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Smart people sometimes believe they have all the answers. Actually, I think the really smart ones know the opposite is true.  Case in point: While preparing a corporate workshop last spring I had the pleasure of interviewing an expert on change, advocacy, influence, and innovation. From my conversation with this insightful man, I was led to the eureka moment that most of “our” great ideas aren’t really ours at all. In fact, research reveals that somewhere between 90% to 99% of what we think are our original ideas actually come from, are derived from, or are inspired by other sources. Your last Big Idea likely wasn’t yours. It might have come from something you read, saw, or heard in a conversation.  This is one of many good reasons why you need to get and stay connected and social – and to read and be open to absorbing knowledge and wisdom from a variety of great minds, both living and dead.

Along those lines (in the living category, thankfully), I want to share with you a dear friend who writes an incredible blog.  I was contemplating what to blog about today, so when her latest post popped into my inbox it was a clear sign I needed share her with you today.

My friend’s name is SueAnn Wade Crouse, and her blog is Very Smart Gals.  How did I meet her? She is the loving spouse of Roy Crouse, a fun, funny creative guy who did my graphic design work for many years. We also collaborated on projects together back when I was a copywriter. SueAnn was the “bonus” that came with that connection.  Lucky me!SueAnnWadeCrouse

But back to Very Smart Gals. (And, guys, don’t stop reading here.  You don’t have to be female to enjoy SueAnn’s blog and to gain inspiration from it.)  Here’s what makes SueAnn so wonderful and precious to me and an example of what we can all be:

First, SueAnn is an incredible communicator. She writes for a living, which helps. And she’s good at it, changing the world one grant proposal at a time. She is especially wonderful when she writes from her heart and experience. She is honest, vulnerable, sexy, savvy, witty, and wise.  She often refers to the back porch wisdom of her feisty mom who taught her pretty much everything she knows about life. (See? More proof we need people to teach us!)  SueAnn’s blog is her way of staying in touch with her tribe, including people like me who have been too busy to call or visit. (Shame on me!) I’m so very grateful for that.  I never feel as if we’ve lost touch.

Second, SueAnn is an avid, selective, and intelligent reader. She reviews dozens of books in her blog and does so in an interesting way. I have printed out several and kept them, simply because they are that good. She may not know this, but she influences my writing and many of my reading selections. SueAnn also makes me feel as if I’ve read books that I probably won’t ever have time to read. Somehow that makes me feel smarter and in-the-know. It’s like being in a book club — without the pressure!

Third, and maybe most important, SueAnn is a very intentional and generous networker and connector.  But she doesn’t lurch around on the typical chardonnay-and-cheese, business-card-shuffling networking circuit. (Somehow people think that’s the only way to meet people. It’s not.) For the last several years she has hosted classy little happy hours where she thoughtfully selects three of her Very Smart Gal friends to gather and get acquainted (or better acquainted) in delightful settings over delicious cocktails.  I have met some incredible people through these events. We laugh, we share stories, we discuss life, work and the challenges that come with living and working.  They are powerful and energizing gatherings. And did I mention fun?

There’s probably a lot more I can say about this smart, savvy, strong woman – that she is a wonderful mother, wife, friend, humanitarian, and so forth. But I’ll end this post here.  Check out her blog and see what I mean about her generous way of using words to inspire and influence.  See if she inspires you to do the same in your own way.

Wow! My speaking schedule for the end of 2014 is getting busy!  Check out where I’ve been that last few months and where I’ll be presenting exciting, inspiring sessions and workshops this fall.   And let me know how I can serve you and your organization with individual or group coaching, customized workshops, breakout sessions or keynotes.  Send me an email at patti[at]intentionalnetworker[dot]com.