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Monday, March 30, 2015

Harley King

Sometimes we as creative leaders are our own worst critics.  We often don't appreciate the talent we have been given or the skill we have mastered.  We have a difficult time accepting praise from others.  Sometimes we don't even want to let others see our work.  We are afraid of what they may say.

We need to learn not to beat ourselves up over every minor mistake or perceived mistake.  Mistakes actually are good things because they often lead to new creative ideas.  Don't let your mistakes knock you down.  Find the opportunity in the mistake.  

The Japanese have a concept called kintsugi which is the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum.  The artist treats the breakage and repair as part of the history of the object, not as something to be thrown out or hidden.  The artist embraces the flaws and imperfections. 

As creative leaders, we need to stop trying to be perfect and, instead, embrace our flaws and imperfections.  We need to incorporate our flaws into our work.  We need to find the beauty within the ugly.  We need to enjoy what our flaws have to teach us.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Harley King

Have you ever listened to silence? These days it is hard to find silence because there is so much white noise. Even in nature there is little silence. We hear the wind, the insects, the birds and the animals. We fill our days with noise from the moment we wake until the moment we sleep. We turn on the television, plug in our iPods, and turn on our computers. 

And some of us are afraid of silence. If silence appears in a conversation, we become nervous. Many of us can't be home by ourselves without turning on the TV or the radio so we have noise. And cell phones allow us to stay connected to human voices so we don't feel alone even if we are deep in the woods. 

I believe silence is a good thing and that we need to find ways to enjoy it more. As an artist and writer I need silence to hear the voice of my muse. Too much chaotic noise blocks the sweet voice of my muse. Do you run from silence or have you learned to appreciate it?

Words can not always communicate what I feel. Sometimes silence is the best response to what happens.  As a writer and speaker I live and breathe by the word. In the beginning was the word and I felt whole. But I have also learned that there is power in silence. Too many words can confuse the communication. I need to allow time for silence. 

Silence allows me to process the tons of information that enters my brain. Silence allows creativity to take root and grow beautiful flowers. Silence allows for reason to prevail over ignorance. Silence helps me find my way through the maze of life. Silence opens my heart like a flower in the morning. 

Take time to enjoy the silences of your life.  Learn to appreciate and love silence.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Harley King

Conversation is becoming a lost art.  People pass each other like shadows in the night, absorbed in their small worlds.  We seldom listen to the stories that people have to share about their lives.  We have little time for family and friends and rarely do we risk speaking to strangers.

Growing up in a small midwestern farming community, we left our doors unlocked and our cars running when we went to the post office.  Everybody knew everyone else and rarely did we meet a stranger.  Our conversations were filled with stories, gossip and laughter.

Yet, today I live in a much different world.  I lock the doors of my car even when it sits in my driveway and I always lock the doors of my house even when I am home.  And most of the people I meet are strangers and rarely do we speak.

Life is about the relationships we develop with family, friends and even strangers on the paths that we choose to travel.  Some of the best conversations that I have had in my life have happened on an airplane with someone I had never met and will never encounter again.  

With strangers, we often open up and share our stories in ways that we do not with family and friends.  We know that the strangers are passing through our lives and that it is unlikely that we will meet again.  When we listen to stories of strangers, there is so much we can learn about the world and the people that inhabit it.  We will often find that we are alike and have much in common.

Listening to the stories of others can spark our creativity and make us better writers and artists.  Something they say may plant a seed that will grow and bear fruit.  Something they say may free us from the chains that bind our thinking.  Listening to the stories of strangers will give us small moments of pleasure and joy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Harley King

When I was a child growing up in the Mennonite church, I was taught the importance of serving others.  We are to help others in their time of need.  When hurricane Celia hit Corpus Christi in 1970, my father along with others from the church traveled south from Illinois to help rebuild homes.  

Service to others is a privilege and a sacred honor.  We are to give of ourselves to help others in need.  In college, I spent 13 weeks in Jamaica as part of a Study-Service Term abroad.  Six weeks of the trimester was to be spent in service.  I spent those six weeks helping out at a boys' camp in the mountains.

Only in giving to others do you find your true value.  Success is not to be found in making more money or in a promotion.  Success is found in giving back.  Often the rewards one receives from giving far outweigh the price of the gift.  Helping others is the best gift you will ever receive.

Another tradition we practiced in the Mennonite church that I attended as a child was that of feet washing.  As part of communion, people would pair up, remove their shoes and socks, and wash each other's feet.  Washing someone's feet was a sign of humility.  None of us are too good to be above washing someone's feet.  Washing the feet of someone puts people on the same level.  The boss is no better than the employee.  The rich are no better than the poor.

As creative leaders, what are you giving back?  How are you serving others?  How are you helping other people achieve their dreams?  Whose feet are you washing?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Harley King

Believe in your dreams and don't let your fears become obstacles that prevent you from flying.  You were not given dreams because God wanted to crush your spirit and destroy your hopes.  You were given dreams because God wanted you to fly.

Your dreams are one of the greatest gifts you have been given.  Honor the gift by struggling to achieve it.  Honor the gift by believing that you have the talent to achieve it.  Honor the gift by not giving up or giving in.  Honor the gift by being thankful for the opportunity you have been given.

Your dreams are the wings that your spirit needs to fly farther than you have ever flown.  Your dreams are the wings that will carry you to greatness.  Cherish your dreams for without them life has no meaning.  Cherish your dreams that you may discover new worlds. Cherish your dreams for they will bring you laughter and tears.  Cherish your dreams so that you may be of service to others.