Sunday, August 12, 2018

Honor the Absent

Do people in your organization gossip?

It's not harmless chatter. Gossip creates problems with reputations and generates disrespect. Without a person there to defend themselves, gossip is a poisonous mix of half-truth and hyperbole. It's bad stuff.

When I worked at GE we had a guideline that made perfect sense: honor the absent. If you wouldn't say something if someone was sitting right next to you, then do not say it. Honor their absence and their humanity.

Whether or not we agree with the goings-on and accounts of someone, if they are not there to defend themselves, maybe silence is the nobler path. Smearing them, swearing about them, and telling stories that are at least partially (and possibly, completely) untrue are behaviors that are beneath us. It's better to avoid gossip completely.

High performance leaders know that to communicate for results it pays to stick to the truth AND to respect the people involves. Respect your audience, respect your topic, respect the dignity of your organization.

It is possible to honor the absent without defending them. Tell your truth, without disparaging the reputation of someone not there to defend themselves.

What do you think?

-- doug smith

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Video Case Study: The Psychology of Tyranny - Alex Haslam

Did Milgram get it wrong?

This video raises some intriguing questions that are relevant to our studies of high performance leadership. It raises issues around obedience, control, leadership, followership, context, and even evil.

Watch the video (17:49) and then reflect on the questions below.

Reflection and Discussion Questions:

  1. What meaning regarding obedience have people commonly concluded based on Milgram's  research?
  2. What are the factors in play that effect the participant's willingness to continue with the experiment, even though it appeared to be inflicting pain?
  3. How did the context of the experiment effect the outcomes?
  4. What additional information was mentioned in the video that we don't usually hear about when it comes to this famous experiment?
  5. What is the surprising conclusion to this research when examined thru the lens of this talk?
  6. Given the circumstances as you understand them, would you have continued to administer the shocks past the point of safety?
  7. How did the subjects react when given direct orders?
  8. What does this tell you about the nature of influence and leadership?
  9. Could this knowledge be used for both noble and for evil intent? How do you respond to that? 
  10. As a leader, what use can you make of this information?

Friday, August 10, 2018

Respect Anyway

Do people need to earn your respect?

Some people do believe that it is necessary to prove yourself worthy of respect before someone should grant you respect. What's the problem with that? When we put ourselves into the position of judge we also open the door wider to being judged.

Can people tell when you respect them?  Undoubtably. We seem to have an inner radar that differentiates respect from disrespect -- or worse, disregard. We can tell, and we care. Deeply.

Whatever a person has done in the past that we might question, it is still possible to treat them with respect. Kindness, compassion, even love know no limits.

Respecting someone does not mean that you agree with everything that they've ever done -- or even with what they are  doing or saying right now. Respect means that you treat them with human dignity, fairness, compassion, and honor.

I know that it can be tough to show respect in the heat of an argument or when someone is not acting in a likable manner. It can be tough to respect someone who irritates the crap out of you. Hey...respect them anyway.

I will do my best. How about you?

-- doug smith

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Healing Silence

Silence in your anger gives it time to heal.
-- doug smith

Leaders Recognize Anger

Are your team members ever angry with you?

Whether you are a creative artist, a business person, a not-for-profit consultant...whatever -- when we are doing important, passionate work we will sometimes generate anger. It might be unexpected. It might be provoked. People get angry.

Anger can cloud our understanding. We can disagree. We disagree every day with some one (and sometimes it feels like half the world!) The better path, better than getting upset, is to clarify. If we disagree, we can figure out how to understand. Unless we understand, all the anger in the world is wasted energy. High performance leaders find ways to disagree respectfully while staying open to new possibilities. Ever been wrong? I'm wrong at least once a day.

Disagreeing with my truth is often useful. Getting angry at it seldom is.

-- doug smith

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Push Against Your Limits

Creativity, like leadership, requires us to stretch. To be at our most creative we must grow. Since we are surrounded by limitations, that can cause some discomfort. Which boundaries should we cross? Which lines are mental and which are metal?

How do we create without getting hurt (or worse, hurting?)

I'm not sure. Maybe that's the wrong question. Maybe the question is -- what limits should we ignore today? What limits should we buck against and stretch?

