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Poetry, Courage and Change

Joining Nokia: Connecting People ... and Helping People Relate

On Monday, I embark on a new chapter in my career, as a Principal Scientist at Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto [Update: I rather prefer Principle Scientist, the title ascribed to me by Anne Galloway]. I'm excited about the opportunities to contribute to a number of strategic initiatives NRC is exploring, and to help this new lab grow into a world-class center of open innovation for using technology for connecting people.

As I noted in an earlier post on purpose and passion, the dream of Interrelativity -- using technology for helping people relate -- remains very much alive, even though the business of Interrelativity, the company I'd founded, had foundered. I see a natural alignment between missions -- or at least the mantras -- of Nokia and Interrelativity: connecting people and helping people relate.

Nokia_logo Interrelativitylogonamemantrasmall

I had the good fortune -- and mixed blessing -- of considering several job offers, each appealing in similar and different ways.  I have mixed feelings about my decision: I feel sad about declining the other offers, but am grateful for having had the opportunty to consider them, and am happy about the path I've chosen. 

As I've done with every important life event decision I've faced in the past 10 years, I re-read Susan Jeffers' book, Feal the Fear and Do It Anyway, and applied her No-Lose Model for making decisions:

Before you make a decision:

  1. Focus immediately on the no-lose model (whichever path you choose will provide learning opportunities … even if it’s learning what you don’t like)
  2. Do your homework (talk to as many people as will listen … both to help clarify your own intention and to get alternative perspectives)
  3. Establish your priorities (which pathway is more in line with your overall goals in life – at the present time)
  4. Trust your impulses (your body gives you good clues about which way to go)
  5. Lighten up (it really doesn’t matter – it’s all part of a lifelong learning process)

After making a decision:

  1. Throw away the picture (if you focus on what you expected, you may miss the unexpected opportunities that arise along the new path you’ve chosen)
  2. Accept total responsibility for your decision (don’t give away your power)
  3. Don’t protect, correct (commit yourself to any decision you make and give it all you got … but if it doesn’t work out, change it!)

I'm not sure what to expect, so it's relatively easy to let go of expectations -- and embrace working without attachments. NRCPA is very young, and I believe that the experimentation and innovation in our research will be complimented by experimentation and innovation in our model(s) of research.  In fact, this multidimensional openness is part of the appeal for me.

Speaking of attachments, I'm reminded of Steve Pavlina's post on self-acceptance vs. personal growth (or, perhaps more properly, self-acceptance vs. positional growth):

The underlying problem is that by rooting your sense of self in something that will fluctuate, like the current position of any measurable part of your life, you’re going to suffer in one way or another.
Instead of rooting your sense of self in your position, which is changeable, what would happen if you rooted your sense of self in something permanent and unchangeable?  Stop identifying yourself with any form of positional status, and pick something invulnerable instead… like a pure concept that nothing in this world can touch.  Examples include unconditional love, service to humanity, faith in a higher power, compassion, nonviolence, and so on.

[Other examples may include helping people relate ... or connecting people.]

Sychronistically, I just started listening the David Whyte's 6 CD set, Clear Mind, Wild Heart: Finding Courage and Clarity through Poetry yesterday.  Among the new insights revealed to me, that are related to my current transition, are

  • the connection between momentous and moments (reminding me that there are no ordinary moments, the mantra of -- and sequel to -- Way of the Peaceful Warrior)
  • the distinction between playing the edge and having an edge (over someone else)
  • a poetic expression of the sentiment expressed by Steve Pavlina:

    As human beings, we are constantly trying to find solid ground on which to stand. But from that solid ground, we also want a relationship with the intangible. If poetry is anything, it's that relationship -- the conversation between what is solid, grounded and real in our life and what we long for in the untouchable, the numinous, the eternal.

I will continue to play the edge between the real and the ideal, seeking to bridge gaps between people by bridging the gaps between the real (physical) world and the virtual (digital) world ... and, starting tomorrow, working together with my new colleagues to create new means for -- and meaning in -- connecting people.

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