Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Pause Button


Remember what you wanted to be.
-Seen on bumpersticker

I am in the midst of creating a Linkedin profile. I haven’t had to think this much about a resume since I graduated college. It seemed every job I ever found was through someone who had worked with me in the past. So there has been a lot of emphasis over the past couple of days on how I look on paper. The nature of professional networking is on what you do, not who you are. If there was such a social network, I can think of two inspirational writers who would be connected in kindness, Betty Johnston Wright and Maria Shriver.

Wright lived near me, but we never met. All I know about the 103-year old woman, I read in her obituary last weekend in the Tampa Bay Times. It talked of a true southern lady who wrote several thousand thank you cards though out her life. Even in her final days, the great grandmother wrote words of sincere appreciation to the hospital staff for making her breakfast. Although not as as important on paper as the former Emmy award winning television journalist, Wright may be the reason for the old saying it is nice to be important, but more important to be nice.

Shriver has a reputation for being both important and nice. Famous first as a Kennedy heir, she went out and made a name for herself as an NBC correspondent. More recently she has been in the news as the jilted former first lady of California. Now, Shriver is writing the next chapter of her life as a film maker and author.  I picked up her latest gem last summer. “Just Who Will You Be? Big Question, Little Book” is her expanded thoughts on a college commencement speech she gave a few years ago. As I recall, it talks about the trap of getting caught up in defining yourself in what you do as opposed to knowing who you are

Shriver, a working mother of four, gave another rousing Commencement Speech at her daughter’s graduation from USC Annenberg School of Journalism this past May. She talked a lot about that trap and the importance of gratitude. She also emphasized the need to press pause once in a while. Stop thinking about what you have done or where you want to go next and embrace this moment. If you have 20 minutes, it is really worth watching.  Wish I had heard this at my graduation. 

One more thing about Betty Johnston Wright. Her obituary got me thinking about my own. If she is remembered for being gracious. I want to be remembered for being present. I am starting to think it would be a fabulous accomplishment if my family describes me by saying  "she didn't miss it." Wonder if you can list that as a skill on LInkedIn?

Do you know how to push pause?

1 comment:

  1. Tracey, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Pressing the Pause Button. What you are suggesting is right in line with the positive psychology movement and its current emphasis on mindfulness. A recent Psychology Today article defined Mindfulness as "a state of active, open attention on the present." Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening your senses to embrace the joy of the moment. I think of it as simply paying attention to your attention. Instead of stressing about the future or ruminating about the past, you make a conscious effort and deliberate choice to live in the present. Mindfulness is freeing yourself to see, hear, feel and experience the present in its fullest sense. Whether you are hugging a child, tasting a decadent piece of chocolate, seeing the sunrise or making love...your experience will be so much richer if you press the pause button and enjoy the richness of the moment.

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