Thoughts from TEDxAtlanta: Balance

As most entrepreneurs will tell you, managing "balance" is in an ongoing (and sometimes not winnable) struggle during specific periods of building a business. It's an awesome concept, and I've learned over the years to manage toward balance in small ways. Eating dinner together with my entire family every night. Being active at my daughter's school. Reading to both my daughters. These are the things that make a real difference for me personally.


So I time-shift big chunks of my work until after the entire house is asleep. I often joke I get more done between 10p and 2a, than during 10a to 2p. Sure I get less rest, but I'm a night owl by nature so it works.


The pursuit of balance is just as important professionally. Starting multiple businesses concurrently, helping other entrepreneurs build their companies, and staying on top of market trends can be an exercise in tunnel vision. Stepping beyond the everyday crush is the single most important aspect of TEDx for me. Whether it's the afternoon once-a-quarter I spend at TEDxAtlanta (which is my quick cleanse) or the day-long immersion of TEDxPeachtree (my deep cycle recharge), putting everything aside for a day is incredibly cathartic for me. It gives me increased focused following the events, and has even added a few things to my bucket list.


So today, I'll continue to add my thoughts to this post during TEDxAtlanta: Balance. You're more than welcome to join the live stream, and I hope you find as much value as I do.

 The Live Blog



And we're underway with Chuck Leavell from The Allman Brothers and the Rolling Stones. "You can't grow up *and* be a musician." Chuck also spoke of environmental responsibility. Brilliant, eoc-active guy!


Teresa Amabile, Harvard Business School: Managers have the power to remake creativity. What gets people engaged at work? Her team collected diaries from 12,000 workers. Making progress was the single most important event. Risk aversion is a classic symptom of non-motivated employees.


Dr. Charles Raison, Emory University: We must find better ways to deal with our enemies. It's the biggest threat we face. Everything in the world is becoming more interdependent. Our real enemies are not those whose oppose us, it's the anger and hatred we feel for them.


John McFall, Atlanta Ballet: Indian rain dances express through movement, like ballet. Belly dancing does more for a meal than dessert! Dance is happy, it's joyful. Tap dance was invited in the US - same for jazz and hip hop. What does that say about our creativity? It's limitless! Dance is a language. It has words, phrases, syntax and meaning. You just feel it, and it conveys meaning around the world without a single word.


Rita Charon, Columbia College of Physicians: Talking about death with joy and truth. Came to medicine through a love of reading. She wrote long form on a breast cancer patient of hers. It allowed her to create context for her treatment, and created the ultimate connection between the two. Facing death as an ultimate certainty together allowed new views into the process of disease.


The Holmes Brothers welcome everyone back from break with amazing soul stylings in the vein of Curtis Mayfield or BB King. New Job One: find these guys live in a small venue with great acoustics!


Ray Anderson, Interface Global: Converted his modular carpet company to be zero impact to the environment. A Georgia Tech grad, he worked closely with organizer Tod Martin. He gave a TEDTalk in 2009. He passed away earlier in 2011, and was known as the "greenest CEO in America."


Bill James, JPods: Proposes we operate within a solar budget by 2020. All our energy decisions were made durin WW1. We still have the same gas mileage today as when the Model T was state of the art. His JPods cost 4cents a mile versus 56 cents a mile to operate a car. They're small boxcar-like vehicles that are suspended from subway-like rails with solar panels on top. Can transport people or goods by computer control.


** Tod Martin just announced the live stream has had more than 10,000 viewers from more than 50 countries.**


Radcliffe Bailey, Artist 'Memory As Medicine': Went to art school intending to be a graphic designer, but was captured by creating things by hand. My studio is my central place. I do everything there. He paints in layers, but limits himself to only seven. Integrates pictures his grandmother gave him of unknown relatives. There are only two places I want to go: the deepest depths of the ocean and outer space.


Greg Best, Pursuing Mixological Balance: Began in the restaurant business from his love of theater. A bar is a microcosm of society's conversations. But a bar is also a fragile place. A bar has a lot of integers for one equation. Be conscientious and aware of those around you, and what they need. A great bar recipe: 1/2 measurement of excitement, 1/2 shot of topical humor, a couple dashes of conscientious perspective of oneself, plus 1 float of complementary observation of others. "The Welcome Bar Fly". A positively charged magnet draws other to it, a negatively charged magnet repels all.


Hugh Acheson, Empire State South: Southern food is a tone of history to the community. He grew up in Ottawa and Montreal. I dont believe in taking shortcuts -- a little inconvenience goes a long way.Telling tales of his favorite local farmer Tim. Tim doesn't sell to anyone outside of Athens, GA because he'd have to pick vegetables before they were ready to eat. Tim built a grain mill powered by his mule, which has been duplicated in Africa to feed thousands of people.We must support local businesses. First local, then sustainable, then organic.


And some light Q&A before pimento cheese sandwiches by Empire State South.

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