You make ideas real

I wrote this article so that artists can refer to a playbook when looking to get more eyes on their work, garner more shows, and sell more art.

The funny thing is, the word “artist” can be substituted for the words “business owner” or “entrepreneur”, as well as a list of other titles that essentially mean, you make ideas real.

Being strategic means giving our art a fighting chance.

Art = ideas in practice.

Is this thing on?

It’s been a while since I’ve written here consistently… I hope your volumes aren’t entirely turned down!

I’m hoping to get back to it more regularly, and I’d love to discuss questions or ideas you have about communication, business, strategy, intentional living, or anything else, really.

Reply to this email with your angle, question, idea, or takeaway, and I’ll make it a topic for this blog.

Maybe it’s something you struggle with, need clarity on, or are looking to build strategically. Or maybe it’s a story of learning that you think could be applied broadly.

Whatever it is, it’d be fun to try your hat on for size in a way that might help other people on this list.

Thanks for opening this email and for coming with me on this continued journey of thought experimentation, value creation, and mission alignment.

Don’t be the bureaucracy

If the answer is NO before we actually know that to be true, we’re the bureaucracy.

If dragging our feet makes us feel powerful, we’re the bureaucracy.

When creating roadblocks “because we’ve always done it that way”, we’re the bureaucracy.

When we pass along ideas we haven’t tested, we’re the bureaucracy.

If we only spring into motion when it benefits us directly, we’re the bureaucracy.

When we assume better can’t be done, we’re the bureaucracy.

The greatest antidote to red tape is selflessly disarming impediments to progress that we construct ourselves. Hell, we can’t rag on the bureaucracy if we’re helping it subsist.

Don’t be the bureaucracy.

Letting our guard down

There’s huge upside to letting our guard down. My friend John once told me that he’s never had someone share as much of their inner, emotional experience as I have with him.

That’s either a compliment or a plea for me to shut up, lol.

But having relationships in which we can share that interiority is vital. I’m not suggesting we tattoo any insecurity on our forehead, but I am saying that we should treat these special relationships as the gold that they are.

Real connection comes from sharing more than merely the highlights. If we let our closest friends see our incomplete selves, we share hope for betterment while providing insight into another human being who’s (also) just trying to figure things out.

Lets share the stuff that shows we’re unsure.

It’ll help us all realize that we’re not the only ones wondering what the hell is going on.

Calibrating for change

Every 6 months, I tend to mentally hit the refresh button. Whether it’s a turning point in business, a new project, an interesting prospect, or a personal evolution, I’m realizing that two things always float to the surface as I question what the hell I’m doing or what’s next…

  1. Efficiency – no matter what the next move is, I better be trying to get more efficient all the time. Doing  so puts me in the best position to make a decision, whatever that happens to be.
  2. Learning – to better move toward a range of possibilities, I need to always be learning, gaining new skills, and thinking about how value is and will be generated.

Regardless of who we are or where we’re going, getting better at what we do and staying open to growth areas seems like a solid way to put one foot in front of the other… especially when we don’t know what’s coming next.

The cost of deliberation

Waiting to make a change means incurring greater costs down the line. Larger organizations process decisions so much that they end up lowering productivity dramatically by creating a bureaucracy that is unable to move swiftly.

If a project costs 10k to implement but we spend 4x as much effort as we should evaluating, jockeying, positioning, and deliberating, we just upped the cost of the project by the following equation: cost of labor multiplied by time spent deliberating.

Whether the project is renting a vending machine or launching a volunteering initiative, we’re better off basing our evaluations of success on data, not notions of control.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we know when those respective entities are steering the ship.

When we deliberate too much, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to let data determine efficacy.

If we make decisions quicker, speed up iteration cycles, and reduce the cost of launching, over time, we’ll have spent much more of our days working on the aspects of creation and collaboration that move the needle forward, instead of gumming up the gears.

Deliberate too long and data takes a back seat. As a feeling man, this is something I’m learning myself.

Better values

‘When we have poor values – that is, poor standards we set for ourselves and others – we are essentially giving fucks about the things that don’t matter, things that in fact make our life worse. But when we choose better values, we are able to divert our fucks to something better – toward things that matter, things that improve the state of our well-being and that generate happiness, pleasure, and success as side effects.’

– Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck

Don’t know = huge costs

We don’t have to be experts in everything, but we do need to know enough about everything to avoid getting taken.

A CEO must know how everything works so she can pull in the reigns on her VP of Digital when he’s building something that’s way too expensive, unnecessary, or hard to pivot from.

A homeowner must know how the furnace works, where the fusebox is, and how much it costs to fix the roof.

Being conversant in many things because we’ve done the research that enables meaningful participation, prevents us from paying top dollar, whether in time or cash, for someone to solve our blind spot.

Blind spots are dangerous. The bottom line is, ‘don’t know’ = huge costs.