the power of you

The Power of YOU (Part 7)

The Power of YOU (Part 7)

At some point you will get to the very edge. Some things will be going great. Some things will be bombing. Nothing will be easy. You will wonder the inevitable but un-answerable question: is it worth it? Is this worth the sacrifice?

What’s at stake in the push? Well, our families, our health, our well-being, our financial security, our future, our balance. All those things have to go into the realm of secondary when we really believe their is a calling on our life from God.

Of course there are rewards along the way. There are little celebrations that remind us why we do it anyway. There are also temptations. There are new opportunities, both to succeed and to fail. And in the end, there is the question of who we are.

Who am I, and what do I think I am doing here? Who do I think I am to lead such a charge? Do I even have what it takes? Do I, more importantly, even want it? These are the questions that resonate deeply, out of which creative tension gives birth.

It is exactly the fact that we can not answer those questions ourselves that we dive in. “Wisdom is vindicated by her children.” We don’t so much get to “prove” ourselves worthy, rather our work itself and its outcomes alone can justify.

There is something, in other words, in the work itself that we need to discover who we are. People will poke and prod at us, in the process up we will have early critics and others who challenge us not to do it. They are stuck on the “how.”

Like Abraham and Moses they had no “proof” God was with them. Moses asked, “suppose I go and they ask who sent me? What shall I tell them” (Ex 3.13)? Even after being answered then he again asks a bunch of questions and doubts.


“What if they don’t believe” (4.1), “I am slow in speech,” (v.10, and finally “please send someone else” (v.13). Moses was after something could not full be gotten before going. He was wanting definitive proof before he took a step toward Egypt.

No matter our excuses for not initially doing that thing that resonates deeply inside us we eventually don’t win the debate. “” get replaced with the simple but profound “go...go...go.” We ultimately move toward trust or we start to die.

We can not say “no” to life. That is not really an option. Of course people do, but they pay the price. It is steep. Saying “no” to life means denying it, and ultimately saying “yes” to its opposite. “Losing our soul” (Lk 9.25) is the necessary response.

It’s hard to estimate the “opportunity cost” for the times we have said “no.” God is a God of “yes” (2 Cor 1.20). We would rather him say “no” at times. We would rather him make up our minds for us. The universe, though, humbly submits to our wishes.

Our sovereignty is protected throughout. No one can make the decision for us. No one can will for us. Not even God. He simply submits the option and waits for our discretion. “What will we do?” Yes. Simply decide. It is yours! 

The Power of YOU (Part 2)

The Power of YOU (Part 2)

With an over-saturated information market people need more and more stimulating images to attract them. When there is so much to see and so much to view it becomes a game of who can catch the eye and lure the click.

It’s a game of seconds and inches. With so little space to manipulate marketers have to be more and more precise on placement of everything. And, of course, the human eye tends to search for certain kinds of images. Fortunately we have gotten through the lowest common denominator web browsing experience. It has been “cleaned up,” at least to some degree. Content is starting to matter more than quick, easy base images to lure the attention. For all our attention grabbing there has to be an end: a place where that attention leads. The bottom line is if that place continues to disappoint we simply learn not to go there. At some point underneath all the marketing content remains the attraction.

So those of us who are content creators may at times feel useless. We may feel that we are not needed in today’s economy. Not true. We are still the bottom line, the destination, the thing that holds it together. Our place in the food chain might have changed a bit but we are still essential. Instead of the first thing on the chain we may now be the last. And it could be argued today that marketing is just as important as the content being created.

It could even be argued that marketing is itself content creating. There is definitely some truth to that. But marketers must know what they are marketing. They must understand its benefits to the human experience if they are good. That is where content creators and marketers must work hand in hand. What is at the essence of what I do? What is the bottom line of how this effects the human experience? Where would we be if this was not happening? That is an effective but difficult question to wrestle with: what is the alternative? In other words, if not this than what? One making music can easily be overcome by the complete over-saturation of the market with “emerging” artists.

“Do we really need more musicians?” the thinking goes. “Do we need one more person making self-absorbed music?” It can quickly and easily seem like a meaningless task more akin to escapism than anything meaningful or necessary. That is, until you hear some of the music. Of course there is great stuff out there but there is also a lot that is not great. People will choose not so great if great is not out there. The alternative is a possible life without great music.