If a limit is telling you that you are NOT creative -- ignore it.
If a limit is telling you that you cannot grow -- defy it.
If a limit is telling you that the world doesn't need your creativity -- laugh it off.

The world needs you. The world needs your creativity. The world needs you at your creative best.

The creative life pushes against limits.

Keep pushing.

-- doug smith

Monday, August 6, 2018

Make The Creative Choice

We are about as creative as we want to be. We may know people who seem much more creative. We may situations when we ourselves felt more creative. Still, creative is a choice. How you live your life is also a choice.

Why not choose a creative life?

Creative in what you do and how you do it. Creative in how you think. Creative in how you solve problems and achieve your goals. Creative.

The creative life is a choice that you make.

Let's make that choice.

-- doug smith

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Are You Paying Attention?

It's easy to get distracted. Screens call out to us everywhere. Even a once peaceful wait in a reception area is now punctuated by a wide-screen TV.

Heads down, we miss opportunities. Eyes locked on a screen, we miss the people around us.

That screen might spark a little creativity in you but most of the time it might also be standing in the way. Let your mind wander. Pay attention to your surroundings. Let nature spark a little creativity in you. Flow with that creativity and give it your full attention.

Not just a second, not just a moment, but your full attention. Creative notions have a habit of dissipating if we don't focus on them, pay attention to them, keep them alive.

The creative life is not a part-time creative swipe. The creative life is rich, deep, and full AND very jealous of screen time. It would rather have you spend time being creative.

The creative life wants your full attention.

How are you doing with that?

Miniature Sketch - doug smith - doug smith training - developing creativity

Creative Actions

  • Take a walk. Leave your phone at home. Breathe. Let your mind wander. 
  • Write, by hand, for at least twenty minutes. If necessary to avoid distraction, leave your phone in another room.
  • Keep a small sketch pad nearby and when you get bored the next time instead of picking up your phone, doodle a sketch. It doesn't matter if its any good -- it's a doodle.
Happy creative life -- you deserve it!

-- doug smith

Today's Creative Affirmations

doug smith training - developing creativity

Everyone needs a little affirmation once in a while. Here are some quick creative affirmations for you.

  • Creativity is my middle name!
  • When my friends think of me they no doubt think of me as being creative
  • I can develop my creativity in a million ways
  • My creativity is unlimited!
-- now, go create something wonderful!

-- doug smith

Friday, August 3, 2018

Today's Creative Affirmations

You deserve a day of creativity -- and you are well-equips to bring it on!

These are for you:

  • I know creativity when I see it because I am filled with creativity!
  • However creative I have ever been has been just enough and now I can do more!
  • I can create on my own and I can create in collaboration -- my creativity is my choice.
  • No one can EVER talk me out of my creativity!
  • Creative stuff is about to happen!
-- great for you! Now go get creative!

Red Radiating Ball of Rays -- doug smith training - developing creativity

-- doug smith

Creativity We Breathe for Everyone

The creative life shakes hands with your better self, your happy self, your complete yet untapped potential self - a quick and colorful and powerful entity of sensational art. Living, walking, breathing creativity in the moment, in all moments, for ourselves, and for everyone.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Draw Something

Draw Something - sketch by doug smith

Do you still draw?

All of us draw when we're kids. Some better than others but all with imagination and enthusiasm. My first sketches were yellow wax pencils (designed for writing on glass) on black photo-album paper. Not brilliant. Not representational. But I still remember the moment of fun and abandon.

Draw something today. Draw it with total abandon. Let your tool decide, let your hand go wild, draw something.

Drawing something with open up a part of your creativity that will serve you well wherever you need it. And, don't you need it right now?

-- doug smith

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Many Imitators

Have you ever been fooled into following what you thought was your creative muse only to discover that it was an excuse for bad behavior? There's nothing about anti-social or criminal behavior -- nothing -- that makes a person creative.

It's possible to feel a sense of excitement from danger that may feel like a burst of creativity, but don't be fooled. Your true creative muse, your resident inner artist, the creator within the creator, would never do harm intentionally in the name of artistic license or creative freedom.

We are all creative, we are all valuable, we must all take care to take care of each other.  Thrills, selfish inclinations, and power seeking sinfulness can all mask as a creative impulse but they are poor imitators indeed.

