Category Archives: Quotes

A Writing Frame Of Mind

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 
Ernest Hemingway

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” 
Toni Morrison

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” 
Madeleine L’Engle

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 
Stephen King

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” 
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 
Mark Twain

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” 
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

 

An Existential Frame Of Mind

“You don’t have to stay anywhere forever.” 
Neil Gaiman, The Kindly Ones

“I’d come to realize that all our troubles spring from our failure to use plain, clear-cut language.” 
Jean-Paul Satre

“There are other men, and other lives, and time still to be.” 
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

“And so it was literature that brought me back to life.” 
Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

“Whether it is rational or empirical, your approach to life must always be empathetic. Emotional intelligence is acquired when knowledge and empathy are combined and applied to situations regularly in everyday life.” 
Stewart Stafford

Do not forget to look up to the stars every now and then. The universe has made you conscious – try to make sense of how it works & appreciate its beauty.” 
Paul Hildebrandt

 

Finding A Place For My Hammock

In 2015 I came across this photo of Richard Branson lying in a hammock, on his phone, working…

Click on image to go to source

He has written about it a few times, here is an article, and it’s interesting that he notes that in the UK people don’t take leave, opting instead to remain in the office. Now, for me, that would lead to an unbalanced life.

I printed that photo and stuck it up in a place that I would look at various times a day. At the time I was working in a corporate, and it represented for me a change that I wanted to make in my life.

I wanted a more balanced life, one where I could work where I wanted when I wanted.

My dissatisfaction led me to write this article, and it was not long after that that I began working for the company I am with now. I have no office I go to – I’m either at a client, or I am at home. Or travelling.

My work has taken me to Berlin, Portugal, Barcelona, beautiful parts of the country I live in, Belgium and Thailand.

So, I pretty much can work where I want (no office to go to, yay!), the first part is done with a good level of satisfaction.

What I do now is the only work I know that I can take my wax crayons to work to create posters of information that help people integrate the learning a lot faster than powerpoint slides. Like this poster I created to explain Lean Thinking:

Lean Thinking explained in pictures
©2018 Regina Martins

I’m now working on the second part…the part about working when I want :-). This is proving to be a bit more challenging because it means having to let go of salary certainty and embracing uncertainty and risk.

Not my image, click to go to source

This will come I know. I just need to stop obsessing about it and enjoy the present. In the meantime, I still have that photo up where I can look at it several times a day.

Here are 4 different ways that help me deal with uncertainty:

  1. Meditation – it helps me focus on the present and deal with stress and anxiety. I’m not doing nearly enough meditation.
  2. Adaptive action – taking just one move at a time while keeping a view of the big picture, much like playing chess. Just decide on what my next wise move is and focus on that because that leads me to my next wise move and so on. That way I remain adaptive to change.
  3. Nature – being in nature grounds me and helps me keep my balance. I don’t get out to nature often enough. Sometimes just having the doors and windows open, letting the outside in and enjoying the sounds of the birds singing is enough to tide me over until I can get out into the countryside.
  4. Journaling – writing, journaling, reflecting on my inner thoughts. This helps me see clarity, usually not in the moment of writing, but later. The act of putting thoughts down on paper is therapy in itself. Journaling doesn’t have to be long descriptive narratives. Sometimes all I have time and energy for are bullet points, and that’s ok.
Click on image for source

Here’s to being comfortable with uncertainty, open to infinite possibilities, so that I can find a place for my hammock.

 

A Good Orator Makes Us See With Her Ears

So says Winston Churchill who was himself a superb orator. His wit and turn of phrase make him, in my opinion, one of the great orators of the 20th century. He was a product of his time, a leader the world needed in those difficult years.

As many of you might remember I am a Toastmaster and one of the things I do to pay the bills is train people. Who am I kidding…I love training. I have loved it less and began to love it more when I found my voice.

One of the things I  do in the Agile community in South Africa is giving back to it, by helping develop conference speakers. Up until now I’ve helped people with their conference presentations, from the slides to the story to the delivery. I’m branching out this year by starting a couple of steps before speakers get selected for conferences – at the call for papers stage – helping budding speakers craft their proposal.

I go to many conferences, and I vicariously live through many others via live tweeting. The names on the programme lines ups tend to be the same year after year and quite frankly, I’m feeling bored. I want to learn new things from new people.

There are so many wonderful members of this vibrant community that have so much to share, and perhaps they think they are not experts…but I don’t want to learn from experts all the time. I want to learn from people who are in the trenches, day to day.

So I’ve decided to do something about this. On Saturday I’m hosting a workshop to help prospective speakers refine their ideas, and help them with their proposals for the regional Scrum Gathering South Africa 2018 which this year is going to be held in Durban. In this way, I hope to play a part in helping to grow the Agile community of speakers and the Agile community in general.

The half-day workshop programme will flow in the following manner:

  • 8:00 – 9:00: Refreshments
  • 9:00 – 9:15: Connections
  • 9:15 – 10:00: Talk: What makes a great conference submission
  • 10:00 – 10.30: Go through the proposal submission format
  • 10:30 – 10:50: Tea, muffins, coffee, and fruit
  • 10:50 – 11:30: Group ideation
  • 11:30 – 13:00: Draft proposal preparation, and pitching to the panel

Conference talks of all types need to be interesting and engage the audience. It starts with a tenuous idea and ends with an audience that has seen with their ears. And a satisfied and courageous presenter that has cared enough and taken the time to share her or his knowledge and experience.