Intro from Alana:
I’m beyond excited to introduce my Creativity Partner, Julie Edge, Ph.D., to the CLC Community today. Julie is a mad scientist with an affinity for storytelling. She is chief storyteller and co-founder of Creelio – a personalized publishing platform for executives and business owners who want to build relationships by telling great stories online.
Speaking of storytelling, in the piece that follows, Julie humbles me by telling the sweet story of the way she and I were brought together through the alignment of the stars or karma or fate or whatever! In the process, she gives sound advice to us all about being present and aware of the people and events going on around us.
Guest Post from Julie Edge, PhD
Recently, I have had a number of experiences that made me think – “I’m so glad I was here at this moment.” Often it’s an unexpected person who becomes instantly impactful on my life. Or it’s been a message that seemed eerily meant for just me (like frequent Sunday sermons from Tom Are at Village Presbyterian and any book by Brené Brown, a vulnerability researcher-storyteller from the University of Houston). I call these my “Universe is talking moments,” and I’m always glad when I notice that I’m actually listening.
As I look back over my 25 plus year career to date, I know there have been times when I was tuned in and paying attention to the Universe at work and other times when I was completely oblivious. Certainly, maturity has brought with it a greater recognition of those moments. But in the last year, I’ve been bowled over more times than not by the sheer number of “Universe Moments” that have come my way.
Perhaps I’m more tuned in today thanks to the wellness journey I’ve been on for the last year and a half. I received the swift kick in the pants that comes from an unwelcome diagnosis – breast cancer. But one of the positive outcomes has been a heightened awareness of the connections that are possible when one is willing to be a little vulnerable and take the time to “notice.”
Time to Notice More
If you’ve ever read The Noticer by Andy Andrews, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s all about gaining a little (or actually a lot) of perspective when life gives you lemons. As Andrews notes,
“A life filled with opportunities and encouragement finds more and more opportunities and encouragement, and success becomes inevitable.”
My awareness of the Universe talking is part of that noticing. And it’s changed my life for the better. I have many examples of how this is working in my life, but probably the best one involves the author of Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical Field Guide for Master Networking!
A Story of Connection
I have a dear friend Aaron who I met back in 2004 through the Leadership Kansas program. We were two of the five Kansas Citians picked for the program out of 40 leaders from across our great state. At first, I thought our immediate kinship was because of the Kansas City location we shared, but a 6-hour drive to Garden City, KS, together cemented what would become one of my best friendships in life. We had an immediate connection that luckily was cemented when our spouses met and liked each other, too. We have one of those rare couple friendships that works on all fronts.
Since that fateful drive to Garden City, Aaron and I have been supportive of each other’s careers and sought ways to help each other with introductions and connections. So, when he mentioned to me in May that I really had to meet his friend Alana Muller, I made a note to make it a priority to connect with her.
Interestingly, Alana and I had met before about three years prior when she was still with Kauffman Fastrac. But at the time, there hadn’t been the right spark. The timing wasn’t right for a mutually beneficial relationship. Apparently, the Universe was just whispering and setting the stage for our relationship…not telling us to get moving.
But with the push from Aaron, Alana and I sat down for coffee and experienced an immediate connection. The funny thing is that Aaron didn’t have a specific purpose for introducing us. As he wrote in that joint email:
“People may say this but I really mean it; you are two of my favorite people. Period.
Although I believe you met each other briefly via Kauffman a few years ago, based upon recent conversations with each of you, you should reconnect, network, and see if you can help each other with Creelio, Coffee Lunch Coffee, books, etc. I will step out of the way and let the magic happen from here.”
That’s what I mean by the Universe being at work. None of us were really that conscious about the purpose of this introduction – just that there was potential for “magic.” We trusted in the relationship that brought us together and were open to whatever would come of it.
A Creative Connection
As a result of our openness, our first coffee in June was a great meeting of the minds. Since that first meeting, we’ve each made introductions for each other (although I think Alana is ahead of me on that one…I’m still learning her Coffee Lunch Coffee methodology). And of course since we are both authors of blogs, guest blogging on each other’s websites has been part of our new collaboration. You can read Alana’s guest post on networking like an expert in the digital age on my company’s blog.
However, it was our second coffee in September that really cemented our new friendship and creative collaboration. During our time together, we got deep on the practice of blogging – something we are both passionate about. And then out of the blue, Alana suggested I join her for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – a 30-day crazy whirlwind of wordsmithing. Without even thinking about it, I considered the challenge and accepted. My gut knew it was the right thing to do. My brain freaked out later, when the reality of 30 days of continuous blogging hit home, but my commitment did not waver. I knew it would be good for my own book writing aspirations and would strengthen our new relationship.
You can follow my daily blogging on my personal website: www.foundingbumps.com. I’m exploring many of the lessons learned over the last 18 months as a co-founder of an early stage technology startup and as a breast cancer thriver who chose an alternative healing path. Come check it out and let me know what you think!
The Bottom Line
The Universe works in mysterious ways through each of us, and it’s not usually explainable with logic. It requires going with the flow, opening up to tell your authentic story, and trusting in possibilities. For me, when I pay attention, amazing opportunities come my way and I am able to help my new connections in ways I never anticipated. Alana’s Coffee Lunch Coffee methodology and approach to networking is very in sync with how I think the Universe works to help us through this journey toward significance rather than just success. I’m glad to have her as a creativity partner.