Posts Tagged ‘seth godin’

I really love, when really smart people say better what I have been saying all along.
Thanks Seth Godin!

Nine minutes that will change the way you look at life and if you apply it, your life will change. Yes, It really is that good!

Every so often I like share a few resources that will help you on your journey. The following are a few books that I have read over the years that have really blessed and encouraged me. They’re not necessarily Christian books, nor are they all about art, yet they will help you to build your skills and following.

Seth Godin’s Tribes is the book that encouraged me to start this blog and try to build a community of Christian creatives. It can be read in a day and will radically change the way you look at leadership and creativity. The description from the Amazon page says, “A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It’s our nature.

Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more important, they’re enabling countless new tribes to be born—groups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming.

And so the key question: Who is going to lead us?” This is an amazing book you should really pick up. Click the picture to get your copy.

While we’re on Seth Godin, I would be remiss if I did not mention Linchpin. This is one of my all time favorite books. It tells us all about how to be indispensable and live a remarkable life. The description on the Amazon page says There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.

Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. They may not be famous but they’re indispensable. And in today’s world, they get the best jobs and the most freedom.

As Godin writes, “Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.” This book really changed the way I look at the things relating to the work I do and the way I do it. Click the picture to get your copy.

For the writers, storytellers and communicators out there, Parables by John MacArthur is a treasure trove of information on the stories of Jesus. This book goes into great detail on the parables and why Jesus used them. This book is powerful and will challenge your thinking on the parables, and how we communicate God’s Word. Here’s what the Amazon page had to say about the book: “Jesus was a master storyteller, and the parables He told were ingeniously simple word pictures with profound spiritual lessons. Understanding the parables is a crucial matter for followers of Jesus. Jesus told parables so His people might comprehend His message about the kingdom of God clearly.

Master expositor and Bible commentator John MacArthur has spent a lifetime explaining the Word of God in clear and comprehensible terms. In Parables he helps Christians understand the essential lessons contained in the most famous and influential short stories the world has ever known.” Get your copy by clicking the image.

Imagine That by Manuel Luz is a thought provoking book on creative ministry from a great mind working in the field. His insights are powerful and challenging. Amazon said, “Why are we artists? How does God experience art? What is the artist’s calling in relation to God, the church, and the world?

Drawing from his experiences performing Mozart, playing “dive bars”, and leading worship and the arts in the church, author Manuel Luz seeks to answer the questions that artists often ask. Laced with humorous and sometimes poignant anecdotes, Imagine That is a thought-provoking journey through the convergence of art and faith. Luz has been a working musician, writer, pastor, and even amateur cartoonist for more than 40 years, and in Imagine That he lays out his case for a uniquely Christian approach to the vocation of artist, using theologically rich and artist-friendly language.

In the end, Imagine That affirms and equips Christian artists for the special kind of ministry that only they can do.” This s a great book that should be on your bookshelf. Click the image to get your copy.

My friend J. Scott McElroy has written a wonderful handbook for creative ministry. As a long time creative minister, McElroy’s insights come from real world experience and have the potential to guide the reader to a fruitful, creative ministry. Amazon says of this book: “If the future is creative, is it any wonder that sometimes the church seems stuck in the past?

Now is the time for the church to reclaim its role as a center of creativity. Among your members are artists, musicians and other creatives whose gifts can enhance your worship, inform your theology and impact your community. Christian arts advocate J. Scott McElroy gives a comprehensive vision and manual for unleashing creativity in your congregation so you can connect with the more visual, aural, participatory and expressive generation that is rising up within the church today.

In this handbook you’ll find clear direction for:

Mobilizing and managing artists and other creatives in your congregation
Establishing structures and parameters for arts ministry
Leading and supporting staff and church members in creative changes
Enhancing the worship service
Adding creative elements to your sermons
Engaging the broader community

Activate your church in every avenue of worship with this practical guide for arts ministry.”
Click the images to get your copy of any of these books.

