****** The Lisa Jo Barr behind Lisa Jo Barr, INK. ******
Once upon a time, when I was nine-years-old, Santa Claus left me a globe underneath the tree. It spun around and around and I would stop it with my finger, pointing to a continent, a city. I would say, “Mommy, mommy—I wanna go there.”
That was where my dream of traveling began. I wanted to go to the other side of the world. At the time I believed if you kept on digging long enough, you would land up there. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to dig that deep and would need to take an airplane.
At the age of 25, my dream came true. I worked for United Airlines as a Service Director in reservations and they were my passport to the other side of the world, which is exactly where I headed. Well, close enough: Australia.
I did everything wrong on that first international flight: I drank a lot of coffee, some champagne and not enough water. I was dehydrated and tired from staying up for the entire flight, out of excitement.
After I went through customs, there was this quiet, narrow and long hallway that I walked down. I opened up the door at the end of the hallway, and life poured out all over the place– people were speaking a thousand different languages and walking in every direction with pieces of luggage in every bright color imaginable.
I was so overwhelmed that I started crying really hard. Tears were streaming down my face, with my heavy bag over one shoulder, looking for a restroom. I kept telling myself, “My dream. It’s come true. My dream. It’s come true.”
This was my new mantra and I just kept crying harder. Not a sad cry but a victorious cry. It was one of the greatest moments in my life.
I went traveling to explore many other countries: Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, India, Hong Kong, Italy, Argentina, Nova Scotia in Canada.
I had many great solo adventures hanging out with the locals and other travelers without an American to be found. That’s the way I liked it. I liked leaving my soil behind to enter a city and let my feet do the walking to get lost in the maze of markets and temples. Asking for directions was sometimes like a game of charades.
I’d travel solo without a companion from the states, proudly, to let the smells and the sights and the sounds totally saturate my soul. I didn’t want reminders of the United States, especially in the form of a travel companion.
Note to readers:
Get your passport. Go overseas. Traveling is the best education you can give to yourself and your family. You will witness and experience a different way of life. This is where the real education begins, outside of your own culture. When you come back from out of the country, you will have a new perspective on your own.
Integrity. Honesty and candor. Innovation. Transparency. Creativity. Empathy
Happily I can say that I have developed all of these leadership traits.
I spent most of my career outside-of-the-box. My 17 years with United Airlines gave me lots of stomping ground for this kind of thinking. I was a Service Director for the 100k and Premier Executive desk, the high-end customers. My job was to help the agents on the floor. I helped them navigate the computer system. I opened up seats. I collaborated with them to create win/win situations that were great for both the customer and the company.
I developed flexibility and patience. I learned how to actively listen. This was the foundation on which dynamic problem solving is built.
You roll up your sleeves. You brainstorm. You take into account all of the factors that you are going to make a win/win solution out of. You juggle the ingredients. You contact other departments. You collaborate. It’s like alchemy; you just have to tap into creativity and the leadership within.
I was involved in a Leadership Development Program, an Incentive Task Team and a Grassroots Network. I discovered that I liked to be on a team, and did well on one.
Writing and Coaching
Three executive coaches have been hired during different parts of my life, and they all propelled my writing career forward, officially putting me at professional status. Although I had been writing since I learned how to in Elementary School, it was not until then that I began making money from it. I started off with feature writing that required an intense amount of research, and then flew from there.
There is nothing like writing. It is sacred to me and I feel so blessed to have this talent. It’s a beautiful form of communication. I love to write in block letters and also in small letters and cursive. It just depends on my mood. Oh, then there is the beloved keyboard. It feels so good to have my fingers dancing across the keyboard. Feels like a massage in the fingertips. Really. For a writer it is like this.
My coaching practice began shortly after starting a writer’s group in a neighborhood called Cherry Creek in Denver. There was a woman there who I began to mentored. Soon after, I launched Go For It! Coaching and I became her life/career coach. I coached writers and filmmakers. I found it so rewarding to work with creative people and I learned so much from my clients.
MY friends would describe me as a social person. Always have been. It’s easy for me to meet people everywhere I go. I honor the human spirit and believe that I can learn something from every single person that I meet.
Media Bistro is a company that originates in New York City. The founder planned mixers for media professionals to meet one another. I had this vision of bringing those media mixers to Denver, so I contacted the CEO and she let me give it a go. Once a month, I planned and hosted an event. They were mixers for anyone involved in the media industry. That included freelance writers, editors, reporters, TV, film, PR and marketing folks. It was great fun and I had a knack for introducing strangers to strangers, while making many friends at the same time.
I have an ongoing love affair with cafes—especially independent ones. Mingling with the other regulars, indulging in the art of conversation, is one of my favorite “sports.” Also, it just feels good to work remotely instead of in a cubicle. The menus are right up my alley too–I’m both a coffee and a tea connoisseur. Green Jasmine and Sport tea rock my world. As far as coffee is concerned, give me a good drip Ethiopian blend or latte any day.
I read mostly non-fiction, but like to get lost in fiction occasionally. Some favorite books are: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Emerging Light by Barbara Brennan, Chakras and their Archetypes by Ambika Wauters, Daughter of Fortune and Eva Luna by Isabel Allende, Dreams into Action by Milton Katselas, Love in the Times of Cholera by Marquez, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, Meditations to Heal your Life by Louise Hay, Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stief Larsson–just to name a few.
Films I am fond of are: Dancer in the Dark, White Orleander, Holy Mountain, Kill Bill vol. 1 & 2, Witness Protection, Meet the Parents, Casino, and Wings of Desire, along with many others that are slipping my mind for the time being.
Music is a big part of my life. It can be relaxing or energizing or both, and provides many good rhythms to do work to. Don’t get me wrong, I love silence. But music is magic. I have a broad taste. Here are some artist and bands that I like: Leonard Cohen, Bjork, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, DJ Encore, Sarah Brightman, Abba, The Bee Gees, Johnny Cash, Lady Gaga, Simon and Garfunkel, LMFAO, Cocteau Twins, Sylver, The Cure, Buddha Bars, Paul Young, No Doubt, U2, Lil Wayne, The Roots, Coldplay, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, Amy Winehouse, Zero7, Anjulie, Broken Bells, Little Dragon, Lyke Li, Enigma, Four Tet, Radiohead, Thom Yorke, Schubert, Gnarls Barkley, Jr., Howard Jones, Paul Young, Lana Del Ray, Dead Can Dance, and countless others.
Some other “Lisa details”–I’m a lefty who loves to swim, volunteer and cook Moroccan food. Meditation is a big part of my life as are legal pads, Sharpies and Hello Kitty.