While the media continues to report details about our current pandemic, the future outlook seems uncertain. We’ve been instructed to limit many of our activities, and find ourselves guessing about worst case scenarios. It’s human nature to be frightened about the unknown, which causes further fear, panic, hoarding, isolation, and hopelessness.
Perhaps if we find ways to SHOW OUR WORK - and its positive impact on others, we can brighten our present – and future outlook. The idea came to me while reading a book by Austin Kleon. “Show Your Work! 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered” is full of amazing ideas in short excerpts with whimsical illustrations. I nodded “Yes” to each chapter’s ideas, and also had some “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. Kleon’s intended audience may be creative entrepreneurs, but there’s no reason we can’t “Steal Like an Artist 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” (also by Kleon) to help us survive. (https://austinkleon.com/show-your-work/)
I personally believe it’s possible for everyone to learn/practice creative thinking. (I now give motivational presentations to “Ignite Your Hidden Creative Genius”). In addition, my book “Staying Inspired” (release planned this year) led me to blog last week: “What are we doing to Stay Inspired Today?” After that post, multiple instances of answers to that question popped up in front of me.
Today, I’m going to share a few stories about entrepreneurs/leaders who have already found ways to “Show Your Work” - and prove they “CAN do” - despite current limitations.
MUSICIAN: JAY DANIELS (http://www.jaydanielsmusic.com/): Jay is a musician acquaintance, currently serving New York and surrounding areas. I have observed that Jay is a talented young man with a mature, sweet soul. His niche is performing vocal/piano jazz music from the Great American Songbook. Over the past couple of years, he’s been on an adventure to see how frequently he can share his talent in public venues, and with senior communities all over the Northeast. Jay is also the host/executive producer of “Simply Timeless” radio program. http://simplytimelessradio.blogspot.com/
Successfully meeting his goals, he’s been pinning his map for every location booked. However, the senior communities have recently put strict limitations on visits from non-essential employees and vendors. Gatherings (i.e. weddings, concerts, and clubs) are also being postponed or cancelled. All of this has suddenly interrupted the work flow for Jay and other fine musicians.
Jay’s answer to this business disruption was to engage his social media fans with “LIVE” Facebook “house concerts”. Musicians often show their work through social media, but Jay cleverly included a Virtual Tip Jar within his post and mentions (in a nice way) if the listener enjoys the music, there’s the tip jar! Mindful of his listeners, he took spontaneous song requests as he performed. Jay is a true showman. Here’s the link to one of his Facebook LIVE concerts: https://www.facebook.com/musicbyjaydaniels/videos/199794111116746/
COACH/AUTHOR/SPEAKER/PROCESS ARTIST: ANNELIES GENTILE, Conduit for Change (https://conduitforchange.com/), book “From Chaos to Calm” along with husband FACILITATOR/EDUCATOR: GREG WHITT, Drum for Change (https://www.drumforchange.com/).
Annelies and I met through a local speaker network. She released her book a year and a half ago. Annelies helps others in a very loving, intimate, and creative way - leading change from the inside out - for sustainable growth and a deeply satisfying human connection. Greg’s company leads programs designed to creatively connect people (how we can live, work, and play well together in community) – cleverly disguised as music - delivered interactively, engaging fun, and promoting joy.
Every so often, Annelies releases a provoking newsletter. The other day, she included an invitation to a community meeting - “Let’s Talk at the Kitchen Table Coronavirus/Covid-19”. The idea was to have a community conversation about what’s going on right now from the comfort and warmth of their own kitchen table. “Pull up your computer, your phone, your glass of wine. Let’s talk.” They even invited locals to bring a meal to share and join in person (“We’ll have hand sanitizers wipes and air hugs.”)
Those present (in whatever capacity they could connect) discussed their fears, concerns, and shared creative ways on how best to carry on. Annelies and Greg facilitated, helping tp create a sense of peace, calm, and inspiration in the virtual room. They promoted the idea of staying connected with others by reaching out in various ways instead of feeling totally isolated. From the conversation, attendees sparked relevant ideas to show their work and make a positive impact on community at the same time. Annelies and Greg are showing their work by using their individual skills/tools for good. They plan other such meetings where everyone can tap in. Here’s a link to their first such discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXnP5k1C2qo
NONPROFIT FOUNDER/LEADER/PROFESSIONAL SPEAKER: AMBER M SMITH, Activate Good, Inc. and The Good Hub PopUp (https://activategood.org/ and https://activategood.org/thegoodhub/): Amber is the co-founder and executive director of Activate Good, Inc., a Raleigh NC non-profit whose mission is to activate volunteers to help charitable causes in our local community. They serve over 500 nonprofits in the Triangle, connecting over 27,000 volunteers through on-line matching, special days of service, Meetup events, and other activities.
Over the last few years, they dreamed of a space where anyone in the community could come learn about local causes, connect with other volunteers, discuss/find personal interest related opportunities to help others, and to serve together though on-site hands-on projects. They called this concept “The Good Hub”. This year, Activate Good was offered an office space to test The Good Hub concept. The organization opened a “PopUp” version on February 29, 2020, with drop in dates, guided tours, special events, and group projects. Shortly after opening, news of our viral pandemic took over - resulting in multiple supporter cancellations. As the situation worsened, Activate Good chose safety and health practices, closing The Good Hub PopUp temporarily, with hopes of resuming activities in April.
In the meantime, Activate Good watched and listened about how current events affected ALL area nonprofits. Cancelled fundraising events, loss of donations, and scarcity of volunteers threatens to stop nonprofits from doing their good works in the community. Knowing the community still has needs to serve, and nonprofits require help to serve the community, Activate Good jumped into action.
Activate Good shows their work by "activating" alternate ways to help their nonprofit partners serve the community. Since volunteers are being told to stay home, Activate Good has compiled a list of “REMOTE” Volunteer opportunities. This way nonprofits can receive assistance with important background tasks, while volunteers avoid public contact until things settle down. This is only one of the creative options offered. Visit this page to read about how YOU can help: https://activategood.org/covid19/
Amber, a changemaker, outside of Activate Good, has a YouTube channel with inspiring short videos on a variety of topics related to nonprofits, leadership, and helping others. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfZTwiQU_YE782DD-orsi0g and connect on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ambermelsmith/
There are many other inspirational stories happening during rough times (and all the time). Please share those stories and give others a positive lift. Contact me with the details if you’d like me to feature them in my blog.
Remember, we may not be able to change what’s happening around us, but we have the power to be positive and creative with our actions. Let’s all Stay Inspired, do what we CAN do, and offer hope along the way.
Paula C Snyder
**Staying Inspired Artwork/Layout Created and Article/Blog Written by Paula C Snyder © 2020 – All Rights Reserved**
**BookCover/Book "SHOW YOUR WORK" by Artist/Author Austin Kleon
2013 Paula C Snyder and Grandma Paula photos by Chris Florio were made possible by the Regional Artist Project Grant. The Regional Artist Project Grant is funded and administered by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. This project is supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. The program is operated in partnership with the Franklin County Arts Council, Johnston County Arts Council, Vance County Arts Council and Warren County Arts Council. http://www.unitedarts.org