working out loud

Developing a Brand Platform: Values for the Vision

I’ve been a part of several instances of brand development for different organizations, but this past year I’ve learned that they were all wrong. Scratch that…they weren’t totally wrong, they just didn’t start right.

Many brand conversations I’ve been a part of started with the mission statement, then quickly went into the details of the work and what the organization did, then a vision of the future. Pretty quickly after that came the designs, colors, fonts, and types of photos. And each time it seemed like a logical process.

But then something changed for me.

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To You Who Will Never Read This

I don’t want to be too presumptuous, but I think the biggest problem with our relationship is lack of communication. If you’re reading this now, well, you probably agree with a lot of the beliefs and ideals that I value. We probably read news from similar organizations and follow the same types of people on Twitter. Our friends probably look alike and we probably even listen to similar music. We talk all the time and practically always agree.

But if you’re someone who’s not reading this, honestly, I think our relationship is in trouble. We don’t often see or hear each other and when we do, we’re both so focused on what the other is saying or doing that’s wrong that we barely hear anything else. There may have been a time when we might listen to what the other has to say politely, but those days are long gone. We’ve both said some hurtful stuff and done some stupid things and frankly, I find you kind of offensive. I think you’re full of fear and ignorance and…well, there I go again. It’s so easy to focus on what I don’t agree with when you talk—I know you know what I mean.

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Why I Write: to Connect

whyiwrite2016It’s pretty simple why I write: I write to connect. To connect my brain to my heart. Or sometimes just to connect my brain to my brain—writing straightens out my thoughts. Through my words typed out and shared with others, I connect by adding my voice to the stream of human experience. It’s not always important that it’s unique or new but often it’s important for me to be a part of something that only my writing can connect me to.

Writing is a way for me to reach out to others for guidance and a way to respond to those that reach out to me. I’m not sure I could be a part of life in the same way without writing. The connections I gain through writing make me a better person and that is reason enough to keep at it.

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Choice (Something I Care About)

something_i_care_aboutMy 11-year-old daughter gave me an assignment last week: “write a poem about something you care about,” and it had to be handwritten. After a couple extensions on the deadline (phew), I finally turned it in. I don’t usually write poems with verses that rhyme, but she often does, so I thought I would try a poem in her style. I think I got full credit (even though it was late). And the typed version is below in case, like her, you can’t read my writing.

Perhaps the easiest one
   is to go left or to go right
Or maybe to stand up or sit tight
And then there’s going red
   or green or brown
Put it right side up
   or upside down
And of course you can go slow
   or you can go fast
Take it right up to the line
   or go past
You can rock or you can roll
You can sleep or stay awake
Keep your eyes wide open
   for as much as you can take
You can listen or go deaf
   and pretend it’s not there
Choose right or choose wrong
   or call the whole thing unfair
There are no strings attached
   or someone else writing your part
No one else controls your thoughts
   or pumps blood through your heart
We’d like to give credit or
   blame others for the view
But in the end it’s a choice
   and only you control you.

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breathe

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Breathe

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Markers

It’s seems important to have markers—points along the continuum to clearly state something has ended and something has begun. And even though most people seem drawn towards delineations on some level, there’s something about having kids that really pushes the demand for recording the beginnings and the ends.

It starts with birth and quickly becomes first foods, words, and steps. Just as you record one marker another has already passed, and pretty soon you just can’t keep up. But today was a clear marker that’s pretty easy to name but hard to consolidate into a concise description that captures everything that was experienced.

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