MARY In December, Meg and I committed to starting this blog and realized that a January first launch date was a stretch. After a flurry of Facebook and Twitter posts to Harvard Business Review links on developing action plans and new year’s resolutions for 2010, I think I had sufficiently guilt-tripped myself and others into making resolutions and developing a theme or WORD for 2010. One of my resolutions was launching this blog in January 2010. So, here we go – a soft launch of January 29, 2010.
MEG Mary always inspires me, and so I decided to choose a word that would be my theme for 2010. I chose ACTION. I tend to sit back, have faith and let life take me where it will. However, I am discovering that unless I act and take some control and responsibility over the direction of my life, it actually goes nowhere. I am trying to set goals, make plans, and do one thing every day that brings me closer to who I want to be. My actions so far have included going to the gym, signing up for overdraft protection, being more attentive to my friends and learning to cook one new thing each week. I am trying to make conscious choices, and actually work to be the kind of woman that I always hoped to be.
MARY As always, Meg is too kind! I do try to inspire people but I never really know if it’s happening. My word of the year is actually two words hyphenated — RISK-TAKING. Being a wordy academic, I have yet another word – Intentionality. But back to risk-taking – I found that as I got into my 40s, I was taking fewer risks. I had the husband, the house, the PhD, the kid – I didn’t really feel like risk-taking was part of the equation. Then I became aware of the fact that I was feeling stuck and little bored and VERY uncreative and realized that my definition of risk-taking probably needed to change – maybe it no longer involved tattoos and wild, all-night parties. Maybe that wasn’t really risk-taking; maybe it was more like wild and crazy behavior. I started to think of risk-taking in a different way. Maybe it involved learning new languages, meeting new people, getting outside of my comfort zone, taking an African dance class, and getting back into making art. So, this year is about doing things that make me uncomfortable – like starting this blog – having public discussions that will definitely involve conflict and critique– putting myself out there and making mistakes. The second piece is intentionality – I want to do things in an intentional way, rather than randomly. So, I have set some high goals for myself and I am plotting my way there.
MEG I like the concept of having a word for the year rather than a resolution. A resolution is hard to keep; it is very black and white. A word or a theme, however, is something that you can keep coming back to. Even if I fail one day, I can come back and try again. My theme will guide me at every turn throughout the year, and I think I will be free from failure at the end of the year.
MARY So, Meg and I have just given you a peek into our thinking processes and a flavor of our conversations. We have also indirectly brought up the issue of personal branding – kind of what do we want to be known for. One of the goals of this blog is to harness the energy and amazing power of social networking to bring multiple voices together around higher education. An important piece of social networking is personal branding – and that gets us back to intentionality – if everything is random – your brand is chaos – hard for your readers/followers/students/co-workers to stick with you.
MEG It is strange how I spend so much time at work developing strategic goals, quality assessment, and 6 month to five-year plans, but I have never done this for myself, outside of work. Developing my personal brand, strategic goals, and quality assurance plan is a goal for 2010, part of my ACTION.
So, the next step is expanding this conversation. We’ve started by inviting some of our best friends/colleagues to join us in our inaugural editorial collective for the University of Venus. Our initial group includes members who are living and working in the USA, Sweden, Turkey, Egypt, and the Philippines. We are going to share our insights on current issues in higher education from our perspectives and we are counting on you to join in and add your voice to the mix.
See you back here on Monday. In the meantime, start following us on Twitter (UVenus), become our fan on Facebook (University of Venus), and subscribe to our blog and by all means, say hello in the comments below.
Join in the conversation and let us know what you think! Let us know if you have a resolution or word for the year and we will try to give you weekly updates on our success in keeping to our themes.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
Mary Churchill and Meg Palladino
Co-Founders, University of Venus blog