If what you do is who you are…

There’s a regular feature in the Harvard Business Review near the back of each issue that showcases people of interest—from successful venture capitalists to small store owners. I just noticed it recently, read a couple of them, and loved the format — short, yet it painted an intimate picture of the person. Then I thought, hmm… this is a good way to shine light on what we do in our daily lives — to do a little “check-up” of sorts on ourselves. Is what we do in sync with who we think we are, or want to be?

Here’s how it works: an issue earlier this year featured Julie Gaines, Owner, Fishs Eddy, and author of Minding the Store.

What I’m reading...

I love U.S. history. It feels connected to what I do. Some of the first products in our store were these sturdy vintage soup bowls and cups once used on Ellis Island. I think David McCullough’s books are great. I also loved Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell, a funny trip through our culture. Now I’m reading What is the What, about the Lost Boys of the Sudan, and A Hologram for the King, both by Dave Eggers. I like his voice. My favorite book is Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh. It’s a hysterical unapologetic graphic autobiography.

Watching...

I watch a lot of CNN and MSNBC, but I just read an article about moms who leave the news on but never really pay attention, so I’m trying to be more disciplined. That said, I’m a big Rachel Maddow fan, which started with my love for her glasses. I also like the late-night shows: Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah. I don’t always stay up, but I watch the opening monologues on YouTube the next day.

Listening to...

With podcasts, I’m very New York: The New York Times Book Review, the New Yorker, the Bowery Boys, who make the city’s history so entertaining. I’ll also tune into This American Life. But I can’t listen when I’m in the car, because I’m a terrible driver and have to focus.

Where I’m going...

I’m an art junkie. I’ve been collecting since high school—mostly oil portraits of everyday people—and I’m in museums all the time. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the best. You can go in there and spend a week. I visit lots of other retail stores to look and compare, but I’m not big on industry events. I’m not trying to find the next trend. We do our own thing.

Simple as that. Just a little reveals a lot, and is a good exercise to help us be conscious and intentional about how we spend our time. Handy questions for dating, too, now that I think of it. Other questions have included: who I’m following, what I’m collecting, and what I’m attending.

Sunday Morning Reflection

What are you reading? Listening to? Watching? Following? Collecting? Attending? Where are you going?
Does what you do sync with you think you are or want to be?

Sunday Morning: 109