Life, Love and the Pursuit of Innovation.

This past week and this upcoming week have held and will hold very special places in my heart.  As I thought about what I would write about while reflecting on the past and preparing for this upcoming week, so many things came to me but a few resonated:  Life, love and the pursuit of innovation.

On October 5, 2011, the world was changed and hearts were heavy when Steve Jobs died.  No doubt, this was a day and a week a lot of us in the creative world will never forget.  But what I found to be interesting, sad and confusing, is during this same time, people close to me lost loved ones or are experiencing deep pain.  Grandparents, parents, siblings, friends.  And while their faces and names weren’t being tweeted about or blogged about like Steve Jobs, those people who have gone before us have DEEP meaning in the lives of my closest friends and therefore, deep meaning to me.  Fine, they didn’t create the iPhone, but they created family values like no other.  They loved and were loved by so many.  I prayed to God for those who were hurting to feel comfort.  That they would have time and space to mourn.  That those lost would be celebrated immensely.  I was reminded that this is life.  And it’s hard.  And this is what it means to live and to love.  Love does hurt (Nazareth was on to something).  And it reminded me of a famous quote that I firmly believe, “it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all.”

When I thought about what it means to lose someone close to you, I came to this phrase over and over again.  A cliché, a literal understatement:  Life is short.  While I like to think I am not a cliché type of gal, in this case, I am.  And each day as I witness death, pain, depression, joy, success, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, showers, cancer, pregnancies, break-ups, proposals, sorrow, divorce and more, I say to myself, “life is short…LIVE IT and LOVE WELL!”  And a couple of ways I am living it is through my personal investment in learning as much as I can, realizing I am called to do more and to serve more and taking risks.  And lately, it has really been a personal pursuit of learning more in the space of innovation.  Thus, I have put myself out there and received positive responses so far (foreshadowing into future blogs…get excited).

  1. This was actually about 6 weeks ago, but I decided to apply to TED (you may remember from my previous blog, TED Talk Thursdays – An Ode to Jerry) and I was accepted.  I am beyond excited and the week has arrived…the reception kicks off Thursday night followed by an all-day TED series on Friday.
  2. As I continue to write, specifically for this blog, I grow deeper in love with writing and blogs. I am fascinated by them, I have grown a new appreciation and respect for them and I am HONORED when I get praises and accolades for my Ann written notes.  And thanks to Maggie Pierce, I have been approved as a guest blogger for a blog called My Super-Charged Life!  I wrote a unique piece, a personal piece, just for this blog and it goes live on Thursday, October 13.  I will share when it does but feel free to check out the site in the meantime 🙂
  3. As I was mingling a couple of Sundays ago after church at Park Cafe at Park Community Church, the infamous (or famous!) Mike Rolfes approached me and long story short, asked me to chair an event to raise awareness and money for Renew Chicago (soon to be renamed, more to come!).  I prayed, had lunch with him and am now humbled to say I will be chairing this event with the  main goal of helping the city of Chicago.  Period.  I have no idea how to chair an event.  I have never done it.  But with faith, God, my experience, my passion for the cause and a good sense of humor, I can only trust it will be a success (likely June of 2012, mark your calendars!).  And it has also been fun  to be a part of the branding and site design for this great cause…we all have gifts (in this case, 10 years of online marketing for me)…why not use them to help others?
  4. A friend of mine sent me a link to his friend’s new business venture (talk about social networking…jeez!), The Lime Tree, Chicago, in an effort of supporting and doing a little grass-roots marketing. Well, in addition to my immediate love for this site and product offering, I decided to apply for my travel photography to be sold on the site and it was approved!  Again, stay tuned, but in the coming weeks you will be able to purchase my shots on this amazing site!
  5. A great friend of mine is going through a season of her life where she needs help.  So this past weekend, I was able to babysit her two (very adorable and very entertaining) little girls.  If you can’t help a friend, who can you help?  And besides, I got to paint and talk about poop and Lady and the Tramp…who wouldn’t love that?!
  6. Chicago Ideas Week kicks off tomorrow!  A dear friend of mine, JR Kerr, informed me of CIW months ago and the minute he explained the concept, I was hooked.  And so I pursued a business partnership with Starwood and CIW and I personally signed up for some of their amazing talks, labs and events.  For example, tomorrow afternoon I will be at the Museum of Contemporary Art attending a session on Social Entrepreneurship.  Tomorrow evening I will be watching various mayors speak.  Tuesday I will be attending a creativity session by Fast Company.  Needless to say it’s going to be an amazing week from an innovation perspective.

So I as look back on these last couple weeks of life and what is to come, I am challenged to LIVE LIFE, to LOVE WELL and to PURSUE MY PASSIONS.  How can I invest in others?  How can I love Rick unconditionally?  How I can help friends and organizations with pure, selfless intentions (which admittedly, is not always easy)?  How can I take more risks?  As my great pastor says, it’s about living a life of credibility, not perfection.  And it’s about being available. 

In closing, I would ask you.  How are you living life, loving well and pursuing your passions on earth?

P.S. It comes as no surprise at all that literally as I was editing this blog my best friend, Eileen, called me.  Eileen, you are loved and I know God is hearing all the prayers.  Day by day, step by step.  Thank you for being my best friend, forever.

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2 responses

  1. Ann, you continue to amaze me with your writings! This last one was so innovative and shows how deeply you care for others and love to get involved in new things to help others. I am really proud of you.

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