Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Do You Start With a "No"?

I have noticed a tendency in myself to respond to new ideas from other people with a "no". Unless of course it was an idea or point of view that I already share. I have especially noticed this in areas that I have some experience. While on the surface it might seem like I am processing the idea I have already started with no.

Starting with no is a problem. Sure, there are things that you don't have to think about before you say no. Supersize it? No. Instant Coffee? No.

But when we start with no we are limiting our opportunities. Starting with a yes is a mindset issue. The final answer might still be no. And it might still be no quickly. But starting with a yes creates opportunities. While the idea might not be a good one, starting with a yes creates the opportunity to say, "No. But what if we took that idea and did this?"

Where do you start? Yes or No?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Next to Him

So one of the books I am processing is Nehemiah. Early in the book it talks about how bold this guy Nehemiah is. A little later there is an interesting phrase that keeps cropping up. Next to him. Early on it says that Nehemiah kept what he had in mind to himself. He didn't tell anyone. Then as the work begins there were lots of people involved.

Next to him. This person was working here and next to him this person was working here. Next to him another was working. This idea began in the heart of Nehemiah but within the first few chapters of the book there is a community project going on.

Who is next to you? Who do you need to be next to and who do you need next to you?

For us to do something remarkable it is going to take more than one guy with an idea. To get someone next to you the idea cannot remain yours. At some point others have to get involved. And they are going to have to be able to put their hands on it and make it theirs.

The end results are amazing. In Nehemiah the remarkable event was that the wall was built in an amazingly short period of time.

It happened because there were people next to him.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Sketch

There are some amazing works of art. Sculptures, paintings, drawings, architecture. We see the final work (although I have heard it said that art is never finished just abandoned) and rarely think about the "pre" work. The sketches. The innumerable variations and permutations tried out on napkins, scratch pieces of paper and post-its.

These works didn't just happen. There are some artists, the Impressionists come to mind, that based their art around capturing the moment. But even they did prep work.

So what?

Make sure you do the work before the work. That song that you just wrote that flowed out like it was written in the heavens. It's not finished. That spoken word piece needs one more word tweaked. That script is missing something a character, a conflict, one great line.

Don't despair. That's the process. A series of sketches that lead to the final execution of the piece. And then you can finally abandon it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Too Much Information

I don't know if you have this problem. I have a tendency to have so much in my head at any given moment or ideas that are so complicated that I feel like I have to get them all out at once for someone to really understand. This is a real problem. In our world it is difficult for people to stay engaged long enough for me to pummel them with information. While I am trying to get every detail out of my head the nice person in front of me is slowly starting to drool and stare into the dark abyss.

So I am trying to think more in terms of sharing over time. The benefits are that you actually start developing relationships. You start to see the ideas and concepts like the facets of a diamond instead of a big chunk of rock. Diamonds are interesting. Most rocks are not. If someone tosses you a diamond you try to catch it. If someone tosses a rock you duck.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reflections on a Recent Conversation

I have been becoming an increasing fan of Seth Godin as many people that have talked with me recently can attest. One of Seth's thoughts that pop up again and again is that if you aren't remarkable then you are invisible.

My wife recently arranged an awesome night without the kids. There was 2 hours of adult (by my standards) conversation with a couple we are very good friends with. My friend and I were discussing the book of Nehemiah in the Bible. This is just an amazing, even remarkable, story of a cupbearer to the king making some radical requests to go take on a huge project to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

The thing is, at the time, Nehemiah was just Nehemiah. He wasn't that great that we know of. He was a cupbearer. Did he know he was going to be enshrined in the Bible when he did what he did? Did he expect to be an instrument of great change for a whole nation? Did he think that people would be motivated by his actions?

I think we make a mistake in looking at the remarkable people and their stories and think that we could never do that. At the time they didn't know they would be remarkable.

So why not you? You might not end up in the Bible (actually, I know you won't) but maybe your remarkable story will inspire someone else to take their first steps to a remarkable story.

A Brief Introduction

My name is Brian. I have 2 kids and a great wife.I live in the Chicago area. I have my Bachelors Degree in Theatrical Lighting Design. I work at a church in the area and I'm currently working toward my MBA with a concentration in Non-Profit Management. I am a walking contradiction. I am an artist. I am an administrator. I hate when movies try to use real science and get it wrong (like Armageddon, there's no way that 2 spacecraft could lift off that close together. The sound waves would shake them apart). On the other hand I really enjoy Star Wars.

My hope for this blog is to process ideas about art and business, church and life, and what it means to do something of purpose and impact in the remaining days.

We'll see how it goes.