The Big Art is Our Life

“All the arts are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.”

—Mary Caroline Richards, 19th Century American Poet & Potter

Image of a potters wheel

Image from Flickr by pax-h2o

Do you live to work or work to live? Regardless of how you answer the question, it is clear that we spend a pretty high percentage of our lives engaged in our work.

How many different jobs have you had so far in your life? Many of my coaching clients have multi-page resumes, often including five, ten, or more positions. Quite often, one reason they hire me is to support a transition in their professional life.

They almost always simultaneously seek to live more artfully and include a high degree of focus and effort in their personal lives.

EXERCISE:

What artistic efforts are most appropriate at this point in your life? What would make it a more beautiful masterpiece?

Never hope for it more than you work for it

“Never hope for it more than you work for it.”

—Sonya Teclai, Musical Artist

Image from providinghopenj.org

Image from providinghopenj.org

Though hope may seem like a soft concept, it has hard edges and bottom line implications in the world of professional and personal achievement. Shane Lopez Ph.D., a professor at The University of Kansas School of Business, and a Gallup Senior Scientist, points to the following “Bottom Line” benefits of hope:

    • Hope is the basis of all positive change.
    • Hopefulness can be learned and taught.
    • Hope is different from wishing due to its active quality. Wishing is passive and undermines the chances of success.
    • People work harder, and greater resources are put behind hopeful endeavors.
    • Hopeful organizational cultures dramatically enhance employee engagement and productivity.

EXERCISE:

What are the personal or professional projects you are working on that require a booster shot of hope to help them become realized?

Consider checking out Shane Lopez’s Book Making Hope Happen if you would like to learn more.

“Do More Great Work!”

“Do More Great Work!”

—Michael Bungay Stainer, Sr. Partner at Box of Crayons

Do-More-Great-Work-3d

QC #955

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am currently reading the book Mastery by Robert Greene, with great fascination. The subject of mastery has intrigued me all my life. This brilliant analysis includes stories of a wide variety of historic and current masters, and how their life journeys evolved.

Fundamental to the majority of these stories is a clear and authentic passion for the type of work or activity the subjects pursued. Each person tapped into their own gifts and unique abilities, and combined them with an unstoppable drive to pursue, develop, and contribute their talents to the world.

EXERCISE:

What does doing more great work mean to you? How can you do less bad work, or stop both the bad and even some good work, to make room for more great work in the year ahead?

Consider making the book Mastery a must read for 2016.

Another favorite I am sure you will enjoy is Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stainer, author of today’s quote.

“Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.”

“Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.”

—Ann Landers, Chicago Sun-Times Advice Columnist

Photo from Flickr by Venture Minimalists

Photo from Flickr by Venture Minimalists

The “Fountain of Youth” is a spring that supposedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. The legend became particularly prominent in the 16th century, attached to the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon’s travels in what is now Florida.

In an April 2014 Time Magazine article titled, “9 Secrets to Living Longer,” author Alexandra Sifferlin points out that good, old-fashioned work plays a critical role in not only the quantity but also the quality of life.

EXERCISE:

Consider working up a bit of a sweat and adding to the length of your life by…

  • Working out and doing some form of exercise daily
  • Working on your diet – you are what you eat
  • Working on your relationships
  • Engaging fully in vocation and avocational activities that you enjoy and that will make a difference in the world
  • Working on your mind by participating in life-long learning

Please reply to this post with some of your own sweat-inducing activities that make your life more rewarding.

“The highest reward for a person’s toil… “

“The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.”

– John Ruskin, 19th century English artist and philanthropist

PROGRESS 1
I am a work in progress. How about you? With the wide variety of daily experiences we all have, I believe that we are constantly evolving and becoming a fuller expression of ourselves.

We all work each day to earn the compensation that allows us to care for ourselves and others. Ruskin’s quote, however, points to the less recognized and often subtle developments that accompany such experiences.

Exercise:

Explore how your daily efforts further your journey toward more fulfilling relationships, enhance creativity, expand greater self-esteem, support vibrant health, and extend your pursuit of wisdom.

How are you going beyond your basic psychological and physiological needs to pursue your own self-actualization? Consider Googling Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to explore this concept in more depth.

#103: “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”

– John Ruskin, artist and art critic

We have all heard the quote, “When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” A by-product of this mixture of love and work is mastery, due to the amount of practice we experience over time.

Think about famous artists, top athletes, and great entertainers as examples of this synergistic combination.

Exercise:

What are your greatest skills, where you lose yourself in love?

It would be wonderful if these included your vocation. They may be hobbies or similar avocations – and hopefully, they can include building extraordinary relationships, in all areas of life.

What masterpieces have you built to this point and what future works of art are on the way?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your details in the sidebar to the right.

#87: “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play…”

“… his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.”

– James Michener, author

When I was a young boy, my dad used to tell me that I had to get all my work done before I could go out and play. At that time, work and play were definitely separated. One was hard and difficult; the other was fun and exciting.

When we see adults for whom this distinction does not exist, it helps us make a life-altering shift. Work and play can be one and the same.

Exercise:

How can you play at work and work at play?

What level of life satisfaction would be possible?

How can you be an inspiration to others to do the same?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your details in the sidebar to the right.

#78: “No one who rises before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich.”

– Chinese proverb

When I was little, I remember waking up very early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. There were no VCRs or DVRs: if you didn’t get up, you missed it! I guess watching cartoons and playing was my “work.” I did this work gladly because it brought me pleasure.

As adults, many people begrudgingly wake up to go to work, in order to earn a living and take care of their families.

Exercise:

What would get you to leap out of bed each morning, with that excitement of youth? What skills could you master and what riches would you attract into your life?

How can you go beyond simply making a living to making your life a masterpiece?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your details in the sidebar to the right.

#62: “The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow…”

“The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won’t wait while you finish the work.”

– Patricia Clifford

Are you missing too many rainbows? Do you sometimes feel that life is passing you by? Do you tell yourself that you will have the time in the future – perhaps on the weekend or on vacation, or even when you retire – to get to the things that matter?

We cannot schedule life’s rainbows. We have to seize the precious moments when they occur.

Exercise:

How can you be more intentionally tuned into your world and find greater joy and fulfillment in life’s special moments?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your details in the sidebar to the right.