music, art and theater, Genesis 1, make man in our image 

At the conclusion of creation, God created mankind as the pinnacle of His creation. As he created man he said, “let us make man in our own image”.

What exactly does that mean? Well, there is a lot in that statement, but let me bring out one point: Until this time, the greatest amount of self-revelation from God was that he was an intensively creative being. His creative work was insanely diverse, ascetically beautiful and profoundly functional. At the conclusion of this creative burst and self revelation he said let us make man in our own image.

What does this mean to us, his created beings? 

Would I be wrong in saying this a calling to creativity, a mandate to being an artist in some way? Are you called as an image-bearer of a creative God to be likewise creative? Are you called to create things both functional and beautiful?

God didn't create everything that could be created, he created a creative being and called them to be creative. If you aren't being an artist and designing, then it begs the question: Will you ever be fulfilled as a person? You were made to create and build.

We have developed this idea that there are some people who are creative and some who aren't. We look at artists, musicians, and crafty people and we say they are "creative." 

"I'm just not creative," we say to ourselves. But wait-- you were both made in the image of your creator. You have every bit of imagination faculty that they do. So why are there some who are considered creative and others who aren't?

At some point in your past, you were told or you told yourself that you just weren't the creative type and you believed that lie. I was told this and I believed the lie. I was told that I wasn't a writer, that I just didn't have any ability to draw, that I was more analytical than creative (as if they are antithetical). I can't even tell you where those lies came from, but as a result of believing those lies I never exercised my imagination in those areas for years, never realizing the latent creativity i had at my disposal. I am still trying to counteract my belief in those lies

You have been given this life with all the building blocks and blank canvases you could ever want. What are you doing with it?

Society will try to make you a conformist. Just look at our school system-- creativity is relegated to a few narrow subjects. Interestingly, the church has become a place of conformity where people are pressured to conform not to the image of their creator but into the image of a "Christian". There is very little place in the church for most people to exercise any creativity. It's interesting how in the area of Music the church is typically 10-50 years behind the rest of culture. Why doesn't the church lead the way in this very significant culturally-altering area? Why do most people feel that they need to exercise their creativity in areas outside of the church? Why is the church fighting this creativity and ending up playing catchup in these creative areas? Your creator called you to be creative.

Stop living a non-creative life. Yes, your current job might not have a place for you to fully exercise your creative abilities, so let that job pay the bills while you start living your life. What dreams have you had, what latent abilities have you never put to use?
Are you bringing your imagination, your creativity to your work, home and church? 
First Question: Can a Gum commercial make you cry in 60 seconds? 

Second question: Will it make you buy any of their gum?

Great stories can be incredible, but if they don’t move you to action, then it is an ineffective commercial. Sometimes the art of something makes it an incredible selling tool but I have also seen where the artistry can actually get in the way of selling. One of the worst reasons I have heard about why a company went with a advertisement is that "the business owner liked it."

I don't care if you liked it, I only care if it sells.

Have you tested it? Have you seen that it actually drives people to buy your product? Don't be lead down the very expensive path of brand awareness marketing. Sorry, but if you are reading this blog, then you likely don't have the budget of Coca-Cola in order to develop Brand awareness. Advertisers and artists will try to get you to fund their brand awareness campaigns because they get to put their art on display and sell advertising space.

But either way, watch the commercial-- it is a masterful use of story telling. It just doesn't do much to make me buy it... in fact, right now, I can't remember what the brand of gum they are trying to promote, I just know they have silver wrappers.

As creative writing advertiser William Bernbach once said, "Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.”

Are you looking to make an impression? Find out more on my page Who & Why or send me an email at for more information.
Procrastination text with whimsical background

 How many times have you found yourself saying, "Well, I guess I'll start tomorrow." 

We all have things on our to-do list that we don’t want to do.

There may be people pressuring us to accomplish these things, or perhaps there is a long-term benefit to getting these things done, but nothing applicable for now.

The simple truth is that we don’t want to do them...

I've created a short guide on making sure that you will never have to.

Never give yourself a deadline. Who do you think you are, anyway? You can’t tell what the the future holds. You don’t know what things may come up that might be more important then this task. So acknowledge that the future is unpredictable and never set yourself a deadline.

Do the tasks you love to do first. Why take a risk that you won’t get to those jobs? Never put off the easy jobs for the hard ones-- life is too short for wasted starts to days.

