February 21, 2010

Bulk view

Weekly review: Week ending February 21, 2010

From last week’s plans:


  • [/] Use new training program logo where appropriate
  • [X] Help team members send out Idea Lab invitations
  • [X] Learn from IBVA team
  • Also: Helped Jennifer Nolan with Drupal installation
  • Got a tour of the virtual analytics center from Jack Mason
  • Learned tons from IBVA mentors =D
  • Gave a former mentor advice on marketing independent consulting and coaching services
  • Joined a great conversation on leadership
  • Started UK visa application, may be there in mid-March
  • Loaded questions into Idea Lab


  • [X] Bake more awesomes – chicken pot pie and apple tarts, dough made using the food processor = flaky and yummy
  • [X] Smoothen household routines – made a week of meals in advance
  • Also: Checked out a few restaurants. Had huevos rancheros at Dr. Generosity, pretty yummy. Cheerful servers.
  • Learned more about great perspectives from W-


  • [  ] Upload Siargao pictures to photo-book making website
  • [  ] Compare photo book to getting prints of favourite Siargao shots … clearly this is low on my priority list, so I should just ‘fess up and either drop it or do it
  • [X] Sew more pouches
  • Also: Attended Seedy Sunday and picked up lots of seeds
  • Sewed a box-type bag
  • Tidied up a lot

Next week:


  • [  ] Conduct IBVA interviews (eep!)
  • [  ] Finalize preparations for Idea Lab
  • [  ] Create leader guide for Discovery Workshop
  • [  ] Finish UK visa application


  • [  ] Bake more pies
  • [  ] Send invitations to my family
  • [  ] Assemble more things for care package


  • [  ] Survive having my wisdom teeth extracted
  • [  ] Re-explore a liquid diet =(

Circuses, pots, and cathedrals: three key stories

There are three stories I refer to again and again: taking the first circus, making more pots, and building a cathedral. They form part of my approach to life.

Taking the first circus

My parents told the story of the first circus to us when we were growing up. On her blog, she wrote:

It came from an anecdote that my husband and I read in the Readers’ Digest about a little girl in a town soon to be visited by three circuses. Her father explained to her that the family was not financially able to take her to all three circuses and could take her only to one. The first circus would be just a small one, while the third would be the best and biggest, and presumably the most expensive. “I’ll take the first circus,” she said, and so her parents took her to the first. A few months later, when the second circus came, the family’s finances had improved and they were able to take her to the second. And finally, they found that they could afford to get tickets to the third and most expensive circus.

Harvey Chua, I’ll take the first circus

The story of taking the first circus reminds me to take opportunities when they come up. I tend to be conservative and frugal, but I’m also good at figuring out when it’s time to take that leap.

Making more pots

In a previous blog post, I wrote:

There’s a story about a pottery teacher who divided the class into two groups. A student in one group would be graded based on the quality of one pot that they turned in at the end of the semester, while a student in the other group would be graded based on the sheer number of all the pots submitted throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, students in the second group–those measured only on quantity–had produced better pots than those who had focused on quality. In the process of creating a large number of pots, the second group had learned from their mistakes, while the first group had been paralyzed by endless theorizing about what a perfect pot would be.

Me, Of sewing more dresses and making more pots

I use the pot-making story a lot. For example, when I struggled with writing, the pot-making story reminded me to just get something out there. The pot-story reminds me that even mistakes help you move towards mastery.

Building a cathedral

Several builders were on a construction site. A visitor asked the first worker what he was doing. The first builder replied, “I’m laying bricks.” The visitor asked the second, who replied, “I’m building a wall.” The visitor asked the third, who proudly answered, “I’m building a cathedral.”

The cathedral story reminds me of the power of vision. Good vision can turn any work into a joy. The lack of vision can make even the most talented lost.

The story also tells me that vision can be created by anyone. Even though I’m a recent hire, I have a strong vision for what I want to help the company and the world become, and I have a strong vision for myself and who I want to grow into.

Circuses, pots, and cathedrals – shorthand for how I live. What are your key stories?

Thanks to Paul for the nudge to write about this!