Meraki might sound like the macarena … thankfully, that is not what we’re talking about. If you’re thinking potato/potahto, meraki/macarena, it’s all Greek to me, then you’re half way there.
My understanding is that it’s similar to passion, devotion or just doing something with enthusiasm and presence while letting the essence of YOU shine through … it’s leaving something of yourself behind. A lit up legacy, if you will.
This is not cookie cutter or paint by numbers. Your essence isn’t replicable in a factory, your meraki isn’t either.
Phoning it in is that checked-out, glazed over, monotonous: "anyone, anyone, Bueller, Bueller" kind of enthusiasm that you might currently be bringing to areas of your life.
It’s the bare ass minimum, but not in a minimalistic sparking joy kind of way.
It’s putting no heart or effort into something and not even showing up in person, just 'phoning it in'.
Now, of course, during the pandemic, understandably, we’ve all LITERALLY had to phone it in (or Zoom it in), for safety reasons.
But a zesty zoom session has a completely different feel to it than the phoned in enthusiasm equivalent of a robo car warranty voicemail message.
And here's the rub: we all LIVE on our phones these days. It takes very little effort (and it's quite tempting) to let life scroll on by and keep phoning it in.
But meraki matters…
How you do anything is how you do everything, so if you feel like you’ve been phoning it in lately, then it’s time to change that up. Grab your maracas and let’s shake up your meraki.
1) Practice some meraki mindfulness …
The key to getting life off of autopilot is to get present. We live in a fractured and distracted world where our attention is clamored after by every ringing, dinging, pinging device in our proximity. Psychologists call this, "continuous partial attention".
Try practicing some mindful reflection … where are you currently phoning it in? Are you listening to your kids with that half-listening mom voice in which you utter “uh huh” and “oh really?” over and over without even fully knowing what you’re responding to? Yes, I’ve been there done it (many times over).
Are you phoning it in with clients, you’re excellent at what you do, you probably could do it blindfolded, but should you? How would it feel to add some meraki to the project? What's your downtime like? Spending more time than you'd like in your Netflix account? Can you spice up your evenings with a little meraki inspired creative endeavor?
2) Get curious …
Ask yourself, how could I bring a little bit more soul, creativity and MEness to this project, this conversation with my spouse, this work meeting, this life? And then put it in action.
About 10 years ago, I had an office above the restaurant that I owned. A friend wanted to borrow it for a painting workshop. She dropped by to see the space and said with disappointed surprise, “oh wow, your office looks so ‘office-y’. ” The unspoken part was probably something along the lines of, "you’re such a creative and playful person and here you are in this sterile environment. Where are YOU in this decor?".
At the time, me and my meraki were stuffed into the bottom drawer of the metal filing cabinet under profit and loss statements and food inventory spreadsheets … not letting any creativity pop out.
When we sold the building, years later, I found a new office space to rent. I made a few promises to myself. 1) I would call it my studio, not my office (even if office-y tasks were being performed). 2) It had to have a vintage typewriter. 3) No one would ever call it “office’y” again.
My current studio, where I've been the last 5 years, is the epitome of meraki. Rockstar oracle cards, artistic photos everywhere, playful haikus, polaroid cameras, feather pens, an orange ukelele. And there’s not a metal filing cabinet in sight.
Whether I'm leading a corporate retreat, working with a one-on-one coaching client or teaching in the Life Feast membership, you'll find a mashup of rockstar musical interludes, iPhone photography/creativity and the science of flourishing. Because life is too short and the days are too long without it.
Ready to let some meraki lift your soul?
I'd love to hear what ideas you come up with for your MERAKI.
And if you'd like some creative iPhone photography flavored meraki ... hop into the Life Feast before the doors close on March 4th! We've got a whole lexicon of words to creatively inspire you.
I can't wait to see you, inside!
Just pop your email address in here and you'll receive my FREE photowalk guide.