Words to Live By -- Thomas Merton

“Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul.”

"Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy."

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone; we find it with another.”

“Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.”

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

“The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.”

“The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.”

~Thomas Merton


What the In-HOW-se Design Conference Taught Me

What In-House Designers Should Remember:

We are more than a service.
We are more than problem solvers.
We use design thinking. Traditionalism is not allowed.
We are not just graphic designers.
We are advocates and influencers.
We are proactive and responsible for our own creativity.
We are always looking for ideas. We are inspired by life because life is art.
We know the value of what we make and we refuse to sell out.
We are brilliant at what we do, but we are not defined by what we do.
We understand that our vocation is bigger than our occupation.
We are on earth to do more than earn a paycheck.
We are committed to grown. We do not tolerate stagnancy because it’s the first sign of death.
We recognize that to be prolific, involves intentionality, choice and dicipline.

These are just a few of the ways that I was inspired at the In-HOW-se Design Conference in Denver, Colorado, put on by HOW Magazine. The conference is a lineup of speakers put together to inspire in-house designers and managers across the nation.

Interested in hearing more advice from the three-day conference?

  • Don’t be afraid of risk. Ask ‘why not?’
  • Don’t cover up. Be accountable.
  • When you miss the mark, make actionable steps to resolve.
  • Apply pride of ownership, craftsmanship, and professionalism.
  • Surround yourself with great people.
  • Cause action to take place. But don’t force it.
  • Be courageous. Always ask ‘what if’ and then apply progress.
  • Work for your team—not the other way around.

Recommend books:
“Designful Thinking”
“Orbiting the Giant Hairball”
“The War of Art”

Four final things that made me want to hear more next year (Chicago, June, 2011):

1.)   Place – You will spend most of your life at work. Let’s get it right. What inspires you? What turns you on? We are in the inspiration business. Be the change you want to see at work.

2.)   People—Your commitment to each person should outlast the job. Start on day one.

3.)   Process—Sharing process builds credibility. Is the value of each role understood by your boss? Can  you visually show him/her what/how you do your job?

4.)   Purpose—The revolution begins with you. The better you are, the better your work, the better the company, the better the world.


“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” --Sun Tzu


One Man and a Poster

Well, actually Juan Mann and a poster. Making a difference...



"He who never made a mistake never made a discovery."  ~Samuel Smile

What have you discovered about yourself lately?


Steve Sanduski & Ron Carson Book Review: "Avalanche" (2007) Favorite Lines

"I had no fellowship community, no group of friends I could lean on and turn to during tough times. I was absorbed with work, obsessed with money, and distant from her and our two kids. My formula for a successful like developed a greedy crack, and it split my relationship with Sandra and the kids."

"Perhaps the American dream is not something you own. It's something you are."

"What is your life purpose? Think about what really burns inside of you. What can you do that uses all your skills, interests, talents? What do you feel like you were put on this earth to do?"

"I came up with a few affirmations that I wrote down and posted above my desk:
1.) I put my family first and they bring great joy into my life.
2.) The price of progress is the pain of change, and I am willing to endure the pain.
3.) Each day, I find happiness in doing something nice for someone who can never repay me.
4.) I learn as though I'll live forever, and I'll live as though I'll die tomorrow."

"I wondered why Sandra put up with me. I had definitely taken more from her than I had given in return. Her love really drove home the meaning of the words 'Til death do us part."

"Finish these lines:
Be a living example of ...
Stick to ...
Be driven by ...
Be accountable through ...
Cherish your ...
Value your ...
Wisely use your ...
Find ways to ...
Be open to ..."

"True Wealth is what money can't buy and death can't take away. So, here's what I've learned:
1.) Be a living example of the transformational power of love.
2.) Stick to your core values.
3.) Be driven by your purpose. Find the intersection of what you love to do and where you can make a difference, and you will find your purpose.
4.) Be accountable to your goals. They stretch us to think bigger and try harder.
5.) Cherish your relationships. Nothing in life is more enriching than having those close, genuine relationships with those you love. Relationships are not easy. They require attention, commitment, and a sincere desire to be close to another human being.
6.) Value your health.
7.) Wisely use your financial resources.
8.) Find ways to be compassionate with the world. St. Francis said, 'Where you see despair, bring hope; where you see darkness, bring light; where you see sadness, bring joy.'
9.) Be open to wise counselors.

What can you commit to changing? How can you make the world a better place? 


How Much Do You Manage? Pick a Lane

When it comes to titles on your business card, less is more. The more areas you decide to "specialize" in means the less time you can spend on being an expert in each of those areas. Especially in an organization where you're leading multiple departments...pick a lane.

Managing five departments is like trying to manage traffic on five lanes of an interstate; everyone is traveling in the same direction, toward the same goal, but you are trying to lead all the cars in each lane. As you merge and switch lanes, weaving through traffic, you end up slowing the traffic and work flow of EVERY lane.

It's better to choose one or two areas of expertise and spend your time streamlining those specialties. Hire people smarter than you and people that you trust to manage the department. That way when one project consumes your time, or you're unexpectedly absent, you don't slow the pace and progress of your entire lane. You can set yourself at cruise control and let your team lead you down the fast lane.

How much do you manage?

by Renee Halgerson


Snakes on a Cane

Brilliant marketing for a brilliant show. Who would have thought the TV drama ‘House,’ with the highest network ratings, would need more advertising? That’s the point. It doesn’t. But with a cryptic new website, sidewalk chalk drawings in NYC, and subliminal ad flashes, it’s the new guerrilla marketing tactics that are getting attention. And it’s almost as clever as Dr. House himself. That’s why it’s no surprise…Hugh Laurie drew the new icon that inspired the entire marketing strategy.