Don't put your task list at the forefront of your vision. If you write a task list at the start of the day, make sure that by 9am you have covered it over with some other papers on your desk. Why should you go through your day with that list staring at you? Your work day is hard enough without a piece of paper giving you a hard time. Make sure that you end up burying it deep enough that it won’t be found for at least a month, at which time its power over you will have decreased to the point where you can throw it away without a tinge of guilt. Those of you who do this on your computer, same principle applies. Make sure that you never look at that list again.

Ensure that no one ever sees a list of your priorities and make doubly sure that no one ever finds out your goals and objectives. I mean, really, you have enough guilt in your day from your own mind screaming at you and your list. Who needs someone else bugging you about your progress? If by some surreptitious method another person has found out about one of your goals in life then make sure that you either pass it off very casually as a non-issue, “Oh that, yeah that is something I would like to do someday,” or just tell them that they got their facts wrong, such as, “I wasn’t really planning on doing that, I just thought it was a nice idea.” Never let anyone else into the sphere where they can ever make you feel embarrassed.

Make sure that you employ the trifecta of ways to pass the time without actually having to do anything.
1. Read the news - you are bound to find some wonderfully upbeat and positive things there that will just make your day that much more pleasant
2. Check Facebook - It is just wonderful to see how your friends are wasting their time. it can be a great cathartic that removes any negative feelings you may have about not doing anything worthwhile.
3. Play solitaire or your passing-the-time game of choice - these games give you just enough sense of accomplishment that for that one moment you don’t feel bad about not doing something that might make you feel better next week or next year.

Never look at the clock. Never, never, never look at the clock. Time passes too fast as it is, there is no reason to remind yourself of just how quickly the day, month, year, your lifetime will pass. In fact, wouldn’t we all just be so much happier if we did away with things like clocks and calendars? Then we could spend our time with all these great ideas and not really worry about when (that pesky little question) it will get done.
If you employ these tactics correctly to your life, you will never again feel any guilt around not accomplishing something. Enjoy life, but don’t enjoy it so much that it makes me look like a slacker.

Be careful of who you hang out with. The people that you hang out with can have a profound impact on the comfort level of your life. If they are one of these irritating people who are always getting things done and when your around them you get this image of that stereotypical picture of a dog with big brown eyes with his head slightly cocked to one side, giving you a guilt trip because his dinner is running late?

I don’t need friends around like that... I'd prefer to have friends around like these: 

 The art of procrastination

What's your style of procrastination? Find out more about me on my page Who & Why or send me an email at for more information.

Lightbulbs, Newton's Cradle
Time after time, I talk to my business owner clients about how they handle situations in which their employees ask them questions. Invariably, they will answer the questions in the most expeditious manner in order to keep things going quickly.

This ends up being a short-term thinking strategy-- by answering questions in this manner, they are actually crippling their employees and enabling dependence on themselves. This might sound attractive from a job security point-of-view, but what entrepreneur in their right mind wants job security?

Do you want them to always have to depend on you to get things done, or do you want them to start thinking for themselves and taking ownership and pride in what they do?

When employees can be certain, they can count on you for any minute question comes into their head, you won’t have a life and your business will only grow to the size where you can handle all the issues that come up.

The only way to turn this around is to STOP ANSWERING QUESTIONS.

You could say that a leader is someone who provides answers, but a great leader is someone who helps others to find the answers. As many of us have heard before, "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime."
When faced with a problem, do you instinctively try to give an answer or do you ask them the questions that will help them to come up with the answers themselves?

you discover nothing edward demingYour answer has a lot to do with just how large your business can become and how much of a life you have.

You need to enable, encourage and promote an environment where they can find the answers to the problems instead of being dependent on you for all the solutions.
It is much harder to ask questions then to give answers but the long term value to yourself and your people is infinitely greater.

Here are a couple of questions that might help you out the next time they come to you with questions:

  • What exactly is the problem?
  • What caused this?
  • How is this affecting us?
  • What is holding us back?
  • What should it look/function/be like?
  • If you could start over again what would it look like?
  • What kind of a solution are you looking for?
  • How would you handle this?
And of course, the old favorite that can be overused-- but in the right context it is the best question out there.


Make them come back with a solution in addition to the problem, It's fine if for a time they want to check their thinking against you but they shouldn't learn to be dependent on you.

Black and white image, feeling strangled by your business

Like most small business owners, when you started your business, you were probably full of hope and excitement about what the business could do for you.  

Thoughts like these probably filled your head:

“ I will finally get paid what I am worth.”
 “I will finally be able to spend  time with my family.”
 “I will have security at last.”

