Being Present in 2014

I spent the afternoon a few weeks ago speaking to an Entrepreneurial class at the Marshall Business School at USC.  For 90 minutes, 50 or so students locked eyes on me and listened.   Professor Elissa Grossman opened with an introduction and then the lecture hall was mine.  “Share your story, Elizabeth,” Elissa had said over the phone prior to the day.  “The students want to hear about your failures and the mistakes you have made along the way and what it takes to succeed.”    The 90 minutes flew by and as I shared humbly and honestly about the ‘no’s’ I had received and the products I developed that I knew were slam dunks but just didn’t stick, I realized that success are made up of these ups and downs.   Towards the end, a student asked what I thought it takes to be successful.  “Waking up every day and showing up fully.  Asking yourself and those around you what else can I do.  It is beyond hard work—it is listening and connecting honestly to others whether they are suppliers, customers, people you want to work with.”
Yesterday, I got back to work after a holiday break and a stack of hand addressed letters piled up on my desk.  As I opened each thank you, I was overwhelmed.  I had touched each student.  In this New Year, my wish is to be able to touch more people and be present.  That translates for me in several different ways. 1) spend less time in my in box, 2) slot in creative time to day dream into my calendar, 3) keep my phone in the kitchen at night (and not next to my bed), 4) put as much into planning vacations as I do into my work travel, 5) cook more, 6) garden more
Here’s to being present and showing up in 2014!