Monday, November 05, 2012

Discovering my "Brand"

Last week I threw together a last minute wine, cheese, and antipasto social followed by a dinner with six of the guests. I was in full party planning mode. Who would sit next to whom? Would I have to hide sharp objects? Would I need boxes of tissues? Would talk be effortless or awkward?
Sneak Peek: Living Room
I thought I knew who my guests were going to be. I considered each carefully while my latest music obsession -- Ellie Goulding's single, Anything Can Happen -- repeated in the background. By the time the somg had played a zillion times, I found out I was wrong. My guests didn't match my expectations. My guests exceeded them! So much so that the evening turned into a weekend retreat.
Interestingly enough two guests, who didn't get a seat at the table after the happy hour, correspond to areas I want to be less public about: Mom Eden and Analytical Eden. Mom Eden left early. No one talks to her about anything other than her daughter, and she often feels like recording a set of stock answers and playing it back all night. Analytical Eden is known to get lost in numbers and all their permutations. The most interesting thing to happen to her was making Marketo's Community Leader Board. She's very one dimensional.
Now, not all guests at the happy hour left quickly, there was a lot of milling about and jostling for seats. Initially, I started choosing guests by how closely they resembled famous (or public) people: Thomas Keller, Dita von Tesse, Sibella Court, Holly Becker of decor8, Jenny Batt of Hank and Hunt, and Diane Arbus. I then gave seats to my younger selves: the fearless collegiate who drove cross-country for a summer job, the restaurant patron who developed a Thai restaurant franchise, the adventurer who traveled to Thailand for three days and trekked through the mountains with a concussion, the visionary who delivered white linen dining in the back of a box truck, and others. Finally, I had the perfect guest list. So perfect that no one left after dessert and coffee were long gone.
My guests who stayed for dinner and through the weekend were:
  • Foodie Eden, offering culinary masterpieces through perfected classic techniques with local, sustainable ingredients
  • Embedded Photojournalist (Photographer) Eden, crafting memorable, compelling stories, and shining a light on the different for shared understanding
  • Sexy Librarian (Treasure Hunter) Eden, purveyor and collector of cultivated curios, surrounding myself with people and things I love
  • Expedition Guide (Ringleader / Cheerleader) Eden, making life fun, not sweating the small stuff, and delivering/inspiring the impossible (the previously not thought possible)
  • Devil May Care (Burner / Diva) Eden, setting trends by preserving and re-envisioning the best of the past
  • Business Eden, know it all expert sharing business expertise, slaying jargon, refusing to compromise integrity while working as a corporate wage slave, struggling to remain authentic and true to myself
Through the course of the weekend, we gathered around the coffee table in my living room sitting on an assortment of floor pillows, stools, and office chairs. We ate and drank and laughed. More importantly, we brainstormed. Ideas were vetted and shaped.
I loved the energy from the group, and am going to bring the group together much more frequently in the future. There are some amazing projects being planned, so keep an eye out.
What did you do this weekend?
If you're taking the Mindfulness Consumption Challenge, how did you do?
Ciao Bella!
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.