June 22, 2013

Crusading for Connection

Last year, I spent a good portion of a Saturday at TEDxAustin, for the third time. Third time’s a charm they say, and I’d agree. They nailed it. A much more balanced day, where everything vibrated at a higher level. And this time, there was no mid-day slump. I was jolted, catapulted way high, by Dallas artist Jason Roberts, (a self-proclaimed community activist) who spoke about his living charette: The Better Block Project.

The core message Roberts shared was that nothing is impossible, no amount of red tape or existing narratives should stop you in your tracks. Roberts’ seemingly unrehearsed 20 minute presentation, delivered at epic speed with an (un)equalled degree of passion best illustrated the event’s theme: “You just have to show up, be present and be willing to do the work.”

For his beautifully spastic gift, in a sea of polish, I felt gratitude. And I told him just that during one of the breaks, in an in-kind, fanatical way. {See why I was gaga for Roberts → here.}

This is a little bit of a leap, so stay with me here. Listen to what happened a few days later.

I happened to have written a post a few months prior about Malia Mills, an apparel designer/brand I admire. This post was one of gratitude for years of multiple delights—as a customer and Design professional. And while writing a blog post of appreciation might not seem like an example of exercising Roberts’ “nothing is impossible” battle cry, writing the love note to Malia—despite have a bazillion other seemingly more-practical things to spend my time on—kinda makes me feel like a crusader for connection.

I’m going to show up, acknowledge, and speak up NOT for what annoys, but for what delights!

What followed was a personal note from Malia, then another thoughtful note from her sister and business partner, Carol—and an invitation to come to their studio to talk about collaboration, Design, the market, their ethos… The day I spent with Malia Mills & team revealed so much about our shared interests and beliefs, and crossed a wide range of topics that it hardly felt like a business meeting at all. You’d think our effusive farewells would’ve been enough. But no. Shortly after my return home, I receive this:

“Your visit was so very motivating. We reviewed our round table with many of our studio and store gals and have had many rich conversations since, all inspired by your writing, questions, thoughts and all around “good chi”. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for being a maven!”

Connecting on what delights, WINS!

You’re welcome. And thank you.


Photo: Jose Villa via Neither Snow