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Archive for July 2011

The Courage to Make Change

“I want to make changes. Not let change happen around me.”

I read that comment this week, and it rocked me. I write a lot about change, it seems. I guess it comes from being in an intense season of change over the last year. That whirlwind can sometimes blur your vision where change (and everything else) is concerned. So the comment rocked me. It stopped me and made me re-examine the subject.

It’s one thing to accept change. Even to want it. It’s quite another to make it.

So often we look at change as this ethereal force happening all around us that we are left to compensate for, overlook, grab hold and ride, or be blown away by. Take your pick of one of those positions; the navigation is the same. It’s out of our control. Some unknown and seemingly rampant tide is in charge, pulling us along for the ride. And we are relegated to letting it happen.

I haven’t written about courage (my 2010-11 theme word) in several months, but I think the decision to”make change” certainly requires it. To reject the mentality that change is out of our hands and firmly take the reins of responsibility ourselves takes courage. (Why does a rodeo bull-riding metaphor come to mind?)

It takes courage.

The courage to imagine something new and different — to see it.
The courage to see it as possible.
The courage to see ourselves as worthy of this new possibility.
The courage to recognize our own value.
And our own values.
The courage to ask questions.
To take stands.
To dare to be bold. Even brazen in our pursuit of that possibility we see.
And the courage to move and step and act and speak.

Just as “making change” in the mundane sense is exchanging currency like dollars for coins, to make change in broader strokes requires a more prominent exchange. We exchange this direction for that one — the one that more closely aligns with the destination (and journey) our souls require. We exchange someone else’s priorities for our own — the ones we own in that secret place that comes alive in our hearts when we know we are where we need to be. We exchange the superfluous for the necessary — that list of essentials representing the lowest common denominator for our unique life of joy. We exchange the ever-abstract big picture for exquisite details — those nitty-gritty, real-world specifics that characterize the life we MUST have each and every day.

Those exchanges can never happen by chance in the billowing tide of an ethereal “wind of change.” No, those exchanges only happen with intention, with choosing, with moving and acting. With making change.

And that takes courage.

One Year

I’m celebrating the one-year birthday of Small Pond Graphics today! It’s been a year marked by new things, for sure. New starts. New day-to-day activities. New creative environment. New skills. New collaborations. And, thankfully, new clients. I’ve had the opportunity this year to spread my wings a little. My task has been to do the very things I so often help clients do. Differentiate myself. Own my unique offerings. Determine what I’m passionate about in this industry. Establish my own voice. Tell my story. And do the work.

As I acknowledge the milestone of one year in business, I’ve been thinking over the story of Small Pond Graphics — what I want my company and my design life to be about — and I keep coming back to two ideas that continually get me hopping.

It’s a small world.

You only have to enjoy a 140-character Twitter conversation with a web designer in Australia on a Thursday morning to realize it. You only have to look at countries and businesses and people half-way around this ball pushing through the same struggles and successes to realize we are all companions in this journey called work and life. So many times, we eschew small in favor of bigger and better. But, what I’ve seen with the growth of social media and the changing climate of our digital lives is that this new technology is moving us smaller and smaller with the ability to share the details of life and business with folks we would never have imagined just twenty years ago. In fact, the social marketplace we inhabit is becoming more and more like the word-of-mouth Main Street of black and white movies. The Main Street is just a global one now.

With these realities comes the fact that we all start small. Small is inevitably the beginning of big. Giving attention to the small things and doing them well is the foundation for bigger things — bigger services, bigger markets. I want to cultivate in Small Pond Graphics an appreciation and attention to small things, seemingly small clients, small details. I want to be excellent, not “even” in, but especially in the small.

Frogs can be princes.

In my very first blog post here, Prince Potential, I was thinking about the old tale of the frog and the princess — more specifically, her willingness to look past the wartiness of the creature to see his potential. And, her willingness to risk a kiss to make it happen. Yes, it’s a great fairy tale, but there’s something about it I want to capture in the real life of my business. So often we live in a world where WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) is paramount. I think that’s a shame. It defies one of those remarkable things about entrepreneurs and great thinkers and just humans — the ability to exceed expectations, to offer well beyond what has already been conceived. I want “what you get” from Small Pond Graphics to be much more than what you’ve already imagined. It’s how I see my role with my clients. One of my passions has always been to apply creativity, good design skills and even a few new thoughts to a client’s “big idea” — to help it achieve fruition with it’s best face on. In essence, to give marketing and visual wings to someone’s dream. No, not every project requires that kind of flight. But, I do believe every project and every client deserves that kiss of uncommon imaginative attention. I want Small Pond Graphics to be about giving it. Every time.

So, you’ve been privy to my own evaluations and ramblings on this Small Pond birthday. Thank you. And thank you for your support and confidence during this first year in business. I’m looking forward to another year of finding princes.

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