Four Things For Friday No.7

 

Each Friday, I share “Four Things For Friday” that are a collection of things I’ve seen, heard, or experienced during the week. Thoughtfully chosen, and intended to spark your curiosity, imagination, or inspiration. HAPPY EXPLORING!

 
 
Grand Central Terminal - Met Life Building Lobby Renovation
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What book am I reading?

Thanks! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier. I’m trying to read a book a week - this is a bit of a challenge in all fairness, but absorbing myself in books to expand my mind, thoughts, and perspectives feels really good.

To help my mission, I combine the use of Blinkist to snapshot books with ease and then from this I decide which ones to read completely.

I went through a stage of having 5-8 books on the go all at the same time, but I found it was taking me too long to complete all of those books. So I changed my strategy and lately I’ve found focusing on just one book at a time is refreshing and more fulfilling. (There is note here about the lessons of multi-tasking vs concentrating on just one task at a time.)

Back to “Thanks”. So far it’s a fascinating read about the impact of positive psychology and how it can make a difference in our lives. The book delves into outlining how by focusing on gratitude it can increase the chances of happiness and overall it can help us cope more effectively with stress, illness, and improve relationships. The opening chapter begins by outlining an experience that author Steven King went through - the king of fear and gloom - surprisingly turning to gratitude during an intensive experience in his own life.

 
 
 
The French Quarter. Charleston, SC.

What lesson did I learn this week?

Celebration. I was reminded of the power of celebration, and how that in itself is truly something to celebrate. I attended a wedding on Wednesday and like all wonderful occasions it is a time to celebrate the simple and most beautiful thing of two people falling in love and choosing to marry.

I was reminded of the lessons celebration brings:

1. It draws people closer together.

2. It creates opportunity for people to find out more about each other and connect in new ways.

3. It reminds our brains that finding reasons to celebrate - whatever the occasion - is an important part of our experience as humans because we find new ways and reinforce ways of coming together and creating a community.

4. If we allow it, the occasion can inspire growth, new ideas are born, emotions can be released and it can either bring up issues that we need to release and heal, or it can strengthen and validate emotions that feel good. No matter which end of the stick you approach celebration from there is something that we can take away from it.

5. It can soften our soul and return us to being empathetic humans again - if we let it. Life can get hard and tough at times and that effects our behaviors. In the same way that children have the power to stop adults taking themselves too seriously, celebrating can do the same thing. It can create lightness, evoke delight and joy so that we are reminded about how good it feels to feel good.

6. It inspires deeper relationships and creates connections that feel good - and connections that you want more of. As humans we love to truly connect with each other, when it feels good we feel heard, seen, valued, and loved. Celebrating is a way to reinforce that.

 
 
 
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What does my morning routine look like?

I’ve read countless articles over the years of what routines for founders to executives to mums and dads look like and for some reason, this week, I got introspectively curious about my own morning routine. The results surprised me.

I found out that in an ideal world my morning routine would take me 3 hours to complete from start to finish! From getting up, to exercising, to showering, to getting ready, to making breakfast (celery juice + smoothie), to meditating, to journaling, and then beginning my day.

While I found this exercise incredibly helpful, this routine is not by any stretch of the imagination realistic (at the moment). I wrote out how many minutes I would need for each activity - for waking up and snoozing (20 mins), exercising (60 mins), getting ready (20 mins), meditating (15 mins)… the list went on. Before I knew it my delightful, ideal morning, totaled 3 hours. I'd best get up at 5am if I want to do this everyday, then I realized that for me I’d be exhausted and over-stress my adrenal system if I really did that every day.

The benefit of doing this exercise made me realize that I don’t need to feel rushed in the morning. I don’t do all these things and I can let go of the idea that I can squeeze it all in within 30 minutes - it is just not happening. So, I relinquished control and gave myself permission to enjoy that full routine as part of a weekend once in a while, and instead during the week I’d cherry pick what I’d do (I like the flexibility that gives me) and since I don’t have time to do it all it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to do it all, and I’m ok with that. Wow! Such a refreshing feeling. The irony, the only person that was putting pressure on myself to complete so many different activities in an unrealistic amount of time was me. From introspection comes new perspectives, growth, and the beauty of letting go. What does your morning routine look like?

 
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What retail trend was I pleased to experience?

Sustainability. I bought a new pair of shoes this week. Ahh swoon and hello new shoes! However, that is not the point here.

Top marks go to Aldo for their out of the box thinking (pardon the pun) when I paid for my shoes and was handed the shoe box without a bag it came with the comment that “We’re reducing our packaging footprint and all of our shoeboxes are now the bags”.

Ready to go shoe boxes with ready made handles. Fabulous - less packaging for them, less packaging for me, less impact on the environment. Nice work.

Then of course, my mind got creative and it started imagining how beautiful all those boxes could be, customers who are artists could have their artwork end up on the boxes (remember how Starbucks did that with their holiday cups?), or inspirational messages find themselves on the outside of boxes. Yes, of course, the cost and impact of manufacturing and distribution, balanced with the original intention to reduce waste and environmental effect has to be factored in, but there are some creative businesses out there with solutions, and the power of engaging the community and creating a brand family - now that’s a story.

What retail sustainability patterns are you experiencing?