List #1: Why RenaissanceLista?

Welcome to RenaissanceLista’s first blog post and first list.

I get a lot of questions about the name.  What does RenaissanceLista mean?  Let’s break it down bit by bit.

Renaissance

  1. Since I could remember, I’ve had a fond appreciation for the story of the Renaissance.  It’s a story of creation and joy.  And really, what’s not to like?  There’s art, and learning that the world is round, and getting done with the Black Plague.  I also always liked the image of the Renaissance human: someone who thrives on doing a little bit of everything.  As a young adult, that seemed like the life for me.
  2. Then I started working.  It wasn’t long before I realized that the majority of people view a Renaissance life as a pipe dream, particularly in the professional world.  Leaders I know and admire reinforce the idea that in order to succeed, we need to focus.  While I agree that mindful focus is essential to fulfillment, what people often mean when they tell someone else to focus is actually, “Look, I get it that you have a lot of interests, but that just isn’t realistic.  Everybody has to settle at some point.  Pick what you want to do and join the 9-5 [or 7-10] slog with the rest of us.”  The same people who’ve advised me to focus are the people who consistently seem harried, drained, and wishing they could be anywhere but at their desk.  They’re not bad people for giving me this advice, nor are they misguided or unusual.  They’re simply buying into the system as it has been presented to them since they started working. But I believe that we can do better.  I believe that when people have a personal and professional Renaissance, they contribute to their job, their family, and their society in a more meaningful and impactful way than when they force themselves to settle into more automatic, constricted roles.  I believe this because I’ve seen it: the folks who have the biggest impact are the ones who open themselves up to living a Renaissance life.  And I believe that more people can contribute in this meaningful and impactful way.  I believe it’s possible to live a Renaissance life.  

    Lista
  3. However, for my readers who are particularly concrete, or dubious, or both – I also believe in lists.  I believe in process.  Learning is a process.  Living is a process.  At least since my World History teacher taught me how to take notes in outline form, I have believed in the power of lists to help us process.  Are you facing a big decision?  Pros and cons – make a list.  Do you have a huge party you’re planning?  You’d better figure out what you need – make a list.  Preparing for the holidays?  Naughty and nice – make a list.
  4. But there’s more about Lista.  Aligning with my true RenaissanceLista persona, in college I double majored in music education and Spanish.  While studying Spanish, I learned that the word lista not only means list; it also means ready.  It also means clever or smart.  And of course, it means list.  A word that means clever, smart, and list, all in one?  That’s a great word.  What’s not to like?

In summary, RenaissanceLista exists because:

  1. We need to refocus on creation and joy
  2. Everyone can lead a Renaissance life
  3. We align with our Renaissance lives through intentional process
  4. Living a Renaissance life reflects our clever/smart choices