Issue.4 - Leadership in Crisis
Heroes are nowhere to be found. Get your cape right here, leader.
4. A Supernatural Vision
Heroes wear capes. Where’s yours?
*News channel plays in the background
*An emergency broadcast soundtrack is heard
“We interrupt the program because this is a critical emergency. We are broadcasting live from our downtown studio but the transmission might be cut at any moment. The human race never expected this to happen, authorities are absent and don’t know what to do at this moment, and people are scared, running away! Some are storing supplies in bunkers. All of our lives are in danger! Who is going to stand up for us at this moment? We need a superhero, but they only exist in movies!”. Yells the journalist while throwing the microphone and running away from the camera in despair.
The mic hit your head.
And woke you up.
The mic is now in your hands. Tell the audience: What threat came to your mind? A tsunami? A colossal meteor blazing on fire? Purple aliens? Green aliens? The revolution of the machines? The end of times? Someone pulling the plug on the internet forever? Other natural disasters? The sudden death of Steve Carell? (I truly hope this never happens).
(I just double-checked. He is healthy and fine.)
Ok, I just mentioned one of my heroes to you, so about heroes we shall talk.
But, before we talk about heroes, we need to talk about capes, and before we talk about capes, we need to talk about movies.
Let’s pretend for a second that your life is a movie. If it ended tomorrow, you would have to watch it over and over again. With the same scenes, same characters, and same plot twists. You would go through the same moments of joy, epiphanies, tenderness, and love but also sadness, anger, grief, and pain.
Would you have acted any differently? Would you have pursued more dreams? Would you…
“Why is this crazy talk even important?” Someone yells from another boat.
Because heroes tend to live in imagination.
As do dreams.
(As do I most of the time.)
The Finger and the Moon - Short Story (Zen Koan)
Shifu - Buddhist Monk
Braveheart - Lone Hiker
The misstep almost knocked the Monk out of his balance, the slip of his foot shifted not only the rocky earth that gave support to his feet but also awakened the movement of some small stones that went downhill on a journey that would require them a very long time to stay still again. A few minutes later he took the last vertical step with the help of a staff and found himself at the top of that extremely privileged geolocation, where a woman sat on a rock while observing the moon.
— What a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to meet someone here. What is your name, daughter?
— And I would never expect to meet a monk at the very top of the Andes mountain. My friends call me Braveheart. How about you Mr. Monk?
— Curious name. People call me Shifu. That is mandarin for “mentor”.
— You look old, sir. How did you manage to get up here?
— Well young lady, I wanted to visit this spot for one last time while I still have the willpower to do so with my old creaky bones. Said the Shifu as he settled on a rock to rest his legs, and positioned the staff on his back.
— This is the most perfect spot on earth, isn’t it? I come here every now and then just to gaze at the moon.
— Well, I come here to feel the unmeasurable weight of this mountain on my feet.
— And where is the fun in that? Wait. That phrase didn’t make any sense. Are you trying to bamboozle me, Shifu?
The Shifu calmly smiled as he looked at Braveheart sitting on another stone just some meters away, rose his right arm with his fist closed, and pointed his index finger to the moon. — See this finger, daughter? Where is it pointing at?
— To a massive, shiny, and beautiful moon. The very reason why I’m here! Replied Braveheart without really understanding the reason for that question.
— Now return your eyes to my hand, what do you see?
— Well, I see a finger pointing at the moon, I’m getting so confused Mr. Shifu. Tell me the truth. Are you high? Said Braveheart with her eyes half closed and a suspicious tone in her voice.
— Do not mistake the finger for the moon.
— Do not mistake… the finger for the moon?
— Yes, daughter. This is the lesson. One of them is within your reach, whereas the other one, can only be admired from afar.
to be continued.
4.1 A Finger Pointing to Leadership.
A moon staring at a leader.
The first time I read this zen koan it hit my core. “Me quebrou as pernas” as I would say in vibrant Brazillian Portuguese.
I realized that there are times to observe and admire the moon, searching for clarity and inspiration in imagination and there are times to be aware of the land below your feet. To take immediate action.
Which one have you been doing? How are the paddles coming along?
While you think...
We were talking about heroes.
We all know a little bit about the hero archetype. A hero is usually a character with a chronic syndrome of helping people. Saving the world at the cost of his own life. Ingenuous and naive like a chick coming out of the shell.
The word hero comes from the Greek ἥρως (hērōs), "hero" (literally "protector" or "defender")
They live only in the imagination and stories because no one, in real life, is truly a perfect person, nor a hero with supernatural powers.
