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Take a Leap of Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

I’m just days away from making one of the biggest changes of my life. After nearly 30 years in Colorado I’m relocating to Texas to begin life again. The last 12 years have been challenging for me, both personally as well as professionally. It is time to hit the reset button, raise the sails  and see where the wind will take me. For me, it’s all a big leap of faith. Am I excited? You bet. Scared? A bit. Am I Sure that I’m doing the right thing? Without a doubt.

It’s all about the faith.

This will be a much shorter blog post simply because I am swamped with moving preparation. But I want to leave you with a thought.

The Leap of Faith begins with a single step.

 

ReFuel

Sometimes we need to ReFuel. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

It’s all an Obstacle Course

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

~Fleetwood Mac~

Life is an Obstacle Course.
It’s how we deal with the obstacles that’s the key to it all. We can  refuse to run it or get on with it. We can complain about it being too hard or just deal with it. We can worry we can do it or believe that we can. We can hold on the the fear of it or get creative and overcome it. It’s really all in the state of mind.

Why not think about times to come,
And not about the things that you’ve done,
If your life was bad to you,
Just think what tomorrow will do.

I’ve always been drawn to movies that inspire us. Films like Miracle, Glory Road, Remember the Titans Hoosiers, Simon Birch, and even the Rocky series are some of my very favorites . I love stories about people who overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to accomplish great things.  The Underdog stories you know. They motivate me to live more fully. To dig down a little deeper when thoughts, or feelings or life’s obstacles get in the way.

One of the key components in the Art of Reinvention is believing that nothing is impossible.

I think we often short change ourselves by thinking too small. Or thinking something can’t be done. Or thinking we aren’t worthy to accomplish those goals or dreams. It’s ome of the reasons I love the song “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac. It’s really one of the most positive songs ever written. We’d be well served to read those lyrics every day of the week.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

It’s all a Game of Risk

What’s the deal?
Spin the wheel
If the dice are hot…take a shot
Play your cards. Show us what you got
What you’re holding
If the cards are cold
Don’t go folding
Lady Luck is golden
She favors the bold
That’s cold
Stop throwing stones
The night has a thousand saxophones
So get out there and rock
And roll the bones
Get busy!

~Rush~

Risk.

One simple easy word to read, not so easy to live by. If there is one certain driving force to the Art reinvention it is the willingness to risk. To risk failure. To risk embarrassment. To risk your life savings or risk taking a chance on total uncertainty. It’s not the way we’ve been brought up necessarily. We’ve been taught to save your money, not make a fool of ourselves, seek security above all else, chase the American dream. Well, I don’t know about you but none of that really worked out the way I had planned.

You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ~Wayne Gretzky

During my years at the newspaper I worked for everyday I went to the office I feared I could lose my job. Everyday. For 27 years. And you know what. I finally did. And the fear was much worse than the reality. I worried myself sick about what would I do if I lost my job. And once I did I found it was liberating and energizing. I set up my own freelance business and though it has been bumpy in a bad economy it’s been one heck of a lot of fun. I’m still adjusting to being my own boss but I have to tell you, I wish I had struck out on my own years ago.
I’m off right now risking. I’m flying to Dallas to finish up the final details to relocate there in August. Other than moving during the hottest month of the year I am so excited and energized that I can hardly sleep. Am I scared. Sure. A little. But if you don’t feel at least a little fear it means you aren’t risking enough. So for me it’s time to push the envelope, get out of my comfort zone and start life completely over in a new place, with a fresh new, positive attitude.
And you? Are you risking lately?

Behold the turtle. 

He makes progress

only when he sticks his neck out. 

~James Bryant Conant~

The Eye of the Tiger

It’s the, eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watchin’ us all with the eye of the tiger…
-Survivor-

It was the summer of 1982. After 5 years working for a small daily paper in West Texas I sat across from an editor who was telling me “you have no talent” and that I needed to get out of the business and find something else to do with my life. I’d been passed over for a full-time staff artist position just a few hours earlier and now he was telling me why.
“You have no talent”.

Those 4 words

were the best thing

that ever happened to me.

