Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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Tribe Conference 2018: Notes and Quotes

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Anne and Me

This past weekend, I attended the Tribe Conference for the second time. I loved it so much last year that I signed up on the spot for 2018. And, wow, this year was even better!

It’s mostly a writer’s conference, but there are lots of creative and artsy people there, which makes it even more fun. Plus, my friend Anne of TrueNorth Freedom Project came along this year! I love attending conferences regardless, but it’s always better with friends.

There are a few reasons why I think #TribeConf is a great event, and stands out from many others. First of all, the speakers are very generous. It’s quite common for them to bring freebies for the audience like books and online courses. Second, many of the speakers hang out at the event before and after their talk. They don’t all swoop in and out just for their portion. Third, other “professionals” attend this event. I saw several well-known speakers posting on social media as attendees. Fourth, it’s usually pretty evident that at lot of the speakers are friends of Jeff Goins, the host, and that just makes for a fun and relaxed atmosphere. And, finally, it’s only about 500 people, so you get to meet a lot of people, as well as the speakers.

Since you guys didn’t get to attend with me, I took lots of notes, and wanted to share them with you. I hope you learn something or feel inspired like I did!

 

  • You cannot avoid rejection and do your greatest work.
  • You cannot make work for everyone and someone. Focus on the one.
    • Who is my work for? How will I think about my work?
  • A brand is a promise.
  • You get more opportunities by saying yes to everything.
  • The secret to being a master is to always keep the mindset of an apprentice.
  • Fall in love with the idea of eventually. Don’t give your success live and die deadlines.
  • It’s about time I _______________. (What goal do you need to start working toward?)
  • “We artificially escalate the consequences of failure.”
  • If you’re doing work that matters, you’ll have rough edges.
  • If you do work that is different, you’re doing something dangerous and worthwhile.
  • People will question your differences now, and celebrate them when you succeed.
  • Once we become good at something, it’s easy to embrace COMFORT and stop growing.
    • You can succeed your way into failure.
    • You can accomplish a task and fail anyway.
    • Adopt new ways to challenge yourself.
    • The creative path is one of growth and resistance.
    • Building a body of work: discovery, emulation, divergence, and crisis
      • At crisis, you can either go back and start over, or stay there and let your work die.
    • Where are my comfort traps?
  • Fear holds us back from creating.
    • Where is fear paralyzing you?
    • Fear is often disguised as wisdom, but it also looks like opportunity.
  • Identify your productive passion.
    • Passion has to do with the outcome, not the task.
    • Passion doesn’t mean easy. If fact, it means pain.
    • “Here I stand” is what it represents.
      • What angers you?
      • What makes you cry?
      • What gives you hope?
  • Define your battles.
    • You can’t fulfill them all.
  • Make something you love everyday for someone who will love it. <— THIS!
  • Are you creating a body of work that reflects who you are rather than your compromises?
  • People will always follow your physical cues, and that’s what they’ll believe.
  • Watch the “power stance” TED Talk
    • Fake it till you become it.
  • What’s the problem you solve?
    • What would your audience say? What keeps them awake? What’s their internal monologue?
    • Think several layers deep.
    • What happens if that problem isn’t solved?
    • It has to be their perspective, not yours!
    • Why is this a problem? Keep dialing down.
    • Use their words.
  • Creative Sandbox Way Guideposts:
    • There is no wrong.
    • Think process, not product.
    • Think quantity, not quality.
    • Think tiny and daily.
    • If you are stuck, just start (anywhere).
    • When in doubt, ask WHAT IF?
    • Take the riskier path.
    • Dismiss all gremlins.
    • Spring the comparison trap.
    • Practice self-awareness and self-compassion.
