Sandi Aitken – Success To Me
Oct 24 2009

I interviewed Sandi Aitken (pdf) for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, for an article that was published in the Sep/Oct 2006 issue.  My writing partner, Pam Losefksy, and I pulled these articles together a while back and you can see them on the Success Profiles page of this blog.  You can see the full article on Sandi by clicking HERE (pdf).  I haven’t connected with Sandi since the interview so I’m not even sure if she’s still at Freescale, but here’s an overview:

Sandi was/is a benefits manager for Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. in Austin.  Previously she was Director of Wellness and work/life programs for Motorola and health and fitness coordinator for Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp.  She was also health and fitness program coordinator, director of nursing, critical care instructor, and director of the cardiac rehab and pulmonary education center for St. David’s Community Hospital.  She was awarded Texas Nurse of the Year and held a Chair position for the Seton Cove board of directors.  She received her MS from UT Austin in Nursing.

She shares:

Success has a lot to do with being true to your life’s purpose, vision, and goals. Often, that means running counter to what our culture’s definition of success is, because so often in our society, success is defined by your material worth or the initials behind your name. Making money is  important on a certain level, but what’s really important is to know your heart, to find your passion. Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true.” Like so many things in life, it seems so simple, but there’s probably nothing harder to do.

She goes on to say:

Finding that alignment between your head and your heart, while at the same time not getting caught up in external pressures, is critical.

Oh, if everyone could be true to themselves, what a world this would be.  But as Sandi noted it is so hard to do because being true to ourselves doesn’t always go over well with other people in our lives.  Aligning head and heart is something I struggle with as do many others because what your heart/passion wants you to do in your career and life doesn’t always mesh up with what is practical given life’s responsibilities and other people’s expectations.

I’m working on trying to mesh some of my passion/heart’s desires with life’s practicalities.  Today I scheduled a make-up voice lesson with my voice instructor, Gene Raymond, who I really enjoy working with, and brought the kids with me.  I’ve brought them to a lesson once before.  I bring them coloring books and they color without fussing at all.  I think they think it is funny to hear mommy sing scales and do vocal exercises.  Some of the vocal exercises are quite funny.  🙂

A few of the songs I’m working on right now are Killing Me Softly With His Song (Roberta Flack), Play Me (Neil Diamond – changing the ‘she’s’ to ‘he’s’), and The Rose (Bette Midler).  I have the opportunity to take a lesson with a teacher at a level higher than Gene in this particular style of coaching called Speech Level Singing in a couple of weeks.  This teacher has sung with Bette Midler and trained several American Idol singers.  I’m looking forward to it and hoping I don’t choke!

Author: | Filed under: music, singing, success, success story | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Diane Birch – Meet and Greet
Aug 10 2009

aruni-diane-birchI’m on a winning streak!  Not only did I just win a bunch of I-Spy stuff, but I also got a call this morning from our local radio station Mix 94.7 and they told me I won a special viewing with Diane Birch, a great up and coming singer.  I first saw her at SXSW earlier this year at Guy Kawasaki’s AllTop party.  She really has such an amazing voice which is so mature for someone in her mid-20’s.  She’s been on David Letterman and played with Prince.  Fortunately, I could shift my schedule to make it there for about an hour in the late afternoon before I had to pick up the kids.

Last week I got an email about her visit to Austin, so I went to the site and signed up for a chance to win.  I didn’t really think I’d win so when I got the call I was pretty surprised.

I even got a picture with her and an autographed little poster, that I’m not really sure what I’ll do with.  I’m wondering if I should take these unusual wins as a sign that I’m on the right path in my life journey right now or just chalk it up to mere coincidence?

I have been really interested in learning more about music, getting into the music scene and my kids could certainly use some more brain exercising games so they are both nice coincidences.

Many great things in life and business can only be attributable to luck.  But you have to be open to the opportunity.  There’s a difference between the person who walks by a $5 bill and sees it because she’s looking around and open to opportunities and the one who walks right on by because she’s looking straight ahead absorbed in the incessant thoughts in her head.  I often wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed because I’m too caught up in thinking and worrying too much about things I probably shouldn’t.

Author: | Filed under: music | Tags: | 1 Comment »

In A Music State of Mind
Jun 28 2009

The entrepreneurial journey is full of interesting twists and turns.  Even the most successful entrepreneurs I know struggle with what success means.  I was recently meeting with a two time successful (multi-million dollar exits) entrepreneur, and he said after a few months we’re all back to our miserable selves and looking for the next thing to do.  It’s funny how many people I interviewed for the Success Profiles sort of said the same thing.  They would achieve or fail in one thing and then it was on to the next with something to prove.

Are we ever content?  I’m not sure if it’s an entrepreneurial trait, a mid-life characteristic, an MBA grad fate, or something else.  But as I continue to tweet about and reach out to my contacts about finding a good home for Babble Soft, I find myself turning to music as I have often done in the past during times of transition.  There’s something about music that pulls out the emotions in me and lets me process them in a way that can’t be processed in silence or even with close friends.

Since I started taking yoga last year, I’ve seen the benefits of certain meditation and quiet times but music – the combination of words and instruments – pushes buttons in me that make it OK to to feel things that intellectually my mind tells me not to feel.  The mind just says focus on this task, get it done, and move on.  The mind doesn’t want to be bothered with stuff that affects the heart and soul.  Music reminds me that to be human is to feel because other humans are singing about their life transitions and it reminds me how kind of normal some of these feelings are.  And sometimes we need to give ourselves the space to feel and really listen to what our body is telling us instead of just our minds to make the best decisions.  Instead of feeling isolated in silence or the sometimes deafening noise of two kids incessant chatter, music brings me softly into the river of humanity.

So some of the music I’ve been listening to lately is by Billy Joel (hence the title of this post), Indigo Girls, Simon & Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson (mostly because of his recent death), Sarah McLachlan, and oddly enough Book of Love.

May the music be with you…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, music | 2 Comments »

A Song for Memorial Day Weekend – The Anchor
May 27 2007

Mathis1A friend recently introduced me to the sounds of Lisa Lynne Mathis.  What a voice!  Her music and lyrics are obviously inspired from deep within her.  My favorite song on her new CD Hancock Place is called The Anchor.  I didn’t realize until I read her reason for writing the song that it was inspired by a friend of hers who survived the tsunami in Sri Lanka.  Since I was born in Sri Lanka, I now understand why that song resonates so much with me.  Another song on that CD is Comfort Zone, her muscial interpretation of what having children (two daughters) has meant to her…the raw, pure feelings that are a part of being a parent…and how our kids often pull us out of our comfort zone.

So on this Memorial Weekend in between parties, BBQs, and get togethers with friends & family, let’s remember our soldiers in Iraq and all over the world.  We wish them a safe return to their families, children, and friends.  Whether you agree with the war or not our soldiers are there fighting for what they have been told to fight for…fighting for what they believe is right to fight for.  Let’s make sure we do not ignore them “when the cameras are off” and that we are available to serve as their Anchor when and if they return.


Author: | Filed under: angels, mom, mother, music, parenting | Comments Off on A Song for Memorial Day Weekend – The Anchor