“So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”
– from “After Awhile” by Veronica A. Shoffstall
I have always viewed this poem as “words to live by.”
And I’d shared them at an Executive Women’s Career Panel at my software company.
What a gift to share stories with the younger women, in how to embrace Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s famous advice that “Well-behaved women rarely make history!”
I shared how I made my own opportunities, creating what I wanted like an alchemist.
And one of my greatest skills has always been … “chasing prominent people through parking lots!”
As a Cloud Computing Evangelist who ran the U.S. Cloud Commission for State & Local Government, I was a leading industry expert. And I wanted to have a global impact.
So I followed him outside after his speech, run-walking with as much dignity as I could muster in high heels in slush!
But I began to suspect my mistake as I zeroed in – it wasn’t him!
Oh that security guard who directed me to the wrong man! He looked at me like a stalker! So I pretended to have forgotten where I parked, he smiled in commiseration and I returned inside to launch Plan B.
Having come so close, I could not give up. So I got a referral from the U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce who ran NIST and had access to the Ambassador right then and there.
Hours later, I was confirmed to meet with the Ambassador while in Washington. I educated him and staff over time on the cloud and its business impact. I shared Cloud Commission materials and my analyst paper on how cloud computing benefits job creation. He later told me my work was useful background in EU data privacy negotiations.
Today, I access State Dept. foreign service officers whenever I travel overseas. They gave me a terrific economic briefing when visiting Kazakhstan to discuss cloud strategy for a proposal for the Prime Minister. And I had an invite to meet with another U.S. Ambassador while there.
Just recently I returned from speaking and mentoring startups at the Brown Forum, a prestigious economic development forum hosted by the U.S. Ambassador in Croatia. And I consulted with the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv on a project for Ukraine.
So trudging through the slush in NIST’s parking lot has paid dividends in ways I never expected. Like magic!
And it’s all because I “planted my own garden and decorated my own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring me flowers.”
I’m currently reading The Hero Within by Carol S. Pearson. She writes about the archetype of The Magician. The Magician is the personality archetype we call on to seek meaningful transformation in our lives and our work.
Carl Jung defined archetypes as universal attributes in the collective unconscious that we access intuitively to pursue our dreams.
The Magician is the alchemist … a master at combining heart, mind, creativity and talent to catalyze change, drive impact, foster collaboration or create new ways of doing things.
I realized The Magician is just who I need to craft the new future I seek.
I took “the Fool’s Leap” from my Corporate job last year, in pursuit of international adventure. While it’s not without risk, I know deep in my core that I have all of the tools I need to craft a colorful next chapter that is uniquely mine.
And little did I realize that “chasing prominent people through parking lots” has been a key ingredient to the magic – my own inner magic – all along.