Friday, December 26, 2008

From The Great White North

Photo: The mostly frozen Rivière des Prairies, Quebec from my home office.

When I flew Southwest Airlines to Chicago last week and looked out the window in the gray of the early winter morning I could clearly see the snow grid of middle America frozen in place and all I could think of was how it reminded me of how our industry, nay, the worlds’ financial and business and consumer landscape is frozen, virtually shut down in a strange sort of hibernation. The big question: Will Spring bring a thaw? I hope so.

From a NYTimes editorial on 12/24:
“The world may never again be able to gaze at its photo with awestruck wonder. But two startlingly fresh images of our planet come to mind. The first is the virtual globe that appears when you open Google Earth. The planet as information tool, waiting to fly you anywhere you choose. The other is a haunting image from the movie "Wall-E" of a brown husk left lifeless by consumption. The real Earth seen from the Moon is surely as lovely as ever, even with thinner ice caps, smaller forests, fewer gorillas and tigers and a few billion more people. We are still brothers and sisters in the eternal cold, but increasingly connected by invisible threads, able to see — and hear and understand — one another as never before. That, at least, is reason for optimism.”

From Tom Asacker: Nine Predictions for 2009 (BTW, I learned some time ago that nine is the maximum number of things you should put on a list; seems like this fellow read the same thing! And, yes, I skipped some ☺):

#2: Many things will change, but many people will not.
Most of us will be doing, thinking and feeling more or less the same things this time next year as we are now. If you don’t want that sameness, grab yourself by the collar and yank yourself off that comfortable, well-worn path and onto the one less travelled by you. Let go of your past and grab on to your future. Because while you’re waiting for that grand insight to point you in the right direction, the beauty if life is flying right on by. (SF

#3: Most people will sit quietly in their seats and watch life unfold around them.
Grab the wheel and get moving. Let the pull of what excites you and what you care most deeply about be your guide.

#5: Many “friends” will be lost and many new ones made.
Many of the people who have “friended” you through social networking did so for a reason; their reason. And once that reason goes away, so will they. Don’t sweat it. Keep connecting. Keep reaching out and sharing with people with similar interests and beliefs. But also spend more slow and deep time with your family and your true friends; those who accept and care about the real you, not the social status you. “In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends.” –John Churton Collins.

#6: The passionate will not only survive, they will thrive.
The future belongs to those unwilling to accept the stifling status quo; to those who stay puzzled, excited , frustrated and surprised.

#7: Success will go to those with the best questions, not those with the cleverest answers.
Successful people know that they’ll never know enough, especially about what really matters. So, they pay attention. They catch on and refocus rapidly. They never stop trying and learning. They’re driven by the questions, by their desire to understand and to change things. “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” –Mark Twain

#8: Execution is the new strategy.
E.L. Doctorow wrote, “Planning to write is not writing.” Sure, vision and planning are important. But with the accelerating pace of change in today’s world, the important insights are more likely to come through doing and editing, than through speculating and strategizing.

#9: Making a difference will trump making a buck.
Walt Disney’s mantra was, “I don’t make movies to make money. I make money to make movies. “ What about you? Why do you make money? Think really had and long about that simple question. If you’ve been putting off being passionate about your work in order to make a lot of money, now may be the time for you to make a change. Why? Because the business of making money simply to make more money is quickly coming to an end. The future is not in making a buck, it’s in making a difference. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” –Winston Churchill

And, please, as things get more and more hectic and frantic, don’t forget the famous Princess Louise Principal: When you’re off you’re off! If you work at it you can do it. You can turn your work phone and BlackBerry off when you’re off. Just give yourself and those around you a break!

I discovered an interesting blog last week. and will be meeting with the author next Tuesday in Montreal.

2008 has been a challenging year in one way shape or form for almost all of us. I’ve had my own personal adventure this year which has, as many things in life, resulted in me being in a better place (not just physical). I have met some terrific people for the first time and visited places I had never been before. I have also really learned who my true friends are and I cherish their friendship. For me, growing as a person, exploring new things, living with my eyes and heart open and being grateful for so many little things is the essence of my life. Having your support in the launch of this blog means a great deal to me. 2009 will bring us challenges, some leftover, others pushing us to be more creative, more enthusiastic and more disciplined. But throughout it all, I have learned that it is the small things that matter and that in this time of stress, reaching out to help someone makes a difference.

My best to you for a happy and healthy 2009!

Where I'll be:

Dec. 26-Jan. 2, 2009: Montreal.
Jan. 13-14: Cleveland, OH
Jan. 16-18: Ormond Beach, FL for the first 'annual' Felix Family Birthday Celebration
Feb. 17: Atlanta, GA
Feb. 18: Raleigh, NC
Feb. 19-, 2009: Chapel Hill, NC to attend the Kennan-Flagler Center for Real Estate Development’s Annual Conference and Real Estate Challenge Case Competition.
Mar. 10-13: Cannes to attend MIPIM, host the second annual MIPIM Summit TV show and attend INREV's Annual General Meeting.
Mar.24: New York to moderate a panel at the IGlobal Forum Real Estate Private Equity Summit
Mar. 25-26: Washington DC to attend PREA's Spring Conference
April 1: Champaign-Urbana, IL to attend a very special music recital
Apr. 24: New York, Madison Square Garden to watch Syracuse beat St. Johns (College Basketball).

These are my personal views and not that of my employer.

Blog Archive