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Creative on Purpose Blog

Insight and Inspiration for Flying Higher in Endeavors that Make a Difference

Planning vs. Doing

personal development Sep 21, 2020

The distinction is so obvious, why bother pointing it out?

Because planning feels like doing.


Blame dopamine.

Dopamine is the goal seeking brain chemical that fuels our affection for to-do lists, New Year's resolutions, and 5-year plans. The problem is the act of writing down or sharing our plans releases dopamine which unconsciously satisfies our desire for goal achievement.

Of course, planning and its close cousin, dreaming, are important. Planning is tied to wonder and possibility which fuels curiosity, consideration, and creativity. 

Doing, however, is what makes change happen. Doing is tied to rigor and purpose which fuels courage, commitment, and collaboration.

How do we avoid the dopamine trap so that we move from planning to doing? Good news, we can again turn to brain chemistry!

Oxytocin is the brain chemical of love fueling romance and friendship based on generosity and trust. Whereas the effects of dopamine are instantaneous,...

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To fully understand altruism is to embrace interconnectedness. Both are at the heart of what it means to be a healthy, functioning human being. 

Interconnectedness is swinging between you, the singular individual, and you, the minuscule piece of the entire whole. It’s a sophisticated, nuanced, complicated, and delicate dance.

And it’s not merely a dance with those in your immediate circle of contacts. It extends to everyone across the globe and to everything that lives upon it. It even extends beyond the world, encompassing the entire cosmos.

How is it possible that we are each simultaneously so essential and of absolutely no real consequence? 

Holding these opposing ideas while stepping into possibility is a defining element of what it means to be human. It fuels the continuing journey to greater enlightenment.

From the cosmological perspective, each of us has no objective worth. Yet, while we are here, you have the opportunity to forge meaning and build...

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Chasing Change vs. Creating Change

personal development Sep 07, 2020

As difference-makers, making change happen is what you do. That's the gig.

Not any old change, of course. You seek to make things better.

But are you chasing change or creating change?

I don't know about you, but too often, I find myself chasing change. Darting from bright shiny object to bright shiny object without ever fully bringing any change about. It feels purposeful and productive, but in the end, no real change happens.

Successfully creating change comes from crafting a specific and singular goal and executing an efficient and effective strategy to achieve it. Clarity of aim and action is essential. The end and means must be pursued with intention and integrity.

Being decisive and staying the course doesn't ensure success. No worthwhile goal can ever be guaranteed. There will likely be unexpected and difficult adversities or even unanticipated and delightful coddiwomples.

And don't forget our propensity to overestimate...

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Are you ready to make a difference?

personal development Aug 31, 2020

"To make a difference." What does it even mean?

For people like us, it means leaning in and leveling up in work that enhances our lives while elevating the lives of others. Making things better. Serving. Doing the work. Living your legacy.

To be a difference maker is to pursue excellence in yourself and your craft while cultivating the same in others. Developing your potential and delivering on your promise by engaging in meaningful endeavors done with and for others.

What does it take to make a difference?

Doing things differently, of course.

What got you where you're at won't get you where you want to go. To continue to fly higher in your enterprise requires "breaking" the status quo created by yesterday's accomplishment so that you step into tomorrow's possibility.

Difference makers seek the edges of what's now and set their aim on what's next. They see the silver linings in challenges and find opportunities in every obstacle. All the while keeping...

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personal development Aug 24, 2020

Our schools are not serving us.

This is not the fault of students, parents, teachers, or administrators.

The predicament we're in with our current approach to educating is rooted in its history. The problems are structural and systemic.

Our current academic institutions were built for the industrial age and the consumer economy. The industrial system relied on compliant workers willing to do repetitive and tedious tasks in exchange for money. They were then encouraged to buy products and services sold through mass media disguised as entertainment.

What did this system require? Obedience. Unquestioned conformity to a status quo that outrageously rewarded very few at the expense of almost everyone else.

In my short career as a school teacher, I taught in both some of the most elite private schools in the United States and some of its most under-resourced inner-city schools. At either extreme, what was packaged as education was actually a compulsory system whose...

