My Selfish Self

By: Linda Yuki Nakanishi

 Sometimes I catch myself being completely self-centered. Sometimes And when I catch myself in this mode….I am incredibly humbled by just how human I am….and horrified at how easily I can slip into this mode.  

On Friday, I had big plans to scoot out of the office a bit early, begin work on my weekend home projects and clean the house so I could enjoy a day on the lake with C and the pups on Saturday. Not to mention…it was 80 degrees outside.

But on Thursday at 4pm….I was given a new project….my company needed me to orchestrate a Red Cross fund for the Japan disaster and develop a communications plan for our 30 offices. All to be completed in 24 hours.

Long story short…I had my end of the project completed around 3:00 on Friday….but I had to wait on others to launch. I was tired. I was annoyed. My brain had reached its limit for the week. Thank goodness I was the only person left in office so no one could witness my selfishness. It wasn’t until I began driving home after 5pm that I began to think about what had shaken out.  

I started to think about the people in Japan. The lives lost. Complete towns obliterated. People trapped for days. People searching for their missing loved ones. Individuals who fear going outside because of radiation. No gas. intermittent electricity. Contaminated food sources.

How could I be so selfish?

Here is a blog that showcases some artwork to benefit Japan: http://www.blissfulbblog.com/blog/2011/3/21/japan.html

To purchase a print of the image above: http://www.society6.com/shop/product/98948/prints?cl=34&curator=designmilk

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Somtimes doing the right thing is not easy

There are so many things that motivate people. Among the top of the list money,  power, prestige, ego. And somewhere down the line lives integrity. We don’t always do things for the right reasons, especially in today’s world. But yesterday, I can proudly say that I am part of an institution that places integrity first. In what has been described as a “bold” move, the University of the Suuth, Sewanee, my alma mater, announced that it would LOWER, that’s right LOWER, it’s tuition by 10%. In a time when Universities across America are competing for top students, struggling to make ends meet and feeling challenged to stay competitive, U of S, Sewanee took a step in a very interesting direction (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/education/edlife/17tuition.html?_r=1).

Though this move to reduce tuition, will result in $6-$8 million loss per year, the University felt it was time to draw a line in the sand. Enough is enough. And I couldn’t agree more. How in the world can the average family afford $46,000 per year for college tuition? It has pained me to see the tuition cost rise and rise. There is no possible way that, at this rate of increase, my children nor my class mate’s children could ever enjoy the mountain as we once did.

This bold move is backed with integrity and a sense of realism that is fresh and innovative. As a public relations practitioner I find this move- BRILLIANT. Yes brilliant. They could not have spent $6 million on a branding campaign and achieved the results that this grass-roots move will generate. The story has made its way to the NY Times and the Wall Street journal, it’s the buzz on facebook and twitter. (though I would love to have added a little coaching to McCardell’s video…I think that this was bit of a let down…It didn’t show the passion of the mountain that I know to be true…Sewanee…we missed out on a great opportunity with this one).  

My only hope is the Sewanee is prepared with a robust PR and Marketing plan to keep the momentum going. I’d love to know just how many people, who have never heard of Sewanee, will now click on the website and consider this University as a choice for their children. Yes the financial aspect is a nice little perk….My hope is that it will attract like-minded students who value integrity and the true value education. Sewanee is not a “discount” University but rather a place where people matter and a place where doing the right thing is paramount, regardless of the “cost”.

Yeah Sewanee’s Right!

purpose

Purpose. What is purpose? Have you ever thought about your purpose? I mean REALLY thought about it? Does your purpose change during various phases of life? Or – Are you born with purpose? Is there a defining moment that solidifies your purpose? What if you never “discover” your purpose? Can you live without purpose?

At the top of my mind has been my own purpose. I recently read “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron (http://adogspurpose.com/). Of course this fictitious book really is about a dog’s purpose as this dog is reincarnated several times, each time with a different purpose. This little book  has made me think about my own purpose. I have always had goals and I often think about goals. I’d like to think that maybe subconsciously I know my purpose. But I know it’s not something I keep at the forefront of life…which seems really absurd. Shouldn’t I know my purpose and live each day to fulfill that purpose?  

