Fundamentals

We each possess our unique baseball swing.

It’s ours at birth.

Our swing doesn’t materially change.

As Babe Ruth has the Babe Ruth swing, and Ted William’s has the Ted Williams swing. We have our swings.

Even if we’ve never picked up a baseball bat.

The metaphor is our authentic self.

Each of us has one, and only one, swing (self) that is “authentic” to us.

The worst thing that can happen is to lose this.

Losing our authentic swing (self) is losing our soul, identity, and vision of ourselves.

We swing and miss. Whiff. Strikeout. Slump and feel cursed. Ask why?

The best-intentioned search for wisdom is worthless.

Because when “all is lost,” the only work is to regain trust in our swing (self).

We will always find what we need by picking up a baseball bat and taking as many swings as necessary until we rediscover what’s already ours.

Our swing (self)

My two cents about ChatGPT

Let’s talk about the purpose of school in the face of ChatGPT disruption.

Here’s a simple yet powerful first step: students should watch lectures and explanations at home and do homework in class — no more boring worksheets.

The focus should be on asking questions, having discussions, and doing hands-on activities in class. This way, students can discuss and question what they’ve learned, be graded on their contribution, and show up ready.

This approach encourages young people to take the initiative and think deeply about what they are learning (and are interested in pursuing). School is already failing, and this is what, I believe, ChatGPT threatens. It can potentially encourage more unengaged thinking and makes it all the easier to “get it done” without real learning and investment.

Speaking specifically of writing, I assert that we no longer need mediocre essays. ChatGPT can write mediocre essays for you in seconds. Let’s ditch the essay altogether. Instead, let’s teach young people to write thoughtfully about what matters to them — no more essay assignments for a grade the teacher doesn’t want to read. Mediocre writing is one of the first things AI will replace. Remember that writing is life work, not desk work. Let’s teach and learn accordingly.

I hear the fear in many conversations about ChatGPT and AI in general. I think the proliferation of AI will create a need for people who can bring insight and gumption to exciting problems. For now, that is uniquely human, and perhaps a first step to developing that kind of people is restructuring the school day to emphasize this need. This will help students shift their attitude from “Will this be on the test?” to using their education as a platform for positive change in their small domain.

Ideas that spread

I’ve been working with a local nonprofit. I’m learning a lot, and it’s rewarding. Here are some notes.

In general, nonprofits often struggle to spread their message and get people to take action. There are likely several reasons, which is a separate post altogether. I’m sharing today from the freelance writer/marketer position hired to help them spread an idea and prompt action.

Here are a couple of critical factors that motivate people to share ideas. People share ideas because they want to feel generous and desire to see the nonprofit succeed.

Consider the actions people take to support a non-profit. It’s important to note that taking action and spreading the word is interchangeable and valuable.

  • People will donate money
  • People will volunteer time
  • People will share with a friend because they know it’s a helpful resource
  • People will spread awareness about the cause or mission
  • People will give a compliment for the work that is accomplished

Each of these actions is driven by a desire to help, to make a positive impact, and to see this nonprofit thrive.

Especially if your business or nonprofit…

  • mentors young people or positively impacts them,
  • offer support to someone in need,
  • offers service to help a stranger with a task, or
  • shares valuable knowledge and skills with others.

If you do these things, you need to highlight them so that it’s sharable in the first place. You have to serve the story to them so it’s easy to share.

Yet spreading the word about a nonprofit is more than asking for help. It’s about inspiring people to care about your cause and to feel invested in your success. When people believe in what you’re doing and see the impact of your work, they’ll naturally want to share it with others in any of those (above) methods.

Working with this local nonprofit, I’ve seen this firsthand. It starts with sharing a story in the context of the mission. Doing so offers the public a ticket to vote for your support which helps reach more people and make a more significant impact.

So if you’re looking to spread your nonprofit’s message, which can very likely apply to your for-profit cause, remember this: focus on inspiring generosity and demonstrating the impact of your work. People who feel invested in your success will be eager to share your message.

Craftsman

We only add another clang to the din by grabbing at the moment and living on expressed impulse. That’s how I see most individuals act on the internet. And they call it “authenticity.”

Instead, I advocate (and strive) to become a craftsman at what I do, and for me, that is to become a remarkable communicator. Whether laboring to compel action with words, developing a new marketing strategy for a client, or just writing this blog, I can quietly produce something that positively impacts the world around me, even if it’s just one other person.

It’s a practice. The practice is what is most important. Not the outcome. Practice long enough, and the results will work out. That’s what I believe.