  • Other people see your work for what it is. You see your work for what it isn’t.
  • Avoiding video is like avoiding a handshake in 2018.
  • Don’t keep the best stuff to yourself.
    • Give it away, and people will still pay you for it later.
  • Be relevant, authentic, and advocate for your brand.
  • Choose your channel:
    • Context is important. Every channel doesn’t work the same way.
    • Example…YouTube: You seek out content (video image and title are important to grabbing initial intention)
    • Example…FB: You just show up (it’s auto-play and there is no audio)
  • Sustain Your Strategy
    • Consistency is key.
    • Average lifespan: Twitter (18 minutes), Facebook (5 hours), Instagram (21 hours), LinkedIn (24 hours), YouTube (20 days)
    • YouTube should be done once per week.
  • Content: Think Hub, Hero, and Help
    • Hub satisfies the content you promised, and will be at least 60% of the content.
    • Hero is for mainstream and subscribers, which is the wildly popular stuff that will be about 10% of the time.
    • Help is for subscribers and and a searching audience, and will about 30% of the time. Here is where you’re trying to get shown in search results.
    • Check out Lowe’s as an example, though they don’t follow the percentages precisely.
      • Behind The Design vs The Weekender vs How To
  • One perfect viewer
    • Make someone feel like you made the content just for them.
  • A book is the key that opens the door to Narnia.
  • Books legitimize you in your industry.
  • 70% of books are bought on Amazon.
  • How to find and refine your book idea for maximum impact:
    • No ideas:
      • What is your expertise
      • What are your most popular topics on your blog?
      • What makes you different?
      • What convos do you have over and over?
      • What are the misconceptions in your industry?
    • Too many ideas:
      • What can I finish the fastest?
      • Most likely to finish?
      • Which idea will make me happy?
        • Prioritize the first two questions.
  • How to write a draft in as little as a weekend:
    • Learn to mind map.
    • Write out everything you know on the topic. (words and phrases)
    • Organize ideas in 4-7 groups, and then into 10-12 chapters.
    • Use the sections to organize into an order/sequence.
    • Mind map, outline, write….repeat per chapter.
  • Marketing your book
    • Get a good cover that grabs attention. (Good art and easy-to-read title. Can people tell after looking at it quickly what it’s about?)
    • Build a launch team
    • Get reviews
  • Use the “look inside” feature on Amazon to get subscribers. He does audiobook version for free. Video series is a good idea, too.
    • He likes to say Amazon is for buyers. Google is for browsers.
  • The truth:
    • You don’t need a ton of marketing for your product.
    • You don’t need a traditional publisher.
    • You need to learn marketing.
  • Put yourself into communities, virtual and real life, where you can use your craft.
  • Community will help you succeed.
  • You can’t stand out and fit in at the same time.
  • Show up around your work with energy. People can feel it.
  • Mindset is everything.
  • Celebrate your weirdness.
  • You build something one brick at a time.
  • Craft first, but not craft only.
  • A mindfulness practice is what all high-performers have in common. Learn to fill your mind with good things.
  • Build remarkable – something people will remark on
    • Brand is the gut feeling people have about you and your organization. It’s not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.
  • Brand design is the intersection of business context, objectives, and story.
  • Make sure your business has a plan.
  • Brand Value Proposition
    • My/our ______ helps ______ who want to ______ by _____ and _____.
      • My/our (products or services) hep (target customer) who want to (relieve pain) by (selling points) and (creating gains).
  • Stay humble.
    • Learn often from outside your circle.
  • Focus on your uniqueness. Be yourself.
  • Don’t argue with your words.
  • Dream big. Start small. Keep moving.
  • The Master Communicator’s Secret Weapon: Improv
  • 3 Improve Concepts
    • Lead with acceptance (Yes, and…)
    • Become a better listener (listen is an anagram for silent)
    • Don’t fear failure
  • L.I.S.T.E.N.
    • Look interested
    • Involve yourself by responding
    • Stay on target (the person you’re talking to)
