Thursday, July 31, 2008

There's Something About Isaac

Alex texted me last night to let me know he spotted fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi in the West Village. Normally spotting a designer wouldn't be worthy of a text message (to Mother) but he knows I have a soft spot for Isaac.

I met Isaac Mizrahi many years ago when he was holding trunk shows at Bergdorf Goodman, the luxurious department store in NYC. Maybe I should write "performing at trunk shows at Bergdorf Goodman" since Isaac is a born performer and loves entertaining people with his riffs, bonhomie and marvelous attitude towards life.

Isaac radiates energy. He finds the humor in the quotidian. And he knows how to create a relationship...a few years after that first encounter I was reading VOGUE on the train and realized he was referring to me in an article called "Altar-ed Chic." The story painted me as a neurotic but I had a good laugh and sent him the page to autograph (he did and sent it back to me).

You might think that someone like Isaac Mizrahi, a bona fide household name, might be a wee haughty but he's not because his power and influence comes from his unbelievable zest and panache. He doesn't hide his excitement or his passions under a bhurka...nor should anyone.

I think the days are waning when someone could project disinterest, jadedness and disdain and still be on a short-list for leadership positions and new opportunities. Today it's about your bandwidth -- how many people do you know and how well can you interact with them. Take a lesson from Monsieur Mizrahi -- beautiful tailoring, perfect manners and an exuberant attitude about a purposeful and cheerfully-driven life. I can't imagine a better look for anyone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Missing Tim Russert

I walked into the bedroom this morning when Maureen Orth was on CNN talking about her article about Carla Bruni in "Vanity Fair." Orth is the widow of Tim Russert, NBC's Washington Bureau Chief and Moderator of "Meet the Press."

At the close of the interview, the host offered his condolences to Orth. As they cut to a commercial, I said to Mark "I miss Tim Russert."

I miss Tim Russert for a lot of reasons but especially because he wore his passion on his sleeve. His zest and his energy and his enthusiasm was palpable -- I could feel it through the screen -- and I miss that.

I know only a few people whose sense of joy is magical to behold. They dig life. They dig people. They get it. They fall in love with sorbets, new books, thatched roofs, seeing other people succeed. They're not waiting for life to be handed to them.

One young man comes immediately to mind. He exudes purpose. He's delightful to spend time with. He makes a visit something worth savoring.
He's giving everything he's got to the encounter, holding nothing back. I wallow in the richness of the experience.

It's not going to be easy to replace Tim Russert. Sure they can find someone with a fantastic memory for facts and statistics and polls and follow-up questions. But that wasn't what made Tim Russert remarkable. Russert's love of life, his thirst for engagement, his delicious and delightful sense of wonder was the reason we found him compelling and now irreplaceable.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Good buzz/bad buzz

I wonder if people realize how they hold "buzz" in their hands. Buzz is like your reputation but writ a bit's what makes people admired and sought after or diminished and ignored.

There are lots of ways to create good can return phone calls and emails within 24 hours; you can exhibit good manners at all times (even when no one is looking); you can open your rolodex or PDA and share a name; you can call just to say I'm thinking about you to cement a relationship. Bad buzz is even simpler: Act like a self-centered, self-important prat at all times; treat anyone who isn't a player (in your book) with disdain; leave people out of meetings just for sadistic fun; answer your cellphone or read your blackberry when in a meeting...I could go on and on. The point I'm making is this: We're all sending messages everyday that can either accelerate our success or derail it.

Rather than rail against fate, take a look at your behavior. It may just be your buzz.