If you think about a celebrity that you admire, someone that you consider a hero. How would meeting this person feel like? Remember the story about Picasso? The celebrity version in your imagination is always perfect, and immaculate. But the real person in front of your eyes would probably disappoint you deeply. The real version would destroy the hero version because the real one is a human full of imperfections.
Like you. Like me. Humans.
Not bipedal green aliens from The Sims.
Not Avengers from Marvel.
But If heroes don’t in fact exist, then what are leaders?
Well, they are humans.
Humans seen as heroes by their teams.
Leaders are true heroes because they live in reality. They drink the same water and breathe the same oxygen as everyone, they also drink coffee and feel pain, they are quite imperfect and most of the time they are excessively demanding. But they inspire us towards action nevertheless. Through their leadership, we feel in movement. Through their correction, we feel anger.
They inspire us because of their achievements, they inspire through the way they see the world, the humbleness, honesty, values, and principles they bravely defend. Through their inherent willpower of pushing things forward toward unexplored horizons. Like this crazy guy that habited planet earth called Cristopher Columbus, literally venturing towards never before explored lands with his huge ships and crews. Back and forth, back and forth while tagging new… continents.
Leaders inspire us because nobody can explain where their crazy source of motivation comes from.
So only one question remains to be answered.
What is the source of motivation that leaders use to get up from the last sucker punch from life, take the frontline in battle again, and lead?
In my sea of words above, the answer you may find.
But I have an even better way to answer this ultimately, and this shall be the first greek excerpt of knowledge that I bring to you. You may find your own hero’s cape on the lines below.
This I guarantee. Otherwise, you may request a full refund.
(Hey, this is a free newsletter. Are you trying to bamboozle me, Shifu?)
“Now imagine one of those beautiful giant Greek statues, such as the statue of Hercules Farnese, Aurora. These were created a long time ago and still represent the aesthetic standard of an ideal body in the West. Agalma is the perfection that they represent. The materialization in a statue of the physical and muscular aspect that a human aspires to have, something that goes beyond reality, but at the same time serves as reference and inspiration. It conveys the sensation of what a higher plane of existence would be like and causes a drive and pursuit for that same perfection.”
“Now it becomes a bit more complicated, as we can relate all of this to politics, to the idea of a perfect democratic state, which Plato discusses in "The Republic", where he investigates the details behind justice, laws, and ethical-political philosophy. The Agalma may reflect, in its healthy form of a human body, the ideal structure that a state should politically organize itself. The head and face resemble leadership. The chest is the executive branch: media, police, military, public servants, and the judicial system. The abdomen would be the industrial workforce. Through the education provided by the estate people climb to the upper parts and when the body function in synergy, the result is the development and prosperity of all parts.”
“But deep attention now, Aurora. In order for the body to function perfectly, every part needs to look to the part above for directions. The stomach asks directions to the chest, the chest asks directions to the head, and the head looks for direction in the skies.”
Long live the Greeks, and here’s to Agalma, to democracy, and to education. Alexa! Thank you for this lesson, little sister.
Farewell, Aurora. - Chapter XI
I ask again. This time to all Bravehearts and Shifus out there.
Where do we find this cosmic and powerful motivational fuel that leaders use to get up, take the front, and lead teams toward a much-needed future?
The leader finds his or her fuel by searching for a vision on the moon.
Because absolutely anyone can take any action. At any given time.
But only leaders have the vision of the right action to be taken.
A vision so inspiring that is simply impossible to be denied.
A vision so important that tends to be protected.
By the true heroes of this whole story.
The indispensable followers.
Most essential supporters.
Who in heroes.
4.2 Do not Mistake the Finger for the Moon.
We forgot the lesson from the Shifu.
Listen to me: If there is one thing in life that should be avoided at all costs, is a furious Shifu. You will be in much, much deeper trouble if it’s a Kung-Fu Shifu. That, I truly guarantee. Because Shaolin Dragons do exist. They are just hard to find.
Luckily, that Shifu in the short story on the top was a chill Buddhist monk who is always in balance with life.
But we have been doing precisely what he told Braveheart not to do. We have been staring at the moon.
We have been talking about heroes, aliens, greek statues, avengers, leaders, the movie of your life… Excuse me for the language, but what the <censored>?
Get out of here!
You are on a boat, remember? The tsunami is coming, your designer is almost done with the best paddles you could possibly get.
The compass is now in your hands. West, north, east, south…
The tsunami is coming from one of these directions.
The other three are waiting for your finger to be pointed.
You are, after all, the leader of your boat.
