Letting go and controlling how we react

I am not sure my parents really prepared me for all the curveballs that life has thrown at me starting at an early age. In some ways the curveballs have made me incredibly agile to which way to swing, when to duck, and when to let the ball pass right by me. That does not mean that all that movement and reaction is not exhausting, and it also does not mean that I have always reacted, or presented myself in the best of ways. I have high standards and expectations at work and in my personal life. Maybe my dad overly ingrained in my head: “Do it right the first time.” Now to me that does not mean only try once and get it right the first time. What it means in my mind is give it your all and keep at it until you get to where you are going.

A recent book I finished began with a quote that to me speaks to the truth about the curveballs in life. The book is called: “The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do” by Jeff Goins.

“We can’t control what life throws our way, but we can control how we react to it. As we do, maybe we come closer to a meaningful life than any plan could ever take us. To do this, though, we have to let go of what we think we deserve and embrace what is, which just might lead to something better than we could have imagined.” Page xxvii

The part I love about the above quote is about letting go and letting ourselves be lead to something better than we could have imagined. While I have high standards I also have witnessed how taking a step back and listening to intuition allows for life to sometimes fall into place.

I will give you a tiny morsel from my day on Monday. All morning things kept changing — meetings moved, deadlines shifted, and when I tried to unravel it all it was just horribly frustrating and time-consuming. I kept (as often happens) getting pulled into other things and dealing with requests and the thought that came to me during it all was: ‘Let it go. you will figure it out later… as messed up as it all happens to feel right now.’ Later in the day when I had a moment to look at the mess, each conflict and deadline had actually all moved again and all the things I would have had to unravel were put in a place that worked out. I did not have to do anything other than respond to a few emails and accept moved meetings. No rearranging needed. Now — that does not mean that I think you should procrastinate or that my morsel of happenstance from Monday will occur all the time. What I honed in on from Monday is that I listened to my intuition to let it go for that time and it all worked out.

That is just a small moment in time. Think about what can happen if we let go more often, for the small and the large events in life, and let things naturally be designed in front of us. Somehow the universe has a way of bringing color, hope, and a graceful design that often surpasses what we can imagine for ourselves.

For more on this same topic, you might like: “Better than you ever imagined.”

What do we want people to feel?

A video made my weekend. What resonated with me? This idea:

“What do we want people to feel?”

What if we thought about that in everything we do? Yes, Apple designs amazing products. They think about keeping it simple, and if they excel at their design, the user will not be frustrated, they will not even think about the design, almost as though they are just one with the product. That is true for many of us. We do not even think about how often we use it (all the time), where we use it (on the toilet), that some people take it to bed with them (only when Chris is away in case he calls).

What if we took the question a step further? What if you went into a meeting and thought about how you wanted to make people feel? Do you want to make them feel included? Do you want to make them feel heard? Do you want to make them feel passionate? If so, how did you go about making them feel that way? If you come home from work and you think about how you want to make your spouse feel, what do you do? Do you instantly give them a hug and ask about their day or, do you sneak away to the bathroom and hide out? We could probably all think more about how we can make them feel happier, appreciated, and heard.

My favorite part is then near the end:

“Until everything we touch enhances each life it touches.”

The ripple or domino effect of doing good, being creative, of giving back. If ever person we touch impacts another, and another, and yet another. Does that make you want to make others feel good? Watch the video for your Tuesday inspiration!

Thank you, Kurt, for sharing this video from Apple with Chris.

“How would you like your Graphic Design?”

Recently, I wrote a blog about “The Rule of Two-Thirds.” Last week at work someone shared the below image with me. I love it, because it is visual and it visually goes a bit deeper than The Rule of Two-Thirds. You might have to click on the image to see some of the areas that are in smaller font. It looks like it was originally designed by Colin Harmon, but the link does not work on his site, so I found it on this website for infographics.

How would you like your graphic design?

I like: the fast + great = you get what you pay for. Fast + free = trash. Fast + cheap + great = Impossible Utopia. Fast + cheap = Dipped in ugly sauce with haste and carelessness.

It is a great visual as well as conversation for individuals that ask for marketing or design services and they want it right now, or they want it cheaply. It is a great way to show clients what they will get in return for what they are willing to pay or put forth for your services.

I also think that while this infographic is titled: “How would you like your graphic design?” this infographic could be altered for many different situations.


The Infinite Uses of Creative Thought

Over the Labor Day weekend we were walking through the Annual Art in the Pearl festival in Portland and saw this quote on a nearby gallery window:

on a window in Portland…

It really resonates with me. “Inform and delight.” If you do not know Milton Glaser, you can check out his website. He is most known for creating the I (heart) NY slogan. I love this idea that art should: inform and delight. I can get behind that. We all have ways that we are creative in our lives. Do you ever wonder if you are an artist? Does being creative inspire you?

There are so many ways to be creative in this world. You can be a jeweler. A baker, a candlestick maker (just kidding – well I guess you could be). A designer, a cake maker, you can design fonts, or logos, or PowerPoints. You can design rugs, or blankets, or scarves. You can be a food photographer, or photograph people, or landscapes. You can be a painter (visual) or a house painter. You can be an architect, or a builder, or a landscape designer. You can be a product designer, or a graphic designer, or a product engineer. You can be a chef, or make pastries, or develop the grapes for a fine wine. You can design a website, or an app used by the multitudes. You can design furniture, or appliances, or cars. You can sew, or be a ceramist, or work with metals. Oh the mirad ways to be creative, and I have just named a few.

You can be a writer, or an editor, or a strategist. All require some effort of design.

Whatever role we fill each day, try starting your day using your creativity to “inform and delight.”