Category Archives: change

Are you a late bloomer or a long bloomer?

Orange Hummingbird and Flower

Long Bloomer

Are you a late bloomer or a long bloomer? It seems to be a more common phenomenon these days: thirty-something’s, forty-something’s, fifty- and sixty-something’s finding that it is not until they are embarking on their 2nd, 3rd, or nth career that they feel they are really hitting their stride. It’s a time they wouldn’t trade for the world, but it is also a time when they sometimes yearn for the vitality of younger days. A time of more energy and less creakiness. Late bloomers they get called and maybe I am one too, but is this a fair label, does this give credit to the road they’ve walked? The hard work and exploration of the years spent finding their way?

The other day my girlfriend and I were sitting on the sofa, me with my nose in my laptop and Julie thumbing through a dog lover’s magazine. As she flipped a page an interesting squiggle caught my eye, “wait, go back.” There was a page of delightful cartoons accompanying an article about William Steig. The article focused on a recent collection of his work and featured many of his dog-centric cartoons. I recognized the work, but realized that I didn’t know much about the man, so a-Googling I did go…


I was so inspired by the story I found. Not only was Mr. Steig a talented and prolific young artist, he was a lifelong force of growth and creative exploration. I was wowed to learn that he had over 1600 cartoons and 117 cover illustrations published in The New Yorker. It’s kind of staggering, but it was the product of a lifelong relationship with the magazine. But it was what I read next that made me feel excited, and a whole lot less creaky: W. Steig published his first children’s book when he was 61 years old! He won the Caldecott Medal for his third book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.

As a doodlist it has always been an ambition of mine to write and illustrate a children’s book and I’ve had many starts in that direction. And also many times when I look at the calendar and marvel at how fast the years manage to go by. Don’t get me wrong, I love the work I’m doing, and I’m proud of my past accomplishments, both in my artwork and in my business life, but I still have itches left to scratch. Yes, my bifocals have been replaced by trifocals and my salt & pepper beard gets saltier every day, but I’m resolved to still hit some of these big to-dos on my list.

I think this is the lesson of William Steig, doodler-divine, that whether we’re early bloomers or late bloomers, we can all be long bloomers. We can put growth and accomplishment on our itinerary for the rest of our lives, and there is no limit to what we might accomplish no matter how late we start. By the way you know what Steig did when he was around 83? He drew a character and wrote a book about him. He called him Shrek! They based a movie on it, I even heard it did well…. 😉

What about you? Are you a late bloomer, an early bloomer, a perennial? I’d love to know what inspires you and how you inspire others. Be a beacon my friends and keep on blooming!

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Right Brain resurgent

So where are the posts, David? Yes friends, I’ve been a little delinquent in my writing, but inspired today by a post written by the awesome Fabeku, I decided to just show up.

Now I don’t want you to think I’ve been idle in my absence. I’ve actually been putting out a fair amount of content, but it has been of a more whimsical and decidedly visual bent. I’ve been a doodling fiend. If you’re interested you can check out the magic marker output (along with the occasional picture shot on the go from my phone) by visiting my posterous at http://davidscohen.posterous.com.

I’ve been enjoying this resurgence of my creativity, and frankly a little nervous about ramping up the degree to which I show the world my soft and silly side, but the fact is I preach authenticity in branding, and by gum I mean to practice it as well. (and how often do you get to say “by gum”?) I expect that the current flood of doodle inspiration will abate a bit over time, but it has been bottled up for a while and it feels good to let the drawings flow and not get too judgmental about them. I’ve picked some fairly humble materials to work with too: basically I’ve been drawing on 4″ x 6″ blank index cards and mostly using Sharpies, pens and highlighters. Sometimes I’ll use nicer art markers too – the highlighter palette is a bit limited. I keep it all on the desk so I can take my doodle breaks, scan them and tweet them to the world. So far, the world hasn’t complained, and I’m grateful for that.

I’m also cooking up a new website for Equation Arts. It’s not quite done yet, but I think it will be a better expression of who I am. Here’s a hint of things to come:
There will also be a lot of the color orange ( I love orange), and some crossover doodles will make their appearance there as well.

I hope that people who connect with me know that I’m a big believer that we all have something special to offer the world and each other, but sometimes we find ourselves framed in the wrong context – that “something special” ends up hidden, muffled, suppressed – unable to shine. So the new website is for me a shift in context toward something more authentic. I hope you’ll stick with me through the transition. Thanks! And remember…

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Getting down to fundamentals – making Brand Therapy more accessible

In the last couple of years I’ve found myself steering more of my time, attention and business towards something I’m very passionate about: that is helping people to get a handle on the things that they have to offer that are truly different, special and valuable, and then helping them to connect with a community, a market, an audience that values the very difference they bring. Then we work on how to tell the story so that those who value what you have to offer don’t miss you or overlook you because you haven’t made that story prominent or clear enough. I want everybody to have the opportunity to do more of the work that they are excited about – the work that stirs up their energy, that taps their skills and brings out their best. That also means I’d like to liberate them from having too much of their time filled with the work that they are just adequate at – the stuff you say yes to because you need to pay your bills or because you’re too polite to say no, but it’s not the stuff that gets you jazzed, the stuff that taps into your particular flavor of awesome.

