If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.
I think the most productive thing to do during times of change is to be your best self, not the best version of someone else.
Change is not a threat, it's an opportunity. Survival is not the goal, transformative success is.
No one knows more about the way you think than you do.
Leadership, on the other hand, is about creating change you believe in.
And it turns out that tribes, not money, not factories, that can change our world, that can change politics, that can align large numbers of people. Not because you force them to do something against their will. But because they wanted to connect.
Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.
Our job is obvious: We need to get out of the way, shine a light, and empower a new generation to teach itself and to go further and faster than any generation ever has.
Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.
Life is like skiing. Just like skiing, the goal is not to get to the bottom of the hill. It's to have a bunch of good runs before the sun sets.
Set a goal, and in small, consistent steps, work to reach it. Get support
from your peers when you start flagging. Repeat. You will change.
Blaming the system is soothing because it lets you off the hook. But when the system is broken, we wonder why you were relying in the system in the first place.
You don't win an Olympic gold medal with a few weeks of intensive training.
You don't win an Olympic gold medal with a few weeks of intensive training. There's no such thing as an overnight opera sensation. Great law firms or design companies don't spring up overnight... Every great company, every great brand, and every great career has been built in exactly the same way: bit by bit, step by step, little by little.
Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you're doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they're hiding out in the comfortable zone.
Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you're doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they're hiding out in the comfortable zone. When your uncomfortable actions lead to success, the organization rewards you and brings you back for more.
The status quo is persistent and resistant. It exists because everyone wants it to. Everyone believes that what they've got is probably better than the risk and fear that come with change.
This notion that it is up to each person to innovate in some way flies in the face of the industrial age, but you know what, the industrial age is over.
I think there's plenty of room for blogs that exist to pay the blogger, or blogs that exist to turn a profit. That's just not the kind of blog I'm writing, and I'm not the kind of blogger that could do that.
I was lucky enough to co-found a business in college that ended up with 400 employees, and I launched 20 different projects while I was there -- a project a week.
You cannot create a piece of art merely for money. Doing it as part of commerce so denudes art of wonder that it ceases to be art.
Marketing used to be about advertising, and advertising is expensive. Today, marketing is about engaging with the tribe and delivering products and services with stories that spread.
Instead of focusing on arguing with people who say no, it might be easier to get near the people who like to say yes.
More and more people now have jobs that require them to confront the risk of appearing stupid on a regular basis.
By my definition, most art has nothing to do with oil paint or marble. Art is what we're doing when we do our best work.
You are far more likely to do your best work if you are willing to delight a few as opposed to soothe the masses.
When exactly were we brainwashed into believing that the best way to earn a living is to have a job?
Acknowledge to yourself that the factory job is dead. Having a factory job is not a natural state. It wasn't at the heart of being human until very recently. We've been culturally brainwashed.
Most people have been brainwashed into believing that their job is to copyedit the world, not to design it.
Remarkable work is always not on the list, because if it was, it would be commonplace, not remarkable.
By being remarkable, being genuine, you can be worth connecting with. And you don't have to have it figured out perfectly the first time -- you can adjust.
Sometimes, we're so focused on being consistent that we also lower the bar on amazing.
Sometimes, we're so focused on being consistent that we also lower the bar on amazing. After all, the thinking goes, if we can't be amazing all the time, better to reset the expectation to merely good. Which robs us of the ability to (sometimes) be amazing.
Which are you?...competen t, inspiring, passionate, obsessed, provocative, impatient, hungry, driven, adoring, inspired, an artist, a genius, someone who cares...?
With all these remarkable, powerful, important options available to each of us, why do so many of us default to competent?
Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.
Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. This scarcity makes leadership valuable...It's uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers. It's uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail. It's uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. It's uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle...If you're not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it's almost certain you're not reaching your potential as a leader.
The art, the new, the ability to connect the dots and to make an impact -- sooner or later, that can only come from one who creates, not from a teacher and not from a book.
Something remarkable is worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting. It's a Purple Cow.
The fatigue was there, but some people understood that putting it aside was the single most important factor in succeeding.
Art is a human act, a generous contribution, something that might not work, and it is intended to change the recipient for the better, often causing a connection to happen.
