Talents

My wife shared a quote with me the other day, and it revolved around the idea that highly creative people aren’t always the best CEO’s of companies. The notion being that sometimes you can have the best ideas in the world, but if you can’t execute as a business person, you’re going to struggle. I commented to her that I feel like I have the opposite problem.

All of my life I’ve wanted to be a creative-type. As a kid I loved music, photography, and creative writing. I wasn’t terrible at any of them, and growing up I showed some level of talent. However, as I grew into adulthood it became more and more apparent that I simply wasn’t that gifted in the creative realms. On a couple different occasions I tried joining bands, and I was able to putz along enough to have fun, but I wasn’t growing as a musician, and I simply couldn’t make my hands do the things that I was hearing in my head. This became very apparent the second time I tried to join a band, in my 30s, leaving after a few months because I just didn’t have what it took.

I’ve also been doing photography for almost 30 years. I’ve gotten to a point where I think that many of my shots are pretty good, but I struggle with that “natural eye” that many other photographers have. It’s only because of having so many years of experience that I’m able to push myself hard enough to see ‘enough’ to get decent shots. I envy the natural talents of friends of mine, who actually learned the mechanics of photography from me.

Creative writing is also an area where I blossomed as a child, but as I got older I lost the touch for it. During the course of this blog experiment I’ve tried a couple of times to do some fiction writing, and it’s been OK, but it’s always a struggle, and I never feel like I come up with things that are really outstanding. Again, I feel adequate, but not great.

Yet, at the same time, I can write non-fiction with ease. I have written hundreds and hundreds of academic papers, as well as more words on this blog than I can count. I’m often told my academic writing is really well done, both in professional and casual settings. I also get complimented on my writing at work, and my ability to convey ideas in a way that people easily understand.

It’s the same with photography. I’ve taught more people than I can count about the mechanics of photography, and every one of them has gone on to use that knowledge to make amazing things. I understand all of the aspects of posing, and to this day I can pose formal wedding photographs in my sleep. I also know all about photo processing and have become pretty darn adept at Lightroom.

With music, I’ve found that I’m not half bad at helping people produce their music. I often give good feedback, and could probably handle producing an entire album pretty easily. It just comes naturally for me to hear how things come together, despite my lack of talent to actually make it happen myself.

So all of this to say that I’ve found myself in a bit of a quandary as I look at the second half of my life. I feel like I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m good at running things, and leading a vision for the future. I’m just not that skilled in the creative areas to be an outstanding individual contributor. So where does that leave me? Should I be focusing my thoughts on the future on how to be a better administrator and leader? Should I be trying to partner with creative types to help them bring their vision to life?

Obviously, this is just musings right now, but it has me thinking about how I can find more happiness in what I do in the future. Can I find a way to be a part of something I love, even if I’m not the ‘thing’ that creates what I love?

Impromptu run

Tuesday morning I got up very early to do a short run. I got my clothes on and started heading out the door. However, it was one of those mornings when I wasn’t feeling it at all. I started to jog down the street, and between a headache and feeling blah, I made it about two blocks before I turned around and went home.

Needless to say, the runner in me felt like crap about it, but I just couldn’t make my body feel like moving. Fast-forward to Tuesday evening and after a nice dinner and some time relaxing by the fire, I decided that I still had time to get a run in. I laced up my shoes and headed out for a 3-miler. I could tell I had eaten (and had a beer) before I ran because by the time I hit mile 2, my stomach was protesting. I kept going though and managed 3 miles with only a little bit of gastric discomfort.

I was really happy with myself that I got out and did an evening run, because I wouldn’t have had a chance to make it up any other time. My running has been pretty crappy this year, dealing with my knee issues, and so it sometimes feels like I just need to give up and hang up my running shoes. I know that’s not something I really want to do though, and so I keep pushing forward, getting in whatever miles that I can.

Hopefully, the second half of the year will be better than the first, but even if it’s not, I just need to remind myself that there’s nothing stopping me from an impromptu evening run.

Alluvial Brewing

One our way across Iowa last weekend, we stopped in at a place just north west of Ames called Alluvial Brewing. This is a beautiful little taproom that sits among vineyards and organic farms. You feel like you’re truly out in the country as you drive up to the front door.

IMG_1133.jpgWe went in and I ordered up a flight of beers to try. We then decided to sit outside and soak in nature while I enjoyed my brews. The biggest standout for me was the coconut porter. It was smooth, with a wonderful coconut flavor, and rivaled some of the best ones I’ve ever had. I could see drinking many of these on a cold winter night. Another brew that caught my attention was the gooseberry sour. I had never had gooseberry in a sour beer before (that I am aware of) and it was a unique taste. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but as I drank it I came to enjoy it more and more.

I enjoyed all the beers in the flight that I had, and found no brewing flaws in any of them. What really made Alluvial for me though was the setting. It was an amazing place to sit and enjoy some beer, and it’s the kind of place my wife (who doesn’t drink) has even commented that she’d love to own. Giving people a beautiful setting in which to enjoy good beer is a great mission in life. I’m glad to have gotten a chance to try Alluvial and enjoy both in one spot.

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Farnham House Brewing Company

Since we were traveling this weekend, I had to hit some new breweries. After we spent some time at the Omaha zoo on Saturday, we decided to hit Farnham House Brewing Company in downtown Omaha. This is a brewpub with a full menu, and specializing in European beer styles. We arrived and I ordered up a flight, and some food.

Before I get into the beer, I have to say that the food at Farnham House was amazing. We both ordered a grilled cheese with bacon, and I got mine with a side of beer cheese soup. The sandwiches were amazing, the beer cheese soup was out of this world. Needless to say we were really happy with the food choice we made.

As for beer I sampled a flight that due to some miscommunication, ended up being 7 beers. A couple of the big standouts for me were in the sour category. They did a berliner weisse that was amazingly tart. They offer syrups to mix in if you want, but since I was doing small flights I opt’d to just drink it straight. I also really enjoyed the apricot sour that they have right now. However, the big winner for me was their papio kriek. This amazing sour beer with cherries was so perfectly balanced that I made sure to pick up a half-growler to bring home before we left.

Almost all of their other beers were good, and without flaws, although I didn’t care much for their maibock. The zomer wit in particular was very easy drinking and I could easily see drinking it on a beautiful hot summer evening. Overall, Farnham House was a great stop on our trip. I could see stopping back here if we ever end up in this area, and for anyone else who’s near Omaha I highly recommend a visit. It’s a great example of craft beer and good food in the heart of America.