Artists can easily differentiate these imitators from their real muse when they take the time to assess, and then apply, and then live by a set of noble values. The creative muse in not a thing, or an impulse, or even a spirit. The creative muse dwells in the moment that your preparation and your inspiration meets opportunity. And opportunity is every where.

Sphere of influence by doug smith

Do not harm. Do create.

Are you inspired?

Are you prepared?

Are you willing to do no harm?

Listen, I think I hear your creative muse whispering...

-- doug smith

Monday, July 30, 2018

Stay Positive, Curious, and Pro-active

Creativity icon: the creative muse from doug smith training

Creativity gives you a lot and needs a little from you in return. It's not completely free. It needs creative people to stay positive, curious, and pro-active. See the possibilities. Wonder what would happen if...or when...or how...and then experiment. Play! Take action. Move things. Mix things up.

Staying positive helps you to deal with the inevitable challenges you will face to your own creativity. Staying curious helps you to look for the nugget of gold in a sea of sand; to seek the fascinating detail in a swarm of noise and to act on that curiosity while being pro-active and innovating -- to put your hands to work at creating.

Neuro-tagging - freeze frame from doug smith training: developing creativity

Creativity is worth the effort. What will you be positive, curious, and pro-active about today?

-- doug smith

When In Doubt...

I like this creativity quote from Peter McWilliams:

"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on Earth. So what the hell, leap!
-- Peter McWilliams

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Grab the Moment

Your next great creative moment is right there in from of you.

Grab it!

-- doug smith

Dance With The Creative Muse

Do you like to dance?

Do you skillfully combine the carefully practiced steps that let your partner know where you are going and let you flow effortlessly with other dancers?

Do you respond to dancing nuances, new leads, new ideas for leads? It takes more than a life time to master and yet your ability to execute on the physical requirements of the skill and knowledge you acquired diminishes as you age. Is that the end of your dancing?

The creative muse can keep its distance, like a stranger dancing with you for the first time, scoping you out. In the more than a life time that it takes to fully actualize your creative muse your physical (and perhaps mental) abilities may slow and degrade but the dance is most decidedly not over. The true dance has just begun.

Flow with the one who brought you, go as far as you can with what you still hold and then dig, dig, dig, until you've dug a new way, a new dream, a new way to dance.

Build more time, energy, skills, knowledge, dreams, and dance steps. Grow.

Go ahead and dance with the creative muse. For even as old songs are ending, the greater dance has just begun.

-- doug smith

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Creative Muse Is Like A Muscle

Are you in good physical shape?

Do you know how it feels when your muscles are strong, exercised, and flexible? Have you felt that way today?

You play the major role in determining the fitness of your muscles. Left ignored and under-utilized, the muscles become less effective. Neglected long enough, they can even atrophy.

sketch by doug smith

The creative muse likes activity. It conditions, like a muscle, under exercise and nutrition. It responds with ever greater efficiency and effectiveness the more that it is exercised.

Have you exercised your creative muscles today?

-- doug smith

Friday, July 27, 2018

Keep On

Lime Into Time - doug smith training: developing creativity

Keep writing. Keep painting. Keep drawing those wonderful sketches. Keep dancing. Sing every day with your heart ablaze. Keep stoking the fires of your dreams until the light is so bright that you warm others with its glow. Keep on creating, because creativity changes everything.

-- doug smith

Creative Affirmations and Your Power

Your creative power is amazing! Try these creative affirmations to reinforce that power:

  • I am a creative and powerful force of energy and creativity
  • There is great music inside me to share
  • I am filled with creative stories worth sharing!
  • I create success through artistic play!
  • I open the creative doors that others want to walk thru!
  • My work inspires and sustains the positive power of creativity
Red Centric by doug smith

Now -- go create something wonderful!

-- doug smith

Your Creative Muse Wants to Play

from now on
do not stifle yourself
dig in dig it
like that jazz player so
deeply immersed in the lines
in the moment in the 
lingo that no amount
of discouragement or judgment can
bump the surface or flat a note
sharp is how we are born so
keep that face keep that pace keep
that race from detouring you
and your creative muse
your creative muse already knows
what you want to say
so go ahead and
let the creative muse play

-- doug smith

Look For Your Creative Muse When You Least Expect It

Where do you look for your own creative muse? It may be there. It may sometimes hit you exactly as you expect or precisely as it has before.

