Positive momentum is contagious

The benefits of being an optimist are not always tangible, but I’ve gotta say, since beginning this blog, it’s easier to see the effects of what a little kick in the pants can do. Not only are the members of the 2011 Online Power Year Pledge Class kicking serious ass, but old colleagues have also contacted me, thanking me for helping to give them a jump start to living with intent.

This is an excellent example of one of the greatest benefits of the internet; an easily accessible global community, a forum to learn from the lives of others and be inspired to create your own.

Positive momentum is contagious. Catch it and pass it on.


February Focus—framing your Power Year

Here is what I charged the 2011 Online Power Year Pledge Class with at the beginning of this month:

(three-part) TASK:

1. Write a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound) goal for your creative project. *This activity requires time and thoughtfulness. You are building the framework of your Power Year.

2. Write down five or less rules (or if you like the word “guidelines” better, cool) you will live by, in order to help you achieve your goal.

3. Identify five or less items that will be your FEBRUARY FOCUS.

Here's my personal February Focus Task List, which has since been slightly revised

Here’s what Jennifer, one of the pledge members, came up with:

It is my objective to become unbounded by circumstance. During my adult life I have exhibited a tendency to be confident in my creativity, but have fewer examples to show than my capacity. I want to reverse this, and become open to the possibility of:

1) Completing

2) Showing

3) Communicating

I sometimes find myself wrongly assuming that everyone knows what I am thinking. I assume that people know and / or believe in my strengths and talents. But that is a distant assumption if the audience never sees the fruit of my capabilities. Perhaps I should not even worry about what others think. And so there is a second prong to this intent. It is very satisfying to see a project come from the depths of the mind into reality. So, selfishly, I am excited to feel that satisfaction more frequently.

A focus on goal-oriented creativity is now the vehicle that will bring more of my ideas into reality. I will fail. This sounds negative, but there is tremendous learning in failure. I will succeed as well, with a resounding ovation, even if it is just the sound of one hand clapping!


1)Have fun

2)Realize that even though my schedule will seem very full, that there is a lot of enjoyment to be had through a productive life

3)Work towards actual benefits. Often goals can be ‘completed’ but there is no net change. Make net change.

4)Make it about more than me. Family and friends can be part of the Power Year, and there will be benefit to limiting introversion of ideas / tasks in this year.

Project Specifics:

Professional Goals:

1) Complete my ARE Process (7 Architectural Exams)

Purpose: Obtain my architectural license

Timing Goal: By end of year

Measurement: Accomplish a test every 6 weeks

2) Truly engage in my community committees

USGBC Education Committee (outreach, planning)

Real Estate Diversity Initiative (learning, community)

Purpose: To gain benefit from my community work

Timing Goal: Ongoing

Measurement: Book speaking assignments for AR7 / NAC

among other things

Social Goals:

1) Set up and enjoy Date Nights with my husband every 2 weeks

Purpose: Actively pursue strength for my relationship

Timing: Bi-weekly

Measurement: Rate success of various elements on a scale of 1-10 (was it fun, romantic?).

2) Host monthly social functions such as Family Dinner, and Dinner Party with friends

Purpose: Deepen my friendships

Timing: Monthly

Measurement: Rate success of various elements on a scale of 1-10 (Did people have fun, did guests get along?)

Personal Goals:

1) Meditate

Purpose: Exorcise stress, anxiety. Boost creativity, confidence, relaxation

Timing: At least once per week.

2) Continue to track energy input / output balance

Purpose: Improve health, energy and happiness

Timing: Daily

Measurement: Monitor weekly calorie intake, and exercise expenditure according to pre-set numerical datum

Creative Goals:

1) Music: Continue to actualize learning opportunities with my musical mentors, and learn more songs, better technique

Purpose: To live

Timing: practice 3 times per week, one lesson per week

Measurement: Make a recording of a new song every month

2) Writing: Begin to create poetry that conforms to a pentameter, that can become building blocks for writing songs.

Purpose: To become able to make the type of songs that I love.

Timing: As part of music practice, take ten minutes to write down poetry. Then on the bus ride home when I am not playing music, write for ten minutes.

Measurement: To be determined

3) Design: Do a Competition by end of year

February Focus Items:

1) Take (and pass) an ARE exam by 2/28

2) Write a (good) poem by 2/28

3) Finish learning “Houseboat” by 2/28

4) Attend Design and Construction Networking by 2/9

5) Run/exercise at least 4 times per week (every week) by 2/28


Needless to say, I’m very excited for the day that Jen’s update arrives in my inbox!

A wave of momentum


My friend Willow started her Power Year two days ago on February 9th; I just read her latest post about her progress so far, and it made my skin dance. She’s really getting excited about setting up a framework for this next year of hers (getting organized is key, remember?!). Willow has totally embraced the Power Year concept and is running with with it—or maybe I should say, “hiking with it” since that’s one of the areas of her life that she’s identified as wanting to enhance.

As if that wasn’t enough, Cindy, a friend and one of the 2011 Online Pledge Class members, officially launched her Power Year today. Cindy decided to embark on a Power Year of her own because she realized, “items that I really need to be saying ‘yes’ to keep on getting put off, so maybe some organized focus and accountability is exactly what I need.”

Enter, her Power Year.

Cindy is going to visually document her life.

She describes the structure of her Power Year. “Once a week, I will complete a drawing or painting that documents my current life and the world around me. On the 11th of every month, I will post these on the internet in order to keep myself in line.”

Cindy grew up drawing and painting—these passions of hers drove her to the field of architecture. However, recently she’s been feeling like these artistic outlets have been abandoned. It’s been about seven years since she first thought of pursing this creative project of capturing her life with drawings and paintings; she has pledged to make 2011 the year she follows through. Cindy describes a Power Year as, “a framework for awesomeness.”

I agree and am excited to see what awesomeness she brings into this world.