A while back, a friend helped me stumble upon this cool little manifesto from design company (and man behind it all) Jonathan Adler.
Please read it. It’s cool.
The manifesto is honest, brave, fun, and so very Jonathan Adler. How do I know this? The proof is in the pudding. The company starts from the ground up, building on their own foundation and no one else’s. What is important to them guides their decisions, their process, and their final product. Everything circles back to their manifesto.
Do you have a manifesto for yourself? What guides you, inspires you, helps you make tough calls?
I’m working on my own manifesto, and let me tell you, it’s going to be honest, brave, and so very Katie Scully. State your motives, your guiding light, your point of view. Make it your own.
Okay. I have question for you this morning.
How long has it been since you were so excited about an idea you couldn’t sleep?
I’ve started having some quiet conversations with the Brains on Fire tribe about what excites us. I really haven’t had an agenda, I’m just curious. So I’ve been asking and observing and listening.
Here’s what I’ve discovered:
We love and value great design. All of us.
We love smart ideas and often send brilliant ones we stumble upon to each other by email.
We love people and truly believe the world is full of amazing human beings.
We get down right emotional about the things humans will do for each other.
We love dogs and kids and cooking and books and fashion and flower arranging and music.
Collectively we celebrate and believe in excellence. We defend the right to pursue it at all costs.
We believe marketing has the power to change lives in a positive and meaningful way.
We don’t celebrate working late or overtime, but I’ll often come in first thing in the morning to be surprise and delighted when someone “just felt they could make something even better.” And so they stayed late to make that happen.
Here’s something else I’ve discovered:
If you find yourself a part our tribe, you are an entrepreneur.
As I’ve been asking and listening and learning it dawned on me with a fierce certainty; I’m speaking with, observing and working alongside of an amy of entrepreneurs who drive my passion even further every single day.
Yesterday I got an email from a young friend of mine. She’s thinking of starting her own business. The email she wrote, asking for a little networking help and some simple advice, almost CRACKLED with passion and excitement. I caught it. And Jumped right into trying to help her. That’s what people who are driven by strong desire and passion do, they spark their desire and passion in others. They trail little bits and pieces of desire and passion in their wake.
All day long.
So, how about you?
Are you only living for the weekend? Or are you excited about the possibilities each day brings? Do wake up with excitement? Do you work hard to make things “even better”?
Are you working with the desire and passion of an entrepreneur?
If not, what can you do to change that?
Come on. Let’s talk this morning…
So this is a little something that we haven’t done in a while over here at the Brains on Fire Blog. The “You don’t Need Us Awards” celebrate the brands and businesses that are doing such an great job already connecting with their customers and advocates that, well, they they don’t need us.
I’m happy to say that Penzey’s Spices is one of those brands. Penzey’s is an purveyor of fine herbs and spices that is based out of the U.S. My mom is a bit of a gourmet, and I grew up with their catalog always within reach in and around the kitchen area of our house. She still uses them exclusively to purchase all of her spices and spice mixes from. There is bound to be someone that asks about them at any given dinner party, and you can count on Mom to create one or two new customers for Penzey’s that night.
With that said, here are the reasons that they don’t need us.
1. They have a fantastic product:
They are the place that you can look that obscure spice that Julia Child requires for that duck recipe that she wrote in the 70’s. Not only will they have it, they’ll have four varieties of it. On top of that, each spice jar or bag will have serving suggestions printed right on it. I know, this isn’t a new idea or anything, but it definiteely keeps you from having that obscure herb sitting in your spice rack for two years because that Julia recipe was too much of a pain to make again. Having a great product is the foundation, nothing else would really matter that much if that weren’t the case, right?
2. They care about their customers, and have customers that have grown to care about them:
Look at what they say on their job openings page on their website:
“We are currently looking for people who believe that cooking is kindness, and that kindness can change the world”
I think that spells it out plain as day. One of the things that I’ve always been enamored with about Penzey’s is that they always put their customer on a pedestal. I don’t think of a high end spice dealer being really that down to earth, but they pay attention to the fact that their customers aren’t all like Thomas Keller. Their catalogs always feature real people, making real recipes with their products. They focus on making it easy to use the obscure ingredients, and celebrate the adventure of cooking something new.
