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The Challenge That Changed My Life –

“The challenge proposed is not necessarily an easy one. I know this first hand after approaching thousands of strangers. I have been hugged, trusted, and listened to. I have also been screamed at, mocked, spit upon, and physically pushed into oncoming traffic. But, all in all, those who chose to engage in dialogue (and they are the majority) noticeably recognized one another as equally human. Proof that, even though we live via diverse lifestyles, value systems, and circumstance, a vast number are respecting that same right for others.”

I am the creative guy… The photographer, filmmaker, author, and thinker of ideas. Still learning something new every day. And after 30-plus years of highs and lows, my lessons have come via a plethora of personal chapters. Each one enlarged by the example of many unique, blessed and flawed people. We all have our individual sets of ups and downs; and thankfully I have had my share of both as I have worked, played and lived life in this schooling. An admission that has led me to a set of perspectives regarding the remarkable worth of others.

With this opening intro, a little more looking under the hood might be in order in getting this whole thing going. So in the spirit of integrity, I feel I must set myself up as a possible target, something that, trust me, I’ve seriously contemplated doing seeing that I’m showing my softer underbelly to the very hands that feed me. Humbly revealed, I’ve played various roles throughout the evolution of my life and career; the raging artist, the reflective quite one, the resolver, the egomaniac, the leader, teammate, and follower are not unfamiliar motives to me. Beneath each phase a hidden and very intellectual quest called pursuit of passion, style and recognition for my personal point-of-view. Deeper yet, even quest for acknowledgement of who I am, and what I bring to the game. All part of the wonderment and craziness of being a creative person and a person who wants to make some sort of difference in the world. Thoughts I’m sure most of us entertain with a certain degree of regularity.

Ok, now we are in, and you know a bit about me– the creative guy. The thinker. A guy who has revealed himself in proposing a few somewhat altruistic statements that perhaps relate to something inside you, and in the spirit of inclusivity, and not wanting to come off as someone who is making assumptions as to how you feel or think, it is fair to acknowledge, we are all at different places in our lives and careers. But, as for me, the thinker, I’ve lived within my own box of thoughts in regard to my craft. Working via a set of intellectual descriptors that, locked into my head, direct my decisions and the way I interact with others– a confession that has led me to think that to stray from that comfort zone might be the very same as vocational suicide.

But what if I have it wrong? What if I acknowledged that maybe I have spent the majority of my career thinking instead of truly feeling?

I’m not talking about the kind of feeling that attaches itself to a concept, target, strategy, theme, brief or project spec. But rather, one that connects to a much more profound feeling that transcends from what is directly in front of us on a practical scope– something less tangible, even something more emotional.

So here I am, further exposed as I throw an extremely esoteric idea to introduce an actionable outlook. A point-of-view with the bandwidth to inspire creativity, improve culture, ground healthy collaboration and propagate value for others. A general premise scalable to any area of work, relationship, or life: namely, the acknowledgment of other humans, at all times, in all things, and in all places.

A finding arisen from decades of photographing, interviewing and filming 1000s of diverse individuals from all walks of life. People who, at first unknown by me, or I to them, bravely allowed their faces and thoughts to be shared in my blog roll, writing and speaking.

A pause that asks us to look past first impression, circumstance or pre-conception of others in finding fresh ways to navigate our tasks, relationships and situations; and a call-to-action that inspires us to stand on the front lines in empathetically considering the other person as we seek our personal success, fulfillment and purpose.

To better know who we are by appreciating who they are.

Perhaps in this, the greatest teams can be formed, relationships strengthened, creative and emotional blocks removed, and to the fullest extent, true genius be found and nourished.

An ah-ha discovery, that in the spirit of sharing, I stand humble in hopes that it will have a similar effect on all of us “over-thinkers.”


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