Happy(our) is an ArcStone event involving stories and music. We seek out four panelists who represent aspects of one of our core values — happiness, evolution, craftsmanship, collaboration, and service. And then we talk about the value.
Our latest Happy(our) was about our value of evolution. The idea of evolution radically changed humanity’s understanding of the world when Darwin introduced it in 1859. The echoes of his idea are still banging around today.
Today evolution as a creative principle is being used to develop everything from artificial intelligence to medical treatments. In popular culture, evolution has come to mean transformation, a person or organization changing in a fundamental way, usually growing and improving.
So what does evolution mean to us at ArcStone?
Our Core Values document says this:
EVOLUTION — Embracing Change
Realize that constant fast-paced change is part of our business. We know that taking risks, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes (and successes) is a vital part of staying engaged and participating in our industry. We are adaptable and ably respond to change. We take advantage of new conditions to better serve our customers, families, and selves.
Spirit of EVOLUTION: Learning, Growing, Ending Things That Need Ending, Taking Risks, Trying It, Beautiful Destruction, Hacker Ethos
To bridge the gap between what we think it is and its actual practice, we turned to our evolutionary panelists, Marianne Coombs (MPR Journalist), Alexei Moon Casselle (Musician / Educator), Mike Schwandt (Entrepreneur / Creative), and Daniel Corrigan (Photographer / Stage Production).
They did not disappoint. The group dropped some lovely pearls-o-wisdom. Here are my favorites from the discussion…
Movement Does Not Equal Progress
Marianne met many people who had never left their villages while she was serving in the Peace Corp. These people were thriving and happy and had grown in amazing ways. This opened her eyes to the idea that you don’t have to go anywhere to experience growth. She realized that putting down roots in a good place can aid your growth and evolution. The roots will serve as your foundation. They will help you grow and branch out.
Marianne lives that lesson — evolving in her career at MPR for over 25 years. She demonstrates that there is a strength inherent in being rooted. It gives you a stability and a platform for taking risks, another frequent requirement of growth.
If You Feel Fear, Get Curious (Unless There Are Sharks)
Alexei described a big risk in his first high profile public performance. Seeing himself as if he were outside his body, he took the mic as the beat dropped and went for it. Though he was scared and acting a bit out of character for his introverted nature, he did it anyway. Reflecting on the event, he realized that moving toward that fear and facing it was an absolute requirement for growth. He wanted to do it, and he had to face the fear to grow.
Alexei told us, “If you feel fear, get curious.” That fear is likely signaling an opportunity for transformation and growth.
Tune In To Embrace Change
Mike describes setting up a routine every day to “tune in.” He said just as he would tune a guitar before playing with a band, his daily routine of meditation helps him tune in with the world. He cites the book Mind to Matter by Dawson Church as a recent read that has helped inspire him to practice.
I asked the rest of the panelists if they meditated and it turns out that every one of them had a regular practice of tuning in using mindful walks, floating, and meditation. I find a regular mindful practice of some sort is a nearly universal habit of everyone I’ve ever met who has been successful across more than one discipline.
Taking time to tune in will help you embrace change and opportunity — enabling you to sort reactivity from true opportunity. Serial success requires tuning in.
If It’s Not A Fuck Yes, Then It’s A Fuck No
Dan prioritizes hanging out with the important people in his life and working a job that he loves. He has a simple litmus test to determine whether you should go for something that may create change in your life.
Ask yourself how you feel about it.
“If it doesn’t get a resounding fuck yes, it gets a resounding fuck no.”