3. They extend the idea of cooking is kindness thoughout everything they do.
Here’s an example. Every box of herbs and spices that they send out also includes a little extra something. Whether it is packaged with Turkish Bay leaves, or Cinnamon sticks, there’s always something other that what you ordered that gets you excited about cooking. It’s funny, I never knew that there was a difference between Turkish Bay Leaves and Regular Bay Leaves until I recieved them randomly in a box of spices. Now I ONLY use Turkish Bay Leaves, not because I’m a snob, but becasue Penzey’s was right in the fact that they ARE better. Not to mention the fact that if my mom saw regular bay leaves in our kitchen, you’d better believe I wouldn’t hear the end of it. Love you Mom.
Any companies or products that you can’t stop talking about and want the world to know? Sounds like they don’t need us. Let us know about them in the comments.
I feel fortunate to have grown up in a beautiful place. When I was younger, my family and I would take the train from the suburbs and head north to the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago. I was surrounded by beauty. Even in the dead of winter, the snow gently fell on hundred-year-old buildings, historic landmarks, and bridges over icy water.
The city was, and still is, beautiful.
At first it seemed trivial, just another silly way to boast why you, or your city, is better than another. In some cases that might be true. Florence, Italy came from a place of arrogant opulence. So much money spent on all this stuff. This stuff, I learned, does not need to be cocky. It needs to be beautiful.
Now look around you. Where are you sitting, or standing, or scurrying? Do you reside in a beautiful space? Do you create a place for yourself, your team, your family to enjoy? Or are you dreading the clutter, dust, and endless post-it notes scattered about your space? That flickering overhead light sure doesn’t help.
Be good to yourself. Beautification is important, not pompous. It’s exciting, inviting, and worthwhile.
Today, I live in a truly beautiful city (and it’s not Chicago). Half the time I talk about where I live, I’m describing the scenery, the vibrance, the energy… the beauty. I paint the picture. Wherever you spend your time… whether it’s in front of your computer, in the bathroom, or in your comfy bed, make it beautiful. There is enough grey in our world, don’t let it seep into your space.
I regularly get lost down a proverbial rabbit hole on the Internet. I start Googling a restaurant’s hours of operation and end up watching 40 dogs-running-in-their-sleep videos YouTube (meet Bizkit here), then ordering new glasses. Sometimes these ‘trips’ are expensive and sometimes they are incredibly valuable.
Today was the latter.
This TED Talk dates back to 2010 and you may have already seen it, but it’s one I’ve never come across before and is now my favorite.
The featured speaker Brené Brown is a researcher of human connection. What a fascinating thing to consider from a scientific perspective. Her whole video is included and you should watch every charming minute, but I just wanted to share what leaped out of it for me.
Her research path (not without blood, sweat and tears) led to this concept about human connection:
Vulnerability is the core of shame, fear and our struggle of worthiness, but it also appears to be the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love.
The two ways people treat their vulnerability relate to whether or not they have a sense of worthiness. Those who believe they deserve to belong…well, they do. Our fear that we do not deserve connection is the one thing that keeps us from making connections. What a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Those without the sense of worthiness referred to their vulnerability as ‘excruciating’ and worked hard to suppress it through food, alcohol and the like.
The dilemma in trying to suppress feelings of vulnerability is that you can’t selectively numb emotions. With quieting your fears and shame, you lose your joy and gratitude. You lose your purpose.
On the other hand, she calls those who have the sense of worthiness the ‘wholehearted’ (I just love that!). They embrace their vulnerability as a beautiful and necessary attribute. They are courageous.
Courage is defined by its good ole Latin origin (in so many words): telling the story of who you are with your whole heart.
So what do we do with this besides emphatically nod our heads?
Have the courage to be your imperfect authentic self…as a brand, as a community and as a human being. You will find human connection there.