Reverb 10: New Name

Prompt: New name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

Names are a funny thing. Given the right name and you might just succeed. Given the wrong one and you might just become a pole dancer. Ok, ok, I’m being a teeny bit facetious but you get my point. Names are defining moments. That’s definitely gonna leave a mark.

I was born Suzanne Bond. I think it must have the most # of nicknames for a formal name: Suzannah, Suzette, Suzi, Susan, Sue, Suz. The spellings of course are infinite even for Suzi, which I was called until the age of 23. Suzy, Suzie, Susie, Siouxsie. The only other one that comes close might be Elizabeth. Given the high number of possible nicknames it can be tough to know what to call me. Much different than say someone named Adam. Try shortening that one.

I’m pretty sensitive to what you call me for two reasons.

The first has to do with the uniqueness of my name. Suzanne isn’t unusual. Pretty much every other woman over the age of 40 was named Suzanne. Average age of a Suzanne? 51.something or other.  It or derivations of it are mentioned in more than 25 songs. No, it’s what’s missing that I’m talking about.  No middle name. Unlike the rest of my family who has one. But that’s a story for another time.

Think back to when you got in trouble as a kid.

What were you called? By your first full name and your middle name right? Because I have no middle name I was only called Suzanne when I was creating mischief.  Many years after getting my fingers caught in the cookie jar and breaking windows, I still jump like one of Pavlov’s subjects when called that name. All this feeling guilty got to me as a got older so I just dropped off the second n and the e and that’s why I spell it Suzan even though it’s pronounced Susan.

The second reason I’m sensitive is because of all the girls in my school who sullied my name.

All the girls who got around in my high school–if you know what I mean–shared my name but went by the moniker Sue. The song Runaround Sue which just affirms it. Thanks a lot Dion. Plus, Sue isn’t the smartest sounding name in the school. Then there’s Suzi. Very young like Susie Snowflake that was a perennial fixture in our Christmas show? Or Susie Chapstick? You want to do business with those women right? Um, no. I’d have to say that all this name stuff never made me like mine much.

Now it’s not as bad abond1sea 300x200 Reverb 10: New Names Myrtle which my poor Grandmother got saddled with. No wonder she wasn’t the most cheery of people–tough to be when you’re dragging around a name like that. I should feel lucky after dodging that name bullet.  I’ve always wanted to have a name that was more exotic like Isabella Rossellini, Penelope Cruz or Sofia Vergara. But those would sound awkward with my WASP-y looks and background. I guess my parents knew what they were doing–the name Suzan Bond–suits me. And my last name? Well that’s pretty much the best one I could ask for. Memorable. Cool. I’d never change that.

Besides I’d miss all those good jokes about martinis and being a Bond Girl.

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Reverb 10: Future Self

Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

- Floss your teeth every single day. Twice.Suzan Mirror1 179x300 Reverb 10: Future Self

- Worry less, have more fun.

- Use your time most productively.

- You can do more than you think you can. Be the little engine that could.

- Be in the moment. In every moment possible.

- Save more money. It’ll make rainy days more pleasant.

- Forgive more easily. Have fewer regrets.

- Hone your technical prowess. (writing, photography, graphic design, coding)

- Have less in order to have more.

- Let go of anything that doesn’t serve you–immediately.

- Trust yourself more.

- Write, even just a few lines, everyday.

- Do what you want. Everything else will follow.

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Reverb 10: Healing

Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

IMAG2676 179x300 Reverb 10: HealingI love food. I mean really love food. Really good food. One of my good friends says that I can’t be a foodie because I don’t cook. So I call myself a foodette–a mini foodie. I’m a hedonist by nature. I love all that decadent stuff. Dark chocolate. Nice wine. Margaritas. Bread. Cheese. Pretty much anything that turns into sugar–rapidly. The problem? Hypoglycemia. I crave sugar and anything that can mimic it. Unfortunately it’s just about the worst thing I can put into my body. Sugar in any sort of collected amount is pretty much tantamount to poisoning myself. Heaping it on (as I enjoy doing immensely) puts my body on a roller-coaster of highs and lows. Eating even a pretty healthy for Americans diet gave me a steady dose of sugar. And a steady dose = poor immune system, lots of colds, low energy and the ability to from zero to cranky in 30 seconds. Diagnosed with this chronic condition 20 years ago I’ve been aware of the side effects of this life style and have tried to manage it. With pretty much no degree of success.

