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The Truth About Our Creative Passion

Yesterday I posted an article on LinkedIn about 4 titles you need to read while in quarantine. One of the books on the list is Todd Henry’s Die Empty

You can read my thoughts on the book here.

One of the topics Henry talks about is the idea of our passion and what in reality it looks like in our lives:

“’Passion’” has its roots in the Latin word pati, which means “to suffer or endure.” Therefore, at the root of passion is suffering. This is a far cry from the way we casually toss around the word in our day-to-day conversations. Instead of asking ‘What would bring me enjoyment?’ which is how many people think about following their passion, we should instead ask ‘What work am I willing to suffer for today?’ Great work requires suffering for something beyond yourself. It’s created when you bend your life around a mission and spend yourself on something you deem worthy of your best effort. What is your worthwhile cause?”

I’m currently in the process of writing my first book. For as much excitement and anticipation I have, the actual writing part is a grind. The intentional focus and discipline needed are not for the faint of heart.

We walk away from Henry’s description understanding why so many people start but never finish. Our internal fortitude needs to be ready for the daily grind our passions lead us to.

Write this down somewhere you can read it every day: Falling in love with your passion is falling in love with the pain of hard work.

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If Nothing Else, Be Consistant

Today is a big day for me. It’s my 31st post on this blog. It’s significant because it’s also the 31st day straight that I’ve written at least something.

Even though I love to write, doing it consistently has never been easy. It’s been straight up challenging.

I could blame it on my full-time work as a manager or raising a family but in reality, they’re just excuses. Aren’t they?

If we love something enough we’ll find the time to do it right? That sounds like a nice motivation quote found on a greeting card, but it rarely applies in our lives.

A big reason for that is planning. We often want to be successful but don’t really plan around the priorities of our lives to make it happen.

This has been my story for years. Until 32 days ago I finally got it right. I challenged myself to blog. Every, single, day. Whether it was 400 words or 40, I was going to write something. I was going to share my experiences in business, the corporate world, creativity, life and anything else I could think of to inspire.

My motivation was clear: I needed to grow as a writer. What better way than to write every day.

It doesn’t have to be flashy. It doesn’t have to even be that deep. But it needs to be informative, helpful and inspiring. And it needs to be written and posted daily.

Want to be an entrepreneur? An author? A speaker? Web or graphic designer? Find a small step you can take daily towards that goal and commit to it. Track your journey after 31 days and then again after 60 days, and then 90.

We undervalue the power of being consistent, but it’s the very thing that will propel us to achieving our highest potential.

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2020 Focus

The North American media is flooded with stories on the COVID-19 pandemic.

My WhatsApp and iMessage is flooded with YouTube videos on conspiracy theories to the virus.

Through all the noise, I’m trying to create a healthy and productive routine while working from home.

It can all be a bit much. That’s why it’s important to stay focused on your purpose.

Yes the world is shifting and we need to pay attention to what’s happening around the globe. But we can’t forget about our long game.

What did you promise yourself you’d do in 2020? Refresh yourself with you personal goals and continue to make moves towards accomplishing them.

To stay updated to the Coronavirus outbreak take 30 mins each day to read news stories and watch a few videos. Don’t give yourself to any additional content regarding it for the rest of the day.

Life may have changed but life goes on. Don’t lose this opportunity of extra time you may have stuck at home. Refocus, realign, and rejuvenate yourself back into goal setting and completion mode.

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The Innovation We Need Now

I always loved the Dyson vacuum commercials growing up.

They changed the game on how cleaning your home should be, focusing on making it more intuitive to how we move and where we actually need to clean.

It was innovative. They set themselves apart from their competitors with their design and high price point. They knew their market and never shifted from it.

Today, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve switched gears to provide help in light of the shortage in medical equipment.

In just 10 days Dyson has designed a unique ventilator specifically for COVID-19 patients. Here are the details from Inc.com:

“According to a letter from the company’s founder to its employees, James Dyson says the company’s goal was “to design and build an entirely new ventilator, The CoVent. This new device can be manufactured quickly, efficiently, and at volume. It is designed to address the specific clinical needs of Covid-19 patients, and it is suited to a variety of clinical settings.

Working with The Technology Partnership, the company says it is working on how to quickly produce the ventilators once they are approved by the U.K. government. Dyson also says it will donate an additional 5,000 units to different countries. Those ventilators will come in handy in places that are quickly running out of beds. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is a life and death effort, as hospitals have become crowded with Covid-19 patients.

Dyson has caught on to what real innovation looks like. They saw a need and utilized their creative genius to create not just a cool product, but one that can save thousands of lives. And can be produced quickly!

It can be a piece of equipment that can save lives. Updating supply chains to get vital supplies to the most vulnerable. Improving communication technology to expedite the flow of critical health information.

Real innovation focuses on the human needs of the moment. Because what’s more important than the ‘quality of life’ of those around us.

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Remember to Have Fun

When you finally land that dream job…

When they say yes to your article pitch…

When they accept your quote for that creative project…

When you can finally quit your day job and be a full time entrepreneur…

…There will be hours work ahead of you.

