Happy Sunday my friend,

How do you feel about the word ‘innovation’?

I don’t often talk about it in The Grind because it feels like it may lead me into the land of buzzwords and I’ve been trying really hard to stay away from those when I write to you.

But I don’t think I can leave this topic alone much longer because it is such an important part of this time that we are living in today. It seems that we humans are on a never ending mission to improve everything that we come across. Of course, in those efforts, we inevitably make mistakes and in some cases cause new problems that are worse than the ones we started with.

With the fever pitch that innovation has in the world today, people have started coming up with systems and methods that help people to be innovative. More innovation. Better innovation. Faster innovation.

I’m doing that too with Create and Orchestrate. I’m offering my opinions and philosophies on business, and sometimes life, to provide a way of looking at things to anyone who wants it.

But I’m struck right now with a responsibility to warn you against me or anyone else who would say “my way is the way.” It most certainly is not. It is just my way (for now), and you may pull from it as is helpful to you, but you also should absolutely debate and disagree with anything that doesn’t resonate with you. I’m feeling strongly about this because I’m raising teenagers right now.

My oldest son is an extremely talented performer. He has dedicated the last four years of his life to acting, but prior to that he was an award winning dancer, played guitar, sang and also writes short novels and scripts.

He’s remarkably dedicated to his craft and to other things that he holds valuable like his part time job. However, he has to spend a bit more will power focusing on his academics. I can absolutely relate.

Everyday my wife and I are innovating on how to best support this great kid (and his great younger brother, but that’s a different story). And let me tell you, it’s an exercise in innovation as messy as anything I’ve ever been a part of. No one wrote the parenting guide for my son, so we are making it up as we go along. It’s hard, we fail a lot, but because giving up is not an option, we keep working at it.

Where I feel most challenged right now is that I don’t believe the conventional wisdom on raising teenagers in America that we’ve received is exactly right for my boy. We’ve gotten it from really smart and wise people who have never had the honor of raising him. And so, we take the small parts that we think apply, but we go on everyday making it up as we go along.

How different is our parenting dilemma from you figuring out everyday how to bring your vision to life? I think it’s not that different.

It’s not all that innovative to follow someone else’s blueprint 100%. You have to, in most cases, learn things in the way you were intended to, much to the dismay of others who would like to take credit for your development and achievements.

So today let’s liberate ourselves from the idea that we have to learn someone else’s approach to innovation before we can start getting to work. I do what I do as an exercise of transparency and self-discovery first. I appreciate you so much when you tell me that a bit of our work has inspired you. But I appreciate you just as much when you offer a counterpoint or say that our message isn’t working for you.

Innovation is best celebrated by the many forms it takes. Be a part of that by bringing yours to the table.

To innovation in its many forms… on the Grind,

Marcus

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