Blogathon, Day 2: On Vision (Part 1)

Today’s questions deal with a big topic:

  • Who are you and what do you see your work as “being”?
  • How is your work “evolving” and “becoming”?
  • What about your work inspires you? Inspires others?
  • Where are you going and what are you doing after this (five-year) point in the future?

In a past life, I have felt the pull of bigger visions — those that are beyond what I can accomplish alone, or even believe could happen within my own lifetime. Take a look, for example, at this map:

World Class Transit Vision, by Citizens for Progressive Transit

It was not all that long ago I served on the board of an organization called Citizens for Progressive Transit, a nonprofit organization with a mission to support the use and expansion of quality public transportation in Atlanta. Their cause is still one I care about and support. The impact of transportation infrastructure on the quality of life of a city is deep and long-lasting, and it remains one of my top issues when I vote.

The vision expressed by the map is very big and very clear. It’s a vision that not one person can implement, and is unlikely to happen within one lifetime — rather, it’s much more likely to happen one segment at a time.

All that is to say, in the past and present I have looked at myself as playing a supporting role in achieving bigger visions. I’m now at a stage in my own life where that may be changing. Today’s questions give me food for thought about a personal vision. Where do I see myself in the future? Vision does not only have to be a “community” thing, but can also be a “personal” thing.

A former employer of mine gave me some advice that haunts me to this day. He told me that I have many talents, but that I also need to choose one or maybe two talents at the most and let go of the rest. Over the past few years with C4 Atlanta, as I’ve worked with so many artists on their business plans (their dreams, really) I see many struggle with this same dilemma. The problem isn’t about choosing what to do — it’s about choosing what not to do.

One other piece of advice that affects me came in the form of a video of Sir Ken Robinson, where he delivers a “sermon” on passion. Essentially, he speaks of the need to find that spot where your natural talent meets your personal passion. What am I good at that I also enjoy doing? And can I put that talent to use in making the world a better place?

For me to truly know the answer to this question, I have to know what contributes to my happiness. I could take a talent that I enjoy practicing to a workplace with a toxic environment, and that would not make me happy. The task, the opportunities for personal development, the social life of the work environment (among other things) all contribute to my sense of fulfillment.

With all that said, my answers to the questions for week 2 will follow in a future blog post.

Blogathon, Day 1 – On Purpose

There was a time in my life when I was an avid blogger. Though I wasn’t 100% consistent, I had something to say nearly every day that I was willing to publish to the world. Today, my publishing days have come to a crawl. So when C4 Atlanta member Ruth Schowalter came up with an idea to have a blogathon, I saw it as an opportunity to get back into the habit.

Five days after the blogathon began, I find myself on the path to playing catch-up. Each day begins with a prompt, to which I write a blog post in response. The prompt for day 1 is on defining your creative mission. What is my purpose, and what do I want to remembered for?

I like to say, tongue-in-cheek, that I practice the administrative arts. This is obviously not “why” I exist. However, the field of arts administration is highly specialized. Back in 2005, when I received my first diploma from Georgia State, a close friend of mine approached me to let me know of a job opening. A local arts service organization was looking for an IT Manager. That conversation, little did I know then, was the beginning of a journey that I am still on today.

Over time, I have allowed circumstances to dictate the evolution of my focus as an arts service organization administrator. I’ve moved from a focus on performing arts to a focus on arts entrepreneurs of every discipline. But through all of that, my own purpose in the journey — now going on 9 years — has not changed a whole lot: to strengthen the cultural life of my home town, Atlanta, through service and through the promotion of best practices for all artists and administrators.

The mission will continue to be refined until the journey ends.