Reads of the Week: January 18, 2013

Ah, Friday, and a long weekend too for many of you. Not for me – too much work to do – a good thing, so trust me, I’m not complaining. I’ll make room for enough down time to feel recharged on Monday morning, in case you care. Caring is in the air, you know, or it should be, we can make it so…

The world needs more “everyday mundane acts of caring” like the ones John Haydon shares in his post, The #1 Paradigm Shift You Need to Make in 2013. His simple truth is this: “In order to succeed you actually have to focus 1000% on your supporters and not your own agenda! The more you do this, the more your supporters will want to support you!” Simple, yet we find it so hard to do in our stressed out work days. Time to shift.

Maddie Grant shares a “must read” post by Clay Shirky on disruption. If you’re interested in education and MOOCs and such, you’ve probably already read it. But, you might not have read Maddie’s commentary and questions, important questions that associations need to address, now. As she says, “This is a HUGE OPPORTUNITY – not a threat.  What are YOU doing to prepare for the disruption of higher education?

Walking meeting, anyone? I love this idea from Nilofer Merchant at the Harvard Business Review. Why walk when you can sit? Because, haven’t you heard, sitting is killing us! I’m dying here!

What’s Worth Paying Dues For…And What’s Not? That’s a question I ask myself every time I get a membership dues renewal form. Maggie McGary questioned the value of her ASAE membership and decided not to renew. “If the main value of association membership is networking, why pay dues when you can maintain those contacts easily and for free on your own?” Sure enough, even though Maggie and I are (or were, in her case) both ASAE members, I met her online and then deepened that relationship outside of ASAE. That’s no longer that unusual. Associations should pay attention to her words: “If I’m paying for something, it has to be something that provides value for me on a personal level, and something that goes beyond what I can already get for free.”

Only 25% of associations have a content strategy. Yikes. Monica Bussolati says, “Putting out a lot of content without a clear and comprehensive strategy is like mining without a light. You’re sure to wander and squander resources, like time and money, both precious commodities these days.” She provides nine steps to creating a content strategy that will work for any organization, not only associations.

Did you make New Year’s resolutions? How are they going? I didn’t make resolutions but I did set goals and identify habits I want to develop. So far, so good. In case you need help, Jonathan Fields provides seven keys to successful behavior change and quest achievement in his post, How to Get Your Mojo Back and Do Big Things TODAY.

You know I’m a big fan of craft beer, especially local craft beer. I’m a beer geek for many reasons – taste and tasting experiences, friends in the industry, homebrewing, and the fact that passionate people are producing a high-quality product with a lot of love. Nation Hahn’s post, Kinston, NC and @MotherEarthBrew Have an Answer for Rural America, reminds me of even more reasons why local breweries are so good for their communities. Support your community by supporting your local brewer.

I’m not only a beer geek, I’m a giant squid geek too. Huge news on the Architeuthis front: for the first time we have video of a living giant squid in its natural habitat. Cool. In case you’re at all curious about this fascinating creature, Richard Ellis’ book, The Search for the Giant Squid, is excellent. For fiction lovers, it’s odd but good: China Mieville’s Kraken.

I read this Atlantic article, There’s More to Life Than Being Happy, by Emily Esfahani Smith last weekend and it really struck home with me. Mere happiness isn’t enough; we need meaning and a sense of purpose. Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl wrote about this in his bestselling 1946 book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Esfahani Smith writes, “The pursuit of meaning is what makes human beings uniquely human. By putting aside our selfish interests to serve someone or something larger than ourselves — by devoting our lives to “giving” rather than “taking” — we are not only expressing our fundamental humanity, but are also acknowledging that that there is more to the good life than the pursuit of simple happiness.”

And with those inspiring words, I wish you a happy Friday and an enjoyable weekend!

Poor fella. Photo by NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet (Flickr).
Poor fella. Photo by NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet (Flickr).

Author: deirdrereid

Deirdre is a freelance writer for companies serving the association market, who after more than 20 years in the association and restaurant industries, is enjoying the good life as a ghostblogger and content marketing writer. Away from her laptop, you can find her walking in the woods, doing yoga, going to shows, journaling, cooking, or relaxing in a comfy chair with a good book and a glass of something tasty in hand.

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