Image from Murray Mitchell.
That’s the word of the week.
First: I am grateful. For you. ALL of you. You’re stunning. More updates on the Start Something Project project in just a bit.
As you know, it—LIFE—sometimes doesn’t go exactly as planned.
Scratch that – it never goes according to plan.
Yet here was the plan last week: a quiet worknight, reading applications to the Start Something Project, putting together the final touches on an article with Metropolis Magazine, and reading a bit more of the history of SWA Group for a project I’m working on with my company later this summer. I was really looking forward to reading all of the Start Something applications, but for some reason, my stomach wouldn’t stop hurting.
On Tuesday I woke up in the middle of the night, and my stomach hurt pretty badly. You know the kind: Fall out of bed, lie on the floor, curse at the ceiling, wonder if it’s just “lady problems” you’ve got, worry about over-sharing to your very public blog audience, and then, SHIT, you think to yourself—you know, this doesn’t feel like anything I’ve ever had before.
I couldn’t sleep. The next day, my colleague asked “Have you had your appendix out yet?”
Right. Stomach. Intestines… Appendix.
Cue four hours in urgent care; a lot of doctors prodding my stomach, nodded, and said yup, head across the street. Go check yourself out for an Appy. (Lingo for "Appendectomy," if you didn’t know. I didn’t. Learn something new every day).
Thursday night turned into 10-odd hours in the emergency room, which were possibly more mentally frightening than physically scary, if only because the last time I was in the ER (2009), I walked into the ER and came out less one rib and was out of work for two months. So, given the doctor’s orders to walk across the street to the ER, I got pretty scared.
When I walked across the street, a stranger stopped me and said: “Are you crying?”
I nodded, crying.
He said, “Oh. Okay.”
Then we parted.
The good news is that I didn’t mortif[y myself by having an excessive case of bad gas (In the back of my mind, there’s always that little chatterbox of worry that perhaps I’m making a mountain out of a molehill), and the other good news is that I didn’t have an appendix problem.
What the CT scan did show, however, is that I have a 6 centimeter cyst in my stomach, that is, very, very fortunately benign and therefore harmless, but causes pain in the stomach until it goes away on its own.
It also means that instead of writing and reading, I was a bit tired from a long night in the ER, and I had to miss 2 days of my streaker challenge to do a handstand every day.
I’m okay with that.
Life is short.
Life is not easy.
And you can’t predict it, or know exactly what’s going to happen.
And the applications? Your applications? The wonderful, amazing, stunning people who have already reached out to me to work together? I’m blown away. I was reading through some of the responses on my phone, mobile google docs open, lying in that awkward hospital bed (with a hospital gown that does NOTHING for modesty or decency) late at night, waiting for the machines to open up, amazed at the tenacity and perseverance and accomplishment of each of you.
For everyone who applied to the Start Something Project: thank you. I’m reading through 60+ applications this week, and I’ll be combing through to pick two people to work with. I want to keep many of the applications on file, because there are so many people I want to work with. I’d like to re-open the applications again after the first pilot group.
For everyone who applied--and even those who didn’t, but still want to make things happen in your lives:
- What’s one thing that you can do this week to start your project?
- Why is this project so important to you?
- What is the biggest thing holding you back right now?
I encourage everyone to take a small step, and to be encouraging and inspiring towards yourself for each step you take along the way. It might be opening up a word document and jotting a few notes down. It might be emailing a few people and telling them about your project. It might be asking for feedback. It might be switching off the TV and dedicating Thursday nights each week to going to a coffee shop and staying there until you have 2000 words written each week.
Whatever it is, make a commitment, and then honor yourself by doing it. You deserve it. If you don’t stand up for you—and your dreams, and your ideas—then who will?
OTHER JUNE UPDATES:
After a whirlwind week, this past weekend I was part of the inaugural frog design, LRN and Fast Company's “Reinvent Business Hackathon." It was a 2-day intense creative event with 180 people from around the world to break into small teams to change business and re-humanize the structures by re-thinking how, why, and what we do in business. I learned an incredible amount, met some stunning faces, and am still processing all of my thoughts – more in an upcoming article soon! Check out the comments on Twitter (#reinventbiz or @sarahkpeck) where I've been posting updates.
Here's some of what I've been reading and thinking about this week:
- My Raison d’être: or another description of why I do what I do.
- Thoughts on Twitter as a Tool for Conversation (an essay I co-wrote with Kevin Adler)
- Five Keys to Building a Business that Doesn't Bury The Humans At Its Core, by Tim Leberecht on Fast Company
- "HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything," by Dov Seidman, CEO, LRN. (Here's a two-minute interview with Dov about the book; I met him this weekend and the ideas were fascinating).
- How Technology Can "Reinvent Business," by Dov Seidman, on Forbes.
- The Future of The City: I've been browsing through all of these articles, too, just perusing and absorbing so many good ideas.
- Work/Life Balance In Architecture: Is It Possible? Andrew Maynard on the endless culture problem within architecture; and also, Anthony Ling's response (he disagrees with the conclusions).
Enjoy, and good luck to all the Start Something Applications! I'll be in touch soon.