Guerilla Art

I was walking through an inner city community, heading home after spending some delicious time at the Central Library. It is a great place to find inspiration and observe people. At an intersection with construction on all four corners, I discovered an impromptu art installation and had to take a picture because I was inspired again.


The rest of my walk along the Bow River, I began imagining who might have created this piece. Did they know that their deliberate  creation would spawn a spontaneous impression? Did they expect that the art and the message would capture someone’s imagination for almost an hour? Could they expect that a conversation would have been the result of leaning their creation against a boulevard?

Am I/are we being deliberate in our creation of our art? (art as defined by Seth Godin as Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate and personal.) When I create, I think about you, the reader/viewer/receiver and try to add my personal position apparent in a way  that provokes, encourages, evokes a response. (comments are great)

Does it matter that the street artist may never know the impact of her creation? Will he continue without direct encouragement? Will I ever know if anything I am shipping makes a difference? Does it matter if I do/don’t?

Are you creating and shipping your art?


Are they Entitled?

About a year ago, CanadaHelps published an article Canada’s charities deserve better on their website written by Brad Offman, Managing Director of the Mackenzie Charitable Giving Fund. While I agree with some of his assertions that community benefit investors (donors) have been coached to use some largely irrelevant metrics like admin or fundraising %s, I think he has missed the mark. 

the fact remains that over 85,000 other charities are doing precisely the work that most of us admire: feeding the needy, housing the homeless, nursing the sick and educating the young.” doesn’t earn them exclusive and ongoing support without discernment and investigation. 

I wrote a comment to the blog that was posted on the site for a short time but has disappeared. Their post, their rules – I accept that.

I need to make the case that any metric other than impact towards solving the issue is largely irrelevant. Homeless shelters can warehouse people for a much lower cost per head than transition housing but if you are paid for the heads on mats there is little incentive to lift these people off the mats and onto their own feet. If I could find a shelter that was rapidly raising men, women and families from poverty to sustainability while honouring their dignity, it wouldn’t matter to me what their administration costs were as a percentage of expenses.Helping people out of homelessness rather than helping them live in their homelessness is something I would support.

Raising awareness about an issue is important but if it doesn’t lead to immediate, relevant and concrete action, it is just more air being blown in the wind.I understand that reinforcement and multiple messages are important factors but if you stand on your soapbox for a year and nothing changes, you need to think about your message and your tactics.

Tom Suddes post this week Does it Make the Boat Go Faster drove me back to this article and has me wondering if urgency should be the measure.


Good job!

Good jobDo you hear that many times every day? Once a day? A week? Never?

Are you appreciated for your efforts and contributions? Do you feel appreciated? Do you deserve to be appreciated?

There is no substitute for being appreciated and acknowledged. Margie Warrell says “It’s not about being ‘needy’ but simply feeling appreciated. There’s a distinct difference.  In my work in organizations and in my life beyond it,  I’ve yet to meet a person who felt over-encouraged, over-appreciated or over-praised. I do however,  regularly encounter people who feel just the opposite. In fact, when running leadership programs, one of the most popular exercises is focused on giving and receiving acknowledgement and praise. So many… too many… people feel like their effort isn’t acknowledged and go to work everyday starved for  appreciation. It’s not because they’re insecure or needy. It’s because they are human. ”

Daniel Pink has based a couple of books on the idea that once you meet the financial needs then autonomy, mastery and purpose are far greater motivators and satisfiers. Most people need to hear how the are becoming masters and filling a greater purpose. Performance reviews aren’t enough. Spontaneous, sincere praise should be part of all our days – both receiving and giving. Maybe it is a culture piece – if someone is recognizing the effort and results of others it might become contagious.  Are you willing to be that someone all this week?

Go ahead, you are doing great.

Make Today Remarkable, for a colleague,



Different Perspective

I drove a thousand kilometers on US Interstate 15 on Sunday and it amazed me that what I thought was a safe following distance (at 129kmph) and someone else (many(all)) thought was a space that I left for them. It occurred to me that there are likely hundreds of other examples of my perception being different from someone else’s. I see change as invigorating you might see it as dreadful. My beloved sees salad roles as one of her favorite dishes and I see them as slimy and inedible.

I see people as capable and powerful. Many others see the same people as vulnerable and powerless. I see opportunity when others see threat and vise a versa.

How do I know we are seeing the same things, meaning the same things, agreeing or disagreeing on the same stuff. I think most of it is by communicating more and better.

That doesn’t help me on the Interstate but I am enjoying watching to see how long the vacuum takes before it sucks a car into the space.


Éirinn go brách

I wish you not a path devoid of clouds nor a life on a bed of roses. Not that you might never need regret nor that you should never feel pain. No, that is not my wish for you. My wish for you is: That you might be brave in times of trial when others lay crosses upon your shoulders, when mountains must be climbed and chasms are to be crossed, When hope can scarce shine through. That every gift God gave you might grow with you And let you give your gift of joy to all who care for you. That you may always have a friend who is worth that name, whom you can trust and who helps you in times of sadness and who will defy the storms of daily life at your side. One more wish I have for you… That in every hour of joy and pain you may feel God close to you. This is my wish for you and for all who care for you This is my hope for you…now and forever. unknown Irish author


Still Learning

If you realize you aren’t so wise today as you thought you were yesterday, you’re wiser today. – Olin Miller

I confess and profess to being a lifelong learner. I am a voracious reader (65 books last year and more than 25 already this year), I scan and read from 50 blogs daily, read interesting articles in 3 online newspapers, listen to 5 or 6 podcasts a week, reflect and write every day. I learn something everyday from a wide array of sources.

