You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose site of the shore.
I met her a couple years ago, she was an outgoing student with a smile you could pick out a mile away. Kelsey Stewart is an inspiration to me, here’s why.
Kelsey works at Hope’s Home in Regina. She came to us a few (just 4) months before the big event saying, “I got this idea…”. We instantly loved it. Though a bit courageous trying to pull it all off in such a short time frame. Why not wait till next year and plan out a “proper” event? Kelsey proved you DON’T need years to plan one of these events, you just need, well, Kelsey.
We had worked on Swinging With The Stars in Saskatoon. The firm we worked with spent two years planning their event, Kelsey had four months. FOUR MONTHS!!! The folks in Saskatoon had done it before, Kelsey and the Hope’s Home team have never tried it before. After our first meeting I still remember saying to Brandon that “she’s crazy and that’s definitely not enough time to pull it off!!”. That’s exactly why we wanted to help.
In our culture we tend to equate thinking and intellectual powers with success and achievement. In many ways, however, it is an emotional quality that separates those who master a field from the many who simply work at a job. –Robert Greene, Mastery
I’ve been teaching at a Sask Polytechnic for the past Four years and at a University if Regina for one. Since my second year I’ve always incorporated class projects that involve real world organizations, here’s why.
The back story…. I think I subconsciously want to teach using projects because the classes that included real works projects were the classes I found I learned the most in. Whether be Al Derges unconventional approach to the class or Lorne Schnel giving us real examples from the company he was running at the time. One of my favourite classes was one where we actually got to pitch an insurance company out of Toronto a new marketing strategy. I only remember that because our commercial was incredibly forward thinking and probably would have made them millions. Sadly they didn’t use the Idea. I didn’t care, I got to work on a real problem.
I had this idea of creating a learning moment by helping students “experience” entrepreneurship. By experience I obviously mean failing at something, learning, retrying, and succeeding. Here was the video I recorded before I started my first class project. Little did I know I was stumbling upon a gold mine of possibility!
Students need to work on real world problems, they learn more that way. At least that was my theory when I was in school, it holds true 10 years out. What an amazing conclusion!! The best way we learn inside or outside of school is by doing.
The “marketing apprenticeship” was born.
After your formal education, you enter the most critical phase in your life—a second, practical education known as The Apprenticeship. –Robert Greene, Mastery
My top three reasons why I always do a real world class project:
Where are you moving your cheese to? What a wonderful read Who Moved My Cheese is, a story on why change matters and will always matter. Just started getting used to it.
I was speaking to a grade 12 class and I was trying to give an example of how we resist change. I picked up a desk, moved it 3 feet over. I went on and finished the presentation, the bell rings, students start leaving and a few students start entering the class. Do you know what the first thing they did when they got into that class? Moved the desk back.
With no prompt, no asking, no reminders, a student was so well trained they felt the need to put the room back to where they were comfortable. We’re taught to seek comfort at a very young age.
The problem is life doesn’t always give you perfect rows of desks. Life doesn’t let you plan things out perfectly. Life is rarely “comfortable”, I would argue life tries to frustrate us, push us, and test us to the point where we want to give up. Most people give up. Most people have to deal with so many desks out of place, at one point its not worth it anymore, and they give up.
Don’t be afraid when the desk is out of place, let it be. If you aren’t annoyed by the little things and embrace change, life gets better. The next time a desk goes out of place you won’t be so worried, you won’t be so over come with fears about the desks “looking” out of place. Embracing change early in life helps you deal with change later in life.
How are you keeping your mind fresh? How are you getting outside your comfort zone? That’s where you learn best you know.
When you were young up it may have been famous people, superhero’s, maybe Jesus, your parents, the Fresh Prince of Bell-Air? Maybe a grandparent, I thought my grandpa was a hero. My parents were hero’s, my brother was a hero most of my life growing up. A few teaches at a young age, Ms. Davis and Mr. Hall in elementary school made it possible to think outside of what was possible, they truly changed me as a person. They were hero’s.
Superhero’s are those special individuals that make the impossible possible. They do what others can’t conceive of. Sure sometimes they fly or turn green, but more often than not Superhero’s are the ones who’ve been through the most, they’ve been down and out, horrible things have happened to them, but still some how they survive. They’re resilient. Not indestructible, resilient. It’s the destructible nature that makes them a hero, the immense possibility of failure is the precise reason it creates greatness. Superhero’s are all around us.
Why do we forget about our hero’s at one point? Why do we just try to live life without striving to be a modern day Superman?
I think we need to bring back hero’s. Life sucks some days, life REALLY sucks some days, if you have a hero, you’re subconsciously shooting for something, you want to be your favourite hero. Life doesn’t suck so much to the young kid dreaming about being Wonder Women. I say dream away, set a crazy awesome goal, trying to be something in the future builds confidence. Confidence leads to self-esteem, that’s very healthy.
We at Stratlab are growing a “Starfish” organization, stolen from Ori Braffman’s the Starfish and the Spider, the story of leaderless organizations.
I don’t believe the future is in an organizational chart that dictates a clear divide between management and employees. The future is a leaderless organization. An organization that doesn’t need constant management, an organization where you’re free to make decisions on your own, we hope they are good ones but we know we can’t control that.
What we can control is how StratLab grows as a Starfish, by taking on bigger and better (more impossible) problems. To do this structure is a hindrance to true creative brilliance hence why at Stratlab we have as few rules a humanly possible.