I think that words can help people steer their vehicle away from the merely adequate (or worse yet, the suppressed and oppressed) and get on a course toward the awesome. But the words don’t just drop out of the air. It takes introspection, it takes reflection, it takes a search for patterns, habits, values and often a process of giving yourself permission to change. In my personal branding practice I help people through all of that, and then I capture the words that become the identifier, the entry point to make brand connections. It’s an intensive process, in fact that’s where the term brand therapy came from – I didn’t make that one up, it was one of my clients who said it first, but I loved it – it stuck. And you know what? I LOVE MY JOB! But I can’t work with everybody. There isn’t enough time, and I realize that unlike a big corporation, individuals be they business people, freelancers, artists, entertainers, coaches, consultants, or folks in career transition, aren’t all going to be in a position to enlist the one-on-one attention of their own personal brand therapist.

I’ve decided that this year I want to develop some offerings that are more accessible – entry points, if you will, that will allow more people than I could reach one-on-one to explore the concepts behind branding and learn how they can apply them to their own goals, businesses, and talents. I’ve got a few things in production that I will be releasing over the course of the year, but the first offering is a teleseminar: Personal Branding Fundamentals: Be a Beacon. In this three session class I will explore the fundamentals of personal branding, go over why and how the Internet has changed your opportunities and some of the risks of sitting on the fence, and then we will dive into the Beacon Principles to give you a foundation for effectively restating your personal brand. If you’ve been struggling with how to tell your story, if you know you’ve got something great to offer the world, but aren’t getting recognized for the value you could bring, then I hope you will consider beginning the process of exploring your foundation and clarifying your message. You can’t just aspire to reach your dreams. You’re going to have to perspire too.

And remember, when you shine you make it easier for all those around you to shine too.

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I4U Newsletter Ends – Sign of Things to Come or a Last Gasp?

Like many of you out there, I have a bit of technolust. I like gadgets. I own a modest collection of tech gear, and I have a drawer full of retired power cords and adapters, but more to the point, I like to be in the know about the new stuff. The gizmos and thingamajigs that push the envelope or hint at cool features that might just become mainstream. Of course most don’t, but that is part of what makes it interesting. So for these reasons one of the few newsletter that I used to look forward to appearing in my email inbox was the eye-jolting green missive put together by Luigi Lugmayr & company over at I4U. It was a newsletter that did a great job of sticking to their mission – they brought you the new stuff. It felt more informative than sales-y. Like I might actually have the jump on other nerdy friends when it came to discussion of cool new laptops or innovative portable electronics. Well imagine my surprise when instead of their usual array of thumbnails of interesting gadgets I received this note:

Hello I4U News Readers,

This is our last weekly I4U Newsletter. We feel that email newsletters have had there time and are not the preferred way anymore to receive our news.
Thank you for being a subscriber and I hope you will continue to read I4U News for you daily technology news and shopping tips.

Please consider to follow us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed.

I mean what’s going on here? The company is continuing on, but the newsletter is going away? Is this a sign of new marketing truths from a progressive company that has always had it’s eye on the future? Or is this a last gasp of a failed campaign? Perhaps they got the reach, but couldn’t convert the readers, or maybe the readers simply stopped opening it because we’re all so flooded these days with a zillion more newsletters than ever before.

So why do I care, and why should you? It’s not because I thought that this newsletter was cool – that’s too subjective. It’s the mystery that gets me. It doesn’t cost much to put out an e-newsletter, especially if you’re already aggregating the content for other purposes, which is exactly what I4U does. So it’s cheap to produce, and VERY measurable. That’s something we like in the marketing department. That’s why there is such a glut of newsletters heading your way everyday. We get to measure what happens: we know what gets opened, we know if you click, and if we’ve planned our landing pages right we know if that click led to a conversion. These things make a marketer get up early in the morning with a big smile, because what you measure you can tune.

But I4U is throwing in the towel on its newsletter contender. How low does the threshold of response have to dip to make the superior measurement ability not worth the effort? Have they found equal or better measurement through Twitter and RSS? I want to know and unless you’ve got unlimited time and resources for your marketing department, you should want to know too.

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Superheroes, a call to arms.

Love is my superpower

“Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red ‘S’? That’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. THOSE are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume.” ~Quentin Tarantino

I love that quote because I believe that we all have something authentic to offer, something that makes us special, something that can make us a beacon to others if we would just let that light shine for all to see. However we don’t always trust that talent, that passion, that superpower – we hide it behind a job title, we bury it underneath professional conformity. We’re taught to fit in, not stand out, but branding is about standing out.  