    • Test your understanding
    • Evaluate the message
    • Neutralize the feelings (ex: heated argument)
  • “Yes, and….” so you can
    • Open doors to new opportunities
    • Empower your team and improve the culture
    • Become open-minded and innovate
  • Listen better, so you can
    • Become a master communicator
    • Make everyone who talks feel special
    • Increase revenue
  • Don’t fear failure, so you can
    • Become a non-conformist and original thinker
    • Become an admired leader
    • Take risks
  • “With God and Google, you are unstoppable!”
  • How to Get What You Want
    • What holds us back isn’t a lack of knowledge, it’s our thoughts.
    • How to overcome procrastination:
      • 10/10/10 analysis
        • Think about something big you want or want to do.
        • Ask yourself, “How will I feel about this in 10 minutes?”
        • …in 10 weeks?
        • …in 10 months?
      • Once you see the benefits increase and obstacles decrease, you can move forward.
    • How to move forward with confidence:
      • Show up.
      • Be real.
      • Love others.
      • Don’t quit.
    • If you keep waiting for your dream to feel easy, you’ll never stop waiting.
  • “Eat This Poem” – blog and cookbook
  • Writing in the margins – finding the spare time to make things happen over time
  • “Follow your curiosity.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Figure out where to prioritize, and be okay with holding off on other stuff, at least for now.
  • Don’t wait for permission to create your work.
  • Most creators don’t have a marketing plan
  • Marketing isn’t about closing a sale, it’s about opening a relationship
  • 3 identities to every brand
    • Visual
    • Verbal
    • Value
    • Does your brand send a mixed message? Think about if you saw a Walmart slogan on a Louis Vuitton ad.
  • “Success is sequential, not simultaneous.” – Gary W. Keller
    • 7 Steps to Build a Powerful Personal Brand
      • Personal story
        • The messenger is more important than the message.
        • Movement —> Marketing —> Money
        • When you work on your movement, marketing is easy.
      • Platform
        • Most people try to start here.
      • Positioning
        • Your relationship to your competitors
      • Product
        • This is determine by the previous steps.
      • Price
        • Also determined by everything above.
      • Pitch
        • Verbal identity
      • Partners
        • People who want to share and recommend you
  • Think about your products or services. Then add a zero to your most expensive one. Market your product at that level, and also know what you could give someone if they wanted to pay you that much money.
  • Live your message. Love your work. Leave your mark.
  • Check out his latest book, “Running Down a Dream”
  • We all have fears around putting our work out into the world, but how rational are those fears?
  • Even people at the top of their game get scared.
    • We always think if we get good enough at something we won’t be afraid anymore, but that’s not true.
    • We can also get bored if we get really good at something.
  • We need to say out loud what our souls are silently screaming, because it may give someone else the courage to do the same.
  • We are supposed to put our work out in the world for those who came before us, as well as those who will come after us.
  • In order to win in the game, you have to be in the game.
  • Know who your audience is.
    • You can even have a less than perfect product depending on who your audience is and what they’ll pay for. They may just be waiting on you to create something.
  • Research
    • What do people want?
  • Validate
    • Will they pay for it?
  • Secret Sauce
    • ex: How to _____ without _____ (people want pleasure without pain)
    • Three things to focus on: who, what, and how (audience, topic, sales)
    • 6 ingredients
      • A deep and specific topic (ex: spray marketed to keep black cars clean)
        • 4 deep technique (ex: writers – self-publishing – software – scrivener) This is how he got to his Scrivener how to product.
      • A real pain or problem
        • They need to really feel the pain!
        • What happens if they don’t ____. (This is the gap you fill.)
      • Urgent in nature
        • If there are seven categories that define problems, strive to hit in the top three.
      • Willing to pay