I believe, too, that aspiring toward craftsmanship in what you do, allows for recognition and value for your work, and that brings personal fulfillment. Something where the reward is just carving out the time to do our craft every day to get better and make a difference.

We can take this approach with a new skill or to level up an existing one.

What is your craft?

Service and intent

Are we not here to serve? To create meaningful work and hold ourselves accountable? To discover and unleash our potential contributions?

My journey starts with a single step, and/but… I cannot guarantee success.

Nonetheless, my intent to improve, to serve, and to create value is crucial to my progress.

Too often in the past, I’d acted without intention, or worse, with the wrong intent, but now in this career iteration, I’ve embraced the purpose of service. With that, I see how to become an agent of change, a builder of significance, and a creator of impact.

It’ll take time, and it requires practice. It is the practice.

This is how I begin each day, and each project, with the intent to serve. It’s a mindset.

Learn more about what I do here.

The suit won’t burn

Once you’re Spiderman, you’re Spiderman for life. Forever. The suit won’t burn, and it’s flame resistant. That’s the point.

You try being Spiderman.

You get crazy calls in the middle of the night. Calls from the Chief of Police asking to catch a burglar trying to rip off the new flat-screen T.V.

Spiderman doesn’t care about the T.V.

Yet he pulls on the suit. That stinking suit. Because he didn’t get around to washing it yesterday.

And it’s hot with those sucker cups on the fingers. The bundle of ropes and a little package of equipment is cumbersome. He puts on the suit, anyway, and it’s his job.

Only Spiderman can put on that suit.

Off he goes. He is flying out from his living room window, swinging from rooftop to rooftop.

Until there is the poor, dumb burglar, the Chief called about. He is humping the T.V. on his back to the get-away car.

So Spiderman does what he does. First, he falls on him. Wrestles him, and just enough to whoop him. Then tie him up—no big deal.

You might think something big will happen to you when you’re Spiderman. That’s only in the movies, and it doesn’t happen that way – not even for Spiderman – in real life.

Nothing happens.

The Chief calls, and he goes.

The burglar gets an ass-whooping. Spiderman leaves him for the police.

The Chief calls again. Same story, different day.

Once Spiderman considered something different. He thought he might try something exciting like racing cars and something to make his heart beat at a different rate.

But once you’re Spiderman, you’re Spiderman for life. Forever. No turning back.

The suit won’t burn, and it’s flame resistant.

Maybe that’s your problem. Who knows. Perhaps that’s the entire problem with everything. But really, it’s an unknown blessing. Who you are is the best part once you figure it out.

Nobody can burn their suits, and we’re all flame resistant.

Work with heart

When taught poetry in school, I learned some verses by heart. We all took a turn reciting a poem. This was how I learned the written words, but without understanding the depth of their meaning. I knew a poem or two by memory, but I didn’t know what to make of it or why it should matter. I didn’t learn to say it with heart.

Lesson: work by heart or work with heart. The more I choose the latter, the better.

Efficient vs. Effective

When it comes to time management, I tend to focus on efficiency. I try to cram as much as possible into each minute of my day. That includes multitasking and juggling multiple responsibilities simultaneously. But the truth is that being efficient isn’t always the same thing as making the most of my time. I get a lot done, but am I achieving my goals and living my best version? So I shift my mindset from “getting it done” to “getting the right things done.” Just because I can do multiple tasks simultaneously doesn’t mean I should. Sometimes with some things, this is okay. But more often, my work requires a singular focus – from parenting matters to completing my best work for a writing client. And when I give myself time, I’m more patient, allowing myself to lean into the work and sit with it. No rush. So I increasingly recognize that I must give myself time to do my best work. By doing so, I not only can be more productive, but I’m also happier with the result and myself. It’s not hard to guess that this is a more fulfilling way to live in the long run.

Put your butt where your heart wants to be

Want to get stronger? Hit the gym.

Want to get faster? Hit the track.

Not sure how to level up? Consistently offer value.

The bottom line is: your body leads your mind.

So, get moving!

If you want to paint, get in the studio. Your heart and mind will follow.

If you want to write, sit before the blank white space and don’t get up until your fingers hit the keys. Resistance will fade away, and inspiration will take over. (Of course, it helps to arrive at the keyboard prepared with notes).

That’s all there is to it.

With my freelance writing work or any creative endeavor, I must “put my butt where my heart wants to be” if I want to do work that matters and continue leveling up. I show up regularly, regardless of setbacks or challenges.

Hello, 4:45 am! My ass is in the seat here at the home office.