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It’s officially the start of a new year and with it comes a new occasion to leave yet another year behind, especially my struggles, failures and missed opportunities. However, forgetting my successes, triumphs and personal growth shouldn’t be part of what gets left behind. The new year brings new hope and a chance for reflection. Why did I fail? How did I succeed? Can I have confidence and peace with all of it moving forward?

Human nature compels me to focus on the worst aspects of myself. Why is it so hard to leave the shame and guilt of past mistakes where they belong–in the past? Or better, how can I forget the hurt that was caused by someone else?

I was reminded of these things from a letter that was written to my wife by a dear friend. She so perfectly stated the truth and reminded me that this validity can’t come from this world. The world doesn’t offer peace, only fear of myself and of others. I must look to my creator and savior for this understanding and wisdom. She writes:

“I promise you, there will come a day when you will have peace with the past. You’ll look at, bleed, scream, shake, mourn – and you will leave what makes no sense at the cross. And there will be a day when all of the sudden, you’ll feel so light, so free that it will scare you to be free of the moorings that have suffocated you. You will find God will rush into every crevice, every dip, and the lightness will become Light. And then, my dear girl – beware!!! Everything will look different, smell different / more alive, more vibrant.

And it will scare you enough that you may want to run back and try to shove all that junk back in there, because its safe and known to you. And you will have to look it square in the eye, and walk it back to the cross, where it belongs. Each time, you have to be valiant, because once you give it over to God, you have to keep returning it. It was a long time during which I would have to say “no. You don’t belong in my head anymore. You go back to the cross” to those sick, sorry, sad memories.

The day I realized I couldn’t even TRY to be wounded by that junk anymore was the day I understood God’s love.”

When I focus on my hurt, from myself or from others, I can’t grow, I can’t love, and I can’t even use my talents and skills to their potential. Why? Because I lose confidence, ambition and I fail to take risks that allow for progress. As a creative professional, this can be destructive. As a human being, this perspective leaves me with no hope.

Here’s what Paul, an apostle of Christ, says about this dilemma in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This means that at ANYTIME I can choose to be renewed in Christ–leaving my past failures and hurt at the foot of the cross. It, however, doesn’t mean that these things will go away, it simply means that I can have peace with it. “Here is a new heart, and a new spirit, and in them new light and life, new affections and desires, new delights and joys; here are new eyes to see with, new ears to hear with, new feet to walk, and new hands to work and act with…”–Gill’s exposition. Of course there’s some further understanding of this as it pertains to “living in Christ” and I encourage you to read about this and more. Continued readings can be found at BibleHub.com.

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Everyday I interact with students who are reinventing themselves. Many struggle with leaving who they were behind and can’t embrace who they are becoming. It is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight and you have to find some humility in the learning methodology. For some it happens quickly, for others it takes awhile. Yet sadly, I watch still others who never seem to put the effort into what it takes for this kind of growth. I teach the portfolio class for illustrators and designers during their last semester of Nossi College of Art. It is the most rewarding part of my job to see how these students overcame their fears and found confidence to start a new life as a creative professional. It reminds me of how the “student mentality” can achieve great things. We must all carry this same perspective if we are to be successful in life, in faith…in hope.

So, today I can apply this truth to my profession–my willingness to learn and teach others, my relationships, my responsibilities and obedience in Christ, and even how I value myself. I’m leaving 2013 behind and focusing on what 2014 may bring and that’s exciting and adventurous!  I’m supper pumped about starting off this new year! My hope is to embrace this truth and run, not walk, into 2014.

People are cool.

March 24, 2010

From my last post, “Connecting socially with purpose”, you found out that I’m a social person – social in the sense that I enjoy meeting people, not out partying till dawn (although I’ve done that too). I frequent events and find ways to get out and talk to real human beings. It’s good for my soul and I appreciate listening to others and what’s going on in their world, especially in advertising and marketing. I just want to share about the cool people I’ve been meeting lately.


