I had an ah-ha moment while facilitating a Mindful Brand Workshop this week. The client team was answering “How do you sound to your customers?” Someone said, “I think we sound disorganized.” Someone else chimed in, “Shouldn’t we say positive things.” The first contributor said, “But it’s true. We do sound disorganized.”
A word like disorganized readily connotes negative conclusions. And while there may indeed maybe negative manifestations I felt compelled to ask “what’s the flip side of disorganized; is there a positive to the negative?” I mean, Tim Hafford dedicated a whole book to the creative benefits of messiness and isn’t that a lot like being disorganized?
That's when the ah-ha moment hit. It reminded me not to be so damn dualistic; to not categorize things so quickly into good or bad buckets.
It's a frequent reminder lately as I’ve been taking two classes at The Hive related to befriending the shadow. Simply put, the shadow is those internal dark areas that we often avoid because we believe they're harmful. Consider arrogance, laziness, anger, etc. What I'm learning is that the shadow areas are indispensable. While the shadow can fuel evil, it drives our greatness too. I think of it like fire. Unruly flames burn down a house while tempered flames can warm a house up.
When we avoid our shadow we go numb (think Netflix binge). More importantly, the world loses out on what our shadow can contribute through our creativity, ingenuity, and vigor.
That brings me back to the word disorganized. What if instead of feeling it was something to hide it was something to leverage; call it organic, imperfect, human, authentic, real, or whatever you will?
It’s complicated. But aren’t we all complicated? Isn't that our one common connection?
With design and branding, as well as life, this is perhaps our most significant work. To befriend our weakness and find our strength.
The Destiller Podcast with Megan Trischler - I'm biased, of course, but there are some terrific insights in this interview with Megan (my wife). I especially love her answer to how she gauges the impact of her work at People's Liberty – "Are we facilitating the connection between people that wouldn't otherwise have been there?"
Jocelyn K. Glei on Ideation and Being Accountable in Your Projects - "Content is a word that was invented by people who want to create boxes that they can sell ads around, and they had to come up with a name for what goes in the box, and that word was 'content.' In other words, if you’re using the word 'content' that means you really don’t have a vision for what you’re making. Because creating good content requires specificity: it requires a point of view and strong writing and the right package to frame it, to catch someone’s attention, and to inspire trust. This is no easy task."
Why Do Google, Airbnb, And Pinterest All Have Such Similar Logos? - "So much of the identity now is defined by a lot of elements and experiences that surround the logo, that are supporting it. My metaphor is, think about the logo as the keystone in the bridge. It’s central but there’s a whole bunch of other things around it that keep that bridge intact and get you from one side of the river to another. It has to fit with a lot of other component parts."
We Fear What We Can't Control About Uber and Facebook - "We are about to enter a new meta-narrative for American society, which I call 're-establishing the feeling of control.' Unfortunately, when you pursue the feeling rather than the actual control, you often end up with neither."