Then something strange happens. A few years into building your business, an unexpected reality hits home. You have to deal with production issues, employee problems, taxes to file, bills to pay, and more customer problems than you could ever imagine.

So how did you learn to survive all this?  By motivating yourself, of course.Telling yourself things like, “I’ve got to get it done”, “Winners do what losers didn’t!”, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And the ultimate  battle cry – “If it is to be, then it is up to me.”

The result: you arrive at home each night, totally exhausted.  And of course, thanks to cell phones, you can never get completely away from your business. We even take them into the bathroom with us! The last bastion of privacy in this country - Gone!

The dream doesn't match up to the reality.

Why is this? Why is this so common?

When you start the business it's just you, you do the marketing, you do the sales, the order taking, the production, shipping, customer service, and the accounting. It's all you. Then you invite someone else to join you. Now you would think that this would reduce your madness but if the business isn't ready for the new employee then really you are just inviting them to join you in the madness that is your business.

The reason for the madness is that it's just you doing everything, "ahh," but you say, "that's why I hired Jake, he is supposed to take some of this off my plate." But mentally, you as the business owner aren't prepared for Jake because you don't have the position ready for him and because it's not ready you're still doing a lot of the work that you hired Jake to do. You may start to think that Jake is the problem, when in actuality, you're the problem. You need to organize his position so that he has the systems, the processes, the tools in order for him to master the position that you brought him in to fulfill. If he doesn't have these in place then naturally he will be coming back to you, the business owner, again and again to both find out how to do it and to get approval for doing his job.

Unless he can truly take over the position (which means you're no longer involved), then you will still have to be involved in everything. As the business grows, you will become more and more strangled by your own business.

So as you grow, as you add on more people and prepare the position for the person to decrease the amount you will have to be involved. That is the only way you will every achieve any degree of freedom from your business.
For more information, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at

Michael Jordan's best season, basketball

Every once in a while, Michael Jordan seems to be back in the news for a reason that I must have missed (note to self: do some research before writing). But it was interesting to notice just how seeing his picture brings back a flood of memories of the greatness that we saw on display when he was on the court. Now, I am not a basketball fan, but my cousins turned me on to Michael and it became fun to watch him do what he did best.

But one season of his career stands out, one that for me was one of the most memorable seasons of his career. The year was 1994.

Now, those of you familiar with his career may be thinking, “Wait a minute, he retired for the first time in 93” and, yes, after leading the Bulls to 3 consecutive titles he “retired” from basketball and embarked on what most people would look at as a "hiccup" in his career or a "stumble" on his road to greatness.

Michael Jordan, baseball 

He spent one season trying to make it in the world of baseball where, to most eyes, he failed miserably which is a bit judgmental when you consider the task that he set out for himself. 

Just consider that he was 31 and stepping into the world of a professional sport he hadn’t played since high school, but regardless of how difficult of a task he set up for himself to try to complete, he still failed at it. But he still played out the season, he still got up for every bat and battled devastating curveballs. For those who have never experienced good pitching, just understand what goes on in the mind of a hyper-competitive person as they stand in the batter's box and watch a fastball sail by them, and in their mind they think, I can nail that, and the next pitch is a curveball, one that you miss by about a foot as you swing with all you've got. basically, you are made to look ridiculous. Being made to look ridiculous is really hard to take for a professional athlete who has won the most valuable player award 5 times, and he was being made a fool of by a minor league pitcher sometimes a year or two out of High school.  But this is where the mental toughness comes in, he still got up there time after time and struggled through at bat after at bat. and he finished out the season.

I feel like I saw in that season what made him so great in basketball (besides, of course, his amazing physical gifts). Consider that he was a superstar. At the time, he was one of the most recognizable people in all of sports and he was willing to go to the minor leagues, ride the bus, and struggle, and struggle, and struggle through each humiliating at bat. He could have left at any time; he didn't need this. But there was a mental toughness that was there in him that caused him not to quit.

I have an idea that mental toughness comes through some combination of losing, being over-matched, and struggling. It takes going through all of that and still going forward that gives a person the mental toughness to keep going.

As I was growing up I had a dad who liked to play chess, and I would often play with him. He would beat me again and again. He would get me into a bind and then turn the table, taking my position, and then get me in a bind again, turn the table again, and finally checkmate me.

How humiliating. I never once came anywhere close to beating my dad at chess.