The current way to organize a business with Executives, Management and Employees dates back to the 1600’s
Stop trying to make the biggest change possible and start making the smallest change possible.
Change is far more about your attitude than possibility. More about leverage than it is about inputs.
As a kid I liked to sleep in. My oldest bother had taught our family that during the Summer months of the year, if you wanted to sleep in, you had to black out the windows in your room. This usually consisted of garbage bags taped to the window frame, layered on because everyone knew the Sun could get through one bag. What a waste of garbage bags. I had a south facing room so it was very bright in the morning.
One day in the StratLab office Eddy says, “eh, chew guys ever see Aaron Draplin’s Ted talk?!”
Me: “What did you just say?!?” Eddy: “Just watch this….”
Meet Aaron Draplin. A crazy hat wearing, beard grooming, design denim god. He’s what we strive to be one day. Just happy to be able to wake up and create art every day. That’s something to get excited about.
He’s genuine (I mean he wore a hat and swore in a Ted talk, haha!).
He does not care about awards (they just inflate ego).
He’s incredibly excited to be able to do his art every day.
1. He’s genuine
He cares. He cares so much about his audience he wants to show them how to be original. When someone swears in front of your it’s a sign of respect, they’re comfortable enough to be themselves. When Aaron takes to the stage you instantly realize this isn’t going to be your regular speech. His outfit makes him look comfortable as well, jean jacket, trucker hat? He’s making it okay to be yourself.
2. He does not care about awards
In the marketing/advertising world it’s hard to get very far without finding out about “an award you could win!” or better yet “you should apply for this award!”. Apply for an award?!? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?!? Yet it happens all the time. Agencies attach “awards” they’ve won to proposals not knowing that clients want to hire them to create value for their organization, not simply win awards.
Winning awards can send you down a dangerous path. Always striving for the next award. What there is no more? You can’t control that outcome hence why this author thinks it’s very silly to focus on winning awards.
Finally Aaron doesn’t need an award to make him feel good, he just needs to look at the team he works with and the amazing volume of work they’ve created, and smile.
Awards are a false idol you’re seeking. Their poisonous, they change people, once you are an “award winner” you’re never the same. Stay hungry, stay thirsty.
3. He’s incredibly excited to able to do his Art every day
When I met Hugh MacLeod for the first time I asked which of his cards he created was his favourite. He said he had a lot he really liked but one always came to mind.
“If you have your health and you can make a decent living doing what you love, then you have little reason to envy other people.” -Hugh MacLeod
The way Aaron looks when he talks about being “able” to do his art every day. That’s incredible. That’s what I want to become.
One of the worst parts of my younger years was ironically during the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics. I say Ironically because unless you’re a close friend of mine, you’ve never heard this story. And it really wasn’t that bad looking back, while I was there I was going through utter turmoil .
My videographer friend (Riley Moynes) and I were hired to be the online video bloggers for the Saskatchewan pavilion during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics! What an unbelievable experience I said, you have to do it I said to my self, at any cost. At any cost.
And boy did it cost a lot, but my trade off was I learned so much while being there, a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget.
When we agreed to do it we thought we could have a lot of fun doing Rick Mercer style interviews while producing Vice style video blogs. That’s wasn’t what we were hired to do. The Government representative flat out did not want this to come across as fun, no no, she had a much different idea. We were to report back to her with all video ideas before we were to shoot them. She’d send the ideas about to her counterparts in Saskatchewan and decision by committee made our lives pretty shitty for a while. Talk about micromanagement! I loathed it.
On top of terrible working situation I was staying in an apartment with a friend that was a bus, then train ride away to and from the Sask Pavilion. We didn’t have a fridge, 45 minute commute on a good day, a hour and a bit on a bad day. It was hell on earth. I know why people in big cities are miserable a lot of the time, it’s draining to commute so much. Every day the same, every day no more fun just shitty videos. I had to eat out every day on the same budget I was used to in Regina. I ended up using my credit card way to much. But I had no choice, it was a once in a lifetime experience, you don’t give up during those experiences. You bite your tung, you lie to yourself, you say everything will be alright.
I got home sick. So home sick my friend Derek asked if I wanted him to fly my girlfriend out there. It was a nice gesture, I declined.
My saving grace was Riley. He talked me off the ledge several times there, one day I had my head set on leaving early, but he convinced me to stay. We Sushi’d lots, went to a couple Olympic events, and one morning we almost lost him to a riot downtown Vancouver. He edited the videos we shot every day, he was a machine, I really don’t know how he did it. He had to work way more than I did, but that’s why I’ve always looked up to him. That’s why I still look up to him, he did everything I had to do without complaining. Incredible.
Towards the end of the Olympics we started just shooting our own thing. We thought “what the hell! They can’t fire us now, right?!”. Ironically those are the videos you won’t find on Tourism’s Youtube channel. HA! My favourite video to shoot was when Riley convinced me to wear green tights, a green cape and a watermelon on my head, we were going Rider fan hunting!! By far the funnest day. We had people from all walks of life yelling at us, heckling us with most of it in good fun.
Now I look back on it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. A once in a lifetime experience that’s for sure. Most days we had a blast! We went to a curling semi final, women’s hockey game, and got busted one night for bringing a Mickey of rum into the pavilion. (beers were like $100, you can’t blame me, blame Vancouver!).