      • Ability to pay
      • Something you can be passionate about
  • Affiliates
    • Who else will promote?
  • Exponential growth
    • It comes once all of these things are in place.
  • Find the audience, don’t build the audience.
    • Where do they hang out?
    • Listen to them!
    • What are people complaining about?
  • Where you might get stuck
    • I’m not an expert. (ex: Frank Abagnale was asked how he was such a good teacher on a subject he knew little about, and he said he just read one chapter ahead)
    • I’m don’t have time.
      • Find it in bits. It adds up.
    • I don’t have the tools.
      • Start with what you have.
  • Customer + Product = Awesome person who can do great stuff
  • I help _____ so that _______.
  • What’s the problem you solve?
  • Hire a business coach.
  • Mindset is vital.
  • Get okay with being uncomfortable.
  • She used FB ads to give a discount and get them on her list. Then they bought merch.
  • They story isn’t how brilliant you are. It’s the hard and embarrassing stuff.
  • Content
    • I know how that feels. (ex: empathy, what do you feel comfortable sharing)
    • I need to know this. (ex: how to)
    • I know about this. (ex: easy content like yes/no or multiple choice)
    • This is what I think. (ex: opinion)
  • How can you make everything about your audience?
    • She wanted to promote speaking gigs, so she gave behind-the-scenes on how she puts together a talk.
      • Brad talks into 5-7 minute blocks around a point or story and then storyboard them.
    • When sharing new content, try to start a conversation. Then lead into the post, and share it with those who participate.
  • Everything is a content opportunity!
  • Show, don’t tell.
    • Where does your life intersect your business?
    • What are the stories you share repeatedly?
    • Where in your story do people lean in?
  • Tell the stories people want to hear, not the stories you want to share.
  • Works with Millennials and consults with others about them
  • When it’s all too much…
    • Having a good agent wasn’t enough.
    • What would my work look like if I were okay just being me?
      • Sometimes the best strategy is just the one you will follow.
  • Obsessive Comparison Disorder
    • It’s hard to create anything worth creating if you’re expecting to be affirmed and applauded in the process of creating it.
    • The world is desperately hungry for your signature sauce.
    • What are my failures and personal pain revealing to me about my purpose?
    • Failure doesn’t ruin your story. Failure helps you write it.
    • We don’t connect over present perfection. We connect over shared pain. Will you have the courage to go first?
    • Who will I not be able to help if I give up now?
  • “You need to take responsibility for your own success.” – JB
    • I wanted to begin with people who campaigned me, but I needed to put myself first. People came alongside me later.
  • Your book title and subtitle are extremely important in nonfiction. – CA
  • It’s easy to think about the things you haven’t done or success you haven’t attainted. But remember that there was a time when where you are sitting now was out of reach.
  • “Fully Alive” book turned documentary on Netflix
  • Humility is different than denying the gifts God gave you.
  • 1) The greatest characters of a communicator is having a purpose.
    • To communicate effectively, speak with a specific, singular purpose in every presentation you deliver.
    • Great communication is the intersection of your presentation and people’s wants/needs/benefits…and moves them to action.
    • If you don’t have a purpose in mind, one will subconsciously be assigned to you.
    • “A sermon should be a bullet and not buckshot.” – Haddon Robinson
    • Your speech can ONLY be enabling (how) or persuasive (why).
  • 2) Great communicators have a plan.
    • Have a powerful opening and closing.
  • 3) Great communicators communicate with passion.
    • Powerful illustrations
    • Establish eye contact.
    • Maximize the power of your voice.
    • Let your face match your words.
    • Be your own best critic.
    • Have a passion for excellence.
    • Have a passion for life.
  • Think about:
    • What is my ultimate purpose?
    • What is my plan to get there?
    • What do I do next?
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Justice Conference: Pre-Conference Highlights