Interesting thing, though. My dad died when I was twelve and I have played a number of chess games in the following years-- since I, like my dad, enjoy chess as well. In all those years, I have never lost a chess match-- up until 12, I have no memory of ever winning a game-- since twelve, I have never lost a game. (Trust me-- I know I would lose if put up against someone really good).

Looking back at it, I really feel that I learned the most while being beaten again and again by my dad.

Sometimes we look at someone who is successful and declare that they are “a winner,” but what we don’t always see is the often long string of losing in that person's background.

I don’t know this for sure, but I have wondered whether things like getting cut from his high school team and being over matched in baseball gave him some of the mental toughness to both compete and then come back and compete again in basketball in the same way it did for me while playing my dad at chess.

What are your thoughts? Does winning come from being a "winner" or can you see the times that you have lost or been completely over-matched and how that built that mental toughness that you needed when the times got tough?

car turning around before flood

Sometimes the ability to pivot (which is a nice word that means “you made a mistake, now change”) is what makes all the difference in the career of an Entrepreneur. 

You pivot when you realize that your idea or the direction you were planning on going in wasn’t going to work out like you thought. So, you do a nice 3-point turn, and shift direction.

A good pivot (or in this gif, a good 3 point turn) makes all the difference. Sometimes it’s best to not wait around or to stubbornly persist even when you see the tide is against your idea.

There is this motivational saying that "quitters never win, and winners never quit." This false idea comes as a result of survivorship bias where you can look back at people who are "winners" and notice that they never quit on the one thing that they became a winner at. But what isn't mentioned is just how many things they did "quit" on in life in order to arrive at the point where they found what they were meant to do and be able to focus on that one thing.

Being willing to change your plans, your ideas, your career. Don't  change your dreams, just maybe your way of accomplishing those dreams.

Also, please don’t confuse principles with ideas. 

Pivot your ideas rapidly if necessary, but your principles? Never.

For more information, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at
A bit of humor can go along way to making your business/brand relatable and talked about. A friend snapped this picture and shared it because it was funny. This gave Virgin Airlines some free advertising.

funny sign of plane delay due to rabid badger

You may think, "well, that just isn’t professional"… know what really isn’t professional? Declaring bankruptcy because no one ever talks about you and you have this stuck up attitude around the idea of “being professional”.

Airlines that use a lot of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously:

Airlines that are all worried about their professional image:
and so many others that I don’t have the time or the energy to list.

Now, which group has never declared bankruptcy and which group has declared bankruptcy over and over and over again?

Sometimes it's best to not take your business too seriously, get over this fear of not being professional.
Are you taking your business to seriously? For more information on how to remain professional while creating your persona, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at

Social Media marketing, infographic

There is a shift in the world of marketing based in outbound vs. inbound types. 

Have you ever tried cold calling to generate business? It’s an excruciating task! Calling businesses and asking to talk to the owner, sometimes without knowing their name, and always trying to get past the “gatekeeper.” It’s a failure rate that makes even the most seasoned sales professionals cry themselves to sleep. And yet, salespeople continue to pound the phones!

Fortunately, there is a better way!

Businesses can leverage Social Media and Inbound Marketing to connect with other business owners and generate leads in a much more organic and stress-free way.

Below is a list of how to properly use LinkedIn and ways that some are improperly using LinkedIn. .

1. Introduce Yourself - don’t just connect to people to increase your connection count, introduce yourself and maybe tell them why you are connecting with them.
2. Don’t Focus on Selling - Ever seen that person at a group event who is always selling, leads to some awkward conversations. Don’t be that guy. It isn’t all about you and what you want. Find about about them and their goals and needs.
3. Offer Endorsements - ever notice that the authors with the most and best endorsements blurbs on their books also just happen to be the authors who get around to writing endorsement blurbs for other authors. Might be some causation in there somewhere.
4. Provide Recommendations - see above
5. Share Great Content - If you want to be seen as an expert who is worth listening to on some topic then this is your chance to prove it. It is amazing the residual value of this activity. don’t expect this to pay dividends in the short term but it works in the long term.

It's a simple list-- really is all about relationships and bringing value into the equation. The problem is that we are all so self-centered that we find it hard to do these things.
How are you using LinkedIn to leverage your business? 
For more information, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at

"when life gives you lemons, make orange juice
and leave life wondering how you did it." - unknown

Check out this short clip of a man who decided to make the world a more interesting place through a unique approach to outdoor artwork.

Rainworks: Art that appears when it rains.

