Realization

Hello blog, it's been a minute.

I'm taking some time today to write because I deeply miss it. A lot has happened this summer. My friends and team members have been super productive. In a nutshell... Launched an Apparel Company, created a Digital Agency, revamped the purpose of Baseline Collective, took on too many ambitious production projects, and finally, I made the decision to spend more time in the NWA market.

I've just come out of a really interesting season of life. The past three months have been a learning season – spiritually, financially, emotionally, all the "ally" words. It's at times under immense pressure that one really finds out what they are made of. For me, it revealed a lot about myself and what I need to work on. Celebrate the wins and learn from the failures. I want to share with you some things I've learned, and things I'm still working on.

We are all Human

This first big lesson came when we launched the Apparel Company, HEM Apparel. HEM started out as an opportunity to create something fresh within Fort Smith. To create a culture of young people, back a cause, and have a good time. I think we accomplished that. However, this didn't come without obstacles. It's easy to forget in the moment that the people you're working with are human. There were a few issues that we fought about, we cried over, and ultimately impacted the health of our team. It was in that moment I had to realize, we are all human. We are all going to fail at some point. This is a learning experience, for us, for Fort Smith, for all those that attended. What we failed to do was define our goals. This impacted our team and the vision that was set. I'm the first person to admit when I've messed up and I'll own my mistakes. May we not forget that our peers, our co-workers, our friends, are all still human. Their feelings and concerns matter regardless of how hectic life is. Now, what we did right was celebrate people and those who came through our shop. over 5,000 people set foot in our store and over 400 came to our evening events across two nights. Yeah, they were crazy, but that's what happens when you get a group of passionate young people together.

To Obey is Better than Sacrifice

This is a hard one for me. If I believe in something, I will go to the ends of the earth to see it through. Sometimes in the most unhealthy of ways. I firmly believe the words Samuel wrote in 1 Samuel 15:22 that it is truly better to obey than to sacrifice. Sometimes this is obedience at the advice of others and sometimes this is obeying our inner voice, following our gut. I've written about this before in previous posts, but it keeps arising as a theme in my life. So many times we put aside our own dreams and desires for that of others. We see this as "self-sacrifice" or a "woe is me" approach. This builds up and sometimes we become blind to what we truly want to pursue in life. I'm thrilled to say I'm finally pursuing dreams and ideas I've had inside me for a long time. I've been selective on projects so I can take the necessary time to learn and pursue these dreams I've had. Talking about a solution to a problem and having a solution to a problem are two different things. I find so much of my time in the past has been talking about a solution and not really coming up with one. As I begin to pursue this in my own life, I challenge you to do the same. Don't sacrifice your dreams and desires just for the sake of the cause. Listen to your gut, your family, those you hold close, and obey that inner feeling.

Busy is dumb, busy doesn't make sense. Live on Purpose.

This is the biggest lesson I've learned out of all. Living life on purpose is hard. If you can't relate to what I'm saying, it's probably because you fell victim to the same cycle I did. Spinning wheels as though you were busy, overwhelmed, and gaining nothing in the process. When I think about all the time I've wasted on things that don't matter, it's a bit depressing. The good news is there is always time to start – like right now. I'm learning that it's not enough to simply create, we must create things with purpose, depth, and things that start meaningful conversations. Whatever your medium is, start there. Focus on doing that one task, or relationship, or hobby on purpose.


We Are Better Than This

This, unfortunately, has been a long overdue post that I've just now found the right way to articulate.

I haven't been very political since late last year. This is due to the fact I have passionate friends on both sides of the issues. I'm happy to say I have not lost one friend, but have gained many. I choose not to judge but to learn. I'm fascinated still to this day why many of his supporters stand behind him. Today I'm writing from several perspectives. The perspective of a businessman, a Christian, as someone who champions diversity on multiple levels, but most importantly, an American. While I tend to favor logic, this is such a heartfelt issue, I ask you please keep an open mind. We're all human and we're all in this together. We need each other.

