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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Old Meets New

In 1970 my family stayed at the brand new Sierra Nevada Inn in Mammoth Lakes California. Our next door neighbors were part of an original investor pool and I think we stayed for free. In the 80's I stayed as a newlywed. In the 90's I stayed with my kids. And I'm staying here tonite for the second time in a month while grabbing a couple days skiing. So, what's the question?

Well, the old Inn has now become the "Sierra Nevada Lodge". It's going through a re-birth. A family in LA decided to pour a bit of themselves into the place and they've done a great job of creating an "old meets new" vibe.

And, I'm a developer at heart. I look at things as they are and can't help but envision what they could be. My wiring just screams... "what's the current condition?" and "what's the desired condition?" And then, "What are the action steps to get there?"

With the Inn I can see evidence that all kinds of good marketing questions have been asked and answered...
  • Who is our target market?
  • What is important to them?
  • What are we attracting them from?
  • What is our unique value proposition?

But I can also see how a team of people have come together to climb a big mountain. This place was tired. And they've poured themselves into it. I've talked with their sales staff, the front desk staff, the housekeeping staff and to a person they own this place. They may be employees to the outside observer, but inside, they are owners. Kudos to all the new owners.

Sometimes it may seem easier to tear it all down and start over. Wouldn't we all like to do that with our lives sometimes? Harder to re-define, re-purpose and re-create ourselves into who we want to be.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Scenic Route


"For fast acting relief, try slowing down." Lily Tomlin

In 1964 my 32-year old mom loaded up her five kids into the Oldsmobile Station Wagon and drove Route 66 from Los Angeles to her Aunt Irene's in Springfield, Illinois. I was five and only remember a few moments which have become ingrained in the family story... leaving my older brother behind at a gas station ("Really Mom, Rick isn't here!"), trying to pay for a motel with an out-of-state check ("Lady, here's a stack of out of state checks returned by the bank. We accept cash."), and celebrating another brother's birthday with a candle on a glazed donut.

There is a current relevance to my musing. A friend just drove my car from LA to Chicago on Route 66 and I will be driving it home in a couple weeks. His purpose in making the trip was to get off the superhighway... both actually and metaphorically... and slow down a bit, take in the sights, breathe the desert air, and perhaps find a part of himself in the process.

I don't have quite the esoteric motivation. I just like a good road trip... but it's worth the question... "What is it I want to have happen?"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How Does It Serve Me?

A few years ago I was surfing at an unfamiliar break- Pacific Beach in San Diego- and while paddling into a wave became concerned that it was too big and that I didn’t have the capability to ride it well. By the time I made the decision to pull back I was too far in and ended up getting “sucked over the falls” and slammed on to the shallow sandy bottom. I knew immediately that things weren’t right and managed to get myself out of the water. I was stunned and disoriented but not enough to warrant medical attention on the spot.

The funny thing is that I would have likely gone uninjured if I had stayed the course and gone with it. Note to self: sometimes the risk or downside of pulling back is more then the downside of riding it out. But in the end, I had two compression fractures and my back has never been the same.

I've been to physical therapy and chiropractic. I've had folks suggest glucosomene and other pills. I do exercises and stretches. I hydrate well. But if stress is going to show up in my body, it goes straight to my back. And it's a pain.

Sometimes I wonder... how does this pain serve me? Because if it didn't serve me somehow, I would have likely dealt with it more effectively over the years. Is it possible that the pain in my back is some sort of reminder, a caution, a penance for some guilt perhaps? I don't know. I wonder if the path toward wellness is to let go of my hold on the pain. Let go of whatever it is that the pain represents. This could get a little woo-woo... but perhaps I haven't learned the lesson that the pain has for me.

No solid answer tonite. Just the question... how does holdng on to this thing... this un-changing pain in my life... serve me?