The question of whether we need more art or music in the world can be quite debilitating for a conscientious person. That is the question a 60-year old should be asking. Not an almost 40-year old need to kick it for a decade. Smart people get to ends too fast. It’s like the person in a brainstorming session who says no without the authority or the reason to do so. They just think in ends too quickly. “It won’t work. Too expensive. No return. People won’t like it.” All those statements have so much finality in them. They sound so sure of themselves. They are not. They are full of faith. Faith in a world where people are fated and where humans can not overcome obstacles. They are guessing! No one knows. That’s the level laying field. No one knows what will work. So it comes down to you. Do you believe? Do you really believe? Are you willing to commit to the thing a decade? Amazing things could happen but you will never know. Maybe this as good as you get. There are no certainties. There are no guarantees about a certain path working. There are hunches. There are sixth senses. There are bad mistakes. They are all part of our human frailty and learning experience.

We get there. Slowly but surely. But only if we are willing to try. Willing to fail. The safety and comfort of what we know is extremely powerful. The preference for what we know is staggering at times. But we know so little in the end.

Are we willing to go out “there?” Are we willing to leave our relative safety for a risky adventure? We could get hurt. We might not make it back. There are so many potential things that could go wrong. That alone can be paralyzing. But what’s so good about staying? That’s another question. What fundamental good does staying do? Can we truly experience our humanity staying safe? It’s like in the Walking Dead show when they are forced to leave relative safety for the next thing. We have to start believing that the world truly needs our art, our performative word. We need to believe our art creates reality, speaks deeply and richly to people. We need to remember the people who find something quite profound in it.

Instead of asking is it “truly” necessary why are we not asking how can we make it even better? How can we continue to ask the questions, probe the heart, and get in touch with the spirit? How can we continue to get in the belly of ourselves? We have got to get naked. We have to get to the core of who we are and what we are trying to do. There has to be a deep sense of freedom where we are not at all influenced or inhibited by the thoughts of those around us. Where we get to the beginning. Why did we start doing it in the first place? What did we believe about the power of art? That kind of freedom is possible again. It really is. Believe. It is really quite that simple. Believe. And surround yourself with people who also believe! 

The Power of YOU (Part 1)

The Power of YOU (Part 1)

It’s time to get personal. In today’s world what I produce is not more important than who I am. It’s not enough to produce great art or services. People want to know who you are and why you do what you do. This should be great news! Right?

Well, it sort of assumes and insists that at every turn you are letting the world know what is going on. In an age of information, your job is to stay in the news feed. That means a laundry list of social media to-do’s daily, from trivial to intimate.

Before one’s art was their preferred communication with the public. It was specifically and carefully chosen to be their reveal to the world. Auto-biographies would come only AFTER one had made a life revealing and concealing how they wanted.

In today’s world they want so much more than that. Content still matters. And people will still be drawn to good content, but the amount to which we have to be active is life-taking. Especially for introverts, the task can seem exhausting.

Some will refuse. They will carry on making quality content the way they have always made it. Their fan base will remain for a time and slowly start to whittle away. OR would it? Is it just the great power of suggested influence that make us think so?

Marketing certainly seems like that sort of thing that everybody does only because everybody else does it. If we all agreed to not do it it wouldn’t be necessary. OR if we at least made a pact somehow market in relation to the quality of a product.

It’s called a free market for a reason. It’s free! And it’s full. To get in there one has to work really, really hard. To have a wonderful product or service is simply not enough. However much we daydream about it, it simply won’t cut it.

We must market. Market requires extreme creativity and constant connection-making: connections between the product and customer, between the creator and customer, between the creator and product, etc. Compellingly show the connections!

Marketing in today’s world can be more of an art form than the product-creation itself. Anyone can write a song. Anyone can paint a cool picture. But to be able to compellingly market that to the public so that they care, now that is something.

While there is some definite truth to that statement it can also feel very fatalistic. In other words, only those with enough zeroes on their marketing budget stand a chance. There’s no hope otherwise. It can often feel that way.

Clearly Youtube is proving that to be false. Their so-called “content Creators” have proven that just about anybody with any amount of consistency can develop a following. And content is not king, in the sense of elaborate sets and expensive budgets.

There is a whole new market emerging. It is built on simplifying and focusing life on passion, even if that passion happens to be video games. It has managed to make millionaires out of the most unlikely of candidates. Anything goes!