If it's okay for me to take the next few sentences to vent, I'm going to do that. My frustration comes from a place of concern for my country but also my fellow Americans. How have we ventured so far off to abandon character and integrity? How did we get to a place where the leader of the free world openly promotes divisive behavior? How has our authority on the world stage been reduced to laughter and mockery when our administration speaks? As I watched the Ariana Grandé One Love Manchester show yesterday I couldn't help but think, "This. This is what we should be focused on." In a world where terrorists target almost every major event, we have the leader of the free world starting a twitter war with a comedian. Where is our focus? Where is the priority? Where is the compassion and deep concern for humanity? Where has our understanding of perspective and the respect for that perspective gone? Have we been paralyzed by social media and the 24hr news cycle so much that we've forgotten what it means to stand side by side with one another when terror strikes? Are we not better than this?

For those that are deeply hurt and concerned by our current political climate, you understand where I'm coming from. For those that do not understand, I'd like to start an open dialogue. As a White - Christian - Privileged - Southern - Male, I'm more than aware why 45 has so many supporters. I attended his rally – I understand. Hear me out, I get both sides. What I do not get is the inability to see perspective. To those in support of the current administration, have you acknowledged, even remotely, what those in the LGBT community, the African American community, immigrants in fear of deportation, families who rely on ACA for medical assistance, or friends living overseas are going through? To balance, my liberal friends, have you considered the reasons so many are in support for him? Now, I'll make a bold statement and say a defense for 45 is diminishing quickly. His actions in recent days make it hard for the most loyal supporter to continue. Gridlock isn't an option, we've had it in our Country for years now. As a community, we must find a way to acknowledge our differences but work together to create a better America.

From a Biblical Perspective

The Bible teaches that God calls followers of Christ to honor those in authority. Paul addresses the importance of honoring our leaders in Romans:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

Paul then explains that governing authorities are “God’s servant[s]” and that God gives us authorities for our good (Romans 13:4). Peter also calls Christians to “be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,” and he calls this act of honoring our leaders “the will of God” (1 Peter 2:13, 15).

In issuing these calls, Paul and Peter were not pandering to the government. In fact, many of their governing authorities actively persecuted the church. For example, Peter acknowledged that his readers might suffer for doing the right thing (1 Peter 3:17). Both Paul and Peter called believers to honor governing authorities even though these same authorities often opposed the church at every turn.

In the same way, we should honor President Trump and our governing authorities. Does honoring President Trump mean that we must agree with him at every point? No, scripture alone forms our convictions. Does it mean that we must blindly obey him? No, our greater authority is Christ himself. Does it mean that we ignore his faults or mistakes? No, because John the Baptist rightfully pointed out his leader’s public sin (Matthew 14:3-4).

Rather, we should honor 45 (and others in authority) as a posture of the heart in obedience to Christ. We acknowledge the importance of his position. This has personally been a tension point for me, but also a reality check. While he doesn't have an ounce of character, I still must respect the office of the President.

The Harsh Reality

This sucks. There is no way around it. From my perspective his decisions are wrong, he's stoked fear in millions of Americans, and has made us the laughing stock of the world. Whether you are in support of him or not, there is no denying that his actions both small and large have generational impacts unless they are undone.

How do we fight this?

  1. First thing's first, know who your elected officials are. Call. Call Again. Call again after that. We must make our voices heard to those with authority.
  2. Vote. We all must vote. Now more than ever, our vote matters. Locally and nationally. Be ready for local elections and let your voice be heard.
  3. Educate. Now more than ever it's hard to hold a civil conversation with someone who so passionately disagrees with you. I've found the best way is to approach it from a place of heartfelt discussion. Be open-minded and actively listening to the other persons' concerns and questions. I've found trying to see life through their lens helps with empathy and compassion regardless if you agree or not.

Like many of you, I'm at a loss for words. Each day it's something new. We cannot stand by, we cannot just type, or tweet, or facebook we must take action. There is so much more I could say, so much I didn't even touch on, but at the end of the day it's about action. I've selected a few creative resources that you can participate in to let your voice be heard. The most important this is that we do something. We are better than this.