It may also surprise you by hiding out in the least likely places -- in your own back yard, at a volunteer community service project, at the local fire station, in your public library, in your local hardware store, on a farm, anywhere and everywhere you can think -- and catch a new spark, a new connection. You can find the creative muse communing with the unexpected.

Are you ready?

-- doug smith

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Today's Creative Affirmations

Cheer yourself up! Spark your own creativity! Try these creative affirmations on for size.
  • The more you create, the better you create.
  • You can create something truly wonderful today.
  • Everything you've ever done can feed your creativity now.
  • Creativity extinguishes doubt.
  • You care fabulously creative!
Start Something - Creativity Starter - sketch by doug smith

Now -- go create something wonderful!

-- doug smith

The Creative Muse Works Overtime

What are your "office hours" for creativity?

Are some times of the day better for you than others? Do you enjoy periods of creative peak activity when you might work creatively for extended hours?

That's OK because your creative muse works overtime. No time and a half or shift differential is needed, either. Just keep your focus, keep moving on your creative impulses and your muse will tag along.

No questions asked, no explanation necessary, no deposit no return.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Creative Affirmations to Ponder

Be good to yourself. Say nice things. Things like...

  • Creativity is good for me, and I am good for creativity
  • The world gets better when my creativity grows
  • My creativity is under my control and today I will ramp it up!
  • I feel creative!
  • Wherever I need to go, my own creativity will help me
Field of Play - sketch by doug smith

Have a great and creative day!

-- doug smith

The Creative Life

The creative life keeps us energized.
-- doug smith

Connect the Unconnected

"Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected."
-- William Plomer

The Creative Muse Doesn't Care About Your Mood Swings

Have you ever excused yourself from creating because you weren't in the mood? Have you ever talked yourself out of an important piece of work or creative activity because your mood was all wrong? How did that feel? Did it help or hinder your mood?

Creativity likes all moods. The creative muse doesn't care about your mood swings. It won't run and hide from you just because you aren't feeling at your best. The creative muse can help you with that. So what if you're not in the mood to create? Create anyway. Make something. Design something. Paint, play, write, tune, dance, cut-and-paste-something -- just go ahead as if the mood were optimal and guess what? Your mood will mysteriously rise to the occasion.

Do something really great -- create!

-- doug smith

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Creative Affirmations In Your Face

Take what works, bathe in your own inspiration, motivate to create.

I suggest saying these aloud:

  • I possess an inexhaustible supply of creativity
  • My creative efforts always connect to the greater good
  • God smiles on my creativity
  • I help others when I express yourself
-- doug smith

Creative Actions:

  1. Write three of your own new creative affirmations and read them aloud. Rinse and repeat.
  2. Write your favorite affirmations on an index card and carry it in your pocket or purse. Read it frequently today.

Creativity for Everyone!

Are you ready to expand and develop your creativity?

Experience the joy of finding that flow where your hands and mind meet in a space of innovation — where possibilities touch reality. 

Creativity for Everyone is for your inner artist — and also for your inner child. Spend a full day enjoying yourself, creating and interacting with others who are also creating like never before.

The kinds of creativity are endless and we can’t explore them all in one day, yet you will explore, discover, and perform creatively in several ways including improv, music, writing, movement, and drawing. You could end up with a masterpiece or two (or even more) or you could end up with the learning needed for your next step toward a masterpiece. What you are assured of is a fun, relaxed time of harmless and noncompetitive play. Join us and grin!

This creativity workshop is truly for anyone who is interested in creativity and having fun.

Materials (what to bring) to Creativity for Everyone!

  • Three of your favorite pens
  • Your choice of notebook to write in
  • A small, portable percussion instrument (toy instruments are OK as are band-quality ones such as tambourines, maracas, sticks, bongos, finger cymbals, shakers, etc. If you do not bring an instrument you can use your hands and feet)
  • Water

Lunch is on your own, about midway thru the workshop so bring your meal or be ready to find your lunch. You’ll have an hour to eat and return.

Dress comfortably.

