Friday, January 29, 2010

Feeling Awkward

I once heard my pastor, Kerry Shook, mention that sometimes we need to risk being awkward in relationships and in life in order to get the breakthrough we want. I didn't think about it much until I started training a couple weeks ago for a shorter distance triathlon. I found myself training in ways that I hadn't trained before. I used to go to the gym and do what I was comfortable with while looking like I knew what I was doing. But this training is different and I'm having to risk being awkward to get the results I want.

Here's a few thoughts that I'm taking away from this experience that I think can apply to a lot of areas in life where we want to see new results.


The first time I got in the pool I soon realized that I am not a swimmer and if i'm going to swim almost a mile I better get good. I noticed someone better in the lane next to me and humbly asked if they could train me. The first lesson with her made me feel like I was 4 years old learning to swim all over again. ( yes it was a girl which was even more humbling for me as a man ) What is it that you need help with? ASK.


Stretching yourself requires you to go beyond "comfort level". I could easily do just enough, but instead I'm stretching myself in order to remove current limitations. The first week I felt so much pain, but as time goes on it's getting better and better. When you get done with 1 mile in life why not see if you can do one more.


The one thing that's helped me stay motivated is having someone to train with. I used to train alone and that way I was the only one who knew my weakness. Training with someone exposes the truth about where you are and allows you to have someone in your life to push you past that.

All of these things can transfer into any area of relationships, life and leadership. I definitely have a long way to go in these things but I'm at least enjoying the rewards of being a little awkward.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Street Sign Design

I found a lesson to be learned in all the road signs on the freeway during my drive down to Houston yesterday. The thought behind those signs, and the purpose they serve are great reminders to designers and communicators.

Here's 3 principles they made me consider:

1. Clear Communication
Road signs provide clear communication and eliminate any confusion. Does your design or message clearly communicate, or cause confusion?

2. Guide the audience
Road signs are very intentional in guiding you even to the point of telling you exactly which lane and when you turn. With good design and communication the same applies and you have the ability to guide the audience where you want them to go.

3. Provide Purpose
It seems simple, but every sign has a purpose. In design their should be purpose/value to what you do. Choosing elements carefully and not filling a page just to fill it. The same is true with communication and being selective with the words we use.

This isn't really anything new for most designers or good communicators, but it was a simple reminder for me yesterday from something I see everyday.