Wow, in just a few short weeks I’ve met students, designers, directors, CEOs, VPs Marketing Gurus, Teachers and just people curious to know what I’ve been up to since I left redpepper. I’ve traveled to Virginia Beach, New York, Alabama and others judging ADDY shows and meeting AdMen –and women. It’s truly been the Bruce Tour. I kinda feel like the little dude in Fraggle Rock who wrote home about this wonderful place called Planet Earth.

So what have I found? People are cool. They may not all believe in the same things I do or enjoy the same food I enjoy, but I benefit something from everyone I meet. Hopefully they benefit from me as well. In the end…wait there isn’t an end. No matter what I’m doing, I’m always figuring out how to interact with more people. Here’s why:

1. I will always find ways to infuse my life with perspective.
2. Believing in something other than myself requires a humility to understanding new things – letting go of an ego.
3. There is always someone out there better than me, hell, there’s tons. Ok, I do have some talent yo.
4. Exploring new things and experimenting with different philosophies gained by others is a good thing.
5. The only way I’m going to stay fresh and current with todays world is to engage with it.
6. I’m always on the market for mentors. Get your own.
7. Life is short, live it. Getting out of my shell allows for growth and a new scale of understanding the potential for that growth.
8. Meeting new people and places keeps me grounded in my world and focused on my priorities, not problems.
9. It’s about connection right? I mean especially if you are in advertising, you can’t even start to build insights to how to communicate with folks if you don’t know what they’re doing. And no, you can’t just do that online.
10. Tell me what you would put here __________________________.

Each day when I take this approach I learn at least one new thing – maybe I should write these down, geez.

Ok, I wanted to do this more exponentially so I started a little twitter game I call “float place Thursdays”. I take a pic of the place I’m working at for the day and you have to guess where. Here’s how it goes:

“Float place” is my roaming office everyday – I just can’t stay in the house people. Anyway, every Thursday I will take a photo and tweet it to see if you can guess where I’m at. I give the city where I am floating and maybe a few clues. Sometimes I post more that one photo. The first follower who guesses my location wins a gift card to that place. Here’s the catch, you have to meet me to get it – usually at the float place you guessed.

It’s a cool way for me to get to know my followers. Now I get the whole Tweetups thing. It’s funny when I’m meeting these followers for the first time, I’m trying to remember all the tweets that person has made to match them to their face.

This post is about what it takes to be, well, a human being. Cause understanding how to be one takes interacting with other humans. We are social creatures are we not? So if you happen to see me walking down the street in Nashville, TN or in your city. Stop me, let’s get coffee, I promise I’ll listen more than talk – unless you want me to do all the talking – I can do that all day long yo.

Who owns it?

February 6, 2010

Recently I was asked to speak at a DOT (Department of Transportation) national convention where I was to engage people during a 30 minute break-out session on the subject of Branding. I said, yes of course, it’s my favorite subject. What did I learn? People who are not exposed to the science of branding are like sponges if you “show” them how it works, and not just tell what they should be doing. These were all people within a certain industry that typically don’t use agencies and understand branding only as logos and signage.

My approach was to show them that THEY are consumers of their own products and services and to personify their brand as a real person. Because of this, they have to have the perspective of the consumers’ lens when they want to understand what others think of their brand. To this degree, they don’t own their brand. Understanding the insights from what people think can influence messaging that can lead to action.

We went to BrandTags.net and looked at brands and what consumers think of them. That was an eye opener – they started to see that branding isn’t  a logo, a sign on a building or a secret formula, instead it is a thought, a feeling or a understanding of a company through an emotional experience.

During the session I had them fill out part of a worksheet and then pass it to another person. This revealed how each of them were different yet all part of the insight to their brand. To again prove that they have to embrace the consumer’s perspective.

Finally, I wanted to reinforce that internal alignment is important to the success of the brand performance and longevity. Understanding good culture can build authenticity and believability into a brand’s unique qualities.