My wife and I just returned from a trip to Paris. First off, if you’ve never been before, I give you permission to stop reading this blog and go book your trip now. It was simply amazing. We had never been to Europe before so this was a whole new world for us, quite literally.
When you visit a city like Paris, one of the things you just can’t help but notice is the massive difference in the architecture. American architecture, in many cases, is just so flat, and... well, beige, at least in Tulsa anyway. But in Paris, even the most random building is designed with incredible detail. The bridges are gorgeous. The buildings are gorgeous. The landscape is gorgeous. Even the food is gorgeous! That blew me away. How is this possible? But then it hit me; great art (or great anything for that matter) is always made by intense focus, on one small piece at a time.
Look at this interior. The detail was so intense it was overwhelming and I found myself wondering where you would even begin to design something like this.
But then it hit me. See, an artist thinks about each detail as if it was the ONLY detail that mattered in the entire design. That’s what makes work like this possible. Thinking about all of it at once just makes your head hurt, but when you break it down it becomes more manageable.
We get a little of this same reaction every year at our Seeds Conference (not that anything we’ve ever done compares with this amazing room!). But people are a little overwhelmed at what they see here and they wonder how we got to where we are. The key is, not to focus completely on the whole, but rather on the small individual pieces because it’s only when you focus on the small stuff that you can affect the big stuff.
So, what if you approached your current job in the same way?
For instance, let’s say that your job was to oversee your church’s weekend worship experience. Now, that’s pretty broad, so let’s narrow it down a little bit and say that part of your job would include things like the lyrics that were displayed on the IMAG screens in the auditorium so your congregation could sing along each weekend. Now, if looked at that little detail like an artist would we would assume that those lyrics are THE most important detail of the entire service. Of course, they’re not, but because we’re thinking like artists here, we’ll assume they are. So let me put it like this, if your ONLY job was to work on creating the BEST lyrics you could create, what would you do differently?
• Would you change the font? Why?
• Would you study font legibility?
• Would you learn a little bit more about graphic design?
• Would you change how many lines are displayed at one time?
• Would you adjust the timing of the slide changes?
Those are just a few areas I would investigate off the top of my head. Now, ask yourself this question, what’s keeping you from making those kinds of changes right now?
See, many of us struggle to improve our situation and make things better simply because we focus on the whole, which is overwhelming, rather than giving consistent focus to one small piece at a time. But it’s that intense focus on a small thing that adds up to make a big impact over the course of time. That’s how artists create beautiful and lasting pieces of art!
So, what are your areas of responsibility? Can you narrow them down to just one task? Now, ask yourself this question, what if ______ was my only job? Would you approach it differently? Now go do that!