Off & Running
a Blog of Life on the Run


back in time: 11/17/2012
After leaving Pittsburgh, I headed off to Chicago on Live Your Brand Tour. My friend, Charlie, hooked me up with his lifetime friend, Ernie, an architect/entrepreneur ( who lives in downtown Chicago. Without ever meeting me, Ernie took me in and took me out. What an adventure.

Between having my first Chinese Hot Pot and getting to know the Friday Chicago nightlife, I thoroughly enjoyed my 24 hours in the Windy City. Ernie owns an urban landscape architecture firm with offices overlooking the water. With 8,000 square feet, the entire floor of a building, his offices occupy 6,000 while his well-designed, lovely home takes up the rest of the space.

On Saturday, we went for a run together near the Planetarium, his first in months, and chatted about life. Then we spent time in parks he designed and I interviewed him for the Live Your Brand Tour, but we also chatted about my personal journey and his insights were simple, yet significant.

2. How do you quiet your mind?
- By writing it out. It's something I should start doing again.

4 & 9. How do you travel alone or do anything by yourself?
- I ask myself "Am I needy? Is that why I can't do this alone?"
- When I am with someone, I ask myself "Am I trying to control everything?"
- Too much alone time gets you too closed off.
- My life is all about everyone else - my kids, my staff, my clients.
- I wish for companionship, but being able to go running this morning filled that today.

6. How do you know who your friends are?
- I am not close with a lot of people.
- I am very transparent about what I think and with how I speak.
- I don't expose a lot about how I feel.
- Charlie is one of my only really close friends.
- The maintenance is what keeps people from having more than a few close friends.
- Keeping up with people all the time, sharing your life with them and asking about theirs is tough.
- I'm really critical of others. When I have expectations and they don't match up, I'm even more critical.
- But how can I grow if no one tells me I'm doing things wrong?

Having friends is similar to running salmon. There are lots of people in our lives. We move in and out of each other's lives. It's all about timing and circumstances and how we connect with those people.

7. How did you learn how to pray?
- Quaker boarding school
- In a Quaker service, everyone sits facing each other. There's no podium, no speaker, no leader.
- Sometimes people stand up and say something that moves them.
- Sometimes there is complete silence.
- The stories you hear from people who decide to stand up, like the story of the kid who hated Christmas because was poor, stay with you your whole life.
- The quiet allows for a sense of discovery.
- When people speak, you never know what you're going to hear.

Over two months later, I still text Ernie asking if he's gone running lately. He was right. The maintenance is the key to a lasting friendship. How do you keep up with people you want to keep in your life?

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