Masthead header

 

Here’s what I know to be true this morning: I know that I work best when I have good input in my life. When I am being intentional about my thinking, my consumption of information, and my experiences. I also know that I have chosen a life that allows me to have a certain amount of freedom. Freedom to spend time with my family, travel, and enjoy the present. And I know that if want to continue that trend long-term, then I have to commit to doing the work required to make it so.

The work required is waking up early, taking care of my creativity so I can make good work, and asking myself on simple question and honestly searching for an answer every single day:

How can I add value today?

As creative entrepreneurs, we have made a choice. We have each made our own lists of truths. We each have to be willing to commit to the pursuit of the vision if we want that vision to become real. We know we thrive when we are creating something from nothing. And we feel most alive when we do that every. single. day. That’s the choice.

So what do you have to add today? If your answer is nothing, you’re probably in a busy season or maybe a season of doubt. If that’s you, I have some homework for you.

When you feel valueless do this:

Say out loud what it is you do.

So for me: I help creatives get out their comfort zone so they can get unstuck, keep making work they love, thrive long-term, and become more resilient. 

Here’s an easy formula to help you flesh out your own description of what you do:

“I help __________ do _________ so that they can ___________.” (Think of it in the form of problem and solution. What’s the biggest problem your audience has and how do you solve that problem?)


Ask yourself: What’s one thing, even if it’s small, that you can do to make that statement true today?

Let’s say you’re a newborn photographer and your “whatido” statement is:

“I help new parents document the first year of life with a newborn so they can remember how they felt, be present during this time of change, and live fully.” 

What’s one thing you can do today to make that true? If you’re talking to new parents, what types of things might they be interested in? It doesn’t have to be photography related it just needs to add value. For example you could talk about things that help babies sleep (Huge pain point for new parents. Speaking as a parent to a 4-month old :)) or how to be present when feeding your baby or how to travel with your newborn. All of this adds value to your audience and it makes your statement true.

SHARE.

If you can sit down and answer these questions today then I know you can find at least one thing to share. So share it. Remember: the things that seem obvious to you are amazing to others. Even if you think it’s been done so many times you’ll be sick if you see it done again, chances are your audience still needs it. Things are said over and over again because people need to hear them over and over again. So share. Write an article, share an article, write a post on social media or do all of the above! You know what your people need, so give it to them.

Remember you are choosing this work for a reason. In order to be more resilient you have to be willing to get uncomfortable. And standing up and saying things to people is uncomfortable but it is worth the risk if the reward is getting to thrive and do work you love, long-term.

 

So stand up and speak.

Make good things, my friends!

Chris

Share Button

curiously-creativeIf you’ve ever been around children for more than 5 minutes, you know how curious they are about the world around them. Their brains are an open filing cabinet receiving new information every single day. If you’re talking with a 7-year-old kid and you happen to mention something they’ve never heard before, their eyebrows wrinkle up with wonder and you can see the look of curiosity as they ask, “What’s that mean?” This is them creating a new file for this completely new information so that they can store it and find it the next time it comes up in conversation. 

Curiosity is baked into all of us because we’re humans. We’re naturally curious about the things around us from the beginning. Unlike when we were children though, our filing system is not always open. Some of the files may be a bit dusty, even. So as we grow older, we have to be more intentional with our curiosity. We remind ourselves of it and when we do, the nature of curiosity takes over and runs away with us.

Think of the last time you felt intensely curious about something. It didn’t take much effort did it? You were probably introduced to an idea that sent fiery signals through your brain as you thought of it. This is what has to happen in the creative process. If we want to make things that excite us, we have to be curious. Explore the mysteries that make your eyebrows wrinkle up with wonder.

Open up the filing cabinet of your mind and create new files for new experiences and new ideas. Create things with a curious heart. Be curiously creative in your work and see where it takes you. 

Explore, friends. It’s what we’re made to do.

 

Share Button

Making-A-MessI heard this on a Swiffer commercial: “Making a mess is part of growing up.”

This is a learning process. This life I mean. You’ll make a mess of it sometimes. That’s just part of growing up.

Make a mess, clean it up. Just don’t linger too long on the mess.  It’s ok. Life keeps moving on. Mess and all. So be here, mess and all.

Happy Monday, my friends.

Chris

Share Button

How-to-start-a-successful-craft-brewerySo, I clicked on a Facebook link today titled “The Beer You Can Only Get In Hawaii.” Because I like beer and Hawaii. So I thought it would be fun to watch. I didn’t expect there to be so many knowledge bombs in the video within the article about the value of slow growth and the importance of listening to the people who love your work so much that they’re willing to give you money for it. Here’s a couple here:

“…the customers have dictated the speed at which we expand our offering. “

“Basically, the people that we listen to are the people who walk through the door.”

The marketing director of The Kauai Beer Company, Larry Feinstein, goes on in the video about how most restaurants drown in debt because they try to start out fully mature. Like they’ve been open for years, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 7 days a week. And they often fail. But Kauai focused on slow growth. Growing with their audience and expanding based on their needs. They defined what success looks like (they say in the video that they’re a craft brewery and are only interested in serving on the State of Hawaii and they want to achieve a “nice sustainable level of profitability.”) and they are focused on making that happen.

I love that definition: We’re committed to our craft. We will serve this small group of people. And we will be sustainably profitable. It’s that simple for them. So long as they’re doing this, they are successful. They don’t want to be the big dogs. They want to serve the people who are walking in the door, listen to what those people want, and give it to them. That’s it.

If you want to be successful, define what that looks like for you Then always listen to the people who are walking in the door and give them more things that THEY want. Not what other people say they want but what they actually want.

Grow with your audience.

And also, drink good beer 🙂

Here’s the video:

 

P.S. If you need help developing your vision, sign-up for my free 5-day email course all about developing a clearer vision so you know where you’re going and what it looks like to succeed. Sign-Up Here!

Share Button

So a couple of weeks ago our pastor was at church. I know that sounds weird. But we were surprised to see him because he hadn’t been there the previous week. He had taken a pretty wicked fall on a bike ride and broke three ribs and a clavicle. But this week, there he was up front teaching in a sling.

When I saw him up there my first thought was a prayer: Lord, give me a calling that inspires me to get up and feed it, even when my bones are broken.Even-When-My-Bones-Are-Broken

Later, he spoke about perseverance. He spoke about his broken bones and how he doesn’t know how God is using it but he’s grateful for it. “Am I glad I broke my ribs and have to wear a sling? No! Am I praying ‘Lord, let’s do the other side now!’ no! That would be insane.” he said, “but I’ll not waste my suffering.”

Let us not waste our suffering. Let this time in your life, be it trying or easy, let it be what it is: a teacher. May we learn and grow and continue to run in the direction we’re being lead. May we have a calling that inspires us to stand up when we get knocked down. May we always keep standing back up. Even when our bones are broken.

Share Button