Branding requires the risk of being noticed, especially when it comes to personal branding.

If you’re not noticed then your brand never has that seed from which to grow. You may be awesome, heck I’ll even go out on a not-so-skinny limb and say that you are awesome, but if we don’t know you and don’t know you for your awesomeness, well then we can’t help you and sadly we’re not going to give you the opportunity to help us.

My ambition, my purpose, my superpower if you will, is to help you to identify your difference, to give your powers names – so you can accept the mantle of your inner superhero. Yes, I’ve got a soft spot for the mavericks who were born on Krypton, but there are plenty of Earth-born humans who are mutating, who took the super-soldier serum, who’ve been bitten by radioactive spiders and feel that light burning inside. I see them all around me. I meet them every day, but they haven’t all yet come to recognize their powers or to trust them.

Kryptonite! Poisonous vapor of doubt. Kryptonite! Energy-sapping force of the dont-make wave (believed to emanate from meteorites made during the explosion of planet Me-Too). Admit it, it’s not easy to give yourself permission to stop being a face in the crowd. The life of a superhero can be super-risky, even super-embarrassing.

Have you ever worn a cape? It’s a tough look to pull off. Even Clark Kent can’t work that look because it clashes with the briefcase – it is not part of the costume, but when you dare to shrug off the Clark Kent disguise and reveal your authentic super self that’s when the cape fits – it’s not a costume it is a part of who your are. That’s when you’ll pick the color of that cape, stock your utility belt, build your secret lair… and name your powers.

“Look! Up in the sky… It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s you!”  Super.

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Also posted in branding, Branding Thoughts, love, mad scribblings, naming, personal branding, trust | 4 Comments

live blogging at Ga Technology Summit pt3 – Ron Clark

Still doing the live blog thing at the GTS.  Next up Ron Clark (RC) – if it is like the last time I saw him I might be laughing too much to blog well, so bear with me.

Showing a classroom video.  The energy is impressive.  The podium doesn’t look big enough for RC to stand on, I wonder if he’ll try?

RC – getting kids to love learning – Origin: from North Carolina, taught to use things that were different, was teacher of the year, saw a program on schools in Harlem, and picked up and moved there to find the schools from the TV show.  Telling story of meeting an upset 13 yr old kid, convinced him to try.  1999 got job at that school.  Had kids that were all below grade level – every one of those kids have now graduated high school and most are in college.   Got them technology .   They tested ahead of their class by the end of a year.   Caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey.   Feels that “No Child Left Behind” as turned our approach upside down, we’re teaching to the bottom, and pulling the brightest down, instead of teaching to the top and getting them to raise up the rest.  Doesn’t want to leave anybody behind, but wants to keep the bar high, and keep raising it.   Wrote a song to pop star Rheanna’s music to teach order of operations to his class to learn algebra.  All his students have Zunes with lesson loaded on them – they all have  laptops from Dell.   Got huge growth in testing scores.

RC – 55 rules for setting clear expectations from students – manners, respect, structure — blending respect structure and innovative approaches.  Oprah told him to write a book so he listened,  he wrote it – she made it a book pick – and it sold!  Went to number 2 in nation on that announcement went #1 around the world.  Used funding to start the school here in Atlanta.  Teaching kids here and teaching teachers his approach.   Found a warehouse in run-down part of town, surrounded by crack houses, and prostitution.  Fought for that building because he felt it in his heart.  19 break-ins during construction – lots of theft of copper pipe.  Need to get the community involved – went to every house over 4 months and told everyone what he was doing – he was often scared. Often asked if he was Mormon.   Told people he was building the most innovative school in the world – got the community behind him – no more break-ins.   Ran out of money – got sponsors from the community, Veizon, Delta, Intercontinental Hotels.  Students can text message him live during class for nstant feedback.  Using Active Expressions, Dell sponsors laptops, got Definition 6 helping them to figure out what to do with all that technology.

RC – building world leaders -school of tomorrow. 3000 superintendants, teachers, principals from around the country visiting to observe and learn tools and techniques.   Congressmen and world leaders visiting to learn too.  Students are webcasting with kids around the world – traveling with the kids to make in-person connections – Delta is sponsoring travel.  Going around the world on spring field trips. Live video conferencing – virtual reality version of school.

RC – students take a test by running a gauntlet.  Made an online gauntlet so other schools can use the concept .

RC – non-profit – need donations – offering tours and visits. Warning every visitor has to go down the 2-story slide in the middle of the school and get “Slide – certified” – the slide is a symbol for how innovative they want to be. The model for innovation in education.

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    Caitlín Mowbray"I adore your doodles... I swear looking at those bunnies lowers my blood pressure, calms my mind and makes me smarter. Who needs meditation when there are bunnies?"
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