Turn Every Page
As you know, I am fueled by popular culture, research, and the social sciences…I often get my ideas by channeling an idea from something I have consumed recently. Today, I am centering my thoughts and ideas on this title—Turn Every Page—from watching a film that a famous American editor’s daughter* made of her dad, who is Robert Gottlieb. Gottlieb is like publishing royalty in the East Coast/New York book scene…parts of which you get to see into and experience vicariously during the film. The film is entitled Turn Every Page, which is the theme I’m exploring today. Here's the podcast , if you want to listen. The rest of the story is below... The literary empire centered largely in New York and East Coast climes is somewhat of a sub-culture in America, insider-oriented from years of cultivation of relationships among the cultural elite in the heady world of books, ideas, and in this case, Robert Gottlieb’s lifelong relationship as editor of Bob Caro’s famous book series on Lyndon B. Johnson. Anyway, the film is beautiful and touching, and as you get to experience Robert Gottlieb and Bob Caro’s unique editor-author relationship up close through the daughter’s eyes, you are struck not only with the empire of their literary influence over millions of readers in America over five decades, but you are relishing the intimacy of their somewhat prickly but enormously productive friendship as the two reach the apex of their 90s. The two men are very old, but still very vital, working to complete the opus of their work together, and we as viewers are inspired that the two in their 90s will complete the work. In any event, the idea of “Turning Every Page” brought to mind for ME the vulnerability of mankind, our relationships with one another, and the importance of capturing and relishing every single moment, relationship, opportunity to learn and experience wherever you can get to, and from, and whoever you can encounter during your life travels…fully present in the moment and embracing that it is happening. So, what are the main things I want to cover today, brought together by the idea of “Turning Every Page” in your life, being immersed in the page in front of you, so to speak, but also continuing to turn the next page, and the next page…and continuing to explore the limitless opportunities that open up in your life, while you acknowledge the finite number of minutes, hours, days, months, years, perhaps, left in your life. My partner in the podcast is host and my former Masters in Non-profit Marketing student, Linda McShan, who brings up her desire to learn to fly in order to help mitigate the risks she associates with flying, and to help her continue to pursue her interests in life. I'll cover her thoughts at the end of the page. Here are my thoughts, based on some personal experiences of late. As usual, I’ve put them in a little list! 1. Go where your interests take you.
We are living in a time of unprecedented growth, technology, and opportunity. Your ability to explore the world is, virtually, limitless. How you choose to explore and participate and contribute is up to you. There is room for every kind of expression.
Personally, I am excited to be approaching another new chapter in my own exploration and growth. I am starting a new “day job” on Monday, after 2.75 years learning a bit about PreK-12 education in the state of Arkansas from my former role as a state-level advisor in family and community engagement for the state’s public school districts. There are 259 districts, currently, and I made relationships with about 60 coordinators of parental involvement activities at schools in the Southwest region of the state, providing training, consultation, and technical assistance for their work that is required by law…and then some. In my new chapter, I will be called an “Innovation Specialist,” and will be working to help inventors, researchers, and entrepreneurs in Arkansas take their ideas and products to market, helping to launch their start-ups by assisting their applications for federal funding by “America’s Seed Fund,” the Small Business Innovation Research, and Technology Transfer grants provided by 11 federal agencies. I am something of an idealist, and also as a journalist by training, I enjoy being an “observer” of other people’s life pursuits and being able to help translate their challenges and victories through my writing, consulting, and in this case, in my new job that I start next week–my coaching them to win potential up to $2 million in seed funding. I hope to be able to bridge the gap between their ideas and inventive solutions and the markets they seek to reach…helping with their grant applications, which are very competitive…and the world of opportunities that being awarded the funding could bring their organizations…and the world, itself. As I seek to be a help to them, there will necessarily be a lot of networking; linking the services our consulting agency provides, writing, talking, publishing, presenting, as I undertake the match-making necessary to become the “SBIR grant girl” in Arkansas. I’m an idealist, but also a pragmatist. Having the opportunity to assist creative people in commercializing their genius appeals to me. It’s a good fit, I think, for my business, marketing, and consulting/training background, and I’m looking forward to turning the page on this one. Here's my question for you: Question: Where will your interests take you? 2. Don’t let your age or experience be a “limiting factor.”