I don’t usually post across platform (i.e. the same post to all my different blogs) but today I am going to make an exception. Yesterday, a friend of mine was talking me about trying to get more into reading and asked me for some recommendations. Then today as I was working my way through today’s assignment in Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century I was asked to write about ten books that I love and why they impacted me. As I began to think of all these great books, it was hard to pick the top ten (I ended up with 12). but these are some of the best books I have read in the past few years and al of them would be beneficial to any creative. If you’d like to read any of these books, please click the image beside them and order them from Amazon. If you do, a very small portion of the purchase price will go to support this website.

  1. The Bible because it is the Word of God and contains so much information necessary to life on this planet and in the world to come. Nearly every time I read it, I see something new.

  2. Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park because it showed me the power of research in telling a story. The science in the book makes the premise so plausible that one begins to wonder is this being done.

  3. Andy Andrews The Traveler’s Gift. I read this book at a time when I was feeling very depressed and self-absorbed and it reminded me that there was more to life than what I was seeing and that there are principles that can help everyone all the time. This book also introduced me to Andy Andrews and secured in me the desire to become a professional speaker.

  4. Andy Andrews How Do You Kill 11,000,000 People? This small book is an exploration of the holocaust and the thinking behind it showed me that evil prospers when good people do nothing and the evil power of lies.

  5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read this book because I had to for a school assignment, and several times since because I wanted to. Tolkien tells the story of a comfortable little man living a comfortable little life who discovers a big world full of problems and decides to do something about it. It’s a classic coming of age good versus evil story where good prevails. Of course one cannot speak of The Hobbit without the follow up epic, THE LORD OF THE RINGS
    . There are so many great things in these stories, but I guess the biggest thing I took away was it doesn’t necessarily take the most powerful to make a difference. Sometimes all it takes is for ordinary people to step up.

  6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. It almost seems wrong to mention Tolkien without Lewis. These two contemporaries and friends wrote some amazing stories. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis gives one of the truly great examples of allegorical story telling. From this book, I learned that you can tell a great story that makes a fantastic point without beating people over the head.

  7. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. This book was one of the quickest books I have ever read which is strange for a memoir. I didn’t agree with everything in this book, but it really challenged me to look at how I communicate and live out my faith. The other reason I loved this book is because it got me to read…

  8. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. So here’s what happened. Miller writes Blue Like Jazz and it sells like a zillion copies so of course some film makers decided to make a movie out of it. In their meetings with Miller, he discovers they are taking a lot of liberties with the story. What Miller discovers is a great book does not always translate to a great movie. The problem though is BLJ is in many ways Miller’s life story. He begins to question how you live a better story and sets out to live one. This book made me check the story I am living and set out to live a better one too.

  9. Tribes by Seth Godin. This short little book has a basic premise. There are all kinds of people out there with all kinds of interests, and what they need is for someone to bring them together into community and lead them. This book was a huge influence on what I do. I started blogging immediately after reading this book and helped to bring so much of what I was trying to do in this world into focus.

  10. Linchpin by Seth Godin. This book talks about living artistically whether one is an artist or not. Living a remarkable life and being remarkable, living one’s life as a gift to the world and becoming indispensable. This book also made me look seriously at my life and the way I am investing my talents, abilities and pretty much my life in general.

  11. Re-Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson This is a business book, with a lot of really great ideas for creative folks. In addition to all the great content, I loved the way this book was formatted. It inspired the way I designed my own creative ministry book Running A.M.O.K.: Random Musings for the Creative Hands of the Body of Christ

  12. The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. This book was a huge influence on me. I got it after reading about it in Linchpin. This book deals with the resistance that keeps people from creating and how to overcome it. This book is a must read for every creative. It will help you smash through creative block and also to fight the resistance.

If any of these books looks appealing to you, click the image to order them from Amazon

For the last day of #YourTurnChallenge the question was “What are you taking away from this challenge?” The truth is a lot. I’m already a daily blogger on, three days a week on and five days a week on so it wasn’t so much about blogging every day. I’m in a pretty good groove on posting daily.