photoLast week I attended The Justice Conference in Los Angeles. It was my first time attending this conference, and I was super excited. I’ve attended a lot of conferences, but this was really my first big one on social justice issues, which is such a huge part of my heart. The speakers did not disappoint. Really good stuff. I wanted to share some of my favorite thoughts with you. Hopefully they’ll inspire you as well, as you pursue the work of justice.

 

Innovation and Creativity in the Church

Ken Wytsma, Founder of The Justice Conference and author of Pursing Justice

Charles Lee, author of Great Idea, Now What and founder of Ideation Camp

Jeremy Courtney, Preemptive Love Coalition Co-Founder

  • Innovation is problem-solving. Creativity is how you get there.
  • The idea you start with is rarely the idea you end with.
  • Sometimes you just push through the work even if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Ideas are impotent without action.
  • Talking about something tricks your brain into thinking you’re actually doing something.
  • Get out of your own circles to get new ideas.
  • Being in the right place at the right time is most important. (Be present)
  • Unplug and reflect regularly.
  • “We need to be a tangible expression of good to the world.” – Charles Lee
  • We make time for things we value.
  • How do we make time? 1. Prioritize. 2. Let others participate. 3. Incremental execution. 4. Resist the urge to listen to irrational voice. 5. Take your own advice. 6. We veil our laziness with too many meetings and coffees; just get moving. 7. Be prepared to fail gloriously.

 

Justice and The Gospel

Ken Wystma, Founder of The Justice Conference and author of Pursing Justice

  • The gospel and justice aren’t two separate conversations.
  • Justice and “good works” aren’t the same thing.
  • The dictionary defines justice as: a right relationship with God, self, others and creation.
  • Justice structures a society. Justice and righteousness used to be synonyms, but justice has taken on new meaning.
  • Truth corresponds to what is. Justice corresponds to what ought to be.
  • Restorative Justice tries to bring things back to alignment. Helping put things back into alignment is part of being a Christian. It is tied to our flourishing.
  • Justice becomes a theological necessity. We learn about God through justice.
  • Jesus’ coming was Restorative Justice. That’s the Gospel.
  • Restorative Justice is a means to the end—the relationship.
  • We can’t understand the Gospel without justice.
  • It’s not Jesus or justice. It’s both. They are the same.
  • Jesus IS the justice of God come down to earth.
    • Justice is a defining characteristic of Jesus.
    • There has never been a time when you had Jesus and not justice.

 

Justice and Consumerism

Hans Tokke, Eastern University

  • The essence of America is the economy. It’s the freedom to shop. People want to keep the money in their pockets and use it how they see fit. It is rooted in individualism. 70% of economy in the buying and selling of goods.
  • The most important shift in suburban society with washing machine. It went from 8 hours to 4 hours of cleaning clothes from start to finish. Advertising soon followed with wants versus needs.
  • Paradox of Choice – a book that demonstrates when we have an over abundance of choice, we don’t even choose. We are overwhelmed.
  • Biblical concept of benevolence (Mark 14:7) ,”The poor you will always have with you,and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”
  • How do we treat the widow, orphan or sojourner? That answer is a reflection of a society.
  • Us vs. Them. The way you treat your budgets are a reflection of your values.
  • A lot of people will not be with you. They will support you at a distance.
  • Is caring for the poor an add-on to your life or part of who you are?

 

Unfinished: The Pursuit of Justice Around the World

World Vision Panel: Rich Sterns, Mae Cannon and Romanita Hairston

  • Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
  • “There are many things that can only been seen by the eyes of those who have cried.” – Oscar Romero
  • Jesus didn’t tie up everything with a bow when he left. He gave us the Great Commission.
  • The Great Commission and the Greatest Command pretty much sum up our mission. Jesus hasn’t come back because the mission isn’t finished.
  • 40% of the world hasn’t heard the Gospel.
  • 1 in 5 children live below the poverty line in the US.
  • NGOs and governments’s are mostly caring for the justice efforts. The Church needs to step up to the plate. There are 340K churches in the US.
  • Think not about programs but people.
  • To decide how you feel about immigration, meet an immigrant. To decide how you feel about Title 1 schools, meet families and teachers there. Don’t just stand at a distance or take the word of someone else, even the news.
  • “Talk to me about Jesus because you love me; not because you need me.” – Jewish lady in Israel
  • Palestinians see Americans as people who make weapons against them.
  • Palestinian Christians wish US Christians would remember them. They exist.
  • Lead with love. It’s attractive.
  • Church should be a verb as well.
  • Our solution is often in the places that we don’t go, or are hard for us to go. Be in the difficult places. We are challenged there, and forced to ask ourselves hard questions.
  • Justice is the job of the church.

