I Never Thought I Was Creative | Part 2
If you haven’t read it yet, here is Part 1. This one will be a bit more technical and detailed, with a lot of insight into our internal world.
The next part of my story had me expand my team to 2 people, and then 3, all the way to 9 at its peak. It also explains how I failed.
(I want to interrupt myself again to explain that what I’m trying to do here with sharing my story is a really important thing to my heart — which is to see you win. To see you step into what you were designed for, even if it seems scary. I’m interrupting my interruption to say that I want to show you how simple a lot of this is, so that you can overcome some of those initial fears we all have. Ok, interruption-ception over, you’re good to resume reading.)
THE FIRST 2 YEARS
I understand that you may not know what I do — and I wasn’t great at explaining it in the early days of building my company. But the essential elevator pitch was “We make promotional videos” and sometimes “We’re trying to help grow our team in their creativity so that they can change the world.” Which I understand is still pretty vague. But that’s essentially what we did. We made videos, and tried to do projects together that would help foster collaboration and team growth.
Bear with me, I know there are a lot of gaps in my story — and I’ll try to touch on as much as possible.
Oh! And when Laura came onboard, we decided to rebrand to a simpler name — The Broken Culture. We launched a simple website that looked hip and had the ‘in’ parallax feature where the photos seemed to stay in place as you scrolled down the webpage. (It’s now overdone all over the internet I think. It’s ok, I’m not even mad.)
We had so much fun, and real, raw adventures that taught us so much about life. That’s the thing about film — it brings people together, and sometimes helps you have a reason to jump a fence and walk out over a sketchy ledge to get a shot or to explore a new location, taking a turn on a road you’ve always driven by. We also learned that creativity is a word that is easy to throw around, and a little bit harder to execute on than we think.
Ok. I’m struggling to communicate here. My goal is to provide as much value as possible, so I’ll get specific on a few topics
When Laura came onboard, she asked me to write a document that explained what my heart was for The Broken Culture. So I sat down in front of my computer for about an hour and started typing out what became known to us as ‘The Heart Document’. What was so crazy to me was that I don’t remember knowing what to write. It seemed like it wrote itself — which now looking back, I see is a God thing.
(Pretty intense right? It’s a big deal for me, since my life is now centred around it)
The Heart Document was what I needed to cast vision for the company. And it rooted us in a belief that we were meant to do great things. So if you feel like you want to do something big, spend the time to set vision right away, and write it down. I get that vision changes, but the core of it will always remain. For me, it was the one constant thing in a world that was always in flux.
So what went wrong? You may be asking why I keep saying I failed. When talking about core vision, even though it was my heart — I got caught up in only 1 of our core values and neglected the other 2. As we added more people, I set my heart on empowering each one. I felt responsible for their growth, and genuinely wanted to see them achieve greater levels of creativity, health and purpose. (More and this later, but the point I’m trying to make is that neglecting our other core values was deadly for me, and the company, even though we benefited from the ‘To Empower’ core value.)
If you set vision, you need to steward each part of it. Only then can you truly breathe life into your vision.
As my team started growing, I had to grow in leadership — something I had never been comfortable with. I was always happy to just help other leaders achieve their vision (and don’t get me wrong, I think that is a great thing.) It was just that I finally had a team that depended on me leading them, and I failed to do that.
I want to explain what I mean by focussing on the ‘To Empower’ core value. When I started The Broken Culture, I didn’t feel capable. I didn’t know what I was doing, I felt inadequate and small. If you’re reading this and relating to that — then great! I’m writing this specifically for you. I want to show you what I did, and hopefully you’ll see that what you’re feeling now is normal, and that it’s something you can push through, just like I did.
Every single person who joined The Broken Culture came in saying the same thing I felt. At that point, since I had pushed through my own feelings of inadequacy I found it really easy to tell them to do the same. This was the beginning of learning how to empower.
It was amazing seeing how much my team responded to being given hope that they could actually do great things. I think having people in your life who are able to see your potential and encourage you towards that is so key. I know that my team helped me with that, constantly affirming my leadership and challenging me to grow even more in it.
I really latched onto the concept of empowering my team, but since I wasn’t paying much attention to the other 2 core values, what ended up happening was my team would feel super empowered, but didn’t have a sense of purpose or projects to deploy that motivation against. If I could go back and change one thing, this would be it.
Not everyone who came onboard was interested in film, and I wasn’t able to bring everyone on every film project. I also didn’t know how to do anything outside of video, and realized a lot of the team didn’t have things to do. They were still connected to the rest of the family, but didn’t have a task list to work through. This was a very subtle fact that led to a lot of frustration for everyone.
Our culture was the single thing we worked the hardest on.
Our team (Ok. Let’s pause here for a second. From here on in, I’ll refer to my team as my family. Because that is how we treated and saw each other. We developed a tight knit relationship where honour was a priority. We gave and received respect, learning that being family is actually messy.
Really messy. I feel like that will be a entire post of its own. (I guess that will be what Part 3 will be about then!)
I’ll continue the story in the next post..
It only gets better. I’m in a place where I want to give you as much value as I can from what I’ve learned. This is part of how I’m doing it.