Around the halls of Badass Public Health we have a saying:
Bold to Ship
Now this may seem familiar (but slightly wrong) if you know the awesome work of Seth Godin (one of our badass heroes). His call to action, Build to Ship was the foundation from which we derived Bold to Ship (by an auto-correct accident, as all brilliant slogans are made). Build to Ship means to make art (work) and to give it away to the world to enjoy, use, build upon, etc. Don’t get mired in perfectionism or fear of failure or designing by committee. It’s about creating and sharing. Make some art and then get it out there, so you can start making more art. And maybe, just maybe change the world. (You should go read Linchpin yourself because I hardly do Godin’s ideas justice here. Really, go!)
Now you might be thinking: I don’t make art, I write grants or manage a program or teach people to eat apples instead of Twinkies.
Guess what, friend? That is totally art, when it’s art and not work. Don’t go looking at me like I’m talking crazy. Think about it. What is the difference between work and art? Art comes from the deepest parts of the artist. It’s original, even if derivative. Art is a gift to the world. Work is shit you do to get a paycheck or to accomplish a task. Two totally different things.
If all you’re doing is your job, then you should probably go work for some corporation. Starbucks and Target have lots of jobs. But in the world of public health and social justice, we need artists. Artists know how to do more with less. Artists recycle the old to make the innovative. Artists ignore the rules. Artists build community. Artists harness creativity. Artists don’t rest on their laurels. They treat their last like their first and their first like their last.
Artists save the world. Employees don’t.
Bold to Ship is a way of being. It’s the badass version of Build to Ship. It’s taking a damn risk already. It’s being human. It’s owning your mistakes. It’s not being a wimp. It’s being BOLD. But being bold with a purpose, to make your art for the world.
Don’t think that all this is about swagger. Swagger has its place. But you shouldn’t be all swagger and no substance. That’s just sad. It takes no courage or inner strength to swagger through the world, but it takes a great deal of courage to own a mistake or to put yourself fully into your art (work). That’s where the BOLD comes in.
Anybody can make stuff. But only you can make your art. The world needs more artists.