The fall was trying on so many levels, crazy work, international travel, the construction of our house….career decisions, house decisions, life decisions. There was a lot to think about. But looking back, I really did not think about my purpose and how all of the actions I was taking were related to my purpose. I was simply swimming through the  motions, trying to get through it all as best I could. And somehow I held it all together. And now that I can take a deep breath and do some thinking…its time to get some real purpose.

So I continue to ponder….. purpose?  And I ask…what does purpose mean to you? Is your life true to what you define as your purpose?

I’m Back!

Stress: Some people indulge on chocolate and high carb foods. Some people avoid food all together. Some manically exercise. As for me…I become paralyzed. Like a deer in headlights. Stress has a crazy effect on me. I become completely one tracked. I can’t move. Creativity Zapped.

That’s what happened this fall. The imaginitive spirit inside me was temporarily frozen. Between the final details on our house, a speaking engagement in Singapore, a major project at work and the other family demands that the holidays brings, the stress was overwhelming. I had to let something go.

Each day, it became harder and harder to find the creativity to keep up this blog and try something new. And one night, as I sat down to write, C. said,”please spend time with me. Surely I am more important than your blog.” Imagine the pain in my heart. Of course C. is most important. So at that moment I walked away from blogging and told myself I wouldn’t return until I felt the “muse”.

I’M BACK!!!!  Holidays OVER.      House FINISHED.    Work Project LAUNCHED.

I’ve missed you friends. Give me a few days…and I’ll soon have my creative groove back!

Birthin’ A Baby

I’m in contractions. No- not really. But I feel the like I am having contraction pains during the last push of a 2 year project. It feels like I am birthin’ a baby. For two years I have hammered at a SharePoint redevelopment project. There has been a lot of sweat and tears shed over this project. Its a project that I estimated would take six weeks…our technology group said three months and actually took about 18 months + a few planning months.  (Thanks to our friends at Microsoft putting out a new version of SharePoint along the way)

The new site launches Friday. And I must admit, it’s terrific. It looks and feels like a real website and it offers everything from HR info to document libraries right at your fingertips. I don’t expect it to be an overnight sensation. It’s a change process for the firm. But with a little more sweat equity and some creative tactics, I think that we can change the way the firm thinks about internal communications. 

Come on Baby!  I’m ready to bring you to life!

Surrounded by Greatness

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at SCPRSA and IABC’s professional development conference 2010 Connect.  It was great to connect with my PR cronies from all over SC. My presentation went well and as it turned out, we were able to have some great dialogue along with the information sharing. Thanks to everyone who attended and who shared their insights with others.

 Our PRSAchapter has been struggling through these challenging economic times as professional dues are one of the first things cut. But let me just say, the quality of people who attended and programming that was offered at our meeting on Friday was awe inspiring! I was truly honored to be surrounded by greatness. All of the speakers shared wonderful insights and I walked away feeling proud to represent SCPRSA (www.scprsa.org).

my first car

My first car was a 1974 BMW. 2002. Inka Orange. Not my first choice considering the car was older than me! And orange…..not a 16 year old girls dream car. But my Dad LOVED BMWs and he convinced me that this was a really cool car. German instructions (yes the “fasten seat belt” light was in German), four gears and a crank sunroof! We were the third owner-it was brought over to the the US from Germany by someone in the Army. We had the original brochure on the 1974 2002- featuring an inka orange model! Looking back, it really was a cool car- wish I still had it. Though that silly little car broke down all the time and I hated it. As a matter of fact, the first time I drove it to school, I rode home in a tow truck!  I swear I could have had a new car for the amount of money that Dad spent fixing it.

When I learned that the Best and Brightest celebration would held at BMW Zentrum and we would have an opportunity to go for a spin on the race track, I knew that my Dad just had to come. My honor aside, I knew he would love this!

OMG- I can’t explain what the drive was like on the race track, tires squealing, 360 degree spins, the smell of rubber burning. It took my breath away. After our lap, I begged our driver to do it one more time….and he did! This time, we blew out a tire! Fantastic.

I am so happy that I didn’t know at age 16 how steady the BMW really is! I could have gotten into some REAL trouble. Though not reliable, that little car had some fun power!

Thanks for joining me at the event Dad! I owe so much of my success to all of your love and support (and all of those cool BMWs!)