Yes, I’m close to retirement age. But, I’m not interested in “retiring” any time soon. Some people are afraid to take on new interests or challenges because they fear they are risking too much, or might be “too old,” or might not “know how” to traverse that new territory. I have to say, again, from personal experience, that as fearful as I have been over the years to take each new step and turn a new page, I have been grateful and rewarded tenfold by taking the risk to do it. I cannot express how important–and how vital it is–to push towards the things you dream about and imagine as good for your life journey, like Robert Gottlieb and Bob Caro, whose careers are still delighting and fulfilling their days well into their 90s. I was inspired to see their energy and commitment, their pursuit of the life of the mind, and how they have singly and together, labored over more than 50 years to bring insights, perspectives, entertainment, knowledge, and delight to generations of readers, thinkers, and doers in America and across the planet. Wow. Here's my question for you: Question: What is your legacy? What are you pursuing that is your unique gift to the planet? 3. Watch for, listen to, and be open to new experiences and opportunities.
I am sure I am not alone in being inspired by such ingenuity and passion for self expression. It has been a lot of my focus the past year for my blogging and podcast topics, exploring opportunities and meeting new people. I wandered through Eureka Springs, Arkansas, as I was exploring this topic and had it on my mind. As always, my wanderings produced interesting encounters and experiences. Here are my questions for you: Questions:
What are you watching, listening to, and open to…as new opportunities may come into view for your own life? What ideas interest you? What kind of people do you like to surround yourself with? Where do you see your own gifts making a difference? How can you contribute both as an individual–with your talents and unique offerings to the world and in a community–and, as part of a group or community? 4. Make your “job” work for you, not the other way around.
This is something I have been saying to myself and others for decades. I wonder if this expression still works? I have seen my jobs over the years as a kind of “utility.” Something I can use to help me live the lifestyle that I want. Any time I worked really hard or had a lot of responsibility, as an example, to make six figures or whatever supreme financial goal I thought was what I needed at the time, I found that the tradeoffs didn’t work for me, personally. Over the years, I discovered that I needed my jobs and side gigs to fulfill my creativity and desire to give back more than I needed them to “make me rich.” The people and experiences have always been more important to me, in a sense, than the money! The headaches, office politics, and self-sacrifice of high-status and high-paying professional jobs I have taken on left me more depleted than filled. So for me, it has become my journey to take a lower-paying position that still allows me to use my creativity, my practical skills, and continue to explore the things that interest me: in this case, the life of the mind, and working with other idealists, helping create greater understanding and opportunities for their ideas in the world. I feel like I won the lottery. Questions: How will you make your work, work for you? And not the other way around? What are you willing to give up, in order to achieve the soul nourishment you need to feel fulfilled and operating at your creative best? What are the basics you need, as you pursue your own self expression? Whether that is in the business world, academia, the arts, or some other realm? 5. Don’t let ANY obstacles get in the way of what you want or what you want to do! Linda added this last idea to the list on how to leave no page unturned in your life as you fuel your soul. She explains, in the podcast... She wants to learn to fly a private jet, and find a place to land it. Linda never wanted to “go past the third floor,” without getting the fuel she needs to go higher. In her imagination and vision, she sees a jet with a gold-tipped nose. She wants to pilot her own plane to get there, wherever that is—it's a mindset, more than the actual thing, in some ways; she says she wants to learn to use the instrumentation on a jet or plane, and wants the path to get herself and others to safety, should the need ever arise, plus stay on her own schedule. When she expands that vision, she sees her flight as a mission to help women everywhere with their goals. She also sees her deceased mother there, with her, continuing to encourage her to pilot her own plane. (I enjoy Ms. Linda's spirituality! And her many gifts!) Knowledge, for Ms. Linda, also means finding your path to opportunities. Here is her list: Reduce risk.
Obtain peace of mind. Don't worry about what others say. Be unstoppable in reaching your goals. Find a way to take yourself where you need to go.
See yourself doing it, being there.
And more than anything, be able to answer: Why do you WANT to do this? Your gifts make a difference. Turn every page, smile in the face of your detractors, stay in the light of your dreams. Enjoy your journey! *Thanks to wonderful filmmaker, Lizzie Gottlieb, for the inspiration.