Once upon a time, I wrote this to a friend about rituals: “We need…rituals because we can celebrate the individual differences of each event while taking comfort in their overarching consistency. The familiarity allows us a moment to breathe, a moment in which we don’t have to test our responses to new situations; and yet with each new version of the same event, more differences and subtleties become clear. We’re able to learn and grow just as much as we’re able to give ourselves a break.”
That said, I bring you one of the happiest rituals of my week, my Sunday morning (or afternoon, as it may be) coffee. Today’s delectable blend is Folger’s, poorly measured and badly burnt. What can I say, I don’t live in Portland anymore. This ritual is really important to me; it’s my time to peruse the list of blog posts I’ve read and enjoyed this week (I read upwards of 50 blog posts every night) so that I can parse different points into my brainstorm document, reflect on good ideas, and finally, share interesting information with you. Here’s my top five list for this week:
- GOOD Magazine makes an interesting point about fighting world hunger. The answer could be bugs! I always love a good reminder that many of the things we consider “gross” are just cultural constructs, particularly in the U.S.–I still remember David Foster Wallace’s point (in Consider the Lobster) that lobsters (considerably insect-like themselves) used to be considered so disgusting that they were only fit for inmates. Now, of course, lobster is a delicacy. Also, my old English professor would have an aneurysm over the number of times I just said “consider.”
- The brilliant Lucy Berholz details one of the year’s most beautiful performance reports. I can’t wait until The Great Exchange is in a place in which we can start sending out annual impact reports, and I’m going to keep this one in mind for inspiration. Like most things in the nonprofit world, performance reports are all about combining hard evidence and thorough evaluation with, well, an attractive face. Click here to see the actual report.
- The Charity Navigator blog is one of dozens to document Generosity Day, a thoughtful (and pretty cute) rebranding of Valentine’s Day. Now, this is particularly exciting to me because I grew up around people who called Valentine’s Day a “Hallmark Holiday” or a “Consumer’s Holiday.” I won’t deny the truth in this, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love hearts, flowers, chocolate, valentines, and general sap (third-wave feminism. Thanks, Smith College). Generosity Day is an excellent solution; it keeps the holiday’s inherent cheesiness in tact while shifting the focus from consumption to giving. It reminds you to spend a day leaving 100% tips, saying “yes” to favors, and donating your time to people or organizations. Arguably, it’s stuff we should do every day (maybe not the 100% tip), but campaigns like this are a great reminder and a way to re-situate ourselves within the sphere of giving. Plus, it allows me to continue being a cheeseball every Valentine’s Day, completely guilt-free. I can’t wait to celebrate again next year!
- BigThink brings us a useful article about training our brains to adapt to an increasingly messy and fast-paced life. I’ve always been fascinated by neuroscience (the result, I’m sure, of watching my brain-damaged sister grow up), and I’m constantly seeking ways I can consider neurological techniques as I run my nonprofit. This article is a great start.
- And finally, the Center for Creative Leadership brings us an interesting (and reassuring) article about the introvert at work. People never believe me when I say I’m introverted because I tend to be chatty and friendly (a common misconception about introverts is that they’re cold or reserved); but putting on that face takes untold work and energy, and I can only recharge when I’m alone. The proliferation of online social media is an interesting way to bridge the introvert/extrovert gap, and it’s one I take full advantage of. However, I often worry about the impact my introversion will have on my leadership style, and this article raises a lot of great points about the unique qualities introverted leaders can offer (it doesn’t surprise me that they’re able to listen to their employees better).