Seth Godin and
Brenda Salter McNeil inspire
courageous creativity

“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 your story?

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.


9 thoughts on “Seth Godin and <br/>Brenda Salter McNeil inspire <br/>courageous creativity”

  1. I never considered
    that how I live my new life as an evangelical Christian could be a form of art.Based on a new way of connecting with people I did`nt take time for in the past,and some risk like letting a homeless person get in my car late one night,seems to fit this definition of art.

  2. Henry and I listened to Seth’s 36 minute talk–inspirational and thought provoking, well worth the time. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • I’m so glad, Ann! He had a PowerPoint presentation that illustrated the things he was saying, and there are times in the audio when you can hear the audience laughing at what’s on the screen. When the DVDs of the sessions become available, I’ll see if I can share Seth’s with you if you’re interested.

  3. I also received this comment via email from Lady Bilbrew, who is a pastor, social worker, and LifeLines subscriber: “I am glad you enjoyed my friend Pastor Brenda. She & her husband Derrick are wonderfully spiritual people. She is one of my sheroes of the pulpit.”

  4. I`ve been thinking about what Seth said all day, and actually got to share my interpretation of some of it with two people today.I`m not sure why his words made me feel good as I listened.

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