What If You Can, An Inspirational Video

My friend shared this great video with me - it only takes 1.5 minutes to watch, listen, and reconsider your path in life - that is, if you aren't doing what you'd like to be doing. Because, you could be.

Watch Alan Watts' 'What If' embedded above, or directly on YouTube.

When I first watched the video, I shared it and added a personal blurb, thinking - hoping - others would be happily inspired, thinking to themselves the profound sentiment, 'wow...YES.'

But then I read the first comment.

"As somebody who's lived a long time and done a lot of things, I don't think that video contains good advice."

We could sit around and wonder what this man has truly done, as 'a lot of things' is pretty vague, but what I focused on was the fact that he wrote, 'I don't think this video contains good advice.'  But wait - there's more:

"It's a false dichotomy. I agree that doing what you hate for money is something to try to avoid (though, sadly, for some it's the only option) but also for most of us doing what we love for no money is not a great plan either. Instead, I'd say it's complicated. Money is good, doing what you love is good. I've been trying to find the 'sweet spot' between those extremes. I'm not living the 'if money were no object' life, but nor am I doing work I hate for money. Works for me!"

I thought the guy kind of missed the point, but he also made this post kind of sad; the first thing you see when you look at my shared, inspirational video post is now a comment that reads 'As somebody who's lived a long time and done a lot of things, I don't think that video contains good advice...' (read more).

Seeing a negative comment as the first comment on a post can easily deters others from adding their own opinions, so I tried to respond positively and turn things around.

"Well I'm glad what you have going is working for you! I think the message is great; I know a lot of people, especially coming from art school, who would love to do what they are passionate about, and feel they are good at - but, instead, they take jobs they can simply make money in, and it just depresses them to think about their passion. It is a great goal to have, to work at your dreams, and figure out how you can balance your dreams and society's monetary restrictions."

Having big goals is great, and working towards them is fantastic! The point of this video is to inspire, not to create a step-by-step plan of action. Many people, sadly, don't even try for big goals in the first place because people - and the media - make purely negative comments that masquerade as 'realistic.'


That said, the man responded yet again:

"Yeah, life is tough for artists and over the past few decades it's gotten tougher. A sad state of affairs but one worth noting as we make our choices. But it's not a choice between hate+money or love+no money. For many of us there's a wide middle ground where the best of both worlds may lie. It may not be the art we've dreamed of or it many not be something traditionally called art but it might be something we can love. What's great about the way you're doing it is that you're doing a lot of different things. Hopefully you'll make a few of them work out financially!"

The word 'condescending' flashed through my head as I read the comment, but I didn't think that was his intent. So, I responded with another, positive comment.

"Ooh well thank you, I hope so too, haha. I agree with you - I think people immediately think 'I need a job and money' and therefore they abandon even the middle ground you mention - which can be pretty big, and also enjoyable. And through that middle ground area, you may meet people who can help you to realize your true passion!"

While I say 'always try new things' and say 'yes!' to opportunity, you should also be discerning, and learn what 'opportunities' will truly benefit you. That being said, a lot of chance meetings and connections to people outside of your field can lead to more work in your field.

While the man didn't respond, a friend added some words of wisdom after watching the inspirational video.

"A video like this should never be analyzed or compared/contrasted against any real life situation that we may or may not have experienced. This is a video that speaks to the one inside of you, not the one living your daily life. Living within the perfect scenario is of course only a dream for the majority of people living in this world. But to not hope or strive for perfection is a loss itself. Don't ever give up your true ambitions. Don't ever let the weight of the passing of time disillusion you. Don't let the opinions of others change what you feel is true in your heart. And don't listen to people who tell you to compromise."

In his 26-minute speech to the Maharishi School of Management graduating class of 2014, Jim Carrey addressed the same thoughts and feelings that the above video, and friend's commentary, try to get across. Watch this pivotal 6-minute clip of Carrey's speech that may just change your life...


When Your Team Members Don't Even Know Their Job

Sometimes, organizations try to appear laid-back so they maintain approachability. Sometimes, though, they're so laid-back that the employees don't know who's doing what.

Though it's bad practice to withhold members' job titles and roles from the public, it's impossible for a business to exist without making clearly-defined jobs within the company. Without organization, an organization cannot function; businesses without a clearly defined hierarchy and job description for each of its members do not exist - because they FAIL.