To bring this one-day workshop to your location, please contact me here:


Let the imperfections of the world spark your creativity.
-- doug smith

Monday, July 23, 2018

Collage: Corner Office

Corner Office - Collage by doug smith
Corner Office

Collage: Corner Office,  (c) 2007 douglas brent smith

Creative Affirmations for the Day

Some positive phrases to energize you and your creativity:

  • I can always think of a creative and interesting new idea
  • My creativity makes travel a pleasure
  • Using my creative skills helps me to do a better job
  • People respond favorably to my creativity
  • We all admire creative risks and it's good that I'm courageous
  • My creativity is an always available resource
  • My creativity makes problems easier to solve
  • Today I will develop my creativity

Developing Creativity - Red Folly - Visualizer by doug smith

Creative Reflections:

  • When was the last time you took a creative approach to a routine situation? How did it turn out?
  • What are your three best creative opportunities for today? What will you do that's fresh and new about them today? What will you do first?

-- doug smith


"Skill to do comes of doing."
 -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whether or not it's fun, we do need to practice. To gain some momentum, to grow considerable skill, to develop creativity we must work thru our mistakes, discover even more mistakes, and keep going and doing. To stretch one's self requires motion.

Child's Play

When I toured with Child's Play Touring Theatre we worked so much, practiced our craft so consistently, that we came to believe that we could do anything on stage. As a result we would try anything and if we would sometimes make noble and glorious mistakes it was just one take out of dozens, one sketch out of hundreds, one turn out of thousands (and nothing in this sentence is hyperbole) it was one of many.

Chuckie - the Little Boy Who Could

Relentlessly in motion we learned, expanded, stretched, adjusted, grew Action propelled us forward. Every day our practice was to practice in earnest. And then we would practice some more.

I say it to myself as much as to anyone else: be a doer. Act. Practice. Put yourself out there. Let it fly and see what sails.

Child's Play - June

It's not just the fastest path to perfection, it's the only path.

You will never reach perfection, but oh, what a wonderful ride!

-- doug smith

Imperfect is Better

Are you a perfectionist? I can be. It can take endless revisions to reach the point of self-satisfaction with something that I'm working on. The problem is, it will never be perfect.

There are no perfect processes, no perfect people, no perfect projects, no perfect products. Perfection is the ghost of an illusion too tempting to ignore but too imperfect to perfect. Creativity doesn't care. Creativity goes on. Creativity fills the gaps.

Besides. Imperfect leaves room for growth. Imperfect leaves room for collaboration. Imperfect invites change.

Your art is not perfect but that's OK. Make your art anyway, whatever it is.

Your art is not perfect because imperfect is better.

-- doug smith

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Your Masterpiece

Do you have a secret creative project lounging around in your imagination?

I always have at least five projects floating around, just waiting to begin. We get busy and put those projects off though, don't we?

What if you didn't put it off? What if you got started on the biggest of big projects? What if you launched the project to complete your masterpiece? You aren't limited to just one creative masterpiece, but your next masterpiece is there, ready and waiting for you to begin. Get creative. Get motivated. Get busy.

What if you started now?

-- doug smith

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Creativity Transforms

Improv Affirmations

Affirmations are a useful development tool in many fields. Positive phrases that affirm your instant ability to be who you want to be and to do what you want to do contribute to building your success by framing your expectations, boosting your confidence, and lighting up parts of your brain that bring about the very success you are picturing.

Here are some improv affirmations to help you develop your improvisation skills, creativity, and sense of artistic play:

  • I am instantly ready to create
  • I take all offers and make them magnificent
  • I play with adventure and creativity
  • I am completely tuned in to the people I perform with
  • Every moment sends opportunities for creative play
  • I connect in meaningful ways with other artists
  • I bring instant insights to the people I play with
  • I can work hard and play both simultaneously and instantly
  • I see the drama in every circumstance
  • I thrive on the ideas of others
  • I offer everyone great ideas of my own
Trying a few affirmations each day is like stretching your body before exercising, or tuning your instrument before performing. It is a great and useful warm-up that enhances your performance and attitude. Go ahead, you can do it!

