I Make It Ok

I was reflecting recently on how we all give each other permission. Every day my actions and words, present or absent, give permission. I make it ok...

to be cruel, to lie, to love, to laugh, to drink, to mock, to help.

Humans are tribal creatures. We mimic each other. One person's behavior makes it ok for someone else to do the same.

Whether we like it or not, our behavior is greatly driven by those who surround us. This is rarely a conscious thing. We just follow along.

One study found that if you had a friend quit smoking it increased your likelihood of quitting by 36%. 

So If you want to change your life, change your friends. 

I love this "In A Nutshell" video that argues convincingly that addiction is more about "the cage than the chemicals". Although there is no denying chemical addiction, it's clear that there is more at play. The people we surround ourselves with may be the biggest determining factor in our overall happiness and longevity.

So what's a person to do? Are we all each other's "keeper"? In essence, yes, but I think we also have to balance that with the reality that there is no perfect path. Can we look at our life and see it as an overall positive contribution? Is the example we are setting for others building them up or tearing them down? Are we making it ok for others to forgive, to love, to grow, to be kind? 


Excerpts from my interview with Joe Dudeck

I recently did a lengthy interview with Joe Dudeck for his Keyhole Marketing blog. The conversation stretched to almost 2 hours and was posted in two segments. Here's the links and some relevant excerpts from each part. 

Part One
"I was curious to see what boredom might look like and what it might produce. It’s been so long. I wanted to see what my natural state was. My natural state of being, you know? I kind of went into it thinking I was lazy. I know that sounds weird because, if you look at my life objectively, it probably doesn’t look like I’m lazy. But, in my mind, I still work from this default of “I’m a lazy person” and that I kind of drag myself into things with the initial excitement. Then I have to force myself to finish. I’m not a good finisher and so, I kind of think to myself, “Oh, I must just be a lazy person who gets ideas and then has no choice but to keep going.” I drag myself to the finish line a lot of times. I have to surround myself with finishers, or nothing gets done."

Part Two
"I’m a drug dealer. Seriously, I think about it sometimes. I’m a drug dealer in the sense of, if screens are our national addiction, I am creating screen experiences. At least, that’s a big part of what we do. How do we balance that and make screen experiences as humane as possible? How do you make them as close to feeling organic as possible? How do you let the people shine through the screen? Then how to get to this outcome, through the creative process, in a way that is as organic and analog as possible? So increasingly, a lot of the work we do with clients is very analog and organic. It’s face to face. It’s sticky notes, butcher block, white boards and human beings talking to human beings. To me, my goal is to bring as much humanity to this completely flat, inhumane thing called a screen. We’ve swapped very rich experiences for very thin ones."

Framing vs Finishing

I’m not a great finisher. This is something I’ve struggled with since I can remember. I don’t think of it as the same thing as procrastination. If something is interesting I jump right in, no delays. But finishing is hard. Getting that great idea to cruising altitude is less interesting than starting something new.

Maybe it has to do with my personality type. I’m an abstract thinker- at least according to Myer Briggs and everyone that knows me pretty well. I think and speak in analogies as much as realities. My thinking often moves very quickly between idea and realization. The actual execution seems like an afterthought. But it’s not, making that idea happen is super critical. But, honestly, it often bores me. The logistical nature of execution is fatiguing.

Someone once said to me “well maybe you're more of a framer than a finisher?” It was an aha moment. I finally understood why I got bogged down or distracted.

I’m definitely a framer. I can see the potential of an idea, sketch the outlines and see it come to life. In many ways, at that point, I’m done. It has already happened and I’ve experienced the joy of seeing it happen in my imagination. The actual execution, with all of its realities and human messiness, now feels almost like an afterthought. But out of curiosity to see what works I often dive in, feeding off the momentum of the initial ideation energy. I crave new experiences. Starting things is always exciting. 

But every new “thing” needs structure and support. Businesses and projects can’t live off of analogies and ideas. They need people, resources and money. Lots of money. Ugh. 

All of this has lead me to somewhat resent money. I get its purpose and I’ve worked hard to accept its role in my life, but man, it is such an blecky thing- quantifying everything through the lens of the dollar. I’m not sure what the alternative is but I would love to get to a place where I never think about it. The only way I'll be able to do that is to have enough money to not think about it. At least in theory.

Which is why I need to become a better finisher. There is money in finishing. And there is freedom in money. All my wishing for it to be otherwise won’t make it so. If I want more freedom, which I do, I will need more money. I want to do great things. To help create truly meaningful work for great people. Lots of people.

So to get things done, and learn new habits, I’ve tried to surround myself with finishers. Folks who actually thrive on taking frameworks and making them real. Turning sketches into full color drawings. I marvel at their ability to stay focused on one thing for hours. I can do that in spells but only when creating something new. Once it is birthed, I move on. 

Take this blog for instance. This post particularly. My temptation is to lock it away in Evernote, with so many other 3/4 written posts, and not publish it. Although I’m not a great finisher I am something of a perfectionist. In the sense that I hate putting out half-baked stuff. I want everything I produce to be clean, crisp and have consistent logic. But that can be paralyzing. So I’m going to try and loosen my grip a little. Move the goal posts and accept the truth in the maxim “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. I would rather be good than perfect. Wouldn’t you?