Even today they continue to motivate me, to push me forward when I feel like giving up, to inspire me to give the very best I can give to each and every project that comes across my drawing board. I feel I have been blessed with the God given gift and talent to draw and make people laugh and think through the cartoons I have produced for over thirty years now. Just a quick note to that editor: You were wrong.
Not long after that meeting I answered an ad in the trade publication, Editor and Publisher, for a sports minded artist and in September of ‘82 I was Colorado bound for my first job where I spent 27 years as the sports editorial cartoonist for the Rocky Mountain News. Not bad for a guy with “no talent”. I had to do a tryout to get the job drawing 3 finished locally flavored cartoons in a 72 hour stretch with no sleep to meet the deadline as well as my job requirements for the small daily I was working part-time for.
I could have given up. I could have said that editor was right. Why try? But those 4 words haunted me. During those 72 hours, which included drinking I’m not sure how many liters of Pepsi, I listened over and over again to one of the popular songs at the time:

Risin’ up back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive
So many times, it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

Fast forward to today, 2012. The newspaper I worked for has died, editorial cartooning along with the entire newspaper industry is imploding. I’m backed into a corner trying to reinvent myself to make the next 15 or so years as creatively rewarding and vibrant as the last 30.

Risin’ up straight to the top
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance
Now I’m not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive

You may be facing a similar set of circumstances in your life.  Knocked down. Ready to throw in the towel. Thinking of Callin it Quits. Well, Don’t You Dare! One of The keys to the Art of Reinvention is to be Resilient.

resilient |riˈzilyənt|

adjective
(of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed. See note at flexible .
• (of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions

As I write this tonight thousands in Colorado have been forced to evacuate their homes while hundreds have already lost their homes. Those are events beyond comprehension. Yet I believe strongly that those affected by these tragic fires will be the ultimate testament of the power of being resilient.

We have to find that inner strength that we each possess to remain steadfast and resilient. We have to muster the strength to get off that mat once we’ve been knocked on our asses a few times.

We have to find the Eye of the Tiger:

We Need Reminders to Remain Resilient

For me it’s those 4 words. “You have no talent”.
And lyrics like this one by Tom Petty:

Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down

or this one by Elton John:

Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
Im still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind

Or bible verses like these:
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So how about you? What are your Reminders to Remain Resilient? I want to know. And then I encourage you to use them to Remain Resilient!!!

The Walls Must Fall!

 

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
Joseph Campbell


Walls. We build them to keep us in or someone else builds them to keep us out. They can imprison us or corral us. If we let them they can define who we are and where we will go.

All resistance is a Wall.

As a visual person it helps me to battle resistance if I think of it of it that way.
I don’t want to be walled in. Or left talking to those same four walls. And I certainly don’t want to be “Just Another Brick in the Wall”. NO! I have something else in mind.

25 years have passed since Ronald Reagan said those infamous words “Tear Down This Wall”. The message was, of course, aimed at then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, that the time had come to tear down the Berlin Wall dividing East and West Germany.

But the wisdom of his statement goes far beyond the historical context of which it was said. It must be part of our manifesto in the Art of Reinvention. We cannot let the walls stop us from following our Bliss. I want to “Tear Down Those Walls”. And as Killer B’s we all have to tear down our walls to get where we are going.

“I don’t have the time” is a wall.
“I don’t have the money” is a wall.
“I don’t have the education” is a wall.
“My friends/family say it can’t be done” is a wall.
“But I’d have to miss the next episode of my favorite TV show” is a wall.
“But I’m too tired” is a wall.
“It will take too long” is a wall.
Awful. Yeechy. Stinking. Walls.
Tear ‘em Down. Tear ‘em Down. Now!

 

To be a Killer B or not to be. That is the question

Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams,
Telling myself it’s not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.
~Led Zeppelin~

Dreams.
We all have them. They are often instilled in us early in life, when we have so few impediments. No mortgage, no family to feed, no other major financial obligations to speak of. We dream Big. But we give up easy. Too easy. Too soon. And we fall into a complacent, comfortable existence, empty and unfulfilled.
Why do we sell ourselves short?  Why are we so quick to just “settle”? Why do we accept less than great for our lives? After all you and I both were created for great. But we so often trade it in for mundane and mediocre. It doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way.

