Mindset from a Founder

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Our mindset can get in the way of progress. As problem solvers, when we’re in the daily grind of making ideas happen, measuring outcomes, building community around our solutions and managing cash flow, it can feel like the burden of the mission we’re pursuing outweighs the joy of bringing that solution to life. Our mindset determines our outcome. It anchors us in the possibility that things can be better. This week we will hear from different voices with different mindsets, and we hope each person challenges your thinking.
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Today we have the opportunity to learn from Dana Spinola, Founder and CEO of fab’rik, in a quick seven question interview. When our team thinks of people who inspire our work and challenge our mindset, Dana is one of those people. She works incredibly hard to create a culture of WOW in all that she does, from her company to her non-profit to her family and friends. Join us in learning from Dana.
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1)   Share what attitude or mindset means to you and why it’s important in your work and your daily life.
Mindset is how you approach your life, your day or even a challenge. When you wake up in the morning, you are either ready to take on the day or want to run from it. I feel it’s so important as a leader to have a positive mindset because it sets the entire tone and culture of the organization you are leading. When your mindset gets off track, it can easily side track everyone that is pursuing your same mission. So every once in awhile when I wake up and want to run from a day, I head to yoga, to a devotion or simply change my schedule to get reconnected so that I have a better chance of approaching my day from a mindful, thoughtful place.

2) Are you the kind of person who looks at a glass half empty or half full? Explain.
The glass is always full and almost pouring over in my mind. There is just so much beautiful opportunity every day to try to make the world a better place I can almost get lost in it. When I approach life with this perspective, it makes everything an adventure and a chance to dive in and use all the gifts I’ve been given. At fab’rik we call this our WOW culture. If we forget to put a dress in a customer’s bag, we could lose them forever OR we could look at it as an incredible chance to make a customer for life by driving the dress to her house, with a bottle of champagne and the necklace we saw her trying on. I approach my personal life the same way, if my five year old tells me he misses me and I’ve been working too much, instead of letting guilt jump in, I pick him up early from school the next day with his bike packed and spend 4 hours just the two of us.

3) How do you adjust your mindset when you come up against a challenge?
When it comes to business challenges I almost feel like the terminator in the end of the movie when he is being shot at and keeps getting back up and moving forward. I have NO idea how I do it, but honestly was made with this relentless endurance to fight for my company and everyone that works in it. However, I’m not even going to pretend I’m that strong when it comes to people and feelings. I’m a very passionate person so there are times when I feel like life just isn’t fair and get the wind knocked out of me. Thank God I have an incredible wise counsel, with my husband leading the charge, that I share so honestly with and can course correct my heart and get me back on track.

 4) What does it look like in chaos?
I think I operate better in chaos than in calm. I love when there are crazy deadlines, back to back meetings, big executive decisions to be made, 4 kids that want to play and a husband to make dinner for. That is my calm. I know that some people love a schedule, predictability and don’t like change. Things staying the same and not evolving is one of my biggest fears. I love growing, learning and adding new things to mix of my chaotic world. So figure out your happy place, your calm-even if it’s chaos, and spend time there every day!

5) How do you lead your team in this area?
I try to lead my team with transparency and honesty. I find when I pull them into my world and share that I am going through chaos, heartbreak, stress and just hard times they can relate and pull together our army and hold each other up. I used to try to figure it all out on my own, act like I had it all perfectly handled and pretend peace just oozed from my veins, but once you share with your team that you are human, it creates a bond and encourages everyone to cheer for each other and share the same. If you are going to be a leader, why not let them know what to expect in life and they too will overcome it all. I literally staged by own intervention with five members of my team to check in and see how I was leading and share what I was going through. It was terrifying until I learned they loved be able to lift me back up and get back to leading our mission.

6) What perspective do you want them to have on their work and life?
Our core values define the perspective I hope my team has on work and life…..DREAM big, HUSTLE hard, stay INSPIRED, WOW everyone and CELEBRATE the big and the little things.

7) What encouragement do you have for the Plywood Community as they work to make this world a better place?
It’s impossible to do everything but unbelievably easy and impactful to slow down long enough, look around and cheer someone else on. Every single small gesture, random act of kindness, listening ear, “you’ve got this” text, morning prayer goes farther than I ever knew. The people that stopped to encourage me along the way are the real heroes. The ones that slowed down their own ship to help mine are the ones that make this world a better place.

 

Plywood Presents is not for me

A few years ago, I had just hired a handful of employees at the quirky marketing company I had founded. I was pregnant with my second child, and I was living in a small town a few hours outside of our home in Atlanta thanks to my husband’s military orders.

I didn’t really know another business owner, and I sure didn’t know another young mother who was raising babies along with their business. I had no idea what I was doing.

And I was lonely.

Thanks to encouragement from a friend, I bought myself tickets to Plywood Presents that summer, an event that I most definitely did not feel qualified to attend. I didn’t feel cool enough, connected enough or successful enough to be there, but I was lonely enough, and strangely, that little bit of desperation was all I needed to overcome my insecurities.

I found myself in a room of people who shared exactly what my weary soul needed to hear, from the magazine founder on stage who talked about receiving negative feedback (oh, that’s something other people experience too?!) to the marketing employee at a non-profit school sitting next to me, telling me about her challenges communicating about a school that’s never really been done before (oh, everyone else’s work isn’t just easy?!).

The encouragement seeped in like osmosis, just sitting in that room surrounded by so many people who had ideas and experience and  –what I realized was most valuable of all – a community of people who walked alongside them.