This year I decided to try something radical. Cut out the sugar. Completely. Indefinitely. Welcome the Paleo Plan. Yes, yes–it’s based on what our caveman ancestors ate. Meat, nuts, fruits, vegetables. And 4 glasses of wine a week. Insert your jokes here but how wine and almond butter didn’t exist then. Really the diet is anti-sugar. It’s about getting off the juice as I call it.

The 1st two weeks were a nightmare.

There were times when I just wanted to have some sugar intravenously pumped into me. When you needed to tie me to the bed sheets like an addict getting off the goods. It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done physically. It requires commitment. Will power. Focus. And…a big reason WHY you’re doing it. For me, being in a bikini on a beach wasn’t a big enough WHY but feeling consistent energy and being well definitely was. Along the way I got support from my friend Tara who’s done the Paleo Plan a few times and from my other dear friend Kate Brown, the Community Director of Daily Burn. I wished I’d known about this blog.

I am still working on walking the anti-sugar way.  The more I eliminate sugar the more I heal and the better I feel. I continue to follow that old adage…You can’t eat an elephant in one bite…although I wouldn’t mind eating the whole thing at once. I am a foodette ya know.

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Reverb 10: Try

Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

There were a lot things I tried–and accomplished this year. More travel: 10+ cities. Climbing a 14er. Following the Paleo (eating) plan for more than 3 months. Speaking in front of nearly 900 people.

yoda 300x227 Reverb 10: TryThe thing I didn’t try enough of but will next year is simple. Writing.

Sure–I wrote this year. In fact I wrote 34 blog posts (including this one).  I’m always writing. At least in my head. Much of it never gets to written page because I’m otherwise occupied without a writing utensil (showering or driving typically). Sometimes it’s because I’m trying to write perfect first drafts. Other snippets get written down somewhere on a scrap piece of paper that I lose or that just never gets connected to something larger. Most of the time it’s because I don’t take the time to pull it together into a cohesive piece. Here are a few of my favorites that still need a home:

- My cape of shame.

- 24 years ago in my 18th year of breathing I had two crushing events whose impact has lingered until now. My 42nd year outside the safety of my mother’s womb.

- Just remember…we listen to ourselves.

- Why Nike’s Just Do It edict won’t help you just do it.

There are many more than this–probably better–well, hopefully better. In 2011 I will write more. Not just try. As the wise philosopher Yoda once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” So I will do. Regardless of clients or other work. I will not just write but collect it into some sort of readable form and publish at least one book. Yep. I will write & publish at least one book in 2011.

Randomly…or maybe not so randomly…

I’d love to find a publisher to formally publish a new edition of this book and to publish my next one. Keep a look out for me huh? Remember: There is no try…do or do not.



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Reverb 10: Lesson Learned

reverb10story Reverb 10: Lesson LearnedLesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

Silence may be golden and…it can also be torture. You know me. If you don’t know me personally then you know someone like me. I always have a million and 1 things going on at a time. I have friends all over town and can’t walk into a place without having to say hi to at least 10 people–in a cafe with 15. I lived in big cities in the middle of all the hub and bub for 14 years. I regularly worked 60-70 hours a week in the consulting world for many years. And for the crowning moment: I used to have a t-shirt that read…chatterbox.

The sound of silence.

IMGP68241 e1292640763772 199x300 Reverb 10: Lesson LearnedYou can imagine that silence can be a bit deafening for a person like me. Getting away with just my thoughts and have lots of white space sounded really enticing. I’ve always thought a silent retreat would be delightful. It’d be so romantic. Even if I was alone. I’d have all these beautiful, calm moments. I’d be serene. The knowledge of the whole world would appear before me. It would be exactly what I needed.

I was wrong. I didn’t know what to do with myself. All that time. All those thoughts.

Private hell for one please.

See, silence is hard. Being busy, amped up and running around pell mell is easy. Well, at least for someone like me. Talkative. Constantly moving. A recovering Type A. Someone who can generally do anything she puts her mind to. Not so in this case. I struggled, thrashed about like a fish on a dock who is desperately trying to get away even though they suspect it’s hopeless. Did I learn that silence is golden and beautiful. Um, no. I’m definitely still a work in progress on this one.