But…

Remember to enjoy the journey. Don’t forget the love for why you do what you do.

Remember to have fun.

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Embrace Rejection

A couple of years ago I received this email from an editor in response to my pitch application for an open freelance writer position:

“Thanks so much for your submission. Unfortunately, we had a really strong group of writers this time around, so we won’t be able to bring you on board. Good luck with everything, though.”

If you thought that was bad, check out this email response:

“After much deliberation, we have decided to move forward with other candidates whose skills more closely match our requirements at this time. This was a difficult decision and, we realize, most likely a disappointing one for you. We hope that you will look upon the selection process as a valuable experience in your on-going personal and career development.”

You’re probably wondering why I kept these messages. I do it for two reasons. It helps me remember how far I’ve come when I look back at them.

For each of these messages, I have about 20 to 30 other messages telling me how much they were inspired by a piece I wrote or how happy they were with the service the team I lead provided.

Plot twist: I don’t keep these messages. Well, the majority of them anyway.

Why?

Remembering rejection lets me know what I’m made of. Resistance can either build or break. I choose to let rejection build me up to the level that no opportunity is big enough for me to not shoot my shot.

“What if?” is a 50/50 question. At least rejection lets you know where you stand. What you do with that information will determine how successful you decide to be.

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Are You Prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse?

I’m not sure we could ever be prepared.

We weren’t prepared for a global virus to keep us home for possibly weeks at a time. But we’re working together to overcome it.

Sometimes it takes a blood thirsty zombie at our doorstep for us to finally wake up and realize what our life purpose is.

The best preparation is to prepare for the unexpected. Know that life can change any minute. We don’t control the narrative, we only control our response to it.

And with time, we’ll realize how closely our response is linked to our purpose.

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Practice Being Fully Present

Life as we know it has slowed down. Some have said for the better. Others have balked at that notion saying it shouldn’t take a pandemic to get society to stop and smell the roses.

But the reality is we have no excuse to be fully present to our spouses, our kids, our friends, our neighbours, or anyone who could use a listening ear.

This isn’t an assumption that all of us are in the same situation regarding extra time. Some still work on the front lines and are working additonal hours, like our healthcare professionals. Supply chain positions like truck drivers could possibly working overtime as they are essential to the economy.

There are however a lot of us who no longer have to catch a bus for work. Social gatherings have been all but eliminated. Our weekly schedules have been reduced to only necessary trips to the grocery store. In others words, we now have time to authentically listen.

Deeper conversations could become more common place. Fact is they should have been all along. I’m guilty as anyone else to block out what someone is saying during a conversation only to think about what I’m going to say next.

This won’t be easy, but we’ll discover spending authentic time with those around us will actually help us heal through this outbreak.

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Anticipating Customer Needs

I work in the logistics industry which has been recently tabbed as an essential service during the Coronavirus pandemic. More specifically I work in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) market.

While some logistics companies report  a decline in freight, there’s been a spike in mine. As grocery shelves empty out, our customers ramp up more restock orders across the country.

Thankfully I have a team of skilled individuals ready to handle the increase in freight volumes and the specific challenges coordinating suppliers and trucking partners.

As a manager of over $35 million worth of commercial CPG freight (notable cereal and canned food brands) it’s my job to stay updated with the current market trends and advise my customers accordingly to ensure they continue to have a competitive advantage over their competition.

Doing analysis such as year over year trends on volume and annual freight spend helps me anticipate my customer’s upcoming needs. But I also have to be nimble enough to recognize if those needs could potentially change due to shifting market conditions.

It’s not good enough just to know your clients initial needs. You already have their businiess, so the focus now  should be how to keep it long term. We need to be bold enough to risk predicting the future and make calculated decisions based on it. The more you do the better you’ll get at anticipating correctly.

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Creative Connecting

A few days ago I wrote about thanking the individual unique content creators around the web for keep us entertained during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Social media has always been a hub for actors, filmmakers, musicians, speakers and comedians to make their mark and share their gifts with the world. Gifts often rejected by large production companies or taken for granted by those closest to them.

But in light of recent events, creativity of online content is evolving. Maybe even maturing.

The global social distancing directive has opened doors for more creative connecting between us. We’ve gone from merely consuming content to now using it as a means to connect with each other in a deeper way online.

Yes connecting over social media content is nothing new, but the spirit in which we are connecting is new found territory.

Just tagging each other on content to consume has been replaced by daring or in-listing each other to participate in different quarantine challenges.

Women have been challenging other women to post headshots of themselves representing strength, beauty and resilience. Not surprisingly Men have regulated each other to the more primal endeavour of a ‘Push Up Challenge’.

Having multiple gigs canceled, musicians have come together to challenge each other to cover their songs through online posts. And of course teenagers have come up with some unique challenge that only their generation would understand.

Through all of this there’s a sense of beauty to what’s actually happening online. Social media has finally become the place to truly be social. We are posting less about what we have or what we’ve accomplished. Connecting relationally has become our priority.

The Coronavirus has pushed our humanity into reset mode. We just might find that the world ahead of us might be better than the one we leave behind.

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