Listen, Evaluate, and Then Decide

Lately I’ve caught myself in conversations telling others to listenevaluate, and decide a lot. It may be coming across as advice to others because I have been trying to engage in feedback lately with those three words in mind.

Here is what I mean in short form:

Listen

Stop talking and just listen. If you are married you know what I mean here. It’s very hard to do this part, but it is the best thing you can do. So when someone approaches you with feedback you did not solicit go ahead and listen. Don’t justify your decisions. If you solicited the feedback once again don’t start defending your choices. Just listen.

Evaluate

You have now taken the time to actually listen to someone’s opinion. Other’s opinions are very important to improving your art/decisions/product. The thing to remember though is every opinion is just that… an opinion. So once you have taken the time to listen you must take the time to evaluate. You will base the evaluation on many factors that only you can decide on. The key here is to take the time and evaluate what you have heard from others.

Decide

Now that you have listened and evaluated you must decide. And this must be based around vision and values. If you begin making decisions based on wavering vision and values you will continue to make reactionary changes based solely on peoples opinions and not vision. This is extremely hard for church production environments. Lights, video and audio volume can be and should be decided based on vision/values and not just complaints/compliments. It’s difficult in the moments you must make a decision, but no matter what decision you make some peoples opinions will be opposite. And once again with vision you can make your way through those circumstances.

So this week as you create new art, scripts, music, policies, curriculum be sure to listen to others, evaluate what you have heard, and then decide based on your vision and values.

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Top 5 Websites I Visit Weekly

There are two things that I love to do when I open up my laptop. One is to interact with beautiful well made websites. Websites where a lot of time was put into the typography choice and the user interface (UI). The second is when different types of content is displayed well and easy to discover related content. This time I just wanted to share with you some simple links to my favorite websites that I read on a weekly basis that meet this criteria.

  1. The Great Discontent – (TGD) is a magazine featuring interviews on beginnings, creativity, and risk
  2. 99U – 99U is a site dedicated to bringing “the action-oriented insights that you didn’t get in school, highlighting real-world best practices for making ideas happen”
  3. Ted.com – Ted is “a platform for ideas worth spreading” where written word and videos help share these ideas
  4. The Sweet Setup – Sweet Setup states that they “enjoy spending an inordinate amount of time and energy to research, test, and find the very best apps”
  5. Signal & Noise – Signal & Noise is brought to use by Basecamp and it’s staff where they dive into a little bit of everything

And those are my top 5 go to websites right now for inspiration and learning. What about yourself. If there is any I missed please leave a comment below and let us all know what we may be missing.

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Books I Recommend

I started the year off slow with my reading goal, but in the last two months have covered some lost ground. Below are my top four that I’ve read so far in 2014.

Die Empty

by Todd Henry

Toddy Henry first wrote The Accidental Creative, which is one of my all time favorite books and has sense released his sophomore release Die Empty. I just finished Die Empty yesterday and am about to take my entire creative team through it together.

This book left me incredibly inspired along with tangible activities on finishing my day, weeks, and life with the tank on E. And not the *“how did I run out of gas”I E, but instead a very strategic path with purpose so I can end each day with confidence that the work I accomplish today was worth it!

Principle: Mediocrity doesn’t just happen suddenly; it develops slowly over time.

Rework

by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Ever since our team joined Basecamp for our project management and communication needs I started following Jason Fried (owner/founder of 37 Signals) on Twitter and reading their blog (singnalvnoise). Once they announced a book release I made sure to purchase it. And it did not disappoint.

In the real world, you can’t attract millions of customers without any salespeople or advertising. In the real world, you can’t reveal your formula for success to the rest of the world. But we’ve done all those things and prospered.

The real world isn’t a place, it’s an excuse. It’s a justification for not trying. It has nothing to do with you.

That quote sums up the gist of the entire book for me. It throws out the window the statement, “well this is how it has to be done to succeed”. Rework is my favorite book regarding breaking the mold of what the “real world” believes you must fit into.

Manage Your Day-To-Day

by 99U

If you follow Behance Network99U, or have bought an Action Method Notebook you may already know about this book. No matter, this is a book composed of different articles and excerpts from a large number of incredible entrepreneurs, authors, CEO’s, designers, film makers, authors, and many more productive crazed individuals.

These new perspectives caught me off-guard— I realized that much of my most valuable energy had been unknowingly consumed by bad habits. My day-to-day practices had devolved to a point where I was at the mercy of everything around me— everything but my goals and true preferences.

If you read this book be prepared to gain extremely well written short doses of insights on productivity and how you are most likely missing it. This book opened my eyes to unproductive habits all around me that I had never seen before.

Overwhelmed

by Perry Noble

This is another book I finished this week and one that I felt was written more like a large collection of blog posts around the topic overwhelmed, which turned out to be a great way to read it. The book is a quick read and is packed full of incredible insights based around the book of Daniel, the story of Job, and Perry’s own personal struggles with depression and being overwhelmed.

Everything changed when I stopped praying, “Change my friends, change my circumstances, change my wife,” and I began to pray, “God, change me, change my heart. Something is wrong with me – please do a work in me.”

Perry does a great job here helping me laser in on Jesus, and how He and no one else or thing should hold my complete trust. This book hit home for me in regard to some of my personal circumstances in the last few years and was a breath of fresh air on trusting Jesus. Very thankful for this book and highly recommend it to anyone suffering with any form of depression and/or continual stress levels.

[note]So those my top four books so far this year. I would love to hear your thoughts as well as any books you guys are reading that we must know about![/note]