Do you need to add a fresh element to your marketing strategy?

Click here to read the article, see the icon and view the new website.


Elizabeth Gilbert Book Review: "Eat. Pray. Love." (2006) Favorite Lines


"That's the thing about human life--there's no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed."

"I met an old lady once, almost one hundred years old, and she told me, "There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. 'How much do you love me?' and 'Who's in charge?' Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief and suffering."

"This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. If you bring the right earnestness to your ceremony, God will provide the grace. And that is why we need God."

"Imagine the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing-- right in the hub of the wheel-- not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness--that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace."

"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes ever travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings."

"...he sometimes encountered devils who looked like angels, and other times he found angels who looked like devils. When asked how he could tell the difference, the saint said that you can only tell which is which by the way you feel after the creature has left your company. If you are appalled, he said, then it was a devil who had visited you. If you feel lightened, it was an angel."


Campaigns That Inspire: Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty



"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude." ~Dennis Waitley

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." ~Oprah Winfrey


A Collection of Favorite Quotes

"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be too cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down." ~ Ray Bradbury

“Putting pen to paper lights more fire than matches ever will." ~Malcolm Forbes

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~ Nelson Mandela

"The better organized you are in the simple things, the more spontaneous and free you can be with the important things."~ Brian Tracy

"It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit." ~Robert Yates

"Do right. Do your best. Treat others as you want to be treated." ~Lou Holtz

"The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B" ~James Yorke

"The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do." ~John Holt


Ayn Rand Book Review: "Anthem" (1938) Favorite Lines


"The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them."  ~Ayn Rand, pg. 52

"They will see, understand and forgive. For our gift is greater than our transgression." ~Ayn Rand, pg. 61

"I worship individuals for their highest possibilities as individuals, and I loathe humanity for its failure to live up to these possibilities." ~Ayn Rand


30 Seconds of Truth

 "Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught."  ~J.C. Watts 

"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."  ~Dale Carnegie 

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do."  ~Helen Keller


AIGA Design Conference

AIGA Design Conference, October, 2008
New York City

Invest in your education. Always keep learning. Subscribe to publications from your industry. Attend presentations and conferences that interest you. Read industry blogs and websites. Listen to podcasts and webinars to expand your thinking. Join organizations to meet people with your same profession and interests. Read a book a month. Do anything to learn something new. 

This is what I learned at the AIGA Design Conference with speakers from Target, Martha Stewart, Pinkberry, Saturn, Google, and Rolling Stone:

"Great art and design is not an accident. It is put together beautifully."

"Design is HOPE made visible. Designers bring creation and cause, efficiency and brilliance to a message."

"We will always learn more about human life and possibility from design and art than from science and psychology." ~ Noam Chomsky

"The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes." ~Marcel Proust

"Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait. The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results. And reasons simply don't count." ~Robert Anthony

"He who has a 'why' to live for, can bear almost any 'how'." ~Friedrich Nietzsche (German Philosopher)

"Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working." ~Pablo Picasso

What will you do to always keep learning?



Four things you can't recover:

The stone after the throw,
The word after it's said,
The occasion after it's missed,
The time after it's gone.

"If Michelangelo had wanted to play it safe, he would have painted the Sistine Chapel floor."

"At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go in the same box."

“Never be afraid to do something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals build the Titanic.”


Henry David Thoreau

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you imagined." 

"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." 

"It's never too late to give up on your prejudices." 

"Things do not change; we change." 

"It's not enough to be busy. The question is: What are we busy about?"

~Henry David Thoreau



Scott Ginsberg--That Guy with a Nametag

Nine Things People Don't Care About:

1. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … how good you are.
They care how good you’re going to help them become.

2. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … what you’ve done.
They care what you’ve learned, and how those lessons can help them.

3. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … what you can’t do.
They care what you CAN do.

4. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … what they hear you say.
They care what they SEE you DO.

5. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … what you do for a living.
They care what you’re passionate about.

6. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … if you’re having a bad day.
They care how you’re going to help them have a better day.

7. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … about price.
They care about value, convenience and risk.

8. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … about your company.
They care about the problems your company can solve.

9. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … about being apologized to.
They care about answers, solutions and resolutions.


Life's Little Instructions

~ Life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be enjoyed.
~ The measure of a man is not how great his faith is, but how great his love is.
~ People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do.
~ Life can only be understood by looking backward, but it must be lived by looking forward.
~ What a big difference there is between giving advice and lending a hand.
~ Take care of your character and your reputation will take care of itself.
~ Your companions are like the buttons on an elevator--they will either take you up they will take you down.
~ A man is not rich according to what he has, but rich according to what he is.
~ The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
~ The best way to forget your own problems is to help someone else solve his.
~ It's the little things in life that determine the big things.
~ Being at peace with yourself is a direct result of finding peace with God.
~ The first step to wisdom is silence; the second is listening.
~ The most valuable gift you can give another is a good example.
~ A minute of thought is worth more than an hour of talk.
~ Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see.


Harry Firestone and Henry Ford

"You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself."
~Harry Firestone

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."
~ Henry Ford

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."
~Henry Ford



"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."  ~Anonymous

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."  ~Anonymous

"Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people to treat you right. Forget about the ones who don't. Believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it."  ~Anonymous

"Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing."  ~Anonymous