Author Archives: Andy Hunt

Storyline Thoughts

A much longer message today since I’m off work for two weeks.  Sorry, this is what happens when you are off work, all your friends work during the day and you are already caught up on How I Met Your Mother and Downton Abbey.
I’ve been thinking a lot about part of the discussion we had on Sunday, specifically the part about our careers.  There’s a belief that probably started with our generation that we are owed a job that is glamorous and makes each of us famous.  Maybe it’s because our society is obsessed with celebrity or maybe because our generation has it easy and hasn’t had to endure the hardships of previous generations (The Great Depression, World War II, etc.).  I thought about the Victor Frankl quote from the workbook, “Stop asking what you expect from life, ask what life expects from you.”  When I read statements like that, it makes me think that maybe we are getting it wrong.  We all have specific talents and gifts that we can use to tell a great story no matter what we do from 8-5 everyday.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 17-20, 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
There you go, “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”  We don’t all have to be movie stars and rock stars to create significant subplots within God’s story.  Obviously, God did not create me to be the lead guitarist in a rock band or Wimbledon champion (still trying to get over both of those), but my contribution to God’s story isn’t any less important.  Conversely, Eddie Van Halen probably can’t help people invest for retirement and Roger Federer can’t create a bitchin’ playlist for a dance party.
I’m not suggesting that each of us stay in our current jobs.  If you dread waking up and going to work everyday, ask yourself if your job needs to change or if your perspective and attitude needs to change.  If it is your job, then by all means do everything you can to find a job that you enjoy.
Here are a couple of videos that came to mind during our discussion.  The first is a speech by Mike Rowe, Ford spokesman and host of Dirty Jobs, at the TED conference a few years ago.  It’s 20 minutes long, but it’s one of the best speeches I’ve seen in a long time.  He talks about how we are getting it wrong with our view of work.  It’s very entertaining and thought provoking.
The next is a trailer about Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.  These guys wake up at 4 am everyday and spend all day dealing with smelly fish, and they don’t make a ton of money doing it.  Pretty crappy job by society’s definition.  But they make each day as fun as they can, and this little fish market has become an inspiration to many corporations about how to change culture and engage employees.  Think about it, they work in a fish market and became world famous simply because of their attitude.
I hope this helps you find your subplot.

Monday Motivation

Here is a post that I mentioned in class yesterday.  It’s from the blog of James Altucher.  I think The Daily Practice can be useful when going through the Storyline process.  Not all of these aspects will resonate with this group (like waking up between 4-5 am everyday), but I found some of these really helpful.  When thinking about having my story highjacked, I remember his quote about emotional practice,
” If someone is a drag on me, I cut them out. If someone lifts me up, I bring them closer. Nobody is sacred here. When the plane is going down, put the oxygen mask on your face first. Family, friends, people I love – I always try to be there for them and help. But I don’t get close to anyone bringing me down. This rule can’t be broken. Energy leaks out of you if someone is draining you.”
It’s not necessarily an enjoyable process to evaluate your relationships and determine who lifts you up and who drags you down, but I can personally attest to the fact that cutting out negative people (even some you thought were good friends) increases your energy and happiness.  If you want to keep moving forward, sometimes you gotta thin the herd.

