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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DTBC Day 0: Be vulnerable

7-10-2013 12-03-06 AM

Today was a great start to the Design Thinking Boot Camp (DTBC). I was surprised by the importance of being vulnerable. I’ve called this day 0 because today was just for coaches and apprentices.

Tomorrow DTBC begins with about 70 participants. We will be working on a design challenge for JetBlue that centers around improving the ground experience for passengers at SFO. One of the first things we do is actually go to SFO and interview people there.

We were asked to write down the one thing that we wanted to impart to our teams when we are doing empathy work at SFO tomorrow.

Anna-Love Mickelson‘s (who has inspired another blog post) 1 thing was to push her team to be vulnerable with the people they interview – because, if they are vulnerable as an interviewer, they are more likely to get stories and emotions from the people they interview.

I thought this was an awesome point to keep in mind, but not just for DTBC, but for life.

In the business world, many successful people have gotten to where they are by being assertive, powerful, confident, etc. The idea of being weak is laughable to them.

But to be an emphatic  leader, you have to take some emotional risk. Being vulnerable means that you could be hurt. Humility is a required character trait. Weakness are strengths. Losing is winning. Being last is being first. Discomfort is comfort.

But in that risk, there is great reward. By opening up, you get to see who people really are at the core and have the potential to help meet deeper needs.

So I am adopting Anna’s goal of pushing my team to be vulnerable with each other, with the people we meet tomorrow at SFO, and more importantly, with people in their lives and organizations once DTBC is over.