-- doug smith

Collage: It's In The Water

It's In The Water - collage by douglas brent smith, (c) 2006
It's In The Water

One of my favorite creative outlets is making collages. I've been doing it for as long as I can remember. Most of them are done on 8 1/2 by 11" notebook paper, frequently as a page in a journal. This one, for instance, is page 199 of my journal #39, Creative Play (2006-2007).

You can spark your own creativity by making a collage. All you need is a healthy supply of magazines, paper, and your favorite glue (I use good old-fashioned white Elmer's glue.)

Allow plenty of time -- it's not unusual for me to take all day on one collage.

I find it meditative, relaxing, and inspiring. Many ideas float to the surface once you've smoothed the waters in a calm search for interesting combinations of images. Give it try.

-- doug smith

Your Creativity Is In Your Hands

Are you in charge of your creativity?

Do you play with new ideas, new textures, new techniques? Your creativity is yours to manage and it's also in your hands, literally. From another angle: your hands create.

Think about a sculptor at work, her hands carefully forming her art. Her mind is completely engaged, maybe even in a flow, and her hands instinctively, creatively, know what to do. That only comes after hours of practice.

Think about a concert pianist: the mind is involved, the heart is involved, and the hands are doing far more than running thru the paces of mechanical memory. The hands are creating tone, inflection, articulation, emphasis, texture, stylization, and yes even emotion. The hands add what the brain hasn't even imagined until it hears it coming straight from the hands. That level of synthesis only comes after many hours of practice.

Name the format and the hands are there -- not just as a set of useful tools but also as generators of inspired creativity: painting, sketching, sewing, quilting, crafting - the hands are at the heart of creativity. Hands design, they deliver, and when necessary they destroy -- all in the spirit of creativity.

Yes, you are in charge of your creativity. And if you are blessed with two strong hands you are truly blessed indeed because within your hands are entire worlds of creativity.

-- doug smith

Creative Actions

  1. Fold a piece of paper into a shape you haven't considered or tried before. Let your hands guide the action and make the changes. Leave it up to your hands.
  2. Feel hands-full of beach sand. Hold it, fold it, let it touch your hands back. Do that for a few minutes. What ideas do you have for something to create?
  3. Put your hands in your shoes for a moment. How does that feel? Consider walking somewhere without your shoes - barefoot if possible. Let your feet enjoy the creative freedom of touching the earth.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Creativity Changes Everything

What is your most powerful tool for change?

developing creativity - "Planet Energy 6"  image by doug smith
Planet Energy 6

How do you break the constraints that stand in your way when you're looking for improvement? Creativity, your power to "bring into existence" (Merriam Webster online) is your own personal engine of growth. Movement in the direction of something new, expansion, birth, novelty, change -- are all variations of your ability to create and are all critical to the optimal state of balance and health.

Got a problem? Use creative thinking to explore possible solutions.

Launching a business? Discover creative ways to reach markets and satisfy customers.

Getting in shape? Keep it interesting and customized to your individual needs creatively. Make it new, make it fresh, make it cool.

Starting a relationship? Crete ways to interest the other person and listen and watch for what is distinctive and creative about the other person. Try new things, go new places, eat new foods, create new connections.

Creativity changes everything.

-- doug smith

The Creative Muse: An Expanding View

Expand your view. Let go of preconceptions. Wiggle loose your perceptions long enough to visualize more, ever more, possibilities.

Are you locked into your thinking? Is your mind made up on certain concepts, designs, beliefs? It's easy to slip into a comfortable certainty about what we believe and to then accept that as absolute truth.

The Creative Muse: An expanding view - doug smith training

How would we even know if absolute truth was absolute?

What if we tested our beliefs? What if we did learn about opposite points of view? What if we did explore ideas that were radically different than our own?

developing creativity

If our own truths are truly absolute, couldn't they withstand the most probing scrutiny and the most rigorous doubts? And if our beliefs are valid beyond doubting then couldn't they emerge confident after wandering through some divergent paths?

What if we let down our guard and listed openly to a new idea? What if our version of the truth is incomplete and could benefit from cranking open the windows and breathing some fresh air?