And through your vision.
Found shall be.
A new path.
4.3 Pandora’s Box
A Fresh Digest on my latest discoveries and some other things.
4.3.1 In the Lenses of Thi
4.3.2 Chords 🎶
This time I would like to share a lo-fi project I am extremely proud of. Fruit of a collaborative work between two brilliant musicians and friends. I care for the brand, they care for the chords. Meet Presence and Intention.
“I think where I am not, therefore I am where I do not think.”
Some amazing feedback from Issue.3! + something else
Life is weird. Sometimes while we get support from one side, we get attacked from the other. Below is a feedback that I got from my latest sci-fi fiction project on Reddit. It’s a random and anonymous person from the internet giving a random blow to my face after reading 1 single paragraph out of 200, but hey, critiques are always welcome, they enrich us and most of the time tell the truth. It depends on the intent of the person giving it though.
This proves an important point.
Because we need to be prepared for critiques and drawbacks. Random punches come from life all the time. But if you don’t have a solid foundation behind your goals. A strong vision for your motives, sometimes a punch like this is enough to make you give up. This is the true lesson of this issue. The backbone behind your new approach to leadership.
The things I have been writing here, sometimes in a funny and relaxed way, are mostly lessons I have learned by taking punches like this. It’s serious stuff learned by studying and working not only tirelessly but also passionately these last 10 years, which is when I first got into the market. Painting pixels in photoshop and getting ideas and strategies rejected, one after another. Until they couldn’t be anymore because clients started trusting my work.
This reminds the most unexpected feedback I got from a client last month: “I really like the work of Sentient because it has a lot of protocols.” It really does, because I take my craft seriously. Like a physician. I owe it to those who taught me. All the marketing Shifus that came before me!
Agency. is not a company, it’s a newsletter brand. It's mostly a deep storytelling exercise made to practice my capacity and nurture imagination for the purpose of making the process of learning marketing interesting and accessible to everyone. Democratization of paddle manufacturing!
Tsunamis are actually real though, historically speaking, crises are cyclic. They come and go. So is life, throwing random sucker punches and so is violence and hate, right? A very important question: How would a tsunami actually feel in a sea full of boats? Don’t think about the water. Think about the boats. I want my readers to be all on their own autonomous boats with badass paddles. But what about the other boats lacking paddles with people on them, about to drown and fight for survival? Are they going to be nice? Can your boat fit all of them?
I wasn’t planning this but here’s the second greek excerpt I will throw in the newsletter. (taught to me by the same greek friend who illustrated the cover of the Farewell, Aurora book!) It is easier to digest than the first one but feels like a punch.
“Not everything is a joke, Aurora. You skip the news on TV as if they were not a big deal, but while you eat your hospital jelly in your bed, the planet outside gets sick.”
”And now it's my fault? Humans will be humans. Alexa, we create problems without thinking and then put out the fires with great regret.”
“Sometimes you do things for Eros, sometimes you do them for Ananke.”
“What does that mean?”
“In Greek, Eros or Ἔρως means love, and Ananke or Ἀνάγκη means necessity, Aurora. There is a Greek saying that goes, "Even God yields when confronted by necessity." These concepts say a lot about you humans.”
“So, in the context of fighting for survival, our animal instinct always speaks louder than what we consider to be right? Is there no reason or faith that can overcome the power of necessity?”
Farewell, Aurora. - Chapter IX
So now you see that I can be dreamy and help you stargaze the moon with my words but also bring you back to earth like a meteor where things are more…. realistic, true, and sometimes, uncomfortable, and sad.
Not planned at all, but I explained the difference between the finger and the moon in the best ways I possibly could. Now it’s up to you to find the balance, to not mistake them.
The only thing missing now is sharing my own vision for this project: It will become a marketing book later on! “The White Book of Marketing” is a placeholder name. But I’m open to suggestions. Maybe it should be orange?
But now you know a little bit more about me and about Agency.
This should be a place of fun and learning. If the tsunami allegory makes you anxious for some reason you should know that it is just a mental exercise. I need a core problem (a fictional crisis) to think and teach about core solutions. (real strategies)
If you are here, there is a reason. (at a given moment in my life we exchanged emails.). And this is enough for me to share paddles ideas with you.
Because I’m your free newsletter agent.
Always equipped with Ink and Quill.
Over and out.
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About the Author
Made in 1996. Born & Raised Brazillian. Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Communication. Adept to autodidactism. Curious Soul. Published Author. Founder of Sentient.
That’s me in a nutshell but you can learn more about Agency and myself on the About page!
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