What Feeds Your Soul?

TEDx Fairbanks
Lecture series like TED Talks fuels my soul. What keeps you refreshed spiritually and creatively?

I’m addicted to TED Talks.  I revealed this a few years back during KUAC‘s annual fund drive pitching–you guessed it– the TED Radio Hour.  The addiction is so real I once threatened to stop cooking Thanksgiving Dinner if they changed my streaming playlist to football.  No joke.

Thankfully, I am not alone.  The Hub, a downtown venue that opened recently, holds a weekly TED Talk discussion group. We watch a couple episodes and then

ruminate on ideas and inspirations that came to mind during the feature lecture.  Sometimes the conversations are very focused on the talk themselves, sometimes discussions branch off into brainstorming sessions or debates.  No week is ever the same.

Last week brought a pleasant chance encounter with the coordinator of TEDx Fairbanks Dev Dharm Khalsa.  I had heard about this event through HUB facilitator Jen Eskridge, so I was excited to say the least.  We had just finished our discussion on Achenyo Idachaba‘s lecture How I turned a deadly plant into a thriving business, when our conversation steered towards general topics. At one point Jen turned to Dev and asked a question that seemed random at the time: What feeds your soul?

Dev touched a bit about TEDX Fairbanks before sharing his passion for yoga.  Yet, it wasn’t until I was back in my office plotting next week’s schedule that I began to wonder how I held it together in all the craziness. In the coming week I had 3 article deadlines, a major web project, and a prep for my next social media class.  All that plus a 4-stage fat bike race and regular triathlon training.  I began to think about Jen’s question.  How did I managed to avoid burnout? How did I feed my soul?

Answering that on a personal level was pretty easy.  Biking pulls me emotionally together in ways running or swimming doesn’t. Riding in a group allows a simultaneous sense of independence and belonging I don’t get anywhere else.  Sometimes I end up in unexpected places not accessible by roads.

But when it comes to work, that is a different story.  Here I feel the pressure to profit, please existing customers while courting new ones, share my experience, keep up with the times, AND grow.  Like raising children, a million guidebooks exist with “the answer,” none of which seem to sufficiently apply.  I probably worry more about my approach and methods of growing my business than I did parenting. He was easy going, so it helps.  The Alaskan economy, that’s a bit of a struggle right now.

The answer came a day later while I was drafting an article for The Alaska Contractor.  For some reason I decided to draft it by hand, my notes typed into Evernote, and a second monitor playing Khan Academy chats with business leaders.  I worked diligently as I listened to stories of good days and bad days turning a start-up into a thriving economic force. Their struggles put my soul at ease as I poured half a day into a single project.  Kahn Academy lectures, and others found on sites like 99U and TED Talks feed my soul.

Since coming to this realization, I have shared an article by NY Illustrator that addresses this very thing.  Again it’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in this process.  Thank you Jen for bringing this vital need to my attention.


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