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I Promise to Give

maker8The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him – it cannot fail – Walt Whitman

In 2008, Wired editor Chris Anderson saw “Free” as the future of business.  Anderson was spot-on.

Not to create any kind of free swimming hole for your audience to engage you or your brand in is, well, foolish, counter-productive to your creativity, and kind of stingy. It’s the hoarder’s or snob’s tendency to hold back. (I didn’t call you a hoarder or snob!)

There are obvious reasons why otherwise well-intending business artists and owners hold back, but they might not see how giving away is an investment and a creative catalyst.

Maybe we hold back because we fear we’ll be taken from or that we’ll run out of ideas.

The funny thing is this: When you create something, the very process of creating creates more ideas. When you see that something you created makes a difference to someone, you wake up driven to create more. When you solve one person’s problem, you feel fueled to discover other solutions. 

In Tracking Wonder’s ArtMark™ Brand Story & Strategy program and consulting, we help shape clients’ Free Swimming Hole.”  As a business artist, your Free Swimming Hole is the space you create online and in live situations for your audiences or customers or clients to engage you, your business, your creations, your content – for free. People can come and go. They can engage you or not. They can stay for all the show you’ll give for free, or they can walk out when they want. 

There are effective as well as ineffective, integral as well as phony ways to create a Free Swimming Hole. It involves more prototyping than perfection – and heaps of generosity.

What if this year you could approach the business of your life and the life of your business like art – something like a gift to be honed and experimented with that  could awaken, delight, provoke something meaningful and change-worthy in other people?

It’s a question I endeavor to live this year and invite you to live with me. 

I promise to continue giving perspective on these areas of doing business as unusual in 2015:

  • books & publishing
  • building brands & platforms with integrity
  • bias-busting thinking & acting & making
  • Story
  • intentional living

And I promise to keep listening. I will be gathering your stories, situations, and input this year. I will be traveling to different parts of the United States and outside of it to get more perspective.

From whatever I take, I promise to create something from it and give it back tenfold. That circle is the shape of tracking wonder.

What do you promise to give this year?

Thanks for running with me,


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