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.
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.
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
If you follow Behance Network, 99U, 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.
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.
Lately I’ve caught myself in conversations telling others to listen, evaluate, 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:
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.
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.
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.
On Aug 1 join author Ben Arment (dreamyear.net/#
You’ll also have the chance to be one of 10 people to “pitch” your dream using 20 slides that each advance every 20 seconds. (Visit pechakucha.org for examples.) These shared ideas will give everyone a chance to collaborate and share their talents, resources, and connections.
Green-Light This Event – Sponsors needed!
The Charlotte Pitch Night won’t happen until 100 tickets are secured (your credit card will not be charged until they do). And we have just a few more days to do it… the deadline is Wednesday, June 4! We are looking for churches, companies and organizations who want to invest in their creative communities (workers, creative directors, artists, musicians, videographers, etc). The best way to do this is by sponsoring blocks of tickets ranging from 10, 20, 50, or the remaining 54 tickets needed to Green-Light the event. One church in Nashville bought out the event (100 tickets) on opening day for the Nashville, TN Pitch Night. I’m certain we can do it here in the Queen City.
By signing up for the event, you’ll get a copy of the hardcover book Dream Year; hear the author Ben Arment speak in person; meet a community of dream-chasers in a great venue; hear 10 people share their dreams (with a chance to be one of them); and enjoy free beverages from Coca-Cola Consolidated, a local coffee bar (Not Just Coffee) and live music from Chad Lawson Trio – all for the cost of the book (you save $11).
We absolutely love when we have baptisms at Port City Church. It is such a neat thing to see our church celebrate with those who have chosen to take this step of obedience in faith. It is also such a privilege to hear each story of what God is doing in these people’s lives, and to celebrate this next step in their walks!
We are always amazed by the way God orchestrates each story differently. For some, like Mandy, the choice to follow Jesus came early in life, and since then it has been a journey to learn how to walk with Him and share His love with others. For others, like Chad, the choice to follow Jesus did not come until later, but even through the events of his life it is evident how God uses people to reveal Himself to others.
We are so grateful for the opportunity to get to know people and to see how God has worked in their lives each time we celebrate a baptism.
~ Sarah Peck
~ Denzel Washington