“If you want to write, write,” author and blogger Seth Godin told us at the 2011 Global Leadership Summit. I was attending as part of a group of leaders from Living Springs Community Church, though I was just as interested in applying the learnings to writing as to ministry.
Seth Godin’s presentation followed an inspiring message from reconciliation expert Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, as the video clip above shows. Intentionally or not, their messages were related.
Art and Courage
“And when the severe-ness of the shaking was at its most intense, when it looked like he should back off, Chuck Yeager resisted the temptation to pull back, and he moved forward.”
–Brenda Salter McNeil, “Courageous Leadership for Catalytic Times”
Dr. McNeil was using the breaking of the sound barrier as a metaphor for leadership—particularly cross-cultural leadership, which by its very nature takes us out of our comfort zones. But the metaphor applies to art as well. Art, too, is risky and bold. It moves forward. It doesn’t know what will happen, but it dares.
The Art of Being Human
And when Seth Godin uses the word art, he’s not referring only to poetry or painting or music or novels. He says, “Art is the risky, human act of doing something you haven’t done before, for someone else, with someone else.” Art is the opposite of automation and mass production. Art is human, and unique, and imperfect, and surprising. For example, your works of art might include:
- Having a live person answer your phones instead of using a voicemail service.
- Taking a different route to work every day, and striking up conversations with the new people you meet.
- Sending a handwritten note instead of a photocopied form letter.
- Memorizing where specific Bible verses are found, rather than relying on Google to tell you what you’re looking for.
- Cutting your kids’ sandwiches into heart shapes.
- Buying dinner for two business associates, hoping to spark a new venture.
All of that is art. Because it is risky. It’s human. It’s imperfect. And it enriches connections between people.
The Art of Being You
What is your art?
What is the unique thing that only you can do?
Are you doing it?
If not, I invite you to listen to Seth Godin’s entire 36-minute presentation by clicking the triangle in the player bar below:
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It might change your life.
It might change the world.