Clarity First Newsletter, March 17, 2017

I’ve been feeling pretty blue of late. Go figure. When our leaders lie to us I get triggered.

This week I found comfort studying a poem by Dongshan, a 9th century Zen teacher. Marc Lesser, the CEO of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, shared it in a recent letter to their mailing list.

Not deciding it is or it isn’t
Do you have the courage to be at peace with it?
Everyone wants to leave the endless changes.
But when we finish bending and fitting our lives
We come and sit by the fire.

I hope you’ve got a fire to sit close to. There’s a whole lot of bending and fitting going on.

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way

“Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.”
Book Review: The Obstacle Is the Way: Turning Adversity Into Advantage

Describe the new reality you are trying to create.

Jack Vinson just read April K. Mills’ new book on change agency. He took away seven essentials:

– Drive change, not people,
– Create and maintain change buffers,
– Set a concrete goal,
– Map the terrain,
– Challenge assumptions,
– Focus on sustainment, and
– Try.

Sign me up. I want to be a change agent. I want to serve change agents.
Book Review: Everyone is a Change Agent: A Guide to the Change Agent Essentials

Rivalry causes us to overemphasize old opportunities and slavishly copy what has worked in the past.

Shane Parrish just read Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One: Notes on Startupsor How to Build the Future. He lists eight takeaways.
Article: The “0 to 1 Trap” and Seven Other Things I Learned from Peter Thiel

“Listening to customers without saying anything back to them except to find out more…”

“If I work in a place that does these things I will appear positive as I am positive about these things. The more of these things there are in a workplace the more positive I will appear to be, because these things work.”
Article: I am relentlessly positive about all of the following…

Some things that Nancy Duarte knows about creating presentations that move hearts and minds

Nancy Duarte is the founder and CEO of Duarte Design, a firm focused exclusively on presentations that move minds from here to there. In addition to being brilliant at what she does, she is also a fantastic teacher. Here are some of her most salient rules of thumb.
Article: Rules of Thumb About Telling Stories that Transform Audiences

Tired of making digital marketing up as you go?

The DIY Digital Marketing Camp provides an overview of four of the most powerful tools in the modern marketer’s toolbox. Learn how to get better at and have more fun with your marketing communications challenges in one fun and info-packed day.
Workshop: DIY Digital Marketing Camp, the Survey Course


Last week my son Devan texted me that he was listening to the album Messesby Detroit artist Stef Chura. So, I started doing the same. Nine days later I still am. My first impression was Superchunk, then Chrissie Hynde, then Cat Power. Then, finally, I stopped trying to shoehorn her into someone else’s idiom and let her fresh, natural and unique voice wash over me. Here she is playing last month in San Diego. You can hear the album at her Band Camp page.

Image of the week

The smaller of the paintings in the header is named Gas (1930), by Edward Hopper. The larger is need American Landscape (1930), by Charles Sheeler. They are two of the paintings currently hung at the Royal Academy in London in the show America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s. Organized by Judith Barter of the Art Institute of Chicago, the touring show examines what happened to art and society after the crash and fall of 1929, as expressed by American painters of the time. The Art Newspaper covered the show.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Clarity, the consultancy that helps mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation. Learn more.

If you get value from Clarity First, please pass it on, enroll in the DIY Digital Marketing Camp, the Survey Course or just think of me when you think about improving your marketing communications.

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