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Trade-offs and Triumphs (4)
Issue 4: Finding Your Creative Power, The Non-Genetic Reason for the Enduring Power of the Habsburgs, and Why the "Check Engine" Light Feedback Method Does Not Work
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Finding Your Creative Power
I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.
In fact, I joyously painted an elephant when I was 4 years old. I proudly brought it home and gave it to my dad. He looked at it and me. "What is this?”
“An elephant,” I announced.
My dad shook his head and crumpled up my painting. “This is not an elephant. How do you think that this an elephant? Don’t draw again. You can’t draw.”
I translated this as “you are not creative.”
Until I realized that the ability to draw competently did not necessarily translate to creativity.
Earlier this summer, I had a wonderful conversation about creativity, compliance, and creative abrasion with Genein Letford on her podcast. Genein is a thought leader on creative and financial literacies, author of From Debt to Destiny: Creating Financial Freedom From Inside Out. On this podcast, we discussed my definition of creativity:
How Amelia Bedelia is a terrific communication tool to help you remember that miscommunication is only one word away - i.e., when you both use the same vocabulary words but with completely different meanings
How second chance hiring (including people with criminal records as part of the workforce) can contribute to robust communities and companies
How to put ego aside and identify compromise, and always walk away with a positive attitude
How to develop and iterate compliance systems that mitigate risk but account for human fallibility.
So I can’t match colors, draw, or wrap presents with minimal paper and tape, but I can build, implement, and iterate systems successfully. I also can build relationships of trust with people of various ideologies to achieve common goals.
This is my creative power - it is not the standard definition of creativity, but it is mine.
Find your creative power - both convention and unconventional - and own it, share it, and empower others with it.
Book of the Week: The Non-Genetic Reason for the Enduring Power of the Habsburgs
The Habsburgs: To Rule the World Review: As I mention on my blog, I am fascinated by large, dysfunctional families who ruled parts of the world. For example, the name “Habsburg,” evokes protruding eyes and prominent jaws - both caused by inbreeding. . But a new book by Martyn Rudy is less about inbreeding’s effects and more about why and how the Habsburgs survived from 990 to 1918. In addition to sheer luck and force, what lessons can we learn from them about compromise and forgoing grand ambitions? Did this line of monarchs and their advisors understand that they had to make trade-offs to keep the empire intact? In the process, did they have to redefine the meaning of triumph?
Why the "Check Engine" Light Feedback Method Does Not Work
Check out this essay by my fellow Write of Passage cohort 5 classmate, Nate Kadlac - “The ‘Check Engine’ Light of Design Feedback. When our cars’ check engine lights blink, they fail to provide any actionable information other than hinting that we should visit the mechanic.
Similarly, when we give feedback, we should be clear and specific. Feedback is a constant loop - the end is the beginning, and the beginning is the end.
Nate makes the following three recommendations on providing effective and actionable feedback:
Show some love
Be clear and specific about flaws
Otherwise, without these type of hard but enlightening conversations, how will you figure out what specific trade-offs you want to make and risk to experience triumphs?
Finally, congratulations to my Write of Passage Alumni Mentor, Charlie Bleecker, on the birth of her child. Charlie composed a beautiful and painful thread about her labor experience, but she would not have it any other way - her triumph is her child - congratulations!
Have any questions or comments? Let’s chat!
Want to exchange some thoughts over Twitter? You can find me @jennykim
Check out my website for more: puttingittogether.blog
See you next week!
And remember to find that trade-off that will lead to that triumph this week, no matter how small, and celebrate it.