The Big Bang of Self-Awareness

By Angela Noel

February 16, 2017

Twenty-three and recently single after a painful break up, graduated from college but still waiting tables, I pretended to myself that I was already both confident and self-aware. I needed neither parents nor boyfriend, my ego told me, I could figure this “being an adult” thing out on my own.

One night, I finished my shift and decided to meet my friend Reggie at the little bar he managed. Littered with mismatched throw rugs and comfy couches, Kingman’s Lucky Lounge on Grand Avenue in Oakland, California seemed as good a place as any for me to spend my time and a few of the dollars stashed in my apron pocket.

My own personal Big Bang awaited me inside the mirrored walls of the Lucky Lounge.  Continue reading “The Big Bang of Self-Awareness”

Technology, Leadership, and Life

By Angela Noel

February 9, 2017

“If this program succeeds, you’ll all be proud of it,” Komal Solanki told her team. The long days and constant pressures to meet the deadline took a toll on everyone involved in the huge program. Engineers, business teams, consultants, vendors, project managers, and leaders hunkered down for two years to implement an important technology project. Teamwork was critical to its success.

Laptop always in hand, Komal had to ask her team for more effort and more hours. With grace and poise, she advocated for her people while working closely with the project managers and senior leaders in charge of setting the direction and timeline. When the members of her team felt low, she reminded them of the pride they would feel when the work was done, and done well. Neither she nor her team are superhuman, but they seemed that way at times–and still do.

Cultivating a successful team requires clear vision and the ability to focus on results, no matter what the circumstances of the present moment may be. In work, as in life, the way things have always been done may not be the way things should always be. Komal, balancing tradition and innovation, knows this better than most. Continue reading “Technology, Leadership, and Life”

Fighting the Body Image War

By Angela Noel

February 2, 2017

Simone de Beauvoir, French author and philosopher, wrote, “To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.” Put another way, to have confidence in one’s body is to have confidence in oneself. Like many American women, I have some body issues. When I’m not mad at it for its pimples, wrinkles, or saddle bags, I’m disappointed in it for not being healthy enough. In 2016 I struggled with my body. My confidence wobbled. Clearly, something was wrong.

If your read my post A Resolution Resolution you’re familiar with my annual commitment to creating Intentions, statements that encompass an idea or way of being, to live into. This year, one of my Intentions is to honor my body. To do that, I’ll need to address years of negative influences, both outside and inside my own head.

Continue reading “Fighting the Body Image War”

Becoming Invincible

By Angela Noel

January 26, 2017

One dark December night in the late 1980s, I pulled a pair of rollerblades on and slipped out the front door of my childhood home in Southern California. Not typically the fearless type, the notion of racing around my block in the middle of the night thrilled me, even as I worried I might come home bruised and bloody. The moment the wheels hit asphalt and I gained speed down the gentle hill not far from my house, I reveled in the speed. I was invincible, pure motion and spirit in that moment.

That’s how it feels to talk to Hadley Barrows, children’s book author, publisher, and changemaker. To know her, is to feel as if all things are possible. Continue reading “Becoming Invincible”

Who We Are

By Angela Noel

January 19, 2017

Seems like just yesterday we were dressing up in feather boas and funny hats together, but CK Sanders has been CEO of a successful New York business for sixteen years now. She once helped me catch crawdads in a pond, and now she helps New Yorkers experience the great outdoors through day trips to craft breweries, wineries, and other hot spots for agritourism.

Playing Dress Up
CK on the left, me, and and our cousin Michelle in 1980. Dressing up with Grandma Sue’s old boas and hats. (Did people actually wear this stuff?)

If owning her own business wasn’t enough, CK launched a music career as a side project. Her recently released single, “Who We Are,” feels like an anthem to everything I want 2017 to be: heartfelt, collaborative, creative, and true. 

Continue reading “Who We Are”

Setting Intentions: A Resolution Revolution

by Angela Noel

January 5, 2017

Sometimes, even if I want a grilled cheese sandwich, the bread is moldy and the cheese has a funny (but not in a good way) smell. I must adapt my dinner preferences as I must adapt my life to the circumstances within it.

When we make New Year’s Resolutions, no doubt the goal is to resolve an issue we perceive in our lives today. We resolve to stop something we’re doing. Or start something new. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to break the routine and introduce a new idea. The issue I have with resolutions, as we practice them in daily life today, is with the stiff formality of it all.

Our lives are fluid. But, resolutions assume only a grilled cheese will do.

So I don’t make them. (Actually, I don’t make either resolutions or grilled cheese. The former, because I think they don’t work well, the latter because I always burn them.) Instead, I create intentions. They’re ideas I want to live into, frameworks that set a direction, but don’t specify the road.

An intention, in my definition, is three things: personal, non-restrictive, and  contribution-based.
Continue reading “Setting Intentions: A Resolution Revolution”

What the Heck is a Polylego?

by Angela Noel

December 29, 2016

I am a Polylego. What, you’ve never heard the term? Of course not, I just made it up. I needed a word to describe my habit of reading multiple books at the same time. Poly, means “many”–which of course you know. Lego, also the name of a very successful toy brand beloved by my son, boyfriend, and legions of others, means, “I read” in Latin. Thus, we are henceforth dubbed, polylegos. You’re welcome. Continue reading “What the Heck is a Polylego?”

A Blog to Love: Writing and Wellness

By Angela Noel

December 8, 2016

I’m writing this blog post from my new writing nook thanks (in part) to Colleen M. Story. She didn’t build it, my boyfriend Paul did, but she inspired it. That’s Colleen’s gift: Inspiring creative people to prioritize wellness as the single greatest asset towards fulfilling our artistic purpose.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I’m not a creative type.” I have a message for you: Oh, yes you are. Anytime you solve a problem at work, you’re being creative. Anytime you figure out how to keep your kid from lighting his hair on fire by accident while still encouraging his interest in chemical combustion, you’re being creative. Colleen’s blog focuses on writers, but the wellness lessons apply to  all of us. We face a world where we sometimes (a lot of the time) don’t prioritize our health and pay the price in dull thinking, aching backs, and a few too many cups of coffee or glasses of wine. Colleen can help change that. Continue reading “A Blog to Love: Writing and Wellness”

A Particularly Special Guy’s Night

By Angela Noel

December 1, 2016

One night, a couple of guys went to McDonald’s for dinner. Already, it was a special event.

The younger of the two went to the restroom, emerging just in time for their chicken nuggets and Big Mac to arrive. On his way back to the table, his hands still wet from washing, he noticed something. Continue reading “A Particularly Special Guy’s Night”

Music Review: M French’s Winding Road

By Angela Noel

November 17, 2016

Matthew French, whom you may remember from my very first blog post, recently released his second album, Winding Road. He asked me to listen to it, not because I’m a musician or qualified to critique his music the way a writer for Rolling Stone would, but because he was curious about how it would make me feel.

I think that’s the key to Matt’s music, actually. He’s not writing songs for those people OUT THERE. He’s writing for a few friends, who might be listening to his music sitting cross-legged on the carpet drinking wine from a mismatched set of tumblers someone found at a garage sale. In other words, me. And maybe you. Continue reading “Music Review: M French’s Winding Road”