What I gained was a couple of things. First of all I decided to take the common theme of creativity for each day’s post. Creativity is definitely an area of passion for me and I have a strong desire to create a series of creativity seminars/workshops for businesses, organizations and schools to present this year in addition to the creativity ministry things I already do (interested? contact me at Forcing myself to work in this one topic each day and build on it was pretty helpful. Looking back over this week’s posts, I am relatively sure that I have a decent outline for a pretty good creativity book, (look for it later this year on

But what I gained most from this challenge was the realization that I need to be more intentional about building my platform. I usually average around 30-40 hits a day on, on my best day this week, I had almost 400 I also gained quite a few followers on Twitter and a few more Facebook friends. It just goes to show that even among the hundreds of people that, because of the volume of people who follow Seth Godin and that amazing platform he has built, I got a lot more attention than I usually get. I’m faithful at creating. I’m faithful at shipping. What remains is helping people to find their way to what I am doing. After all, I want to help as many people as possible. The more people I reach, the more people I can help. I need to expand my reach

In this year, I’ve got to apply some of my creativity to creating a larger platform. How about you?

I was talking with a friend yesterday and I shared with her a great truth I learned a long time ago. There is a link between creativity and stupidity. I guess I better explain myself.

I told her one of the first steps to being a creative is being too stupid to realize you’re under qualified. 

It’s absolutely true. I mean if your desire is to be a brain surgeon, disregard this, or if you want to be bomb disposal technician or something where failure is not an option, yeah go and get as much training as you possibly can. Creativity is a life filled with experimentation, trial and error, struggle and success. It’s a world full of possible solutions where the people bold enough to move on their ideas win.

Am I saying you shouldn’t get an education? No. Am I saying you shouldn’t try to expand your skills and competencies? Again, no. Here’s what I am saying: You should never under any circumstances accept it when people tell you you’re under qualified, even if that person is you. Creatives create. Successful creatives create more. Don’t wait till you feel like you’re qualified to start and especially don’t wait until other people think you’re qualified.

You see you’re the only one who is qualified. The only one who can see what is inside your head is you. The only one who can convey what’s going on inside you is you. If you don’t do it, no one will because no can. This is why it is so important that you begin to create. You may have a solution no one thought of, a masterpiece no one has seen. It can only be made, or at least expressed by you. The creation is useless inside your head. It’s value is in being created and then shared with the world.

You’ve got to stop listening to the voices that tell you that you’re not good enough, qualified enough, or just not enough. Of course you should always be striving to be better, but waiting until you hit that mystical plane called good enough is a place you will never reach unless you start to create, and “ship” now. After all who is better, Pavarotti or Dylan? Yes. It’s all subjective. Pavarotti is a better technical singer, Dylan wrote songs that touched and moved a generation. What would have been lost if Dylan had decided to wait until he could sing like Pavarotti? Art is subjective, so are all forms of creativity. Some will love what you do. Some will hate it. Forget your haters and create for those who love what you do. Find them and bless them.

I’ve found myself in a lot of cool places doing a lot of cool things. Most of the time I was in way over my head but I found a way to thrive or at least keep up. In every one of these things, there was a time where I looked out at the people around me, profoundly humbled and wondering what I was doing there. The truth of the matter is every one of those opportunities came about because I failed to consider whether or not I was qualified and put myself out there.

I’ll say it again. One of the keys to success in being a creative is being too stupid to realize you’re under qualified.

by Dave Weiss

Yesterday I posted about building your creativity. A lot of what I posted then could really come into play here as well. It’s great for me to tell you how to get creative, but what do you do when you’re stuck? We creative call it creative block. You stare at the page or the screen and no words come. You stare at the canvas or the block of clay or marble and you can’t see the angel ready to be released. (if you don’t get that reference, it’s a Michelangelo thing. Watch The Agony and the Ecstacy and the whole thing will be really clear.) What do you do when you’re stuck?

