What is your artistic work manifesto? Yep, you need one….

Run, don’t walk and pick up a copy of Seth Godin’s latest delight, Linchpin. It’s a super easy read with a powerful message – and you need this message whether you run your own business or work for someone else. It is absolutely changing (and validating) how I approach my work.

Seth is essentially calling us to “be artists”: whether you are a product designer for Apple or a waitress.  It’s not about the slog of punching a clock, or working for the man, or putting yourself on autopilot until 5 pm. What the world needs now are creative problem solvers. They are the ones who will achieve job security because they will make themselves indispensable. They will not be order takers, but change makers who innovate in countless ways big and small without being asked or “paid to.” He talks about our cultural shift from an industrialized workforce to an artistic workforce.

The beauty of this is that it applies no matter what your job. Bringing artistry to your work does not mean you have to work in paints or clay. It is the barista who sees you coming and immediately has your regular coffee drink ready at the bar, thus delighting you and starting your day off right. She may be working for $9 bucks an hour, but she has just made herself indispensable by being an artist. Is it in her job description to do this? Heck no. But her passion to make you happy, to overdeliver, to humanize the transaction has now created a loyal customer – and I would bet, given her more back in return in job satisfaction and appreciation.

We’ve often heard the phrase, “If you’re going to be a trash collector, be the best damn trash collector you can be.” There is nobility in that. And the world needs more of it.

For me, it comes down to caring about your work and being the best (blank) you can be by creating, problem solving and innovating. if you have a knack for taming angry customers and turning them around, that is an art. if you can lead a meeting effectively so all attendees leave motivated, aligned and clear on direction, that is an art. If you can brighten every person’s day who steps on your bus, that is an art. You can change one person’s life, viewpoint, mood or business by acting in this way. You can change the world.

Thinking about all of this, I wanted to see what my own artistic work manifesto would be. My personal and business mission is “To engage, inform and delight.” But what does that really mean day to day? Here goes –and would be interested to hear what yours might be as well:

  • I will delight clients by articulating their mission and brand in exactly the way they desire, so they get goosebumps and shout, “Yes! That’s it! That’s is what I’ve been trying to say and could never find the right words!”
  • I will care more about their business than even they might by always giving honest and candid feedback – even if that means extra work or losing the account.
  • I will touch and inspire every partner or client I work with by showing passion, energy and kindness during our time together. I will treat people well.
  • I will connect people that can help each other just because it’s the right thing to do, not because I get anything from it.
  • I will teach others how to think about their business as a mission that enriches lives in some way and not just a widget-producing factory solely after profits  – and I will show them that passion and profit are not mutually exclusive.
  • I will surprise people by remembering their interests or our conversations and send them an article, press lead or whatever just to show I care.
  • I will seek to work with clients who are passionate about their business and avoid those who I can clearly see will suck the energy out of me and my team. This will keep us positive, motivated and give us “mindspace” to delight the clients who are worth it – even if this means less money for the year.
  • I will continue to write and tell stories that inspire, provoke thought, inform  or even just entertain, whether on via my blogs, my books or my speaking engagements,


What is your artistic manifesto? Please share in the Comments!

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