Standing is Essential – Physically, it keeps you fit; emotionally, it keeps you strong; intellectually, it gives you perspective; and spiritually, it represents your connection to you earthly journey. And when you choose to stand, you set the wheels of creativity in motion, and make magic happen.
I ‘ve mentioned a few of the amazing folks, from Norman Lear to Ray Bradbury, et al. that I’ve ‘Stood With’ over the years, and it’s through their example that I learned what ‘Standing Up’ is all about. Throughout the long arc of their lives they developed a profound understanding that their ‘Standing’ in the world depended on how much positive creativity they shared with us; how committed they were to ‘Standing For’ the people, places, causes & beliefs that underpinned their beliefs & vision; and how solid their ‘Standing On’ reflected the collective power of our shared creative purpose.
Archie would Never do that!
Now that we are firmly ensconced in the Information Age, Branding & Brand Awareness is paramount, and our Chairpeople, CEO’s and thought leaders are forced to tread a razor sharp line whenever they speak & act in public. I sympathize, it’s a high wire act with a very dodgy net that the board and investors can yank whenever it’s suits their perceptual moods; or the public’s ire. So let’s put aside RCA’s for a moment and look at the Big Picture – whenever things go sideways for a brand in the public arena, it’s usually because there is a fundamental lack of awareness of what Executives are really ‘Standing On.’ This is true in our personal lives as well – what we ALL Stand On, is the essential ground of being that’s common to all of us.
When I was a fresh faced kid I had the privilege of working with Carroll O’Connor on ‘Archie Bunker’s Place,’ and remember one exceptional meeting with our creative team and CBS Executives. The execs. were pushing hard for a fundamental change in a scene they felt uncomfortable with and the creative team was losing the argument, until Carroll stepped in and spoke five of the most powerful words that I’ve ever heard: “Archie would never do that.” The room went silent; the executives nodded; and the meeting moved on to the next subject. Wow! All that heated conflict instantly evaporated because Carroll knew his Brand: Archie. Knew his audience: Us. And deeply believed that the relationship between Actor and Audience – Brand & Consumer – is a circular bond that Stands On our common humanity, so whatever you’re selling, you are us… I am the Walrus, goo, goo, g’ joob.
T he ultimate takeaway here is: Beware of living in a silo. If a company, or an individual loses touch with the people that support their common purpose and thinks of themselves as separate – an ‘I’ – there is ego involved. Ego creates separation by convincing us that we’re essentially alone in the universe, and need to build walls around ourselves to protect our identity – which is the exact opposite of reality, because identity is continually shaped through the connections we make, and walls only block connectivity & creativity. You ‘Stand On’ common ground my friends, so let that truth strengthen & guide your actions, because there is true power in numbers.
The Destination is the Journey
I’m sure you’ve heard this little saying for years, and there is an undeniable truth to its meaty wisdom, a ‘Don’t forget to appreciate the Simple Joys, on your way to your Fabulous Destiny’ kinda vibe. I totally agree – but I want you to redefine Destination as the Stand For in each moment of your amazing life. Since you’re Standing On common ground, it’s time to allow it’s collective wisdom to guide you, time to pivot, flex your knees, and seek the places that carry all the creative nutrients you need to keep calm, carry on, and stand tall in a world of runaway change.
W hen I left ‘Archie Bunker’s Place’ one of the Head Writers offered to set me up with a writing gig in TV Animation, but my ‘Stand On’ pulled me toward CalArts, where my Mentor, Alexander MacKendrick, blessed me by calling out my Primary ‘Stand For:’ ‘To Lead with Creativity.’ My Decision to get back to this basic ideal has opened up my life, and expanded my creative flow from a trickle to an ocean. ‘Don’t dream It. Be it!’ Either way, you’re ‘It.’
My intuitive grasp of Standing For has undergone a radical shift in the last few years. I can’t tell you the exact moment, but one day I was grumbling about my life, and the next, I just decided to stop complaining and energize my Stand For’s. In my upcoming ‘Being Magnificently Simple’ Post I’ll dive deeper into the power of decision, and how vital it is to making positive change happen, just know that without it – you’ll never reach your Stand For’s.
W hat are your Stand For’s? They are the brightest stars in the expanding universe of your creative identity, and the sum total of your Core Creative Beliefs (CCB): The seminal ideas that guide your actions and destiny. You create them, and they create You – from thought, to idea, to creative action.
A Pirate’s Life for Me?
I always get a kick out of going to Disneyland and visiting The Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion, because they’re Disney’s whimsical take on the life and death hoarding of treasure, and the life after death struggle to vanish into the light. For me, Pirates & Ghosts, represent the two archetypical poles that define our Standing in the world. If you swing toward the Pirate, you are taking more than you give. If you wobble toward the Ghost, you have given too much. To achieve a positively powerful Standing in life, you need to balance your energetic give and take. This means opening up to the flow of creativity and intuition, and letting flow through your consciousness to guide you.
W henever I visit a studio lot, I love to get lost in the flickering ‘Fata Morgana’ of silver screen memories, and the colorful cast & crews that played on these streets. If you take a few steps to the right, this magical cityscape transforms into a series of weathered facades held up by a lattice of blackened telephone poles and 2×4’s. This shift in perception is a trenchant reminder that the timeless quality of Standing is rooted in a common framework that provides a solid platform to build our dreams on.
The Apple of Our Eyes
Speaking of studio lots & chosen destinies, Apple; after disrupting the music world with iTunes & Apple Music, has now turned it’s transformational gaze toward television. I have high hopes that their desire to sell us all of our visual & audio needs, will open up every studio’s eyes to the undeniable fact that we are smack in the midst of a 21st Century Renaissance, or ‘Renaissance 2.0’ as I call it. As budding Medici’s, all the big players have the financial ability – and profitable responsibility – to open their patronage to an expanding diversity of media creatives, whose work will drive the conscious innovation of ideas, and inspire positive change for generations to come.
S o my fellow creatives, are you ready to Stand on; Stand for; and increase your Standing, by opening up to Renaissance 2.0.? Of course you are, your magnificence demands it, and history is repeating itself in a technological whirlwind that’s divinely tailored just for your benefit.
Now that you’ve got your creative sea legs under you, it’s time to Stand Up for a C2 Anatomy Summary:
1. Stand On • Your Ankle & Foreleg – Provide you the flexible connection to what you Stand On, and helps you balance your needs and the needs of the people, places & things you are connected to. It’s also a conduit for the creative energy of the world to flow into your Fierce Perception – fueling your creativity by helping you shed the ego-centric idea that you’re separate from your world.
2. Stand For • Your Knees – Give you the ability to bend, not break, and flex toward your Core Creative Beliefs and the ideas that resonate with your chosen purpose. They also empower your ability to act, as you walk, run, hop & dance to the unique creative magic that you have chosen to express.
3. Your Standing • Your Upper Leg – Represents the stability of your creative beliefs and how they connect to the universal commons; inspire and feed your purposeful creative actions; and Power Link you to positive, life affirming ideas. It’s long muscles also power your leaps into action, and propel you over any obstacles that get in your way to show the world that you are Creativity in Motion.
Stand by Me
Thanks for standing by me for today’s little anatomy lesson, and for giving me the gift of your attention and creative presence. That said, let me leave you with a little tip: Whenever you’re low on creative gas, turn off all your devices, get your legs moving, and take a long walk. While you stretch your legs, drink in the people, places and things you encounter and remember: You are Everything, and Everything is You! Dr. Seuss had it right in “Oh, the Places you’ll Go!” And I’m smiling just thinking about it.
Here are a few Tall Standing Gems that I’ve enjoyed: