A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Category: Work (page 1 of 1)

Into the Crowd…

Today marks the beginning of the first conference/convention/etc. I’ve attended in a long time. I’m a little bit anxious.

It’s not that I don’t like people. I do. I think I have a servant’s heart for people. I do. But as I get older, my tolerance for people’s BS has diminished. I don’t relish the thought of sitting/milling around/interacting with a crowd.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. Get ready to send in the rescue team.

Random Thoughts on a Random Friday in April…

(Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash)

Fridays are for thinking, some deep thoughts, some not so deep, and some just random. Here are some of the random kind, in no particular order or with no rhyme or reason…

    • I may be the hardest working $14-an-hour designer-wannabe in the business.
    • The trouble with clients (members, patrons, customers, etc.) is that they don’t really know what they want, and when you produce what they say they want, they want you to change it.
    • But the trouble with clients (members, patrons, customers, etc.) notwithstanding, they do pay the $14 an hour, so there’s that.
    • Even though René Marie wrote and sang Shelter in Your Arms from a woman’s autobiographical perspective, it resonates with me on so many levels: evocative lyrics, simple, almost melancholy music, and it’s just about perfect for a random Friday afternoon in April.
    • Clarity trumps any awkwardness in the workplace almost every time. Somebody—one of the parties, or both—needs to acknowledge the lingering awkwardness and take the hard step of seeking clarity so that everyone else can get on with some sense of normalcy. Else the mission suffers.
    • Maybe a new gig will take care of that awkwardness by allowing affected people to start fresh somewhere else.
    • Speaking of new gigs, there may be one in your humble writer’s future. No definite job description, no concrete pay package, a few spotty details, but a possibility. Kind of scary for that aforementioned wanna-be.
    • Austin Kleon’s 33 Thoughts on Reading. He first published this list in 2014, but they are still helpful today.
    • And while you’re over there at Austin Kleon’s place, you should also check out his writing advice for artists and visual thinkers.
    • Each day (almost) this year, I’ve found the corresponding daily entries in Thoreau’s Journals, and I’m reading through almost in a “daily devotional” format. Finding some really powerful thoughts (some of the random Friday kind!) and some really mundane twittering. Altogether, I think I see the power of looking and seeing and thinking and recording in a systematic way what you observe. Flashes of greatness often emerge out of daily encounters.

If I Were a(n) ____________…


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“If I were a(n) ____________, what would I be doing today?”

Many of us feel like we’re stuck in our jobs. What we’re doing right now is not paying the bills. Or it’s not fulfilling. Or it’s not fun anymore. Or it’s boring. Or it’s not making a difference. Or whatever.

Many of us think about changing jobs, about quitting our humdrum career and doing what we were made to do.

But most of us won’t. Why? Because we have fantasies about what that “dream job” would be, but we lack direction or courage or confidence or skill or whatever the excuse du jour.

I’ve been thinking about that lately, and I keep coming back to what a lot of others have said…

The first step to becoming a __________ is to think of yourself as a ____________.

Let’s take that a step further.

If I were a ___________, today I would need to be ______________.

How do you fill in those blanks?

If I were a pastor, today I would be preparing for Sunday’s message. I would be studying the Scriptures, praying over the truths and insights. I would be crafting the message so that I could most effectively communicate the Word to my congregation. I would be finishing up preparation for the rest of the worship service. I would be calling a few people to check on them. I would be planning the next few weeks and months and looking at ways to fulfill the tasks of the church. I would be devising strategies for increasing the church’s impact in the community and the world. I would have a full agenda. I would be busy.

If I were, say, a writer, today I would be writing. I’d be sitting at my computer or in front of my typewriter. I would have my pencil and notebook. I would be putting fingers to keys or point to paper. I would be thinking of the right words to say what’s on my mind. I would be agonizing over grammar and syntax and spelling. I would be busy.

Let’s say I were, I don’t know…a designer. I’d be upping the level of my creative skills so that I could take my designs to another level. If I were a salesman, I’d be calling on customers and familiarizing myself with my products so I could match the two in effective ways. Suppose I were a teacher. I would be helping my students grasp some concept. I would be grading their work and providing feedback to help them improve.

And so on.

The point is that if I want to be a(n) ______________, I need to start doing the things that ___________s do.

I need to stop making the excuses and get busy. I might not become the next great ___________, but I will likely be closer to it that way than if I sit here in a subjunctive mood.

What do you want to be? What would you be doing right now?

Why not do it?