On Work - Comparing vs. Celebrating

If you were to really boil down your desire to work hard, what would you find? An honest passion burning underneath the surface, or a burning jealousy of other peoples successes and the constant comparison of yourself to them?

How should we ever expect to succeed if we are only measuring ourselves by ourselves? After all, we are only human. Even if for 15 minutes one of us seems to be greater than all the rest. Don't be fooled by fame. A labor in love will continue on with or without the recognition from its peers.

But times have changed. Now we live in a world of celebrity magazines and selfies, where comparison is a normal way of life. When we look in the mirror, we don't see ourselves, but we see every little thing we don't like about ourselves. The same goes for our work. When we create something we don't hold it up to our own standards, but rather we compare it to the work of our peers. This isn't just harmful to those starting out, but it can suffocate the life right out of even the most well respected.

Stop looking everywhere else for inspiration. In fact, stop looking to be inspired so much. Have some alone time and get to know yourself. Likes. Dislikes. Sit down and create work that comes from deep inside. Just sit down and work. In doing so, my own heart began to change from a place of comparison to really celebrating the work and success of others. And I'm convinced this is a much better place to live, and work, from.

On prayer and silence

Prayer I’ve always been a believer in prayer. But it’s more than just believing, I’ve seen and heard the power of prayer. It’s one of the greatest acts of faith we can exercise here on earth. However, I used to think it was all about me when I prayed. “God help me do this” “God I want that”. Right? I’m pretty sure most of us have prayed the same thing before. But it’s not about me. And that’s awesome. Thankfully I have someone greater praying for me and knows my every need, thus I can spend my time in prayer for others.


Being comfortable with my own thoughts isn’t something I’ve always liked. As a child I enjoyed the constant distraction of television. Or when I went to sleep having the radio on to help drown out my thoughts. But as I’ve grown up I find I need quite time more and more, and actually get frustrated when I go too long without it. Something about learning to listen to that still small voice that is so important. And I really believe that until we are comfortable with silence we will never fully know who we are.

Putting them to good use

I am learning that prayer and silence extend much further from the walls of church. My prayer life looks more like a conversation and I find myself seeking quiet times throughout the day. Just this past weekend I went against the grain and worked in silence. It was difficult at first to not have any computer or music distracting me. No twitter or facebook conversations. Just me, my pen and my sketchbook.

Agree with me or not, that’s fine, but I still encourage you to try this in your own walk. Let me know how it goes and what you learn.

When is my break

Yesterday while waiting in line at Subway to order lunch I was struck by the similar looks on each employees face working there. Each look said the same thing, "When is my break." Not only did their expressions speak loudly to this truth, but the way they performed their job and interacted with each customer. No joy, no enthusiasm, just doing it because they have to. And that's a damn shame.

But this isn't me pointing my finger and laughing at the people who work for minimum wage. That shit's hard, and sometimes it's all people can do. But no, I was struck by the thought that what is it these people "should" be doing instead. I mean, what are their dreams, passions, the things that keep them up at night? What could I bring up in conversation that would allow them to talk my ear off for a good hour or two? Those are the things they need to be doing. (And I hope they're pursuing them, or at least I hope they have someone in their lives that encourages them.)

Life is hard and we all know it. Some of us will work our whole lives at jobs we hate. I know this, I've seen my Dad do it. But now, more than ever, we have opportunities growing like wild fire to get out there and crush the norm under our feet. I think Gary Vee said this at his talk this year at SXSW, but it's like the California gold rush right now. We just need to be completely honest with ourselves and figure out what we're passionate about. I know I'm still searching my heart and figuring it out one day at a time.

It takes time. Slow down. Don't rush it. Make sure you take time to build a solid foundation. I came across this video this week and it inspired the crap out of me. If you have any creative bone in your body then it will speak to you as well.

The video is shot and narrated by photographer Zack Arias.

Enjoy Your Work

We all have those days when we're not 100% - that was today for me. But what really counts in this life are the relationships we have and those who can lend an ear and an encouraging word. After an uplifting conversation I had with my friend Daniel (really more like a brother) I opened up the Bible to Ecclesiastes. I ran across an old verse I had underlined that really inspired me:

"So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?" - Ecclesiastes 3:22

Regardless of whether you are unhappy at your job, in between jobs, or out of a job, we should all enjoy the work which we can get/have, no matter how small or big the task.


Today I am celebrating the one-year anniversary at my job, aka my workiversary. Looking back on this past year I must admit I've reached a level of success that I didn't think possible. You see, when I left the military and my wife and I moved back home I had no clue as to what lie ahead. My only direction was the way that God was moving in my life. And when He said "yes" to me getting out of the military I didn't waste one second. Of course we had made preparations for our move back home, such as saving $10,000 and making plans to stay with friends until we found an apartment, but there was no job waiting for me. If there's one thing God has taught me though, it's that making preparation is just as important, if not more than, the actual manifestation of his promises.

So it was no surprise when the first job I took was working in the photo lab at Walgreens. That lasted mmm... less than a week, and with the famous last words "Thanks, but no thanks" coming from the manager, I gladly removed my vest and walked home. That was on a Friday, and I started at Half Price Books the following Monday. My month long stint at Half Price was enjoyable, I met some cool people and fulfilled one of my desires to always work at a bookstore. (FYI - it's just another job) But I knew something better still awaited me. And around the middle of September I got a call from a recruiter who knew of a company that was looking for a web designer. Let me back up and say that if it weren't for my friend and resume writing ninja, Sydney Smith, I would've never got that call. Thanks.

I think there are few times in life when you know, without a doubt, that The Lord has directed your steps and you are exactly where you need to be. My interview at WaveTwo was one of these moments. When talking casually with my future boss, John Arnott Sr., after my interview I came to find out that we did the exact same job in the military. Only his service preceded mine by a good thirty years. And that may not seem like much to the natural eye, but after I heard that something inside of me knew this was a perfect fit. Now a year later my knowledge of web design and development have far exceeded my expectations. Even having to work with Microsoft products has taught me to humble myself and my attitude towards those who aren't fortunate enough to know the joys of owning a mac.

So it's been a good great year for me. My only hope is that this next year is even better.

Staying on track

Okay, I have to be a little honest right now, if that's okay. I'm having trouble staying on track here at work. I have a number of projects to work on, but most of them are on hold or are awaiting approval. So what do I do in the mean time? I'm the type of person who needs clear direction in my life. If I don't have a plan to follow on a daily basis I get easily sidetracked or worse, bored. I used to think something was wrong with me. But I'm learning that if I'm not challenged enough then I become bored. Is this bad? Maybe, maybe not. I guess it could be bad if I don't learn to manage my time and know how and where to use my strengths.

All of this is a learning process. Trial and error.

So what does it take for me to stay on track? Besides a path to follow, I need an outline listing what projects I have to work on, and detailed directions for each of those projects. Also I need the time requirements for when they are expecting to see the first draft and when they would like the final draft done. Right now I'm not directly involved in the financial aspect of my job, but I still have the responsibility of tracking my time and giving quotes on how long it should take to accomplish a task. But how do these guidelines apply when I'm waiting for approval or waiting on the next project? How can I better use my time so I don't feel like I'm just wasting it?

I feel alone out here in the vast cubicle wasteland.

Also, where have all the mentors gone? I think we should resort back to the master/apprentice teaching method.