1. Look for the resistance. Are you really stuck or do you have an idea and fear is holding you back. If this is the case, press in and do it.
2. Start: Just do something. Take the first flighty, weird thing that pops into your head and start. You can always abandon it when the better idea comes, but who knows maybe the flighty, weird thing isn’t so flighty and weird after all. I’ve heard more than one speaker say it’s easier to steer a moving car and that is absolutely true. I can vouch for the accuracy of this one, because to be honest when I read the question of the day, I had no idea what to write. I just started writing.
3. Give your inner critic the day off: The inner critic is just another name for the resistance. Ignore it and keep going. Keep an open mind. In the beginning of the process, there are no bad ideas. Once you start working you will be able to see what is working and what isn’t. Press on in the ones that are working and store the ones that aren’t (they might just be ahead of their time.
4. Change of venue: Sometimes your creativity is stifled by your environment. Pick up and go some place new. If you can’t do that, change something about the place where you are.
5. Seek inspiration before you need it: Figure out the things that inspire you and keep them on hand, Music, video, coffee, images, whatever it is. Look for it ahead of time and keep it on hand as a way to break your creative block. I’m creating a new creativity resource right now. I was stuck until my wife turned the TV on and different images I saw sparked a ton of ideas. A lot of times TV is a distraction for me, but in this case, it worked.
6. Find a way to store ideas: I try to never be more than 20 feet away from either my sketchbook or my laptop. When inspiration comes, I write it down or sketch it out. These are not necessarily completed pieces, but I record enough that I can go back to them in a “drought” and put them to work. I have shelves full of sketchbooks, and I fill about three every year.
7. Collaborate: Sometimes the best way to break the block is to work with another human being. You might be working on the same project or just working together on your own projects. The reason this works is simple. Sometimes you’ve just been looking at something for too long or too committed to your idea. A fresh set of eyes can help as can trading problems. It’s often easier to solve problems we’re not in the midst of.
8. Take a walk: Sometimes you just need to step away, clear your head, get away from the problem for a little while. A brisk walk really clears my cobwebs. Find what works for you and do it.
9. Work on something else: Yesterday I mentioned always having two projects going. I’ve often found that solving a different problem or working a different project will help me to refocus.
10. Clean: You can usually tell how prolific I am being by looking at the condition of my studio. The bigger the mess, the more I am doing. (Right now it looks like a bomb went off and I am happy.) After a while though, this can become a detriment. You can no longer find things you know you have and know you need or the disarray is effecting your relationships with people around you. You just have to take the bull by the horns and clean it up. (Caution: If you find yourself cleaning for too long, look for the resistance because this can be a major avoidance mechanism.)
11. Pray: I debated about putting this in here, but it’s one of the things I do and it works for me. Hopefully, for me, it’s my first choice.

The point is creative block is not an excuse and we can all get past it. These are some of the things that worked for me, Find what words for you and get unstuck!


Yesterday I wrote about the soul of creativity, which is seeking solutions to problems and/or seeking to make things better. I wrote about how creativity involves risk. Taking a chance at failing on your way to success. If this is the case (and it is), the first step to building creativity is to:

1. Fight the resistance: The resistance is that fearful little voice, that misused imagination that shows you a world of untrue worst case scenarios designed to take you off task. You need to fight this and create anyway. I know this is a common and repeated thought, but I share it again because this is what stops most creatives in their tracks. Okay we’re determined to defeat the resistance and forge ahead, but how do we actually build our creativity?

2. Acknowledge your creativity: I know this one seems pretty basic too, but you would be amazed at how many people feel they do not have the capacity to be creative. So let me just tell you, you are creative. You do creative things every day, just to stay alive. You need to acknowledge that you are creative or you will cave to the resistance and give in.

3. Create: Now we get to the best way to build your creativity. You need to create. I know, well duh. but it’s true. The best way to build your creativity is to start creating things. Anything, just start creating! Look for new ways to do things. Look for better ways to do things. Look for ways to express yourself, your feelings, your complex thoughts. Look for ways to be understood. Look for ways to make things better. But don’t just look, start creating.

4. Create first, edit later: Too many of us start to edit as soon as we start creating. There’s a reason for this, we want to make sure we don’t fail. Resistance to failure is the problem so resist it. You can edit later. You can make it work later. For now just create.

