Why Creativity Isn’t Always Sweetness and Light

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One of my favorite lines in film is when Orson Welles improvised a scene while playing Harry Lime in “The Third Man” in 1949: “In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The Cuckoo clock.”  As creatives, we work hard trying to

Should You Consider a Lawsuit Over a Negative Social Media Post?

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I’ve spent time on this blog warning social media users about inappropriate posts.  But should a church, nonprofit, or company start a lawsuit over a critical social media post?  Outside the United States, it’s almost open season on employees who post negative content about their job on social media – largely because freedom of speech isn’t such a valued principle as it is in the United States.  In fact, defamation is becoming a huge issue on social media sites and legal action is dramatically increasing internationally. In Canada, 15 percent of all Web 2.0 rulings were on defamation cases. In France, it’s 49 percent.  However,

Give people plenty and security, and they will fall into spiritual torpor. When life becomes an extended picnic, with nothing of importance to do, ideas of greatness become an irritant.

Charles Murray

How “Clutter” Can Kill Your Creativity

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I’ve written many times on this blog about the danger of “clutter.”  Clutter comes in all forms – from the media voices screaming for our attention, to the messy desk in front of us (where was that file again?) to the million other options that keep us from pursuing our creative calling.  Now, The Wall Street Journal reminds us how William Zinsser, author of the writing classic “On Writing Well” (1976) and who died May 12 at age 92, felt about clutter in our writing.  It’s worth the read:

Why You Need an “Elevator Pitch” For Your Life

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If you work in the entertainment industry you know about “elevator pitches.” Essentially, the idea here in Hollywood is that if you meet a big producer or movie studio executive in an elevator, you should be able to deliver a summary of your movie idea in the time span of an elevator ride, or roughly 1-2 minutes. If that short pitch is done right, the producer or executive will want to know more – and theoretically invite you to a meeting. Now, here’s a better idea:

Leaders Should Never Control Employees By Keeping Secrets

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This post isn’t about leaders keeping secrets about sexual affairs, mismanaged money, or harassment. That’s bad enough.  But this is about leaders who use secrets to control people and expand their power. Early in my career I worked for a leader who used secrecy to consolidate his authority. By withholding information from certain staff members, it became necessary to run everything through him – which made it obvious he was the guy in charge.  But here’s why that’s a disaster waiting to happen:

Turn Your Resume Into A Ticket To The Future

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Most people look at a resume incorrectly. Too many think it’s a document that tracks your life and career. But the truth is, a good resume is the ultimate calling card – it’s the movie trailer for your life.  A resume’s task isn’t to get you the job, it’s to get you in the door so you can sell yourself.  So now that you realize it’s purpose is to open doors, get yours out, and let’s fix it:

The One Thing You Should Never Do in a PR Crisis

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Every organization – particularly nonprofits and religious organizations – should be ready for a public relations crisis, but sadly, very few actually are ready when it happens.  In today’s digital world, there are many more opportunities for mistakes, moral compromises, and financial wrongdoing.  This earlier post is a great conversation about what to do during a organizational crisis, but if – and when – something disastrous happens at your church, ministry, or nonprofit, there’s absolutely one thing you should never do:

How To Overcome The Five Greatest Fears

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What are you afraid of? You may not be a wimp, but the truth is, everyone is afraid of something. And chances are, when you get to the root of your fear, you start discovering what’s holding you back. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, successful, unsuccessful, famous or not famous, fear is a problem for everyone. David Sanford has written that the five greatest fears of professional people are:

There Is No Formula For Success, But….

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Whenever a book, seminar, or speaker pitches you on a “success formula,” walk away. There is no proven formula for success, because if there was, everyone would be following it. Success happens in different ways to different people and it’s nearly impossible to forecast. But you can have the elements in place to make success worth betting on. Remember – life isn’t fair, and there’s no guarantee about anything. But if you can get these 5 elements in place, then you open the door to the possibility of the miraculous: