One of the big reasons I admire athletes is that they have to perform. In front of stadiums filled with people, they have to be excellent on a schedule. To make that happen, they must be in a regular program of stretching their abilities. Pushing farther. Going beyond.
But for most of us, after high school or college, we actively avoid pushing ourselves. After that last final exam, we quietly vow we’ll never stretch quite that far again. But you’ll never achieve your best without taking the risk of embarrassment or humiliation.
What do you need to do to take your life or career to the next level? Become a confident public speaker? Learn another language? Increase your computer skills? Be comfortable speaking in front of difficult audiences?
The difference between pros and amateurs? Amateurs wait for inspiration, but pros just get to work.
Whatever it is, the time to start is now. This is your wake up call. Stretch. Take a risk. Crawl out...
Today, we live in a creative economy, and the best ideas are king. Even businesses like banks, manufacturing, and service industries are all realizing the importance of creativity. So if you desire to live out a creative career, there’s no better time to be alive than right now. But the problem is, as any veteran creative professional will tell you, ideas are fragile. They often come and go without warning, and if we don’t have a good system for capturing those ideas, then we’ll never benefit from having them in the first place.
I’ve spent a lot of time working out various systems for making sure those creative ideas in my head actually have the best chance of execution. After years of different methods, here’s the system I use now. Keep in mind that you don’t have to copy the way I do it – or the way anyone else does it. The important thing is do develop a system that works for you.
The key is the realization that our memory is...
I met a producer the other day who was really frustrated. He doesn’t perform well at meetings, he continually gets turned down for jobs, and his career is suffering. I met with him because I know he’s talented, has great energy, and good people skills. I was baffled at what his problem might be until he showed up for our meeting...late. For some reason, I couldn’t get his being late off my mind so I started to probe. I found out that being late for things is pretty much a constant in his life. He won’t admit it of course, but I started to ask around, and sure enough – others had the same experience as me.
The opportunity came up for me to go with him to a meeting, so I took it and observed him very closely. Here’s what transpired:
He was late picking me up, so I asked him what happened. He said he wanted to get plenty of rest, so he slept late as he could, which admittedly threw him off his schedule. Then, just as he was walking out...
There’s a good reason so many books, websites, and leadership resources talk about the importance of encouragement. As Goethe said in 1768, “Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.” So rather than say more about why you need to be an encourager, let me give you a brief but powerful example of something I personally experienced:
Some time ago, our team was called into a major, national media ministry because they were struggling with a declining response to their television program. For years, their financial support had dropped, and it had been nearly a decade since they’d been in the black. They had simply not adjusted to a changing culture, and needed a wakeup call on how the digital revolution had changed the world.
It took months of hard work and consulting with the ministry, but in less than a year – and after nearly a decade in the red – we helped them turn things around. Obviously it was a team effort...
No, this isn’t an ad for Nike. But I was listening to an interview with a health expert and she said that (short of periods of massive famine, war, or disease,) although we know more about health and well-being than at anytime in history, we’re still pretty much the most overweight and unhealthy group that’s ever lived. The reason? She said that today, a significant group of people don’t get into shape because they’re waiting for the perfect situation.
They wait on a health club membership, until they get married, have more time, adjust their schedule, get the right workout clothes, a new job – whatever. They think they have to get all the stars aligned, but until they do, they don’t do anything. But the truth is, to have better health, all we have to do is start with something small. Start walking, take the stairs, eat less, get a check-up – little things make a huge difference.