Last week, I had the privilege/honor/treat of attending TED (specifically TEDActive, the younger sibling of the main TED conference), held a couple hundred miles further north in the mountains of Whistler, British Columbia. TEDActive is filled with do-ers, information seekers, organizers, thinkers - passion-driven people who have, one way or another, found their way to this gathering, ostensibly around Technology, Entertainment and Design, but much more around ideas and community.
This trip was a journey in every sense of the word. Starting with the solo venture away from home and family, to the air travel followed by a trek into new, gorgeous, mountainous territory with a companion who started off a stranger and ended a friend, to the FIVE DAYS spent in solo exploration both internal and external. The most common way to start a conversation at TEDActive, I learned, is to ask, "So what made you come to TEDActive?" Personally, I tend to make decisions about my learning opportunities in a very instinctive, gut-driven way - jump on the opportunities I feel will open doors, provide something of value, even if I'm not 100% sure what practical form those outcomes will take - so answering this question was an unexpected challenge for me. But the answer I came up with, the one I realized is true, is that this was my way of immersing myself and my work (and by extension, The Purple Crayon overall) in big ideas, my movement toward stepping out and stepping back into my work, as we try to help people do each week at LunchPad or at Inc. Interactive, to get perspective through a new lens and in conversation with new people, and then to come back to the day-to-day with renewed energy, ideas and direction.
Over the course of the five days I spent immersed in TED, I absorbed, understood, conversed, created (here's me singing a song I wrote for the occasion on stage with a new friend . . . oh, and, Jill Sobule!). I spent my days without agenda but not without productiveness, and came home with new vision both without and within. In fact, that would be a good theme for the week, and I encourage you to try it when you have a chance...Look without to travel within. And sing some songs while you're at it.