Plywood does an incredible job of curating those who share on stage, but Plywood also draws such a unique crowd of attendees that those who are sitting in the seats around you are likely the most incredible of them all.

So if you are a dreamer, a problem solver, an activist, a leader, a world-changer, an entrepreneur … Plywood Presents is for you. But if you are a scaredy cat, a failure, a self-doubter, a “nobody”, a lonely young mother with no business experience … Plywood Presents is so very for you that I get emotional just writing this out. (Buy your ticket here, and we’ll connect you to someone else so that you’ll know at least one other person there.)

I look forward to the stories of connections and inspiration that will come from this year’s Plywood Presents. My story was one of these a few years ago. Will your story be next?

- Callie Murray, Community Manager for Plywood People

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Structure for Creatives by David Choe

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Meet our friend David Choe, founder of Cuz.

Rhythms are a paradox. Through the repetition of notes and sounds and beats and their intentional and specific construction, rhythms move people. It’s fascinating to think that something so methodical and structured like a rhythm can cause something so fluid like the tapping of toes and the swaying of bodies.

In my world of strategy and design and creative work, rhythms often look like process. Creative people hate the idea of processes and structure, but without them there’s almost too much to consider.

For example, when someone tasks you with creating a brand, the thought of it is daunting. Where do you even start? This is when rhythms and process often come into play. Instead of putting a bunch of notes on a score hoping it creates something beautiful, it’s painstakingly considering each note and line, and their interactions with one another. It’s forcing yourself to put boundaries on your creativity. Putting your ideas into processes and boxes gives you something to push up against. It creates something for you to break and to change.

When stuff hits the fan and deadlines pile up, revisions seem endless, and people are tired, there’s a temptation to forsake rhythm for completion, and the work suffers.
It takes discipline to dig in and get back into the groove despite the mess that is going on around you. Rhythm and a person’s ability to keep it, is what seems to produce the best kind of work. To create work that means something to someone, maybe even move them.

At Cuz, rhythm is a bigger challenge for us, because we do all of our work on nights and weekends. But that’s also a part of our magic. We have even more limitations than the normal creative agency and in order to produce amazing work, we have to be more disciplined, go deeper faster and hold ourselves to even higher standards. You can be assured that because of our limitations and our convictions about our clients, we will be working harder and smarter than the rest.  For us at Cuz, there is only one option- to move people and we won’t stop until that happens.

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Rest and Work by Joshua Becker

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Written by Joshua Becker, from his Blog Becoming Minimalist

It is no coincidence that most of the major world religions exhort human beings to set aside time each week for rest. And even those who would not consider themselves religious still speak to the value of rest. As humans, we all have physical limitations.

There is a danger in our world to self-exalt ourselves over our limitations – to claim that we can work without rest. There is great danger in losing the natural rhythm between rest and work. Great danger for our physical bodies, our emotional well-being, our relationships, and our spirituality. Simply put, we must guard the natural rhythms of life.

Minimalism provides more opportunity for valuable rest, refreshment, and enjoyment. Removing the relentless pursuit of physical possessions from our lives frees us from the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Removing unnecessary physical possessions from our lives frees us from the burden of caring for them. Removing clutter from our homes allows energy to flow more freely. And removing the value we place on physical items allows us to redirect our values and priorities.

So take a deep breath or better yet, take a nap. And return to the natural rhythms of work and rest.

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On Rhythms by photographer Rachel Iliadis

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Rhythm: a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.

It is the arrangement of habits and daily decisions that will ultimately determine the direction of your life (no pressure). As we see in the human body and nature, it provides the framework and foundation for life to move peacefully amidst chaos. We all live and breathe in these rhythms for better or worse.

As a 28-year-old INFJ(P) mom of two entrepreneur married to my polar opposite, I’m constantly on the quest for the ever elusive concept of rhythm (read any semblance of balance or sanity). But as it turns out, trying to create a harmonious life out of two unique personalities while parenting and running a small business has proven to be quite the challenge. Surprise!

I am a visionary and idealist. I live wide-eyed and openhearted, oftentimes prioritizing spontaneity over schedules and the future over the present. The big decisions over what culture might classify as mundane (laundry, taxes, bed time routine, etc.) Routines don’t come naturally for me.

For instance, when my oldest daughter Penelope was 2 days old, my mom asked me about our schedule, to which I quickly replied, “We’re not those types of people. We prefer flexibility. The constraints of a schedule have no place here.“

What I didn’t understand at the time is that a lack of an intentional rhythm oftentimes translates to disorder, and if we’re honest, wasted time.

Fast forward three long, sleep deprived years and one giant epiphany later, things look much different. Instead of waking up and letting life take me wherever it wants, I set intentions for each day and determine the course (with limitations of course). The result? Peace. Productivity. Health. And, my mind finally has the space it needs to create and process with clarity.

Even though my personality naturally gravitates towards go-with-the-flow spontaneity (the jump in a van and drive wherever the road takes you kind), that lifestyle wasn’t grounding when the storms came. It left me feeling anxious, depressed and unprepared. In our family, we’ve learned that implementing a slower pace of life with more boundaries is necessary for our holistic health.

Turns out my mom was onto something.

It’s important to remind ourselves that the now is all we have.  All we’re given. Live the story that you want to read when you’re older. And in order to achieve this, I believe you must mindfully define your goals and then establish rhythm and routines to slowly achieve them.

These singular, repeated notes of your daily decisions will create the song that is your life: either a harmonious symphonic masterpiece or noise. How do you want it to sound?

To check out Rachel’s lovely work: racheliliadis.co

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