksome part.

WHO I am as person, WHY I chose to do the the things on my resume, and HOW I went about doing them is:
a) considered irrelevant and ignored
b) matters (at least a little) and is assumed to be reasonably well derived from looking at the 3 KINGS
c) we’ll figure it out if we decide to interview or hire you whether we want to or not (e.g. Damn, that guy's got a a major anger problem. His work is brilliant but it sucks working with him. Who knew?!)

Taken alone I was irked that the WHO, WHY and HOW are exiled from the resume kingdom by the 3 KINGS. So my frustration was compounded when I realized that the resume-exchange and hiring process are but a microcosm of (and entry point into) the whole dehumanizing* system of workplace organizations. 

Build a Better System AKA (to SB LA '13-ers) "Show 'em the clean glass of water!"

In the Human-Centered Resume, WHO, WHY and HOW are the 3 KINGS.

The message is:
WHO I am as a person, WHY I chose my past experiences, and HOW I went about doing them drives WHAT I've done, WHERE I did it and WHEN I did it. Therefore WHO, WHY and HOW  are the best indicators of my ability to succeed in the job I'm applying for.

Here's a side-by-side comparison.

On the resume itself this look like:

STAY TUNED! The next post will reveal the secrets of Human-Centered Resumes. They really are the way of the future, folks.
*My intention in using the word "dehumanizing" isn't to trigger ya. I mean it as literally as possible. We are literally reduced, in our resumes, to skill sets, past experiences, dates, titles, etc.  I think that even in the least human-friendly organizations there are elements of humanism, but on the whole organizations (especially large ones) take on a bureaucratic tone and are essentially dehumanizing. Read some Max Weber.