If a company is trying to appear to the public as though there is no 'corporate hierarchy' because they're concerned this will look less approachable and friendly, the company still needs to make their internal structure clear to its employees. If there's an inconsistency between what an employee understands about the company due to its public presentation versus how the how the company functions (i.e. internal hierarchy), this will lead to confusion.

Inconsistency can create a stressful environment because it's not a learnable system. Inconsistency causes misunderstandings, and causes a psychological absence of security in team members. This stress affects members' ability to work, and therefore hinders the overall business.


I was recently working with an organization as the 'Manager of Marketing and Design.' When I was invited to join, I asked who did what - but I was never given a direct answer. One co-founder was 'in charge of social media,' but in reality she only updated the Facebook page while the co-founder in charge of partnerships ran the social media sites, website, and social campaigns. In fact, the organization's website only mentioned one founding member, with no mention of any other members - until I joined the team and redesigned the site. Though I finally added member names to the site, I was told that no one in the organization wanted to have a job or corporate title because they wanted people to 'run with their ideas.'

"I was always just told to do something and I figured it out," the man I later discovered to be President, stated. This is, he described, how he thought his organization would - could - run. However, his previous companies were able to function with that mentality because he had been given a clearly-defined job title and was aware of his co-workers' jobs. He was then given specific jobs as handed-down by his boss, and he did the job. It was a system built on communication, with clearly-defined hierarchy and work.

At this new organization, I was repeatedly told that all of the co-founders "were on the same level." Then, three months into working with this organization, I was told 'we didn't tell you that one co-founder is actually the organization's President, and the other two are Vice Presidents.' As noted, I was told that "no one really has a title, but we have expertise in certain areas so we should 'run with that'." Then, five months into working with the organization, I was told that I answer to the co-founders and am not on the same level with them, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Five months into my work with the organization, a female co-founder sent a string of requests regarding marketing concerns, to which I responded with my methods and research. We went back-and-forth a few times; the concern was the idea that adding our 'corporate titles' would "separate us in ways from the rest of the community and we don't want that at all" because "we don't want to appear self-serving or disingenuous in any way."

After adding additional information about how social media works, I was told "we appreciate the input but we're going with a certain vibe right now." Well I was confused - who was 'we' if this had been a conversation between the two of us? Was there another dialogue happening that I wasn't not privy to, though I'm Manager of Marketing? Shouldn't I know what this 'vibe' is? And, so, we spoke on the phone.

Though I'd asked multiple times to be given more information about who's doing what in the organization, and to be given context when asked to do something - it still wasn't happening.

Now five months with the organization, I had just discovered that the three co-founders have conversations with one another about decisions that fall under my purview, then one of them would deliver this decision to me - without discussion. There were only four of us working consistently with the organization, three of which were co-founders. Through this phone conversation, I discovered that the three co-founders consider themselves 'we,' while I was a 'fourth-wheel,' so-to-speak.

Oftentimes, people confuse 'we' and 'I' when speaking about their organization, especially if they're one of its leaders. Read more about how 'I' before 'We' works better for your business - and your team.

The female co-founder rudely asked, "Why did you think you were on the same level as us? We're the co-founders. We've always been the 'we,' it's always ever been just us!" The co-founder then stated they never "hired" me, either.

Well this was news to me; their website blog stated when I had joined the organization, and the co-founders had given me the additional title 'Managing Member.' On multiple occasions, I'd been told that I'd receive an intern in the near future, be put on salary and receive health care benefits once the organization became a federal non-profit. As 'Manager of Marketing,' I was told I could 'run with marketing ideas.' (I also, unwillingly, acted as a sounding board for each of the co-founders' rants against one another.)

Well this really drove it home - and with just three wheels, this drive was anything but smooth.

The comments this co-founder made in our last phone conversation were false - or, rather, they were entirely contradictory to aforementioned 'facts.' The inconsistency created by the organization's unclear stance about titles and who-does-what added to the confusion I already felt.

If you want to create a functional business that runs smoothly, the first step is to create a clearly-defined hierarchy and acknowledge your workers. Let them know, in no uncertain terms, if they're in charge - or who's in charge of them. Communication is key to running a successful business, and being consistent with your employees is key to maintaining that success.