 

Putting Flesh to Your Vision

Eugene Cho, Founder of Quest Church and charity One Day’s Wages

  • Nehemiah 1
  • God is still speaking to the world today. Do we have the discipline and courage to hear and obey?
  • Everyone has a theology. Our theology informs and drives our calling.
  • 1. Shut Up and Pray. Our culture elevates acting quickly. Jesus withdraws, even at the height of His popularity, when He needed to. Nehemiah did this for several months, probably 4-6 months. We tend to speak and act from an emotional response only.
  • 2. Ask the Hard Questions. Have people who can do this and be trusted. Do this for yourself. We sometimes are tempted to start things for the wrong motivation. We tend to elevate entrepreneurs. Check your motivation.
  • 3. Get Smart. You need to be committed to being an expert in your calling. Your emotional conviction can’t be enough. Intelligence isn’t the antithesis of faith.
  • 4. Discern Your Passion, Mission and Vision. Passion is important, but not everything. Your Mission asks WHAT do you want to accomplish. Your Vision asks HOW do you want to accomplish your mission.
  • 5. Identify Who’s On Your Team. God never speaks His vision in isolation. Get excited about the prospect of who you might work with. Collaboration should be your best friend. You need a support network for the hard times.
  • 6. Have a Strategic Plan. Strategy is not the enemy of faith. If it has value to you, do the work. Be flexible because your plans will change.
  • 7. Funding. Social capital is your greatest resource.

 

So, that was the Pre-Conference. Pretty awesome, huh? Stay tuned for notes from the main event!


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Plywood Presents 2013

Plywood logoThis week I attended Plywood Presents for the third year. It’s a really fun and unique Atlanta conference, in a city where conferences seem to happen around the clock. Plywood centers around social innovation, with the motto, “We will be known by the problems we solve.” Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Plywood Swag

Plywood Swag

While the speakers are great, seeing friends from other local orgs is fun, and some days you just need a break from the norm, my favorite thing is always simply learning about people and companies doing really great things. To me, it’s most inspiring just to share air with people who are changing the world. It’s as if there’s a new horizon, and we’re all standing at the edge of it together.

I can always count on this community to challenge me to be better. And in an every day way, it helps me see new places to put my money where my mouth is—companies and people I can support with my voice and dollars that share my values.

Here are the amazing places and people I learned about this week:

Do yourself a favor, and check out these companies. They are doing some great work, and they need our support. And don’t forget to join us next year at Plywood Presents!


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Echo Conference (Abridged)

This past week, I was in Dallas for the Echo Conference. It’s for artists, geeks, and storytellers in the church, and was my first time attending. It was pretty cool, and quite different from my usual conference experience. I tried to take good notes for you and me both, and while it would be a pretty long post if I included each and every note here, I will include some of the highlights.

Here are a few of the gems I appreciated most:

Cole NeSmith: Creativity Overcoming Safety

  • “The Artist as Prophet” –A prophet is someone revealing the truth of God. In life and the church, we become subservient to someone else’s agenda, but God has given us our own unique things to say in a way that no one else can. God is revealing his manifold wisdom through the church. (Eph 3:10-11) There is still plenty for us to say.
  • Creatives can sometimes see what others can’t. A Radio Lab podcast by NPR explained that the original Hebrew Bible and Homer, as well as other popular ancient texts, do not use the color blue. They do, however, use most other primary colors. So a tribe in Namibia was studied who only had five names for colors. When shown a color outside their only five, they couldn’t see it. Artists often can’t see what we don’t have words for.
  • Artists have prophetic permission. We are expecting and ok with artists making us uncomfortable. Artists must respect authority, but are not subservient. The artist is a risk-taker who goes into new territory first to illuminate it. In fact, a Barna Study found that people were leaving the church because it is too safe!
  • Success is related, not to outcome, but to obedience. Our willingness makes it a success.

