In my last post, I talked about a "problem child" article, and mentioned that we face one every issue. I started thinking about how we deal with those articles, which got me thinking about how we tackle just about any problem life throws our way. At Natural Home, we're working on the Remodeling & Redecorating issue right now, so I'm in the mindset of renovation and conquering major projects. Personally, I find it easiest, at least when I'm faced with a dilemma on an article's structure or design, to take it step-by-step: When the task seems overwhelming, I just do the easy, obvious things first, then go on from there, rather than trying to jump to the final outcome in one big leap. Although I have a good idea of where the destination is, I find it difficult to figure out how to rearrange all the pieces to get to the final destination. I like some stopping points along the way, so I can reflect on the direction we're headed and what the next steps might be.
That tied in with the book I'm reading right now—Beautiful and Abundant by our publisher and editorial director, Bryan Welch. In it, Bryan discusses our view of a sustainable future and the importance of positively visualizing a future we all want to live in. Rather than focusing on the seemingly overwhelming list of problems we need to tackle, he says we first need to define the destination we're working toward, then work to get to that place. It makes a lot of sense: We can't work toward the final destination, let alone get to it, if we don't even know what the final destination is. And we won't work toward it if the final destination isn't somewhere we really, really want to go.
As so often happens, this train of thought also happened to tie in with another conversation I had recently on Conscious Talk Radio (you can listen to the archived interview here). We were talking about the magazine and what it offers readers, and one of the hosts, Rob Spears, mentioned that he likes all of the hands-on tools we offer. I talked about how often we hear from readers that they're eager to make their lives more self-reliant and sustainable, but they're not sure where to start or what steps to take next. We try to provide the information people need to dig into this lifestyle so they can see how rewarding even small changes can be. As if on cue, the other host, Brenda Michaels, mentioned that she likes the photos and the inspirational elements of the magazine. It really tied in with my thoughts on Bryan's book: Though it's really important to give you all the tools you need to take those steps to improve your home and life, wherever you're at in the process, it seems it's equally important to showcase where this kind of lifestyle can ultimately go. Whether it's in the stunning, sometimes luxurious, net-zero-energy homes we feature, or in our profiles of grassroots groups that have transformed their communities, those inspirational stories, I hope, help point us toward the destination we're all after. And, without a fantastic destination, why take the steps?
What are your thoughts on this? How do you like to tackle projects in your home or at work? Do you focus on each step individually, or on the final outcome? Which parts of the magazine do you enjoy most: the hands-on, step-by-step parts or the inspirational stories? I'm fascinated to hear your responses!