From The Creative COW Magazine|
|Ron and Kathlyn Lindeboom|
Cambria California, USA
©2007 Ron and Kathlyn Lindeboom and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.
Making the most of your opportunities sometimes means knowing when not to take no for an answer. Many a project has fallen to the wayside because commonsense prevailed and the reasons to quit became greater than the will fueling the attempt. In the creative process, few things are as important as the passion and drive of the artist.
Oftentimes, seemingly insurmountable obstacles arise between the vision of the artist and the completion of the vision. What happens between these two points is often the domain of that inner fire that drives the artist to communicate; to fight with all that's in them to communicate their vision.
Whatever creative endeavor you are in, you are a communicator, a storyteller and over the years, we've learned that creative people are in this pursuit because they just have to do it. They are "wired" this way and they must pursue their passion to create, to communicate.
When the money runs out - or when the conventional wisdom raises its head to derail those who will accept the many logical reasons to stop - the artist fueled by their passion (and the love of their "story") is many times invincible.
In this issue
, you will find examples of this, as we explore great projects that exemplify passion and what happens when you simply must
create. People who would not let money or circumstance stand in their way. People whose power is their passion.
ESCHEWING CONVENTIONAL WISDOM
When we set out to build Creative COW
, we had just lost everything in a business deal that wiped us out. We had nothing in the bank and had no investors. To top it off, we had egg on our faces and commonsense would have chased off any investors, had there been any interest. Instead, we had only our good name and credit to fall back on. So we signed up for a bunch of credit cards. Most, fell in the 23.99% category. Ouch!
Why would we take such a chance after experiencing such a debacle? We loved this industry and the friends we had made in it and we were not willing to walk away from the relationships we had forged. We had built a great community once and we knew that we could do it again.
Commonsense would have said it was time to just walk away and learn from defeat. "Just consider it a lesson, learn from it," some said. We did learn the lesson - the lesson that commonsense isn't always your best guide nor your greatest teacher.
Don't get us wrong, we are not saying that stupidity is a guide to be followed in the dark. Neither of us have ever done brain surgery and we are not going to start a cranial practice anytime soon. But when it comes to building communities online, this is something we know. We've been doing this for 12 years now and from the very beginning, it has been a journey of people, principles and passion. One that we have been willing to invest into, every dime we had - and didn't.
We never gamble when we go to Las Vegas for conventions but we will gamble every cent on ourselves and the things that we know.
KNOW YOURSELF AND YOUR MARKET
The prevailing wisdom in magazine publishing is that magazines are having a rough time and many legacy publishers (as we call them) are struggling. Magazines are shrinking, shutting down or titles are being consolidated, leveraged and repackaged under new names. So, why take the risk and open a new magazine in a glutted market in which many long-term leaders are struggling? Isn't the market telling you something? Isn't the sign clearly that there is danger ahead?
This may sound haughty but it's true: we knew that this magazine would succeed and grow rapidly. It's why we risked absolutely everything on it. How did we know the COW Magazine would succeed?
Creative COW Magazine
, like the COW itself, is a dialogue. It is an outgrowth of the people who frequent and make the COW forums the great community that it is. We listen to you and watch you. We do not hold board meetings nor get writers together to ascertain what should be in the next issue. Instead, we watch our members and listed to what you are saying. We enter into the dialogue and build from there. Like you, we play our instincts, we follow our "gut" on things.
Because of this, the COW Magazine doesn't have staff writers, per se, as found in other publications. As the ideas and stories present themselves, we find those in the COW who can best present the idea.
WHAT'S YOUR STORY?
We made up our minds many years ago that we couldn't do everything. There are many things we see that we'd love to do and pursue but it is just not possible. So we focus on our core strengths - and for us, that is community building and helping others be better at what they do.
What is your story? What is it that fuels your imagination and burns in your gut? As Grinner Hester says from time to time on our forums, "You don't get into this for the money. You get into it because you just have to do it. You just won't be happy doing anything else."
When you find your own stories, how do you handle them? Do you always wait and play it safe? Or do you find the most important one, the one that you just have to tell. The one that allows you to keep fighting when everything stands against you and commonsense wants to prevail in all her wisdom, saying, "It's clearly time to quit, isn't it? Just look at this list of reasons..."
The reasons will always be there; as will the ghosts of your past failures and false starts who will join the crowd of commonsense. Will you listen? Yes. Unless it's that one story that is so important to you that all else will take a back-seat to it.
What is your story? Science? Religion? Humanity? Wildlife? Environmental issues? Comedy? Music? Whatever it is, find the one
story that burns in your gut. The "Grinner Principle" as we and Tim Wilson call it. It's the one thing that will fuel you when you when you wake up in a cold sweat with all the reasons in the world to stop. But you won't, because you can't. You just have to do it because you can't do anything else.
THE "GRINNER PRINCIPLE" IN NUMBERS
Years ago I heard someone teach a class on success and in the class the speaker wrote five words on the board. They were: intelligence, ability, knowledge, attitude and enthusiasm. As he wrote them, he said that they represented the five parts of success and asked us to write each word on a paper and assign the percentage that we felt each held in the success formula.
The bulk of the room was far from right and were giving ability and intelligence far more than they deserved. Many felt it was intelligence that ruled the day. Not.
In the end, the findings that came from a University of Michigan report, as I recall, showed that attitude was 40%, enthusiasm was another 40%, knowledge was 10%, intelligence was 5%, as was ability, at another 5%.
I will never forget how he phrased it after he laid it all out. "With the right attitude, fueled by enthusiasm, you will seek the knowledge, because you likely already possess the intelligence and ability to succeed."
The lesson? Fin the story that you just have to tell. The on that matters, the one that burns in you.
FIVE ELEMENTS OF SUCCESS
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Many people downplay the first two and place great value on the last three. A University of Michigan report we saw years ago showed that the first two make up 80% of success, while the last three account for just 20%. Attitude and enthusiasm weigh in at 40% each. Knowledge is 10%. Intelligence and ability add about 5% each. Don't believe it? Watch yourself and others and see how the numbers play out in your own experience. As you have likely seen in your own experience, talent alone rarely rules the day.