I did learn that when I do get silent it allows me to see my thoughts. I begin to get clear about what’s super important (love, passion, values) and what’s not (the semi-cute shirt I saw on sale). I begin to quickly and easily know the answers to the questions that linger on my mind. It’s a beginning. That’s really what silence is.

An opening.

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Reverb 10: 11 Things

IMAG0169 300x179 Reverb 10: 11 ThingsWell hello again. Long time no…blog?? Did ya miss me? I missed you! Last week I spent a few days in New York visiting a dear friend. It was a fun  few days of madcap pace and folly’s–like running through Times Square–late to see Billy Elliot shrieking “Will run for theatre!” (Yep. True Story.) After that I slowed waaaaay down in the Bahamas on Exuma Island where I’ll be until just before the New Year.

11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

#1 Drama (Especially other people’s drama.) Don’t want it. Don’t need it. Done with it.

#2 Clutter (Physical, mental…even social)

#3 Believing I can’t do (insert anything here)

#4 Sugar (Time to get rid of this…again)

#5 Doing the same things over and over again (Let this be a year of 1sts!)

#6 Being just a wee bit late (Sure it’s usually only 5 minutes but still)

#7 An overflowing inbox

#8 I forget what 8 was for but 9, 9…

#9 Thinking travel is too expensive & I don’t have time (More travel in 2011. And maybe, one day I’ll be a vagabond for a while like Andrew Hyde)

#10 Worrying about not being a true artist/writer/creative (and just create!)

#11 ______________________

I feel like those are the biggies that quickly spring to mind. I’m sure there are at least a couple of other things I just don’t need. What would you suggest as the 11th thing I don’t need in my life in 2011?



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Reverb 10: Community

1121957 white flower Reverb 10: CommunityCommunity. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

2010 began for me with a relatively small community in my new city of Boulder. I had always wished to more. It quickly grew. In the past year I’ve discovered community with…

- The tech startup world of Boulder. I’d been out of that world for a while and it welcome surprise to find out that it still resonated and felt like home.

- Twitterers. I started following just a few and now have more than 700 (and growing) kindred spirits who enlighten, educate and entertain me daily.

- Boulder. Very livable city, great people, near the mountains. Enough said.

- The local fire community. I found this community by trying to support a dear friend during the massive Boulder Fire.  I’ve met incredible people who volunteer their time to fight fires and helped co-found an organization that raises money to support them.

- The dearest friends ever. Although I’ve lived in 5 cities, this is the place where I feel like I have the deepest and most connections I’ve ever had. Including Cali, the author of this prompt.

- Riders. As a baby snowboarder, they took me to the slopes and forced me to challenge myself–bringing out an inner athlete I didn’t know I had.

- Igniters. Geeky presentations that auto-advance every 15 seconds? I’m there. I was lucky enough to be able to speak at Ignite 10 & happily cheer on anyone with courage to speak in front of more than 900 people. If you have the chance–do it.

- My family. This year I really discovered how much I really love my family. How much I am like them. I’m very happy about that. My “other” family in Boulder is Atlas Purveyors. If you want to know where I am most days look here first. They not only know my name…they know my drink.

- Writers. Writing made a BIG comeback for me in 2010. Friends who are writers, 750words.com and Reverb 10 have provided a great home for this revival.

So those are (some) of my peeps. In the past I’ve had this habit of thinking that no one understands me. That I’m too unique. (A throwback from my tortured teenage days) If you hear this from me I give you full permission to put this post in my face as a reminder.

Yeah–I’d say I discovered Community with a capital C in 2010. Turns out it was pretty easy for me. This is a pretty big deal for someone who was convinced they never fit it. So, so, so looking forward to the deepening of this community and the new ones I create in 2011–especially with other tech entrepreneurs.

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Reverb 10: Make

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

Let’s just be blunt. I’m not a good cook, drafter or painter (all proven). Given this lack of technical talent with my hands I tend “make” things that are generally less tangible. My raw materials are me.

I make…

- (er, write) books. IMAG3262 179x300 Reverb 10: Make

- New ideas every day.

- Friends easily.

- Meaning. From everything.

- Collections of my nieces’ art work.

- Decisions. Usually good ones.

