Friday, October 29, 2010

Are You Making Use of Everything You Are?

Last week I wrote a post called, The Starving Artists's Guide to Making Use of Everything You Are.

I couldn't fit everything into one piece, so today we're going to explore the second volume of strategies for doing so:

1. Honor your dominant architecture. Remember what happened when the Green Bay Packers offered Brett Favre twenty million dollars to retire? Right: He turned the money down.

To me, that was a great moment in sports history. Favre basically said:

“Excuse me, but, do you know who the hell I am? I’m sorry, maybe you’ve heard of me before: I’m Brett Favre – the greatest quarterback in the history of ever. And you’re seriously asking me (not) to make use of everything I am? Peace out, cheese heads.”

That’s what it sounds like to be in tune with your heart. That’s what it sounds like to honor the dominant architecture of your life.

The cool part is, when you do this, the example of how you live your life will become a walking book for people to read. And those lucky enough to watch the chapters being written right in their midst will be changed for better and for always. When you figure out what’s under your fingernails, will you design it into something that devastates the world?
2. Visualize the aftermath. During one of his thousands of spoken word concerts, Henry Rollins said, “I want to make life run for its life. I want to be a pain in life’s ass. I want life to celebrate the day I die. I want life to finally get a breather once I’m dead.”

What do you want to happen once you’ve made use of everything you are? What do you want people to remember? Personally, when I die, I want life to give me a standing ovation. And I don’t want it to even think about sitting down until its ass is numb and its knees start buckling.

For you, it’s worth asking two questions: What will be the afterlife of what you do? What is the field on which you will leave everything you’ve got? Remember: Your purpose isn’t a task – it’s the way you live your life. It’s what your life is committed to.

Don’t die with unlived parts of within you. Welcome the dust of the daily battle. Unlock more of your hidden capacities and underutilized talents each day. Set yourself on fire and let the world sit back and watch you burn. What is the result of you?

3. Expand your role repertoire. Speaking of Henry Rollins, I love the opening line of his Wikipedia entry:

“Henry Rollins is an American singer, songwriter, raconteur, stand-up comedian, spoken word artist, writer, publisher, record label owner, actor, radio DJ, and activist.”

Now that’s how you make use of everything you are. I hope that by the time I’m fifty, I’m recognized in such a diverse way. What about you? How diverse dare you be?

My suggestion is to expand your role repertoire. Here’s how: Next time a new, risky or unexpected opportunity comes along, ask yourself: “Is this another chance to do more of the things I love?”

If so, take it. Stay engaged with life’s possibilities and stretch deep inside yourself for this new role. That’s how you invite victory in every game you play. Not by winning all the time – but by having fun, playing new games, playing your heart out and learning from the process.

Don’t worry: You will be rewarded for the value you’re able to create. As long as you remember that you need to renew to become great. Even if not everybody likes you. Screw those wankers. Better to be hated for what you are then loved for what you aren’t. Where do you want to grow next?

4. Uniquely define your curriculum. The most formative years of my childhood were first through sixth grade. That was when a handful of us were pulled out of class to spend a portion of our time in Gifted and Talented Education.

The programs varied from critical thinking drills, creative exercises and other subjects typically not covered in the classroom.

Interestingly, none of us knew why we were being pulled out class. We were just told that were part of a unique group. And when the gifted teacher, Mrs. Ray, visited our classroom, it was time to pack up and go get creative.

It was the absolute highlight of elementary school: We learned how to think, we learned why to think and we were all given an irrevocable license to create.

Lesson learned: If you want to make use of everything you are, locate your territory for expansion. Enter it with constructive ambition. Creatively engage whatever you have and empty yourself into adventure.

That’s how you leave room for genius to enter. Where are you practicing creative deployment of self?

5. Act from embodiment. Eventually, you start to become the thing you’ve been teaching. That’s what my mentor tells me. That after a certain number of years, every leader wakes up one morning, looks in the mirror and thinks to himself:

“Wow. I am the message. I am my own best case study. The word has become flesh.”

Are you there yet? If not, be patient in learning to live physically what you know intellectually. It takes time to become the physical embodiment of your understanding.

Meanwhile, my suggestion is to smoke what you’re selling. Audit your own consistency by asking tough questions like:

*How well do you resemble what you worship?
*Is the message you’re preaching the dominant truth of your life?
*Are you living your faith out in the world or lip servicing your beliefs from behind a desk?

Remember: When you align your onstage performance and backstage reality, it’s easy to act from embodiment because your life becomes your preparation. As I remind my clients, “It took my entire life to write that sentence!” Does your life enshrine what your lips proclaim?

ULTIMATELY: Making use of everything you are is a spiritual imperative.

As Leonard Cohen sang:

“I never had a choice. I was given the gift of a golden voice. And I’m just sitting here every day, paying my rent in the tower of song.”

This is the life that now calls you.
This is the life you were created to have.

You contain enough instruments of expression to staff a symphony.

The question is whether or not you will write music for each one.

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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