Hold your fire
Keep it burning bright
Hold the flame ’til the dream ignites
A spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission
~Rush~

I recently finished 11/22/63 by Stephen King. (spoiler alert) The novel is about a character who travels back in time to complete one mission: he must stop Lee Harvey Oswald from shooting John F Kennedy. Throughout the novel the character continually encounters increasing Resistance the closer he gets to fulfilling his mission. Improbable events crop up the nearer he is to actually stopping Oswald and preventing history from being changed.

Our lives are like that. I happen to believe each and every one of us was created to complete a “mission” or several of them. The closer we get to fulfilling them, the greater the resistance we face. Author Stephen Pressfield talks about this at length in his brilliant book “The War of Art”. Pressfield says “The more you love your art/ calling/ enterprise, the more important its accomplishment to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it.”

Resistance claims millions of unfulfilled souls daily. It comes in clever disguises. Fear. Worry. Depression. Bills we have to pay. Spouses who don’t share our passions. Family who tell us to stop dreaming. Friends who discourage rather than encourage. Resistance could be our own self talk and lack of belief in ourselves and our dreams. It could be that TV show you just have to watch instead of sitting down with your laptop and writing the first chapter of the novel you’ve always wanted to write. The list is endless. But Resistance is real. And much like Stephen King’s novel I believe it increases the closer to we get to our goal and the fulfillment of our “mission” or our calling.

Reinvention is

the mortal enemy

of Resistance

Reinvention is the mortal enemy of Resistance, because it’s often at this phase of our lives that we are closest to finding that true purpose we were created for. Reinvention is often the result of an event which forces us to change the course that our life is on. It comes in the form of job loss or transfer, a  divorce, or the death of a loved one. It could be the diagnosis of an illness or the survival of a traumatic event in our lives that causes us to re-examine the direction we’re heading in. Whatever the event, there is a cause and effect which propels us towards Reinvention and into the path of Resistance.
It’s how we respond that defines us and our destiny.
I’ve witnessed quite a lot of Reinvention in the last few years. After the newspaper I worked for, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, closed in February of 2009, I’ve watched in wonder and amazement at how so many of my former colleagues changed course and reinvented themselves and their lives.
An award-winning Washington bureau reporter uses his severance and buys a small daily paper in Northern New Mexico. And I should mention, it too is award winning now that he runs it.
A copy editor follows his passion to pursue a career on the golf course.
Another one becomes a teacher for developmentally challenged children. Talk about a higher calling. That’s pretty far away from the world of journalism she was comfortable in. Oh, and I should mention, she’s better and far happier at her new mission than she was at her old one.
An accountant in the business department, whose love for science fiction inspires her to go back to school and become an astronomer.
Oh, and a couple of very talented and prominent columnists completely Reinvented themselves. One with a daily drive time radio gig on a very popular station and the other as one very hilarious stand-up comedian.
Then there are those friends I know outside of the realm of the newspaper business.
One of my best friends was the general manager of an old retro drug store and reinvented himself for a higher paying, high-tech job.
Another is a member of the Rock and Roll hall of fame who now pastors a church in Broomfield, Colorado.
There’s the former sign painter who is on his way to becoming one of Americas greatest artists painting nothing but his favorite sport: Baseball.
Oh, and then there’s this inspirational guy in Omaha, who, after a job loss and a serious health scare, changed course and becomes a paralegal.
Re-inventors all.
These are the people I affectionately refer to as the “Killer B’s”. Bold, Brave and Brazen they stood toe to toe with resistance, kicked it’s gnarly little ass and redefined themselves.
I want to be a “Killer B”. Badly. And you? Yeah. I was hoping so.

Fly me to The Moon

Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On , Jupiter and Mars
~from the original song In Other Words by Bart Howard~

The second you buy your new cell phone it’s obsolete. It’s yesterdays model with yesterdays technology featuring yesterdays apps. That software you just downloaded 15 minutes ago, sorry, but you need to go back online and download a newer version. Your iPad? Well, If you got it last week it’s last years model.  It’s nothing more than a fossilized, outdated, antique.

Ever feel like that? Like some fossilized, outdated, antique? I know I do. I spent most of my life in the newspaper business. It was an honorable thing to do for a living at the time. Woodward and Bernstein were ratting out a President. For heavens sake Superman was a newspaper guy. So were Spider-man and the Green Hornet. If it was good enough for super heroes, then, hey, it was good enough for me. That was then , this is now. Now the newspaper industry has it’s very own reality show. It’s called “The Walking Dead”. The Daily Planet is about to be planted. Six. Feet. Under.