The Amnesia Project: Marlon Hall

  • Dream. Believe. Do.
  • The heart of imagination is memory. Go backward to go forward. How can we imagine our future if we don’t know who we are? As amnesiacs, we must wake up from amnesia to remember the past so we can effectively shape the future.
  • We tend to focus on what, who, where and how but not enough on why. Why is the source. Your heart is attacked when you don’t remember the why.
  • We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are. Perspective.
  • Assess your failure. Use the crap of your past to fertilize your future. You must fail in order to succeed well.

Keynote 1: Todd Wagner

  • Don’t look at someone’s success as your failure. It’s probably meant to bless you, so don’t take that opportunity for blessing away. God knew what He was doing when He made you. Be inspired and encouraged by those you see as great.
  • Col 1:25 – God put Christ in us to reveal His glory. God has entrusted His glory and reputation in the form of us. He stakes His reputation as a Creator in us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and remade daily. Our lives are meant to point to Christ and have others want to do the same.
  • Two people can tell you the truth about yourself: an enemy who has lost his temper, or a friend that loves you dearly.
  • The logo of the NBA is a real guy, not just a graphic or model. We are God’s logos that represent Him to the world. What would happen if someone pulled back the curtain of your life? (Wizard of Oz)

Keynote 2: Todd Henry

  • Author of “Accidental Creative”
  • Is it possible to be prolific, brilliant and healthy? Probably two, but rarely all three if at all. We usually end up fried. We can become unreliable because we can’t keep up the pace. We can become fired if we don’t constantly do great work. How are you doing on these?  If you are missing one, it’s usually the healthy piece.
  • Sometimes we don’t see the pressure because it’s been there for so long. The moment we have a great idea, the stakes are raised.
  • We are in a create-on-demand world. The creative process is the perpetual assault on the beachhead of apathy.
  • Five Steps: Define the problem. Explore the options. Choose the best option(s). Execute. Rinse and repeat.
  • Are our ideas to appropriate (safe or close to us)?
  • Creativity is rhythmic.
  • Focus – Sometimes we think something out there is more important than what’s right in front of us. (Twitter, email, etc.) We think nothing of giving away our life 10 seconds at a time, but it adds up!
  • Define Challenges – ask multiple questions.
  • Relationships allow us to pursue meaningful things. Seek relationships that challenge you.  Seek out people who inspire you. Seek mentors who help you define priorities and problems.
  • Energy – Mange it effectively to be your best. Prune regularly. It may be good, but not right at the time. Think whole life, not compartments. Get good at sitting down and evaluation.
  • Hours – Where you put your time can determine your success. Dedicate time to generate ideas for the things you love. Your priorities are with your calendar and checkbook.

Live Creatively: Amena Brown

  • Live creatively, friends…Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. – Paul (Gal 6:1,4-5, Message)
  • Artists need a place of prayer. Jesus climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. (Matt 14:22)
  • Artists need a place to be creative. In order to be creative you have to know how to prepare to be creative.  – Twyla Tharp. It may be your house or outside of it. Be consistent. Do your work.
  • Artists need a place to be transparent. Make this your common practice. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. (James 5:16) Be accountable to someone. Don’t surround yourself just with people who are impressed by you.
  • Artists need a place to connect with other artists. Be around people who are better than you to inspire you to be better.
  • Artists need a place to cultivate your craft. Who am I to think I can build a house adequate for God—burning incense to him is all about I’m good for! I need your help. Send me a master artisan…” – Solomon (2 Chron 2:6-7, Message. Getter better. Offer the best you have.
  • Artists need a place to connect with your local art scene. Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night. – Paul (Phil 2:14-16, Message).
  • Some thoughts on becoming a full-time artist: Completely surrender. Ask God what he wants to do with the gifts he’s given you. Be willing to scrub toilets. They are a means to an end. Remember you are serving God above all else. Study the artists who come before you. Push the art forward. Let them be your mentors. To be a full-time artist is to be an entrepreneur. If you don’t want to think about the biz side, keep it a hobby. Make the most of your day job. Save money. Decrease expenses. Live on less. Be yourself. Be who God called you to be.
  • Establishing some sort of routine helps you get through the hard mental days. Also expose yourself to new things to keep you inspired and creative.