But, I have a very hard time learning from my mistakes. I don’t like making mistakes and in an average week I make dozens. Lots of them I have made before. There is some Einstein insanity in not trying a different approach.

Maybe I am blind and deaf to these lessons. Maybe I suffer from delusions of grandeur that has me believing that the outcome will change. Maybe I have a significant case of conformation bias – when something happens that I already agree with, I embrace it but …

Maybe it is a combination of these and other causes but there is a remedy. Scott Berkun’s 2011 post on LifeHacker is worth a read but it seems the path to learning begins simply with “courageously standing up and honestly saying “This is my mistake and I am responsible” the possibilities for learning will move towards you. Admission of a mistake, even if only privately to yourself, makes learning possible by moving the focus away from blame assignment and towards understanding. Wise people admit their mistakes easily. They know progress accelerates when they do.”

As difficult and countercultural as that is I am going to own my mistakes, acknowledge my mistakes, and ask myself/others how I can fix my mistakes.

I will try keep you updated on my progress.



Those who were dancing were thought crazy by those who couldn’t hear the music ~ Nietzsche

Last night, we watched a elderly lady dance her heart out to some 1970’s folk/rock music at an outdoor event. She couldn’t stop smiling as she swayed a stepped to music she heard as a young adult. She danced alone when others were sitting straight backed – prim and proper (me too). Some voyeurs smiled (me too) and some shook their head at this crazy old lady. We could hear the same tunes that she did and her moves were pretty good, but still no one else joined in.

Imagine if she was the only one who heard the songs. If you were the only one. Would she have still danced? I think so. Would you? Maybe. Me? I hope so.

Even though I didn’t take to the pavement a share a dance last night doesn’t mean that I don’t hear different music. It is exhausting being contrary, even when it is with the best intentions. The lessons I learned were to be okay with others dancing when I don’t and to be okay when others see me as odd for being tuned to a different frequency.


Grow a Pair

I was going through some old articles and found Jessica Hagy post once again making some simple and interesting points in her Forbes article.  She suggests that there are 10 Simple Ways to Make Ourselves More Interesting. #9 is below with a short commentary. The link will open up page 2 but I am sure you can figure out what you need to do.

9. Grow a pair.

Bravery is needed to have contrary opinions and to take unexpected paths. If you’re not courageous, you’re going to be hanging around the water cooler, talking about the guy who actually is.

Take a moment and think about the three most interesting people that you personally know. Make a list.

What makes them interesting? Do they avoid important discussions? Do they allow others to take the lead on every project? When they express themselves, do they meekly, weakly make suggestions? or are they passionate, courageous, confident, and considerate?

On my list, all three know their values, speak their values, and live their values even when it isn’t easy, isn’t popular and may not even be an advantage to themselves. They are authentic and remarkable.

Would you like to be passionate and reasonable, outspoken and considerate, confident, courageous and reasonable? What would be the first step that you need to take? Don’t worry about the 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 127th steps, what would be the first step? Write it down.

Now take it. Take that step right now. Write a comment. Start a blog. Make a phone call. Send an email. Go for a run. Whatever came to your mind as the first step ` take it and tomorrow, evaluate and ask the same question. ” Today, what would be the first step, I need to take to be the remarkable person that I am.”


In Awe!


I feel my breath taken away in tender moments; the smile  of a grandchild, the hand of a friend. I gasp at the majesty of nature and the beauty of this world. I am mystified watching a baby sea lion being born and knowing exactly what to do (even if mom is unsure). I swoon at the blessings that are lavished on me (even if I only recognize a small percentage). Technology is a mystery. Surprises are appreciated.

A restful sleep, a snot bubbling run, a remarkable read – my list goes on. Only when I look for awe am I awed. Only when I call its name “Awe” does she appear. If I am open, I am awed.

Look for awe, allow for her to visit, appreciate her offer, and look for her again.


Inside my Head

Seth Godin calls the amigdala  our lizard brain. Mine can save my life – maybe or it  can be so in control that it paralyzes me.

I am challenging myself to be aware when my self edit kicks in and says thinks like ” that won’t work, don’t even try” or ” it has never been tried” or ” everybody else believes X”. Seeing the edit tab come up is the first step to shutting it off. What if, for just one hour today, we turned that function off and let every misstep, misspeak, misspell, misinterpret, flow thorough and see what generates, what flows, what surprises.

I (we) are too quick to suppress the unknown, the untried and the somewhat crazy. Inside my head, justification, rationalization and fear make the small risk seem too great to even entertain.

The world is changing around us. Diamdis and Kottler say the rate of change is exponential and soon the exponent is going exponential. If we constantly have the safety of edit we might get swallowed in the waves.

Reach up to your left ear, right now, grab the lobe tightly and give it a counter clockwise twist. One twist turns off the function. Don’t worry it will reboot and kick in quickly. You may need to turn it off two or three times when you notice that it is re-configuring and idea or action. Strive for one hour today. When you survive try again tomorrow.

Make Today Remarkable, by allowing remarkable out,