I spent 27 years as a sports cartoonist for a paper in Colorado. I started out with BIG dreams of becoming the next Charles Schulz or drawing the next Pogo by Walt Kelly.  I fell into the sports job almost by accident. Most American sports cartoonists were phased out the year the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. It was 1958. Oddly enough, the same year I was born. But I was lucky. I had an editor in 1982 with a vision to reinvent the genre, making it more like an editorial cartoon, which thankfully, gave the art form and myself a brief reprieve from the impending doom of the print industry. I was one of the last of a dying breed. And proud of it. Like Superman, I thought I could single handedly save the entire world. And the newspaper business with it. Oh, I had BIG dreams. I still do. And though I continue to plug away at my craft as a freelancer or as I like to refer to myself as a “Comicpreneur”, I also realize that if I don’t adapt and change, well, you know what happened to the dinosaurs. Extinct. As in Fossilized. As in Six Feet Under.

transitory |ˈtransiˌtôrē; ˈtranzi-|
adjective
not permanent : transitory periods of medieval greatness. See note at temporary .

Many of us are in the same boat. Downsized. Outsourced. Discarded. Disillusioned. We do all we can to hang onto to the American dream that looks more and more like a Nightmare on Elm Street. We are fed up with the Wienies in Washington and the Weasels on Wall Street. Most of us just want our lives to resemble the final scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where the Angel gets his wings.

Wings. Flight. Reaching Great Heights.

It’s what this blog is about. We need to find our wings, again. The recession and all that it entails, has clipped the wings off of far too many of us.. I still believe life can be like that great scene that Jimmy Stewart made so famous. Do you know why? Because I believe in us.
I believe in the human spirit which must fly to survive and thrive.
I believe:
WE ARE TOO BIG TO FAIL.
I’m not talking about the BANKERS. I don’t mean the bozos in WASHINGTON.
I MEAN YOU and I and OUR DREAMS. ARE…

TOO BIG TO FAIL.

 I want to keep Dreaming Big. I refuse to surrender. I refuse to give up the dreams I have had since I was a kid. Life is short. It’s transitory. And so is the world we live in. Especially now.

It’s a far cry from the world we thought we’d inherit
It’s a far cry from the way we thought we’d share it
You can almost feel the current flowing
You can almost see the circuits blowing
One day I feel I’m on top of the world
And the next it’s falling in on me
I can get back on
I can get back home
One day I feel I’m ahead of the wheel,
And the next it’s rolling over me
I can get back on
I can get back home

~Neil Peart, Rush, from the song Far Cry

We have to Keep Dreaming Big. 
So here are a few reasons why I started this Blog:

One. Like so many, I find myself in the midst of a journey of Reinvention. It’s adapt and change or my future looks like a greeter at Walmart. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It just isn’t in my Flight Plan.
Two. I want to do something positive and share my journey of Reinvention which might help someone else.
It’s a Pay it Forward kinda thing. And it sounds like a lot fun. It’s therapy without the $125 an hour attached to it.
Three. I’ve been sparked by the recent blog of Kenny Loggins, the multi- platinum recording artist who writes now for the Huffington Post about his Reinvention experiences.
I’m Inspired by the brilliant blog and passion of Amelia Earhart, an energetic young Aviatrix and TV meteorologist from Colorado, who, like her namesake, longs to soar to great heights.
And I’ve been fueled by the cartoons and writings of Hugh MacLeod’s Gaping Void, a guy who totally Reinvented himself and penned the incredible book Ignore Everybody. I highly recommend them all.

There won’t be any set rules here. I’ll start by posting on Wednesdays. Just remember Wednesdays = WingsDay = TransitoryFlight.com. I’ll do my best to be transparent with out boring you with the grungy details. I’ll recommend some books, movies, music and people I find inspiring, perhaps even throw in an original cartoon or two for good measure and hopefully share some stories by some of you who, like me, find yourselves…on the Runway of Life, Preparing to Fly.
Are you ready? Good. Fasten Those Seatbelts. We’re going to have some fun.