Good Idea, Now What: Charles Lee

  • What do our ideas have to do with the real world? Ideas are a stewardship.
  • We will work extra hard if we think our idea is valuable enough.
  • Who are you, and who/what are you leading? Mission statements don’t cover these questions well, but they are crucial to understand. What do you bring to the table? Create a remarkable experience that people care about. Some of the best ideas come from those you serve. Consider the end user. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you hope to benefit.
  • A study found that those who talk about their ideas and share them too quickly without writing them down and processing them will rarely pursue or accomplish them. Write them down process them. This task also allows you to plug others in faster when you’ve thought through the details and then share with others.
  • Creativity and idea-making: Perseverance brings things to life. Ideas must be nurtured. Separate ideas may even come together over time.
  • Think options first. Malcolm Gladwell’s “Speghetti Sauce” TED talk…there may not be a “best” way to get there. People respond to options.
  • Simplicity and clarity. Take the concepts and prune them. People will connect to your core competency.
  • Ideas create tension. This is a good thing.
  • What are you waiting for?

Gaining Influence and Mobilizing Others for Good: Lindsay Nobles

  • Influence: to be a compelling force on something. Influence is more important than authority in today’s world.
  • In gaining influence, you need to be yourself and be authentic. Find your passion, and be a part of the story.
  • Don’t let fear squelch your visions. Enlist others. Surround yourself with people who affirm and hold you accountable. Your online persona should match who you are. Be generous and kind. Give your time and resources away the way someone else did for you when you were starting out.
  • Don’t talk about yourself all the time. (80% others, 20% yourself)
  • There are three ways to pull people into a story. Logical appeals to their head. Emotional tells a story to compel their emotions. Cooperative draws parallels between people and situations
  • How do you leverage influence? Focus on the people you naturally have influence with first. Deepen those connections. Let the broad come later. Let people see your flaws. Learn more about the things you love.
  • Sometimes its not about getting answers, but more about formulating the right kinds of questions.

Keynote 3: Tony Hale

  • You have to have a support system. He started The Haven in NYC as a Christian support system.
  • Entertainment is a constant faith walk. You don’t know when/where your next job is coming. It’s awesome to know God has your back.
  • His favorite movie is Lars and The Real Girl because it shows our desperation for connection.
  • We can’t put Christian art in a box. It can be outside a Christian bookstore.
  • If you are judging something or someone, ask yourself if those qualities also live in you. The answer is probably yes, so don’t judge too harshly.
  • Character development can be a study of empathy.
  • If you aren’t practicing contentment where you’re at, you’ll never be content when you get what you want. Contentment is a discipline. Practice it daily. When discontentment comes, tell it “not now.”
  • If you don’t surround yourself with people you really know you, you’ll lose yourself when the people who only know and love your work are the only ones around. It becomes your identity.
  • If I say yes to something I’m not comfortable with, they won’t get 100% of me. I’m doing them a favor saying no.
  • Don’t put up a wall—collaborate.

Keynote 4: Scott Williams

  • We are all storytellers.
  • Unity can be expressed through diversity. Gal 3:28 – neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • Live the Great Commandment. Matt 22:7-9. Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • John 4:27-30 – Woman at the Well. Why aren’t we more like the woman—going out telling everyone we meet about our life-changing experience with Jesus? Many believed because of what she said, and then went to hear Him themselves.
  • What stories are you telling? We all have a powerful story to tell!
  • Diversity matters to Coca-Cola and they are just selling sugar water. We have the Living Water. Diversity should matter.
  • Do the Great Commission. Matt 28:19. GO and make disciples of ALL nations.

I also walked out of the conference with a reading list:

  • The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry
  • Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process by Blaine Hogan
  • Good Idea. Now What? by Charles Lee
  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  • Quitter by Jon Acuff

Hope you learned something! I sure did!