April 2013

Visualize the scene.

Author sits on airplane, jetting off to a work assignment. Flight attendant strolls by:

FA: What can I get ya to drink?

AU: I’d love a ginger ale!

FA: I’d love to bring ya one.

Simple exchange, right?

I so appreciated that she picked up the word “love.” Volleyed it back at me. Had fun with it. Her response conveyed a sense of delight in her professional role, to boot. Yes, this flight attendant was a language-cue-pick-up artist!

So simple. So energizing.

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The Boston-marathon-events hijacked last week.

It was everywhere. Twitter, television, the web. Even when I didn’t wish to engage, Boston played on the TV monitor at my gym, behind the counter at California Pizza Kitchen.

Boston carried loads of psychic energy.

Something horrible happens. We have an instant emotional response. Sadness, outrage, empathy, indignation, fear.

The first response is primal. The remainder is pure story. I want to call it “the Boston tragedy” – and here we are, smack in the middle of “story.”

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They vilified him.

Wilhelm Reich, psychiatry-enfant-terrible of the mid-20th century, based his entire framework for understanding human behavior on the notion of blocked energy. Reich believed that folks who experienced significant challenges in life did so because their energy “got stuck” sometime during the early stages of life. Getting well meant getting rid of body armor and getting the energy moving again!

Reich was ahead of his time.

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Lunched with Victor, youthful president of a global-ueber-electronics firm, in the Chicago burbs this week. I relish Victor’s smarts. He reads brainy stuff, thinks in unexpected ways, keeps me on my conversational toes.

“I just watched this TED talk about the power of introverts,” Victor volunteers. “Interesting!”

I find myself starting to boil inside. Not at Victor – no, at this infuriatingly narrow and culturally perpetuated narrative about the introvert/extrovert dichotomy. Here it is, again.

I appreciate Susan Cain, the lovely and immensely articulate power-of-introversion speaker Victor references. Cain is a leader of the lets-reclaim-the-introvert movement. A backlash against a North American business culture that values constant collegial engagement.

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I spent time with a group of magnificent MBA students at a university in Boston last week. We explored personal presence. We talked about personal energy. We went to the well.

“So what IS energy?” a young lady named Melinda asked.

Ah yes – that question.

Melinda asked it with a big beaming smile, and I wondered, does Melinda know that she has a high-energy smile?

I had great fun with the “so what is energy question” when I wrote my book INFECTIOUS. I talked to a bunch of energy experts. Here are some answers that stuck:

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