Your Story, Your Job

Does anybody feel like you aren’t telling a good story because of your job? Do you have a job that you don’t like or isn’t fulfilling?  Brad and I were discussing this at lunch today when I was semi-lamenting the fact that I’m about to start a job where I’ll be working 10-12 hours a day.  When he asked, “Do you really want to do this?” instead of getting sad and crying in public (like I did during Les Miserables), I thought about this passage from Storyline that we will be covering next Sunday:
For some, our careers are a large part of our stories, but others of us aren’t emotionally connected to our jobs.  If that’s the case, we should do anything we can to switch careers.  However, if that’s not possible, don’t sweat it.  From here on we can think of our jobs as fundraising.
I have a friend who is a lawyer.  He sues large construction companies that make crooked sky-scrapers.  It’s not a save many lives kind of job, so he just thinks of his job as a way to get cash to fund his story.
That said, even in his job he’s living a great story.  He takes on clients for free that can’t afford him and even started his own law school to help one kid pass the bar. No kidding.  He has his own law school comprised of one student.  He found a loophole in some paperwork that allowed him to start a single-student law school.   They have sweatshirts and everything.
Don’t feel bad about viewing your job as fundraising.  Anybody who writes a screenplay has to hit the pavement, hat in hand asking people to invest in their story. It’s the same with life.  If your job isn’t directly connected to saving many lives, consider it fundraising.
Our careers are not our stories.  Our stories come from the core of who we are and we are bigger than our jobs.  If you are what you do for a living, you are smaller than your potential.
So I’ll be fundraising in my new job.  With that perspective, I feel a lot better about my story.  After all, I can’t remember any New Testament passage where Jesus complained about being a carpenter.  And I think he lived a pretty good story.

Letting Go

I guess I’m feeling inspired, so this might be a daily e-mail this week.  Another reason for not taking risks that came up in class was the inability to let go.  Ever feel like you should be doing something else but couldn’t make the move because you couldn’t let go of something, a relationship, a certain lifestyle, a steady paycheck or your comfort zone?
Paul preached a sermon a couple of years ago about letting go, and the following song is the one the Cornerstone band played that day.  It’s one of my all time favorites and to me the ultimate expression of someone trying to let go.  Peter Gabriel has neither confirmed nor denied it, but those close to him said he wrote this song when he was deciding to leave Genesis.  For those who don’t know, Peter Gabriel was the lead singer of Genesis before Phil Collins.  The band was becoming successful and famous, but Peter always felt called to have a solo career.  Solsbury Hill is the place where Peter would go to meditate. His friends called him crazy for leaving the band.  Looks like the move worked out really well for him and the remaining members of Genesis.  Just think, if he hadn’t left the band he might never have recorded “In Your Eyes.”  If he hadn’t, what song would Lloyd Dobler have played on his jam box in Say Anything?  Thankfully, we’ll never have to know.
Every time I have trouble letting go, I listen to this song.  The lyrics (especially in the second verse) always hit me square in the chest.
Here are the lyrics to Solsbury Hill.  Hope they inspire you like they have inspired me.

Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
Had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
I just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
“Son,” he said “Grab your things,
I’ve come to take you home.”

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Tho’ my life was in a rut
“Till I thought of what I’d say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
“Hey” he said “Grab your things
I’ve come to take you home.”
(Back home.)

When illusion spin her net
I’m never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don’t need a replacement
I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
“Hey” I said “You can keep my things,

They’ve come to take me home.”

Storyline Inspiration

I was thinking last night (I don’t sleep much) about some comments that came up in class yesterday when we were talking about doubt.  Sometimes we don’t take risks because we are afraid of failing and/or having to start over.  This reminded me of the Storyline of someone you might have heard of:
§  Lost job, Age 22
§  Defeated for legislature, Age 23
§  Failed in business, Age 24
§  Elected to legislature, Age 25
§  Sweetheart (Ann Rutledge) died, Age 26
§  Had nervous breakdown, Age 27
§  Defeated for Speaker, Age 29
§  Defeated for nomination for Congress, Age 34
§  Elected to Congress, Age 37
§  Lost renomination, Age 39
§  Rejected for Land Officer, Age 40
§  Defeated for Senate, Age 43
§  Defeated for nomination for Vice-President, Age 47
§  Again defeated for Senate, Age 49
That’s a lot of negative turns.
Oh, he did have a series of positive turns.  That started when he was elected President at age 51.  Yep, it’s Abraham Lincoln.  He failed plenty of times, but I’m pretty sure we would all agree he told a pretty good story with his life.