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Yesterday morning, I listened to The Paris Review podcast and heard LeVar Burton recreate a 1984 speech by the late writer James Baldwin. I was walking through my neighborhood and had to stop a few times to enter quotes into the Evernote app on my iPhone:

“An artist is someone who helps you see reality.”

“A writer has to take all of the risks of putting down what he or she sees.”

“You want to write a sentence that is as clean as a bone.”

Baldwin discussed his involvement in the 1960s civil rights protests, just before delivering his ultimate advice to writers: “Find a way to stay alive and write.”

It’s easy to get inside my head and overthink the reasons to write or not write, whether my material is good or terrible, and what others will think about my work or whether anyone will ever see it. Baldwin’s simple advice is “clean as a bone,” indeed, and will cling to my own bones for a long time.

Growing Your Strengths

I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I primarily write stories featuring a diverse group of professionals whose examples of applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.

These characters face familiar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for these professionals and for many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress.

Until, however, each of these individuals chooses to do something new: practicing mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling habits, and growing them into strengths…strengths that respond to change rather than just react.

Strengths that you can develop as well.

Don’t settle for the confusion, distraction, and stress. You’re stronger than that, and capable of much more.

Choose to do something new. Today. Start with this post, check out my books, and join our learning community to receive free, exclusive content via email each month with timely guidance on applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling.

 

John M. DeMarco is a writer, strategist, and executive coach based in Nashville, Tennessee.