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Posts Tagged ‘Ailsa’s Travel Theme

“You Should Care” Versus “Why You Should Care”

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Just Say No to this Toxic Assumption

This Sol Stein quote on high-powered facts failing to invite others in reminded me that we are at our best when we express our passion as an invitation. The best teachers are the ones excited about a topic. Their excitement is itself an invitation into the topic. The best salespeople are those humans who use the product and love it—which is why word-of-mouth remains the most sought-after form of advertising. The most persuasive evangelists are those whose lives have been altered by faith or by an Apple product (which is itself a kind of religion).

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Alternatively, the worst college classes, the worst business meetings, the worst seminars are those where the professor/supervisor/speaker assumes you care as much as she does. That assumption leads immediately down deep into depths of details without painting the larger picture. And many of us are desperate for the larger picture. We want to see how our work or faith makes a difference in the rest of life.

A basic truism of life as an insider is that we stop talking about why we are here (in this company or department or group or church) because we’ve heard other people’s stories and we don’t need to go over that ground again. Pretty soon we assume we are all on the same page with the meaning of our activities together. Every once in a while the boss of your boss may say something about why we are here and why its important. But day-to-day it is largely assumed.

The outsider knows nothing of this.

The outsider comes to a group not with a blank slate so much as a slate marked by other groups he has dealt with. The person on the fringe trying to understand the group wants to hear the big meaning statements, the “Why we are here” stuff. And this is precisely where corporate talk falls flat. Corporate talk about meaning and mission and purpose is often vapid precisely because there is no human behind it.

But when the outsider makes contact with the insider who is properly enthused about the meaning-making activities of the company or group, that is a very different story. Mission and purpose come alive when demonstrated by another life being altered.

So—two things:

  1. Don’t assume the people around you are insiders.
  2. Keep talking about why we are here doing these things together. These orienting, meaning-making discussions help everyone. It is too important to leave to the VP of mission.

 

More takes on “transformation” here.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

We’re All In Construction

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We build every day with actions and words

Sometimes our work is purposeful.

Sometimes we build walls with ice.

Sometimes we build walls with ice.

Sometimes we joke that our habits and actions and speech patterns amount to nothing. But that is false: if nothing else, what we do and say affects us. And there is no telling the power of example and well-placed words in the circles we travel.

Don’t think for a second you are not building.

Something.

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Image credits: Kirk Livingston

Beer, Soda, Daughter: What to pick up? What to put down?

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Fatherhood’s tricky questions.

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Makes a guy laugh–or is that a grimace? More on laughter here.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

January 10, 2015 at 9:34 am

Minimalist: Winter’s Vine

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See other examples of minimalist here.

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Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

December 27, 2014 at 9:01 am

Color in Minnesota Winter: Golden

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Color is hard to find in a Minnesota winter.

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But golden brown is available. See more on golden.

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Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

December 20, 2014 at 9:32 am

Charles Chamblis: Photographer’s Notes

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Story told by numbers

Charles Chamblis didn’t take too many days off from photography. With his camera he captured slices of life in the African-American community around Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Go see his collection of Minneapolis-Saint Paul photos at the Minnesota History Center.

More on numbers here.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Blue Mounds: Broken

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Blue Mounds State Park in Southwestern Minnesota is a surprise. This break with farmland rises amidst all the flatness. See for miles from the hiking trails along the top.

Sioux quartzite cliff 100 feet above an ancient quarry.

Sioux quartzite cliff 100 feet above an ancient quarry.

More on “broken” here.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

October 18, 2014 at 10:05 am

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