Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My thirteenth slice-of-life story...

NO Definition

With rapt attention, I listened.  My hungry mind sprinted.  My note-taking fingers sped.  My eager spirit soared...then sputtered.

Sunday, like a 13-year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert, I listened to Lucy Calkins present at my state’s annual reading conference.   Her topic: Ambitious Reform and Teaching Reading.  Lucy’s message was transcendent and big and transferable, as you may expect.  In Teachers College lingo, it excelled in 'stickiness'.

Which, leads me to the one statement that echoes through my mind and now stands before my carnival mirror perceptions:  your no’s define your brand. 

This thought from Tim Calkins, Lucy’s brother and prominent advertising executive, invited listeners to the core of our existence…if you never say no, then you don’t have a brand.  Even Warren Buffet maintains that every important yes requires 1000 no’s

So, what do I say no to?

Drugs, cigarettes, over-priced denim, deep-fried butter,
worksheets, 'busy' projects...
some important; some frivolous.
Desperately random.  Inconsistent.

But, looming in the shadows of this abbreviated list is another one...one much longer, more personal.  The list of things I'd like to say no to but currently can not, will not, or do not.

Starbucks everyday, my perfectionist tendencies,
et. al.
Many important.
Few frivolous.
Overly focused.
Yet, distorted.

Leaving Lucy's session, my uneasy thoughts danced before the mirror's sensational views.  Glance, avoid.  Glance, avoid.    

Where's my courage? 
What's my brand?
Why can't I, won't I, don't I say no when my heart pushes me to?

I think it's a case of  "NO definition"...what would you prescribe?

Write on,


  1. Is it just another way of setting priorities & letting the rest go? I'm not sure but you just gave me some things to ponder. Lucy Calkins is amazing. Lucky you!

  2. Quite possibly, but in some cases I would confidently say no. How's that for nebulous? :)

    Let me know if you come up with any brainy ideas...

    And, thanks for naming me a Versatile Blogger!!!

  3. What a great challenge you've given me. I want to think about my no's - and my yes's - and my maybe's - and my so-so's. I'd like to see how they all stack up - I think it will be interesting if one list is longer than the other, what will that say about branding?

  4. Hmmm. I think we all have different groupings for our no's. The black-and-whit no's; the no's you know should follow, but don't; the no's you don't say because you are not confident enough. I never connected no to identity and brands.

  5. I understand what you are saying and wondering about. There isn't a simple answer.


Hi! I'd love to hear what you are thinking right now, so please take a sec and drop me a line. I'm so glad you stopped by today -- thanks a billion. :)