Creative Chaos – Carefully Crafted

Once a year, the HR blogging illuminati meets in secret (well they are a secret society) to bestow honour on someone special, someone hardworking in HR. In 2012 when this first commenced, the person chosen was Tim Sackett, and so this practice has forever come to be known as Tim Sackett day.

This blog post is my contribution to recognise my excellent friend, Victorio Milian, who this year’s Tim Sackett day is for.

Why am I so happy to recognise him? Or, as Elizabeth Barrett Browning so romantically put it:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

Victorio is a lovely host. I’ve known Victorio a while, and visited his wonderful city of New York twice since we’ve known each other (when I say it’s his – he doesn’t quite own it, yet. He lives there). The first time I met him in 2012 I also met Crystal Miller and Stuart Jones, and I have the photos to prove it.

Victorio Crystal and Stuart

The four of us sat in a quiet corner of an hotel somewhere close to the financial district, enjoying a conversation about work. When I left, Victorio left with me, and though he was very busy (at the time he worked for Pret a Manger and had a demanding schedule as a recruiter), Victorio spent time giving me ideas about where to go and what to do in New York. He suspended his busyness long enough to show interest in what I wanted, and to help me feel welcome.

We met again, in 2014 – just the two of us this time. We had dinner and each talked about how we usefully bring our creative endeavours to our work. In Victorio’s case, he told me of a client he’s working with who are in the process of relocating, having been in the original location for many, many years. Victorio is a keen photographer, and he is using that skill to compile a record of the move from the old place, to the new. Organisational memory is an interesting thing, and I believe his work will be of value to people as they shift and adjust.

Victorio is a creative guy. I already mentioned his skill as a photographer, and he supports that with engaging thinking around the creative process as a whole. A good place to see him at work is his Creative Chaos website.

Victorio lets his work speak for itself. I’m aware of Victorio, I know he is there, and he doesn’t push it. In a time when technology allows us to be ever present, I appreciate his cadence and flow. It feels real.

Victorio understand the importance of not taking yourself too seriously.

Serious

I confess I am not a big fan of public displays of affection, I prefer to let people know how much they mean to me on a one to one basis. In this case, I am happy to make an exception. Happy Tim Sackett day, my excellent friend.

My Favourite Thing Is You

On Wednesday I spent an interesting and enjoyable evening at a Culturevist networking event. A few of my friends have been to some previous Culturevist get togethers – but this was my first one. Networking often gets a bad rap, and we’ve all been to at least one session that’s ended up as a total cringefest, it’s not just me, is it? This event was a little different, so in defence of the art of good networking, here are my first impressions of this interesting group.

Welcome

On arrival I was immediately made to feel very welcome, by many people. This wasn’t an in your face, full on experience, just plenty of encouragement. Thank you to everyone who helped ease me into the swing of a new social situation.

Hello…And

The name badge I was invited to complete, with the addition of ‘And my favourite thing is…’ was a lovely idea. I figured I was there to meet interesting people, so my badge said ‘And my favourite thing is you’.

My Favourite Thing Is You

That dreaded intro moment

Something about networking that leaves me cold is when everyone stands up and introduces themselves to everyone else. Being a bear of small brain I struggle to remember more than about three names, and when the group is large, I also struggle to stay awake. Tom Nixon offered up a twist, and this time we were invited to simply say our name, and what we needed.  This was a great idea – people’s brief responses were helpful and often funny too. Others in the group could then easily spot people they have something in common with, or someone they could be of possible use to. A lovely idea – I will look for other opportunities to try this.

Recollections

Throughout the evening, a couple of people approached me who have seen me at conferences and gatherings over the past few years and had positive recollections – those interactions were really touching, motivating too, thanks. I learned from this, that when you have a positive memory of someone, It’s lovely to share it with them. They might have forgotten – I had.

Conversation without judgement

I enjoyed the subjects put up for brief talks and subsequent conversations – the theme of the evening was ‘Open Source Culture – What Happens When Everyone Has A Say?’ I didn’t agree with everything being put forward and it was lovely to have a chance to discuss differences in such a respectful way. Too often we seek to brush even the gentlest conflict to one side – I’m a huge fan of open, respectful disagreement, and I did not feel I was being judged when sharing contradictory experiences and views.

I left with a head buzzing full of ideas, having met some lovely people for the first time and caught up with a few friends. Thank you to everyone, and particularly to Matthew Partovi for making things happen.

I hope this post is useful to some of you, and if you have any more suggestions about how to make networking work, please share them in the comments. And if you’d like to see someone else’s perspective on networking, I thoroughly recommend The Quiet Man, a beautifully written blog post by Richard Martin.

Half Way To The Hundred

Some of you might remember that at the beginning of December, I shared my early thoughts on my experience of #100HappyDays. 100 Happy Days is a simple commitment to share a photo of something that makes you (or in this case, me) happy, every day for 100 consecutive days. Here’s what I noticed when I first wrote, after day 14:

Happiness is indeed elusive, and when found, best left to purr quietly in the background. Don’t make a fuss or it’s likely to move on again.
Experiences trump things.
Family and friends – when they’re happy, you are more likely to be too.
Belgian Beer is lovely, but on a Monday night, maybe not so much.

Today is day 50 for me – I’m half way to the hundred. Here are a few of the photos in my collection, taken around Christmas time. If you click the image it will take you to my Instagram feed where I’m keeping the photos.

100 Happy Days Snapshot

The challenge of finding something that makes you happy each and every day is proving interesting, particularly on days when I don’t feel particularly happy. For example – I had a bout of manflu in the run up to Christmas and had to resort to a photo of slippers, tissues and packets of cold remedies one day!

Having got half way to the hundred, I am now less surprised that so few (only around a quarter) of the people who start this challenge, finish it. Keeping stuff going is tough, and I know I often set out to achieve things that fall by the wayside. Do I feel happier as a result of this experiment? I feel like my mood has lightened overall across the time invested so far, and I am starting to enjoy an occasional quick flick through the photo album as well as continuing to contribute to it. I am currently mindful to turn the experiment into a hard copy photo album if I can find a suitable, inexpensive way of doing it.

I’m currently working on a number of regular, repeatable ideas with a general wellbeing theme, in support of my small things make a big difference philosophy – and this is one of them. Keep on Running is another, and although that experiment concluded on New Year’s Day when I walked my 111th mile over 36 consecutive days, it has now folded into something new, more on that soon. I’m not yet sure where all this is taking me, and I am sure that I’m learning a lot and enjoying most of it.

Happy Friday to you.