Most all of us get stuck in our own way, seeking out permission to do things. This permission-based culture gets formed in our Industrial Education Complex by rules, conformity, and strivers going for the ‘A’ on the report card. We even needed permission to go to the bathroom. And that was before we threw up in the classroom! Vomit doesn’t need permission — it just goes! And for the kids that just go, that move, that do their own thing, typically do not excel in traditional school. They’re wearing the Metal t-shirts, have the weird / cool hair, and, of course, sport the defiant attitude…and listen to Metal blasting through their AirPods. These kids aren’t stuck in life; they’re stuck in boring school that chooses not to see them because it isn’t designed to. School isn’t for the circle pegs. School is for the square pegs so that they can fit precisely in the square holes school only makes for them. The circles stand out, only in a bad way. There’s great news for these circle kids, though; they’re typically the most Creative of them all.
Something strange builds up inside of us when our voices are not heard over and over and over again. This includes you feeling like people don’t take you seriously and talk down to you. You might call it rage. You might call it ambition. You might call it force. You might call it ferocity. You might even call it the foundation of Creativity & Movement. Whatever you choose to call it, it’s a spirited mix of non-conformity, deep thinking, Creativity, Innovation, ferocity, and leadership. Everybody has a voice. Everybody desires to be heard. It is a fundamental human quality. When that voice has been stymied, pushed down, and otherwise not taken seriously, things can get ugly quickly. The parents and the pseudo-authority figures have no idea what they’re actively creating by only caring about their own semi authority, by trying to push their rules and procedures and beliefs onto what would otherwise be open people.
It is natural for parents to want their children to be like them because they are 99% them. Only it is that 1 to 2% that which they cannot control that drives the parents crazy! I want my kid to play the cello and all he wants to play is Metal on the electric guitar! I want my kid to study his maths and all he wants to do is draw! I want my kid to eat roasted Brussel sprouts, and all he wants to eat is Burger King! Parents: you have great authority up until a point. You can’t treat your 15 year old like he’s 5! Your authority slowly slips through your fingers like sand. Prepare for it. It’s slipping already…The best thing you can do for your teenager is listen to them and be there for them. And rip them off of the Xbox on occasion.
Let’s talk more about this latent Superpower that might be living inside of you and your teen. If you combine non-conformity with drawing / writing / journaling and with reading and with listening to crazy music and openmindedness and curiosity, you can get tons of Creativity. With regular action, your Creative output is off the charts! The kicker is the self-belief part. Do you believe in yourself enough to think you can do this? Because many don’t, unfortunately. And many are not encouraged to think they can. What they / we need to do is act our way into a new way of thinking. We need to move. We need to get your teen off of the couch and get ’em outside. We need to get you outside, too.
Creativity is much more about action than it is about thought. It’d be way better if you could shut-off your brain for awhile and just use your hands. Put your brain on Airplane mode and just build with your hands. There is something to building / creating / tooling with our hands. We tend to lose ourselves in working with our hands. We’re strivers looking for flow. You can only engage in flow once you’ve begun doing something intriguing to you. Flow = action. Flow = movement. Flow = not even thinking about it; just doing it. The catch is most of us are so damn distracted that we never achieve flow states. Our default is distraction, not focus. Flow is supreme, 100% focus on the activity at hand. Anybody have a lot of that lately? Like block times of it? No? You’re not alone. Most of us are terrible at blocking time for anything other than ‘mandatory’ meetings. Especially Executives. Well, if meetings didn’t exist, what would executives do with all that time?
While I never want to sound cliche, everything begins with what you most value. Values create value. What are the most important things here? The top four things we want most for ourselves, our team, our org? The simplicity of this is vast, and yet it is so easy to lose focus on what the things are we say we want the most. Yet these need to be our beacon, our guide, our lighthouse in the sea of distraction. Who will we choose to be today? What example will we set today? How will we treat each other today? Would people decide to look up to us as leaders today? How will we show up today? I realize this seems so damn easy / fundamental / straightforward and yet I bet youre not prompting yourself with these questions each morning. It’s important to note that our values guide our behavior which in turn day after day after day after day creates our legacy. This is one of the reasons why I make fun of meeting- obsessed executives because their legacy will be “Well, he attended a lot of meetings…” Is that what you want for yours? To be remembered by colleagues as a good meeting attendee? If not, now is the time to do something about that. You either own your time or you’re handing your time over to the boss. I guarantee what the boss has planned for you is not at all what a thinking, reflective executive would want it to be. What if you asked, “How would I like it to be?” Over and over and over again? And then took action on the answers?
Mean, old Dan Kennedy states that if you don’t put a value on your time, then somebody else will and you won’t be happy with the number. Why not put a ridiculous number on your time, and try your best to live your life accordingly? Like a per hour number that would blow a lawyer’s billable hourly rate out of the water?
If your time is wasted in another dumbass meeting where nothing gets decided, you outta be mad. This is time stolen from you where you could have been creating, reflecting, thinking, projecting, and writing. Or coaching to grow others. Thinking, reflecting and projecting the future is $5,000 / hour work for executives — and that’s /per executive/. Think about that. Write it down and post it right by your monitor where you’ll see it and read it 50x per day so that it is finally drilled into you through repetition. And it will make you think hard before accepting the next Outlook invite. Is this really necessary? How much money am I wasting by saying yes to this? Your day ought not live on Zoom and Teams. No! You get to decide your day. You get to decide what your day looks like. Take it back! Take your power back! Re-write your day to your values, to your exceptional standards, to execute on the legacy you get to decide.