- People smile cuz I’m usually riding the “fun bus.”

- Collections. (Buddhas, Ganeshas & Owls are my favorites)

- Things happen. You want something done? I’m your person.

- People feel accepted & cared for.

- Community and connections wherever I go.

- A mess of my room & then clean it up–daily.

- People (including clients & my dog) do things they don’t know they can do.

On a tangible note: I used to bake. Biscuits from scratch. Vegan cookies that tasted “real.” I once even made chicken pot pie. OK–I made the crust and assisted with the chopping. My Kitchen Aid mixer is one of the favorite material things I own. I plan to get back to it one day.

Right now though…the things I really want to make more of are books. Like the one I wrote on one of my favorite topics. I’m off on a nearly month-long trip in a few days where I intend to write more books.

And you? What do you like to make? How do you make time for it?

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Reverb 10: Let Go

Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

reverb10story Reverb 10: Let GoI once did a high ropes course many feet in the air. Climbing rickety, swinging ladders made out of rope? No problem. Dancing on a wire 30 feet in the air? Piece o’ cake. Then I hit the last part of the course. All I had to do was get on a swing and let go. I sat there for 15 minutes. Petrified. Totally white knuckling it. Yeah. I’d say letting go was not my strong suit.

Since that moment 8 years ago, letting go has become much easier. I’ve let go again and again. One of the biggest things I let go of this year was O.P.P.  Something I fondly refer to as Other People’s Problems.

You may think this something easy to do. Not for this trained coach and ultimate people person. I’ve spent my life cleaning up the messes of other people. Sometimes asked, other times–well you know the rest of that sentence.

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1245262 shotgun 2 150x150 Reverb 10: Let Go

(It’s) like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of gun metal. Robert Downey Jr. after one of his many arrests

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Although he’s talking his drug addiction, I think many of us can relate to things we know are bad for us but we just can’t seem to stop. Mine? Helping people I perceived to be in trouble.

I’ve watched friends struggle over the years with bad choices. Bad relationships–with jobs that were toxic for them as well as the usual romantic ones.  I’ve sat side by side with clients who just couldn’t seem to pull it off (whatever they’re working on) despite years of work together. Despite trying, it seems they liked the struggle more than the absence of what ever was their personal albatross. Despite their troubles I just couldn’t stop supporting them. It used to make me work harder to help them. Then it made me sad. Then I just stopped. I simply let go.

I realized that I had to let go o1209407 stop Reverb 10: Let Gof helping others let go.  Ironic isn’t it?  It became uber clear: Sometimes you have to let others live their own life path. Actually, you pretty much always do. It was confusing and tough at times letting go of own personal taste of gun metal in helping others. But I did it. Turns out I like the absence of it better.

I still support my friends & clients through tough times. It’s pretty much in my DNA. Always has been. Will likely always be a a part of me. But now–I know when to stop and let them follow their own unique path. Who’s to say it’s bad for them or that it isn’t perfect just as it is? Now helping others when they’re having a rough day is the proverbial cherry. Not the cake.1184732 cherry 150x150 Reverb 10: Let Go

So now I focus on me and making my life what I want it to be. Much better.

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Reverb 10: Wonder

Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

I’m not sure that I can say I consciously created a sense of wonder this year. As a recovering Type A, I am often so busy getting things done or dreaming up new idea that I forget to have a sense of awe and wonder. There are certainly moments that could inspire it. Like Melanie Sidwell, there are certainly people in my life who do. My dog definitely gives me moments to inspire wonder. Yes, she can climb fire hydrants and trees.

The Tree Climber 2 Reverb 10: Wonder

The Tree Climber Reverb 10: Wonder

My friend Tara certainly inspires a sense of wonder as she incubates her new little “project” as I like to call it, challenges her body with Cross Fit or any number of other things I could never do or…when she gets a tattoo while conducting a business meeting. (True story)

IMG 4719 Reverb 10: Wonder

IMG 4727 e1291486083120 Reverb 10: Wonder

Wonder opportunities abound. This year was not a year that I can say I cultivated them. But next year…I will have White Space. Yep. That’s my word for next year. While inspiring wonder wasn’t the reason for choosing the word I think it will help.

Where were you with wonder this year? Did you cultivate it?

Or are you like me and need to cultivate some more of it in 2011?

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