Wouldn't it be great to be gifted? In fact... It turns out that choices lead to habits. Habits become talents. Talents are labeled gifts. You're not born this way, you get this way.
The problem with holding a grudge
is that your hands are then too full to hold onto anything else.
The problem with holding a grudge is that your hands are then too full to hold onto anything else. It might be the competition or a technology or the lousy things that someone did a decade ago. None of it is going to get better as a result of revisiting the grudge.
The good news is that more than ever, value accrues to those that show up, those that make a difference, those that do work that matters.
People are buying only one thing from you: the way the engagement (hiring you, working with you, dating you, using your product or service, learning from you) makes them feel.
One key to learning and success is the willingness to try something new, and feel momentarily incompetent.
Initiating is really and truly difficult, and that's what leaders do. They see something others are ignoring and they jump on it.
Remarkable visions and genuine insights are always met with resistance.
Remarkable visions and genuine insight are always met with resistance. And when you start to make progress, your efforts are met with even more resistance. Products, services, career paths... whatever it is, the forces for mediocrity will align to stop you, forgiving no errors and never backing down until it's over.
The reason you might choose to embrace the artist within you now is that this is the path to (cue the ironic music) security.
Art isn't only a painting; it's anything that changes someone for the better, any nonanonymous interaction that leads to a human (not simply a commercial) conclusion.
Librarians who are arguing and lobbying for clever e-book lending solutions are completely missing the point. They are defending the library-as-warehouse concept, as opposed to fighting for the future, which is librarian as producer, concierge, connector, teacher, and impresario.
The greatest shortage in our society is an instinct to produce. To create solutions and hustle them out the door. To touch the humanity inside and connect to the humans in the marketplace.
If you hesitate to map out your future, to make a big plan or to set a goal, you've just gone ahead and mapped your future anyway.
At least at first, the new thing is rarely as good as the old thing was. If you need the alternative to be better than the status quo from the very start, you'll never begin.
The problem with taking offense is that it's really hard to figure out what to do with it after you're done using it. Better to just leave it on the table and walk away. Umbrage untaken quietly disappears.
While you may have made money doing something a certain way yesterday, there's no reason to believe you'll succeed at it tomorrow.
Marketing yourself to a new person often involves being charismatic, clever and quick-but most jobs and most relationships are about being consistent, persistent and brave.
If you hear my idea but don't believe it, that's not your fault; it's mine. If you see my new product but don't buy it, that's my failure, not yours. If you attend my presentation and you're bored, that's my fault too.
No more than six words on a slide. Ever. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.
It's easy to be afraid of taking a plunge, because, after all, plunging is dangerous. And the fear is a safe way to do nothing at all. Wading, on the other hand, gets under the radar. It gives you a chance to begin.
We're often in a hurry to finish. Or in a hurry to close a sale. What happens when we adopt the posture of being in a hurry to be generous? With resources or insight or access or kindness... It's an interesting sort of impatience.
The resistance is the voice in your head telling you to use bullets in your PowerPoint slides...It's the voice that tells you to leave controversial ideas out of the paper you're writing, because the teacher won't like them. The resistance pushes relentlessly for you to fit in.
If school is about postponing the day you have to stand up in front of the world and put yourself at risk, the resistance would like to stay there forever.
Flexible in the face of change, resilient in the face of confusion. All of these attributes are choices, not talents, and all of them are available to you.
We have little choice but to move beyond quality and seek remarkable, connected, and new. Remarkable, as you've already figured out, demands initiative.
Why do we value leadership, connection and grace? Because it's scarce, and that scacity creates value.
Art is the act of doing work that matters while dancing with the voice in your head that screams for you to stop.
If you don't like your definition of 'good enough', then feel free to change that, but the goal before shipping is merely that. Not perfect.
If you're going to build a lean enterprise, you can test and measure how often the company ships iterations, how often it fails, how often it is putting things in front of people that don't work.
It's all a risk. Always. That's not true, actually. The only exception: it's a certainty that there's risk. The safer you play your plans for the future, the riskier it actually is. That's because the world is certainly, definitely, and more than possibly changing.
Take the long way. Do the hard work, consistently and with generosity and transparency. And then you won't waste time doing it over.
Is it worth getting one more tweet out, or putting your phone down and doing something that is worth tweeting?
