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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I got my city right behind me

Birmingham skyline (source: britannica, photo credit Mark Segal – Stone/Getty Images )

“I got my city right behind me
If I fall, they got me. Learn from that failure gain humility and then we keep marching ourselves” – Macklemore

Failure helps keep us humble. Failure is essential to learning. But failing without support leads to hopelessness. Failing with a community allows you to grow stronger while remaining humble. You know that this life is not all about you. It’s only because of your “city” that you can do anything.

Who do you have behind you? Are you in a position where you can fail? Can you take a risk and know that it won’t cost you your job? Can you experiment with a new way of doing things without getting funny looks?

If you have a “city” behind you, congratulations. You are in a great spot. Not many people are in a position where their failures are looked upon as a necessary step in a life long journey or growth. You can be vulnerable and real with your friends, family and co-workers. You can take risks. You have a community – use it.

But what if you don’t have a “city” behind you?

First off, you are not alone even though it may seem like you are. Find your city. Find those are willing to accept your failure. Find those that will show you grace and patience. Find those who care about who you are as a person.

Secondly, be the city to other people. Forgive mistakes quickly. Applaud risk taking and approaching problems differently then you would have. Be the kind of co-worker, friend, spouse, etc that you would want others to be to you.

Almost anyone who has had any success, professionally or personally, has a story about failure. As you write your own story, don’t shy away from taking risk, just for the fear of failure. Get your city behind you and stay humble.

Errors of omission

source: investingcaffeine.com

Most errors fall into one of two camps:

  1. Errors of omission – a mistake involving not doing something I should have done. Example, I did not call my grandmother on her birthday.
  2. Errors of commission – a mistake involving doing something I should not have done. Example, driving 82mph when the limit is 70mph.

For me, the errors of omission sting and haunt me much more that the errors of commission. To paraphrase Seth Godin, the biggest mistakes in your career are the risks that you didn’t take. The job opportunity that you turned down, the times you failed to speak up in the meeting, the tough conversations you didn’t have.

Living life will involve mistakes of commission. If you spend a lot of time with people, you will say things you wish you wouldn’t have said. If you create a lot of presentations, you will have some that don’t have page numbers. If you generate and analyze a lot of reports, some of those reports will have errors or you will miss something in the analysis. Errors of commission are the cost of doing business and living life.

If you spend all of your time focused on avoiding errors of commission, you will increase your errors of omission – and this is a tragedy.

Who wants to live squarely in between the margins? Who on their death bed thinks, “I am so thankful that I played this life safe.” Or “I am so glad that I made 75% of the people in my life sort of happy.”

Take action. Making an error of commission involves action. Missing a work function to go to your kid’s ballet recital involves taking a risk. It may look “bad”, you may get passed over for a promotion, a fire may start at work – but there are some things that you cannot hedge. If you put every chip you have on every number on the roulette wheel, the house will win every time.

The next time you think, “I should have called her” or “I should have spoken up” or “I should ask how he is doing”, write this down. Actually recognizing that you are “omitting” is a huge first step into making fewer errors of omission.

I came up with big error of omission in my life just this weekend. I do not reach out enough to the people in my life who matter the most to me. They matter deeply to me and I think about them often, but they don’t know it. It would be so easy to make a phone call or send a text, but I fail to do this, time and time again. So today, I took a first step. I wrote down my error and came up with a plan to take action.

Life is too short to have your money on both red and black. Take a stand, have a point of view and make some mistakes along the way.