Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Neener-neeners, Lovecats, and Valentines

Remember your first broken heart?  I do…vividly.  I was 7-years-old and in Mrs. Leckron’s first grade classroom at Westview Elementary.   I folded and traced just like she had taught us, but as I cut the penciled line, I ended up with a perfectly symmetrical broken heart.  After a few ‘neener-neeners’ from my fellow classmates, I tried again.  This time with determination. This time with feeling.  This time with the fold on the correct side of my cut.  Success…my very first paper heart.  It was like time stood still and for a moment, all was right with the world. I can’t say for sure how many Valentines I sent out that year, but I know every one of them was adorned with a perfectly symmetrical red heart.

But, something happens along the way.   There are just things we did as kids that we stop doing as adults…and I’m not sure why.  When did we stop climbing, jumping in puddles, and always (yes, always) telling the truth?  Kids daydream, let go of grudges, and test their limits…a lot.  Yet, at some point we started laughing, reading, and sleeping less.  Playing games, being creative, and playing outside are still part of our lives, but now mostly memories.

What are some things you think we should never have stopped doing? In 2004 when Yahoo’s Chief Solutions Officer, Tim Sanders, came to Grant County to speak at our first Synergy conference he reminded me of one…being a lovecat.  Tim’s first book Love is the Killer App had just been published and, thus, the term lovecat was born. 

A lovecat is someone who seeks to make a difference as their way of being successful.

To do this, they share their knowledge, their network of friends and colleagues, and their compassion with everyone they meet.  In a world where the economy is cliff-worthy and getting a great job is competitive sport, being a lovecat can truly help you to stand out.  Anyone can do things right; that’s skill. It takes a lovecat to do the right things; that’s character.  And, character trumps skill every day of the week and twice on Tuesdays.  But, theory is so…theoretical.  And, practice makes habits.  So, let’s build a lovecat habit with an action strategy I always use when I learn something new:  The 3-2-1

In February, vow to share some of your knowledge with 3 people.  Teach someone to use Excel, explain the Hedgehog Concept, demonstrate how to calculate your BMI, or share a recipe.  Ask yourself what you know that others would benefit from learning….then share it. 

Then, share your network.  You must know 2 people that need to know each other, but don’t…yet.  That’s where you come in.  Introduce 2 friends and/or colleagues to each other.  They might share an interest that should be cultivated, maybe one has great ideas and the other has financing, or maybe they would complement each other in a way that would bring great synergy to your community.  Schedule a lunch.  Introduce them.  Then sit back and see what happens. 

Finally, 1.  One thing to do immediately.  What could you do that would show your compassion for someone else?  Don’t let the word scare you.  Com simply means “with” and passion means “love”.  What can you do to show someone love?  Fill their gas tank, do the dishes, bring them coffee, donate to their favorite cause in their honor…really anything. Just do it.  Immediately.

To show a little compassion to all of our 2012 donors, the Community Foundation went back to something we did as kids, but just don’t do much anymore…sending Valentines.   We sent out nearly 1000 Valentines and each one of them was embellished with a perfectly symmetrical heart…as it should be.

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