Creative actions:

  1. Explore a writer you've never read before, especially one you've consciously avoided. Read with a sense of curiosity.
  2. Create a list of ten things that you believe to be absolutely true. Reflect on the list. How did you form each of these beliefs? How much of each idea is yours and how much was provided to you by someone else?
  3. Refer back to your list and create a list of ten opposite views. What makes these views flawed? Are any of these flaws in YOUR views as well?
  4. Think about an idea or concept you have tried in the past to convince someone else was true. What if you didn't have to prove it -- what would it look like? What if proving it resulted in also proving something unexpected -- what would that be?
  5. Draw a picture to illustrate a concept that you've always thought couldn't be true (such as a flying pig.) Reflect on your picture. What is now true that was not true before?
  6. Pick any three notes from a piano or other instrument (this works best if you pick notes within your vocal range.) Play those notes over and over several times until they nestle into your memory. Hum these notes. Sing these notes. Put some words to these notes (for example, "truth can grow" or "there is more" or "truth has wings..." You decide.)
  7. Still singing your new three-note song, create an improvised dance to it. Feel free to expand your song as your dance emerges. If it feels right, clap your hands along or snap your fingers. Smile. Raise your voice, tap your feet, sing and dance.
from Creative Play by Douglas Brent Smith, p. 79-80 (c) 2006

Thursday, July 12, 2018

What we give away...

Have you ever considered that everything we have is borrowed?

I used to loan people books and then expect them to be returned. Ha. Then I came to realize, that if you loan someone a book, it's probably never coming back. The next time you see it will be at that person's home, if ever.

But life went on.

My first bicycle was a treasure. I eagerly waited for it and it was one of the best Christmas presents my parents ever gave to me. Black Beauty, I named it and rode it all over my neighborhood and behind. I even had a speedometer and odometer that recorded my precious miles. That's all gone now.

My first car was totaled by my brother. Now, sadly, both are gone. It wasn't the accident that took my brother, but he's gone way too soon.

I miss this precious treasures and other treasures as well. It's hard to let go. But they are gone. Poof! Into the void.

Now, if I have some I can give away, I try not to think of the loss, but rather of the gain. To someone else, to something else, to another time and place, and to perhaps a more peaceful and free me.

What we give away brings a profit too big to measure.

-- doug smith

Friday, June 29, 2018

High Performance Leaders Focus

Are you easily distracted? I sure am. Shiny objects appear in front of me and suddenly I'm working on something different than I started to. Eventually, I have to get back to what I was doing.

I've learned to (whenever I can!) delay that distraction and instead focus on what I'm working on. Finish something. Move forward. Focus on a goal. Get stuff done.

It's still not easy. Sometimes I slip. But I'm getting better. How about you?

Most distractions are less valuable than what they are distracting us from. High performance leaders focus.

Focus on the mission. Focus on the goal. Focus on what matters most.

-- doug smith

Friday, June 22, 2018

Tell the Truth -- to Yourself

Who do we lie to the most?

Ourselves. We talk ourselves out of things we want to do (or don't want to do...) We lie about our abilities, our authority, our status. Maybe we lie because it is safer than taking a risk. Maybe we lie because the truth is so harsh. Who are we fooling? When we fool ourselves, you know what that makes us.

I might not be able to eliminate lies, but I do not have to believe them.

And...whenever I lie to myself I try to laugh a little and move on.

How about you?

-- doug smith

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Learn from the Past

The next time someone asks you to fix the past, let it go. Relax. You know that you can't fix the past. What you control is right now. What you do right now determines your present, and to some degree your future. Fix the here and now -- that's plenty of work for anyone!

-- doug smith

Monday, June 18, 2018

No Excuses

Any excuse will do, but none are true.

High performance leaders have no appetite for excuses. Front line supervisors are patient with their people and also need to stay persistent on their insistence for positive results.

We all make mistakes, but making excuses is a losing proposition. Own it, learn from it, and move on.

No excuses accepted.

-- doug smith

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness isn't free. It costs the loss of the sense of self-righteousness that sometimes feeds our feeble ego. We don't need that, but like candy, it feels like we do. Let it go.

That's harder to do when it is ourselves who we need to forgive. Then, it isn't self-righteousness that clings to the anger but something else. Something deeper, less secure, less righteous. Let that go, too.

Forgiveness isn't free. And self-forgiveness isn't easy. But my friend, forgiveness is necessary.

Let it go.

-- doug smith