If you believe that a given situation should make you unhappy, then it will, and the unhappiness will then reinforce the condition.
I'll confess that I don't watch the Olympics, but you'd have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the corruption and the expense. An amorphous organization with no transparency, unclear lines of responsibility, huge amounts of politics and a great deal of unearned power.
If you're not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it's almost certain you're not reaching your potential as a leader.
We live in a vague world. And it gets vaguer all the time. In this environment, the power of the specific, measurable and useful promise made and kept is difficult to overstate.
Nothing about becoming indispensable is easy. If it's easy, it's already been done and it's no longer valuable.
In general, organizations are afraid to fire customers, no matter how unreasonable. This is a mistake. It's good for you.
You're competing against people in a state of flow, people who are truly committed, people who care deeply about the outcome.
You're competing against people in a state of flow, people who are truly committed, people who care deeply about the outcome. You can't merely wing it and expect to keep up with them. Setting aside all the safety valves and pleasant distractions is the first way to send yourself the message that you're playing for keeps.
Great stories agree with our worldview. The best stories don't teach people anything new. Instead the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the thirst place.
Your positions on everything are based on the story you tell yourself and not some universal fact from the universal fact database.
Any customer that walks away, disrespected and defeated, represents tens of thousands of dollars out the door, in addition to the failure of a promise the brand made in the first place. You can't see it but it's happening, daily.
An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally.
Just as we don't spend a lot of time worrying about how all those poets out there are going to monetize their poetry, the same is true for most bloggers.
One reason I encourage people to blog is that the act of doing it stretches your available vocabulary and hones a new voice.
All the creativity books in the world aren't going to help you if you're unwilling to have lousy, lame, and even dangerously bad ideas.
Now for the first time, you can choose yourself. You can be responsible for what you do and how you do it. You have to do the hard work of finding and pleasing an audience.
Organizations grow when they persuade a tiny cadre to be passionate, not when they touch millions with a mediocre message.
Here's conventional wisdom: Success makes you happy. Happiness permits you to be generous. In fact, it actually works like this: Generosity makes you happy. Happy people are more likely to be successful.
There's no correlation between how good your idea is and how likely your organization will be to embrace it.
We've been trained to prefer being right to learning something, to prefer passing the test to making a difference, and most of all, to prefer fitting in with the right people, the people with economic power. Now it's your turn to stand up and stand out.
You get to keep making art as long as you are willing to make the choices that let you make your art.
If you're not willing to face the abyss of choice, you will almost certainly not spend enough time dancing with opportunity.
Even good excuses, really good ones, don't help very much.
Explanations, on the other hand, are both scarce and useful.
And accurate forecasts and insightful intuition are priceless.
Fundamentalist is a person who considers whether a fact is acceptable to their faith before they explore it. As opposed to a curious person who explores first and then considers whether or not they want to accept the ramifications.
Basically you create your experience through your beliefs about yourself and the nature of reality. Another way to understand this is to realize that you create your experiences through your expectations.
I don't think there's a shortage of remarkable ideas. I think your business has plenty of great opportunities to do great things. Nope, what's missing isn't the ideas. It's the will to execute them.
I think art is the ability to change people with your work, to see things as they are and then create stories, images, and interactions that change the marketplace.
Art is a personal act of courage.
Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.
The wettest, weirdest environment is human interaction. Whatever we build gets misunderstood, corroded and chronic, and it happens quickly and in unpredictable ways. That's one reason why the web is so fascinating-it's a collision between the analytic world of code and wet world of people.
Viewing the web as a platform for generosity is very different than seeing an opportunity to turn it into an ATM machine.
It's rare to find a consistently creative or insightful person who is also an angry person. They can't occupy the same space, and if your anger moves in, generosity and creativity often move out. It's difficult to use revenge or animus to fuel great work.
Sign your work...If you're not proud of it, don't ship it. If you are, sign your work and own the results. We'll know who to thank. If you work for a place where work goes unsigned (internally, in particular) it's worth asking why.
You succeed because you've chosen to be confident. It's not really useful to require yourself to be successful before you're able to become confident.
The tragedy is that society (your school, your boss, your government, your family) keeps drumming the genius part out. The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability.
One bad review doesn't ruin my day because I realize what a badge of honor it is to get a bit of criticism at all.