5. Do something new: I’m a big fan of working in your giftedness, but trying new things can really build your creativity. Putting yourself in a place where you don’t know what you’re doing forces you to get creative. I remember being in a blues club a long time ago. There was an old man on stage playing some of the most amazing blues licks I have ever heard. From far away you could see he was different. His guitar was facing in the opposite direction of everyone else… a lefty. No big deal until you looked closer. He was not playing a left-handed guitar. He was playing a right-handed guitar upside down. The strings in the opposite order of the way every other player plays. It was clear he wasn’t classically trained, it was also clear he was amazing. He found a way, created a way to play.

6. Waiting for you muse if for amateurs: I hear so many artists talk about waiting for inspiration. Don’t bother. Most of that is resistance. Creatives create. If you don’t have an idea make something up.

7. Do something weird: Sometimes the best way to jumpstart your creativity is to create something no one would create. Use different materials. Create something odd. Find a common object and do something extraordinary with it.

8. Don’t look at what you don’t have: So many people are limited by what they don’t have. Creative people look at what is before them and get to work with what they have, realizing that they can either come up with a creative way to get what they need, team up with someone else of create a way to work around their need.

9. Always have at least two projects going. There will come a time in the life of every creative where they hit a creative wall. They get to the place where they are stuck. At these times, it’s best to have a second project, to work on. Usually the change in project is enough to bust loose the creative block.

10. Finish what you start. Perfect (at least related to our projects) does not exist. You can’t tweak forever. Real artists (creatives) ship.

People ask me sometimes how I post to this blog every day. I’ve long tried to figure that out, and the truth is I never really knew… until today. Of course, I attribute it to prayer, first and foremost. I believe this is God’s plan for this season of my life, and so I believe He provides, but that’s God’s part. It’s the most important part, but what about my part.

Well today, in checking my email I found a post from Seth Godin’s blog entitled “Daily” and it really summed up the process.

There’s a fundamental difference between the things you do every day, every single day, and the things you do only when the spirit moves you.

One difference is that once you’ve committed to doing something daily, you find that the spirit moves you, daily.

Rather than having a daily debate about today’s agenda, you can decide once that you will do something, and then decide every single day how to do it.

Summed up in one word, it’s faithfulness. I feel led to help other creatives. I am determined to have something to share with you each day, so I seek it out and share what comes to me. I try to give the best I possibly can without allowing my inner critic to stifle me in a vain quest for perfection. I may not always get it right, but I seek God’s guidance and I move forward. There is a Spirit, but waiting for Him to move you may be the wrong course of action. I believe He is always on the move and it is up to us to follow.

I love how Seth Godin expresses things. He put into great words what I have been trying ot express for a while. If you’re not following His blog, you should. This blog exists, at least in part, because I read Godin’s epic book Tribes and decided it was time to try to unite the tribe of Christian creatives.

instructionsI have a confession. It may make me look a little nerdy to some of you but I love to build models. Yes 50 years old and I can still get lost for hours building little plastic cars. It’s a hobby and a diversion. When life gets a little too stressful, I go down in my basement and start to put one together. It relaxes me, (of course maybe that’s the glue fumes.)

Seriously, I think what makes it relaxing is there is no pressure and there are carefully laid out instructions. Without those instructions, half the pieces would be left in the box. There is still a fair amount of artistry in doing it right, but there is guidance in the form of instructions.

For me, art is sort of the opposite of that. People ask me from time to time if I give lessons. For the record, I would love to do that, but it’s really hard. I may be able to teach you some basic skills, color theory, etc. but how do you teach something that is so instinctive and subjective? I don’t know. The secret to making art is authentically expressing what is going on inside you and how you experience the world and the only one who can really do that is you.

Seth Godin agrees. In his masterpiece book, Linchpin, Godin writes:
“Here’s the truth you have to wrestle with: the reason that art (writing, engaging, leading, all of it) is valuable is precisely why I can’t tell you how to do it. If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map. Don’t you hate that? I love that there’s no map.”

It’s true, anything in life can be a work of art, if you are willing to walk away from the map, burn the instructions and do it from the heart. Maybe our lives are the work of art we create. Maybe we need to give up on all the way everybody else does it and live creatively. What if we gave up on the status quo and started to live guided by our hearts informed by God and His Word? bWhat if those are the only instructions that matter? What kind of life would that make?

Go and live a masterpiece life.