Kissing The Lipless

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

The creation of art involves taking a risk. There is a real risk that what you make will be ridiculed by your peers, your friends and even your family. To truly appreciate art, you have to understand that the artist puts a portion of her soul into her craft. You should appreciate the risk that was undertaken, it’s not all about the creation that you can see with your eyes. There is real value in the journey because it is making the artist stronger. We learn much more from failures than we do from successes.

Showing art to those that don’t appreciate your craft is like kissing the lipless. It might have to be done, but the kiss is much better if the recipient has the appropriate anatomy to receive the kiss. In the case of art, that anatomy is the understanding of the pain and pleasure that goes into making real art.

Everyone can be an artist if you approach your work in an artistic manner. Help the artist around you out – appreciate their journey and be mindful of your own.

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Lost In My Mind

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

Do you ever get lost in your own mind? You have an idea or there is a task you want to accomplish. You think and you think and you think, but nothing seems to happen.

I’ve stumbled onto some good solutions for the problem of being lost in your own mind

1. Break big projects/tasks into smaller steps. Imagine you are climbing a ladder. You know that you want to get to the top (that is your objective), but you can’t get to the top until you put your hand on the next rung. For your project, what is the next rung? What is the next thing you need to physically do? Even if it is something as small as “capture notes from the XYZ conference” go and do that.

2. Write everything down. If you think I need to get milk at the store. Don’t just think it, make a note of it. Better yet add it to a list that you keep your grocery items on. I trust my mind to remember very little (those close to me know that this is a wise move on my part!). I tend to write every thought to “do” something down.

3. Work on projects / problems with others. Talking through a potential idea, solution, problem, etc with a friend or co-worker is important to keep from getting lost in your mind. Better yet, if you can show them something physical or what you have written down, this will help them experience your idea, solution or problem.

Try some of these ideas to keep from getting lost in your mind.

The Fold

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

The word fold typically refers to a flock of sheep. Sheep are helpless out in the open. They flock together in folds because there is safety in numbers.

Being vulnerable is the key to developing real empathy and deeper relationships. Vulnerability allows you to grow. There has to be some risk that you will fail if you want to succeed at anything meaningful.

But don’t do it alone. Be vulnerable with other people that are also vulnerable. This is why I think the concept of the fold is important. Surround yourself with safe people. Protect your fellow sheep and grow together.

Juveniles

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

There are two juveniles that are particularly close to me. I just tucked them into bed, but they went to sleep unaware that they took part in my personal and professional development. And it wasn’t just tonight, they help me grow every day.

Tonight we did something that they love. We played a game that is called “emcee.” I grab something that looks like a mic (tonight it was a half used tube of diaper cream) and then emcee the rest of the night. The girls sit on their beds and I start:

I want to thank everyone for joining us tonight. It has really been a special time. This is a really unique setting and makes me feel very close to you. I just want to run down the rest of the evening for you.

Next we will be brushing teeth. That will occur in the bathroom. It’s just down the hall to the left. After that we will floss – as you know it’s super important that we floss. One of the most important things we will do tonight.

After flossing, we will brush hair. We certainly don’t want any tangles in the morning. No one wants to start their day with tangled hair.

That about covers it. Let’s meet back in here in fifteen minutes for a special presentation. Thanks again for joining us. It’s been a real treat to be with you tonight.

They absolutely love this sort of treatment. They continually laugh and instruct me on what to say. All the while, I am getting better as a public speaker. I’m not sure why I had the idea to MC my kids bed time, but I am glad that I did.

Think about all the time you spend with your kids (or nieces/nephews). They are a great audience. They tend to laugh at your jokes. Why not try out fun stuff on them that could potentially improve you professionally?

Share what you’ve done. I’d love to have more ideas and opportunities to practice with my kids.

Quenched Consciousness

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

I looked at my to do list. It contained eighteen items, several having been there since the summer. I glanced at my inbox – 1400 unread items. It was becoming clear to me that I needed some help.

My consciousness was far from quenched. I was spending time anxious about emails unread and items not crossed off of my to do list.

Then it changed. I had a friend talk about a personal productivity system called Getting Things Done (note #1: sometimes abbreviated as “GTD”, note #2: if you find yourself talking about personal productivity systems, you might be a geek).

The basic premise of the system is simple:

1) Separate actionable items from reference items. In other words, do let a report that you might need to use, sit right beside an email from your boss that you need to act on?

2) If an item is actionable, go ahead and define the next action. (e.g. send analysis on top accounts to Jim)

3) Organize the actions by the context in which they can be done. (e.g. office, home, calls, etc). When you have twenty minutes open up because a meeting finished early, you check you office list to see what is there.

The reason to-do lists are not very effective is that you haven’t defined what you have to do next. You might have an item on your list labeled “401k”, but what is it you need to do with your 401k? Do you need to research new fund options? Do you need to change allocations? Do you need to change your home address?

According to David Allen, if you haven’t defined next actions, then your brain will be straining to think “what the hell does “401k” mean?” Alternatively, if you’ve written down “research new fund option”, then your brain doesn’t keeping thinking about a vuage item on a to-do list.

I’ve been using GTD for a couple of weeks and it’s been a nice change. My inbox is consistently at zero a couple of times a day. When I have a few minutes to make phone calls, I check out my call list to see who I should get in touch with. I keep a list of things I want to discuss with my wife.

If you’re looking to get some of life’s craziness under control, then I’d highly recommend GTD.