Watching this video was interesting for me. You know that I am always thinking about business, business models, and Return on Equity (I'm the guy watching the fireworks and wondering the ROI to the municipality) and so watching this I wondered why he would do these things and how you could possibly make a business out of it. But I realized that sometimes it's about being creative, about making art, about expressing oneself, about maybe making someone else's day better.

Tree Meme

Here is a young man who used his creativity, put two and two together and made something interesting that no one had ever really done before. Where he goes with it is an open question, maybe nowhere but I can guarantee you that what he has done has inspired creativity in others who will take his idea to the next level.

What are you doing that is creative, what are you involved in that is making the world a more interesting place?

I mean, it's going to rain no matter what. Why not do something cool with it?
Are you looking to do something with your business that no one has done before? For more information, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at

Pocketwatch with phrase in case you needed more motivation/pressure/guilt

Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening, the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. 

What would you do? 

Draw out every cent, of course. Each of us has such a bank. It's name is time. Every morning, your creator credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off the amount of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose as loss. It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow.” You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost. The clock is running. Make the most of today.

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of."
-Benjamin Franklin

How can you use your time most effectively? For more information, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at

learn by doing

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”― AristotleThe Nicomachean Ethics

We have this mindset in our culture that says first you LEARN, then you DO, and there is a separation between these two activities.

A starter learns by doing, Dale PartridgeThe model is that to become a lawyer, a teacher, a chef or an engineer, you are given instruction, learning what these professionals do, how and why they do it, and the general facts needed for expertise in this field. We pass from kindergarten through twelfth grade, from high school to college, from college to graduate and professional schools, ending our education at some predetermined stage to become the chef, or the engineer, hopefully equipped with an understanding of what being a chef, or an engineer, actually is and everything you need to actually, you know, do it.

Historically, this very reasonable sounding concept made sense because once people learned a skill or a trade they could expect to apply this learning towards doing something for the rest of their lives. But is this model going to work for us going forward?

Our cultural pattern for this can be clearly seen in the fact that we are expected to spend the first part of our lives LEARNING (school) and not DOING much of anything and the rest of our lives DOING and there isn't much call for continuing to learn. After all, you were supposed to learn all that you need to know in school, right?

You don't learn to walk by being taught the structure and way your legs work; you learn to walk by trying it and falling down a lot. You don't learn to talk by being instructed in how vocal cords work ( I still couldn't explain it) you learn by making a bunch of weird sounds until their not so weird, they start to become words.

I watch my kids and realize that they learn from anything and everything that they see, hear, touch. They learn wherever they are, not just in some special learning place. Yes, there is a need for some explanation in our lives, I watch my 6 year old jumping off the bed flapping his arms as hard as he can and crashing to the floor, then asking, why birds can fly by flapping their wings but he can't, so I explain the concept of air flowing over a curved surface, creating lift. Maybe he didn't quite get it this time, but it made a lot more sense to him because of his jumping and crashing than it would if I set him down at a desk and attempted to explain the concept of pressure differential causing lift.

Make Mistakes
You can try to teach someone how a Balance sheet works (how boring) or you can let them experience it in real life through a savings account or a lemonade stand and then bring on the education.

When the Student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Active Learning, Dale Carnegie

I was recently at a TedX conference and a man was talking about students engagement and enjoyment at school. 

If they started at 6, their enjoyment and engagement usually topped out somewhere between the ages of 10-12 and most students started to find school to be irrelevant to their lives. Maybe part of the answer is that we need to change the way we teach, but I will leave that to someone else to dig into. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they spent 6 years learning by doing followed by 6 years of very engaged learning by education. I wonder if many of them hit a kind of a wall and they really need some more time of learning by doing before they are ready to understand the concepts that they are being taught in school. Some of the people that I know who seemed to get the most out of their college experience where often those students were either heavily engaged in summertime projects or they took a year or more off from school in order to work in the real world or volunteer in places where they put into practice what they had learned and where ready for more.

Active Learning, John Dewey
Maybe in our education process instead of teaching them concepts and then letting them try it out we need to give them the opportunity to try it out, fall flat on their face and then teach them the concepts that they needed to master what they first attempted. Maybe instead of teaching kids about the rhythm and rhyming schemes of poetry we get them to write some really awful poetry and then we talk to them about what makes poetry so awesome to read and effecting at communicating. Maybe when trying to teach entrepreneurialism instead of teaching them about good business models, we need to get them to fail at a business and then show up to class.

Where can you integrate learning with doing? For more information on ways to connect the two, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at