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Acceptance Vs. Surrender

personal development Aug 24, 2020

To be clear, I'm not talking about acceptance as synonymous with passive resignation. Nor am I speaking to surrender as giving in to an event or opponent. I'm thinking of acceptance and surrender as they apply to the art of living well.

Given that challenges and hardships are inevitable, acceptance and surrender are required if we are to thrive and flourish even as we struggle and strive.

But when do we practice acceptance rather than surrender and vice versa?

We conflate these terms because both acceptance and surrender require acknowledging life's victories and vicissitudes while not defining ourselves by them. After all, life doesn't happen to us. Life happens through us.

Acceptance is immediate and personal. It's the act of being present with what is happening without attaching our wellbeing to it. Acceptance is akin to acquiescence. It leads to equanimity in any circumstance.

Surrender is timeless and universal. It's the sense that what is happening is part...

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You don't need a coach.

personal development Aug 17, 2020

Of course you don't. You're fine just the way you are.

If you're content to remain that way, you definitely do not need a coach.

And yet...

Some of us recognize that although we're sufficient as we are, we can't stop striving to be better. Where we are is okay, but it's not our final destination.

Do you seek excellence in yourself and your endeavor? How are you pursuing these?

One thing for sure, what got you where you are won't get you where you want to go.

What got you where you are will keep you there. To continue making progress, you must continue to cultivate new relationships and routines.

Myriad forces conspire against this effort when you try to do it on your own, including confirmation bias, rationalization, attachment to unhealthy narratives, imposter syndrome, Resistance, the lizard brain, and cognitive dissonance (to name a few).

What's the cost of not getting help in gaining clarity about your goals and a strategy for...

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Creative Leadership

Creativity is an inherent human instinct used to solve interesting, difficult, and even wicked problems.

Leadership is the practical skill of influencing or guiding others in a common pursuit.

More than ever, the world needs creative leadership.

Authority, title, or permission are not required. Creative leadership is merely caring enough to show up with and for others. The call is to embrace uncertainty, navigate adversity, and step into possibility together.

Creative leadership isn't a B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to customer) proposition, it's a H2H (human to human) endeavor. A muscle you developed through simply employing the human skills you've been exercising since you exited the womb.

Here are some of those human skills that you can access and leverage as you lean into creative leadership.

  • Curiosity - question what is and how to make it better.
  • Consideration - thoughtful regard for the situation and respect for others.
  • ...
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Appreciation & Presence

One of the reasons appreciation is such an effective and efficient mood lifter is that it returns us to the here and now. It cultivates presence and mindfulness.

You can’t be grateful and anxious at the same time.

Anxiety is often caused by attachment to unhappy stories you’re telling yourself about the past or unhealthy expectations you have about the future.

Unhealthy desires are the root of suffering and appreciation is the antidote to desire.

Gratitude helps you see there are opportunities in the obstacles before you and the silver linings of your situation.

Appreciation recognizes that you are not flawed or broken. You’re a work in progress.

What unhealthy stories based on your past are you ready to let go of? What outcomes beyond your control are you ready to detach from?

Let’s get where we’re going by starting where we are right now.

Excerpt from Onward: Where Certainty Ends Possibility Begins

Scott Perry - Chief Difference-Maker at ...

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Community & Culture

Community and culture are terms often misused and conflated.

Community is driven by proximity. The people you find yourself surrounded by defines your community. 

Culture is driven by ideas and actions. The shared ideas and idiosyncrasies of a group define culture. Culture isn’t necessarily tied to where we are at any given moment. 

We spend our lives so thoroughly immersed in community and culture that we don’t notice its impacts on us. We react and respond to its whims and wishes unconsciously.

Time to wake up.

You get to choose who you do and don’t spend time with. You also get to choose the beliefs and behavior you accept and those you don’t.

Get the community right and together bend the culture to help everyone develop their potential and deliver on their promise.

How can you be more intentional and specific about the community you spend time with and the culture you’re co-creating?

Excerpt from Onward: Where Certainty Ends...

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