 

 

 

 


Critical or Extra?

After almost two months of being gone, I'm finally back home in Fort Smith. I started last month on a 96-hour bender across 4 cities, 2 coasts, and not enough coffee in the world to help me make it through. I spent the bulk of last month working with the incredible team of the Bentonville Film Festival. I'll be posting some of my favorite moments on instagram and twitter if you'd like to take a look.

Today I want to share a few thoughts on obligation vs. opportunity.

An obligation is defined as an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound. This could be a project for a client, a contract you have, or maybe something personal like family.

An opportunity is defined as a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.

I find myself being gone more and more from my home base of Fort Smith. I love this town, it runs deep in me. However, opportunity can be found in other places besides where you live. For some reason, this is a struggle for a lot of people. Realizing that obligation sometimes isn't an opportunity, and opportunities don't have to lead to obligations is a hard lesson I'm beginning to learn. With work opportunities on both coasts, at home, and other parts of the state, the obligation to make these things happen seems less attractive.

It's in these moments I've got to ask, is it critical or is it extra? Is taking on a project 3000 miles from home adding value to what I'm doing, cash in my pocket, or is it just an opportunity that could fill my plate in the future with obligation?

I don't have it figured out. Throwing out some thoughts on this beautiful Arkansas Wednesday.

 


Persistence

Thomas Edison once explained that in inventing, "the first step is an intuition–and comes with a burst–then difficulties arise." What set Edison apart from other inventors is tolerance for these difficulties and the steady dedication with which he applied himself toward solving them.

Life is hard. Work is hard. Dreaming is hard. The good news is, it's okay to be discouraged, but it's definitely not okay to quit.

I failed this week. I failed big time and it's only Tuesday. But as I've been reading and studying the past months, I've become okay with pioneering into the unknown only to end up a total failure at the end. Fortunately, failure shows us the way. I seem to talk a lot about failure on the blog, but I'm growing more and more okay with doing so.

This month I'll be 25 years old. Quarter life crisis time (Is that a real thing?). It might sound crazy but I've been a little stressed out. My mind hasn't been clear, I haven't been as productive as I need to be, and I'm failing more and more each day. However, in all of this fear, emotion, and stress(?)–gosh I sound like a 16-year-old-girl–I've found that persistence is the key. Keep waking up, keep pursuing, keep hustling. As I think about men like Thomas Edison and the persistence they had, I realize what truly being able to create means. That in itself is persistence. Youtube star, Casey Neistat, is always saying, "Just keep uploading," that in itself is persistence and a true testament to what makes someone great.

My point for today's entry is simple. I'm going to keep failing, keep grinding, and keep persisting. It's the only way. This five-minute write was a much-needed therapy session to myself. Now back to regularly scheduled programming.


Right Action

Luke 9:23-27 The Message (MSG)

23-27 Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”

Action.

What is so bold about action? In an age where celebrate courage by many standing up for themselves, their rights, their freedoms, courage is nothing more than someone taking the initiative to act.

Action, I've learned, is a daily mindset, a daily choice. When we act it must be with deliberation, boldness, and persistence. This is a huge lesson I'm learning in my life. Not just how to take action, but to take the right action. There's a quote from one of my favorite books that says, "No one is coming to save you. And if we'd like to go where we claim we want to go– to accomplish what we claim our goals are– there is only one way. And that's to meet our problems with right action."

I've said it time and time again here, but every day it becomes truer– thinking is the enemy. I'm not talking about spending $20K in Vegas type of not thinking, I'm talking about pursuing something that is worth the pursuit. Once that first step is taken, the following step is to act. To pursue and keep pursuing until the work is completed, the goal is met, and the check has cleared. Whatever it might be, the action following the decision is vital, and it's a daily one. The daily decision to not let your environment, personal issues, or mindset get in the way of taking action to change those things– daily.