standing on the shoulder of giants

portrait of a beautiful woman in a black dress leaning against a wooden stair

You may have notice that I’m a huge fan of Socrates and the ancient Greek philosophy. And I think it is amazing that these findings made 2000 years ago are still valid today. 

But there are also people today who I follow. I would like to give credit to those people who inspires me and who I draw my ideas from 

Let’s start with the obvious ones. If you are like me and you are wondering how you can create work that matters for people who care you’ve definitely stumbled upon Seth Godin. 

What I like about Seth is when he speaks about marketing, he speaks about changing the culture. 

That there is a better way of doing things than creating mediocre services or products and selling them to the masses. In fact, this will lead to a race to the bottom. But there is also a race to the top a strife for quality. 

When I become less relevant to a lot of people but more relevant or a chosen few. I will win. Because everything I give, I will return 10 times. Like in a Buddhist saying.  

On the other hand, there’s Gary Vaynerchuck. Unlike Seth Golden, he’s more about hustling and building an enterprise. I personally don’t buy into that working hard all the time message. But what I do believe in is that I have to put in the work anyway. 

What I think is amazing about Gary Vaynerchuck is that he’s very aggressive on the outside, but it talks about being kind, having self-awareness, being empathic, being patient and aiming for happiness. He watches also very closely what’s going on on the Internet – technology wise. It’s because of him I’m posting on LinkedIn. I also believe and voice just like him. 

But he doesn’t care about the technology. It is just a means to an end.  

He says about building a brand that there are no shortcuts that. It is a marathon. And that one should focus on a long-term goal and be patient because patience is the key. I totally agree with that. 

Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator. Is the author of the book never split the difference. His quite of the opposite of Gary Vaynerchuck. Surprisingly, he appears to be soft on the outside. But he’s very powerful and you can tell that his power comes from within. In his book he talks about tactical empathy, and being empathetic is the key for a successful negotiation. That speaks a lot to me. It shows me that I don’t have to be an alpha-male to be successful in business. 

And then there is Chris Do. He is the owner of a design company and he runs a YouTube channel and the podcast called in the futur. In these he talks about the business aspect of a creative business. What I like about it is that he talks from his experience and that he addresses real issues of an creative business. Like how do you price your creative work? 

But what I really like about him is there is something Zen about him. In one show he talks about that there are only two intentions in life. One is to be right. And the second one is to get the job done. He would choose as often as he could to be the one who gets the job done. At the cost of being comfortable of being popular and of being right. 

The Sunday dispatches is a newsletter by partner Paul Jarvis, and he’s also the writer of the book: The company of one. Paul Jarvis questions the common belief that a business has to grow at all costs. Instead, he said you could stay small in the business intentionally and do the work that you like to do. And do the world that your best at. I like this attitude of being small and doing what is essential. His  minimalistic approach to do business is what really resonates with me. 

I discovered Jeff Goins through the podcast the portfolio life. Jeff Goins has a very clear message. Now is the best time to be a creative. And you don’t have to be a starving artist. I find this very inspiring. The importance of making art and being an artist in this day and age as well as the artist way to run a business. Also that I can make a living by making art is what inspires me every day. 

leading with an infinite mindset

portrait of a beautiful woman in front of a painting at home

People have the tendency to follow those who seems to have all the answers, especially in uncertain times like these. 
It would be easy to fall into this trap. But how can I be a leader or an authority when I say: I don’t have a clue. 
It is tough, because my audience expect me to have answers. 
Socrates was known for the saying; I know that I know nothing. And he pushed it even further. He talked all to all these experts and made them admit that they don’t have a clue about their field of expertise. He asked Laches, the general of the Athenian Army, about bravery, for example. 
For Socrates, this step was essential. The only way to gain knowledge was to admit that everything I know is wrong. 

We live in a world that got more and more complex. Although we have access to information like never before, that doesn’t help us to understand the world better or to make wiser decisions. The opposite is true. 
With every new information, everything we know could become obsolete. So, having answers falls short. To be a leader, I need a different trait – a new mindset.A mindset that Simon Sinek calls the infinite mind. It’s a mindset that trusts in the process. That finding the answers constantly again and again is much more valuable than having any answer. And that’s why I need to be comfortable to say: I don’t have a clue. 

That it’s not a sign of weakness. It’s only a sign that you’re willing to look for the answers over and over again and to question what you know at every point in time. That I trust in the process and developed a skill that allows me to deal with problems in a complex world. 

the opportunity in the crisis

close up portrait of a beautiful blonde woman looking sad at the camera

It’s Easter Monday 2020, the third week of the lockdown due to the covid 19 pandemic. We practice social distancing and stay at home.
Besides the health issues there is a growing concern about the economy. People are losing their jobs, companies are growing out of business and friends of mine who are freelancers don’t have any work.
As I scroll through my social media feeds I read postings telling me to find the opportunity in the crisis.
I really appreciate the positivity of that and the attitude to take ownership of my life.
Still I think that there is something fundamentally wrong with this message.
Have you ever been heart broken? Have you ever felt lost? Or even, did you lose a loved one?
A crisis is a process that has its stages like the  stages in grief. Everything I know is not valid anymore. The person I am and who I want to be is at stake.Telling me to find the opportunity in the crisis is like denying that there is a crisis. Anyone can get  stuck at any time in this prozess. There is a light at the end of the tunnel but I might not make it there.
It takes courage to move on. And much more than these inspirational quotes of the motivational speakers we need to show how to not give up, how to carry on and what it takes to transform oneself.