Monday, February 23, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Stanford

I'm finding it hard to leave California this evening, which is odd since I am heading back home to New York. Usually I am rushing to get back home after a trip. To sleep in my own bed, to be among my things, to get back to life as usual. Today I walked through some kind of door, and was consciously aware of a shift taking place. Today life changed, though I'm not yet sure how.

I ventured out to California on Saturday in preparation for meetings with HopeLab today. (More on that in a future post.) They are an exceptionally talented, passionate group of people who create brilliant product. It is a rare combination, especially in these times.
Their excitement and commitment are infectious.I left their offices feeling lighter, feeling like I had picked up on some kind of trail that I had been looking for - like Trusty in Lady and the Tramp.

After the meetings with the HopeLab team, I went to Stanford to hear a presentation on talent management and recruitment for start-ups, particularly those with a global footprint. I felt completely at ease here in Palo Alto, on the Stanford campus, even though I've never been here before this weekend. Every part of me feels energized and hopeful, even on a day when the Dow plunged to 1997 lows and the outlook back East is as grim as ever. Here in Silicon Valley the sentiment is one of opportunity and the direction of focus is forward.

As I crossed the main quad of Stanford's campus and meandered through its terra cotta buildings, I felt a very peaceful feeling wash over me that I have been missing for some time now. I peeked into a few classrooms that were conducting late night classes and for a second I felt a twinge of jealousy. I wanted to be one of those students, at least right at that moment. My friend, Janet, teases me that I am addicted to school and she's not wrong. I am addicted to learning and learning environments. I do miss being a student, more than I realized I would.

Today I felt luck following me around all day, I felt a strong and gentle hand at my shoulder just pointing the way I needed to go. That sounds foolish and more than a little naive, I know, but it's honest. As I was driving to HopeLab, a huge rainbow appeared over the freeway. And in my fortune cookie tonight I got the message, "You will soon gain something you have always wanted." On occasion, I believe in astrology - mostly when I agree with its advice. I suppose a fortune cookie and a rainbow have just as much chance of being accurate as a horoscope. Or at least I hope they are, and in the times we're living in hope is a precious resource.

The photo above can be found at:

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