How to do something great

How do you do something great?

I just got back from Mexico for a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe with members of NSTI. One thing that struck me is the constant imagery of Saint John Paul II throughout Mexico: statues, images, icons, and even JP2 in the graffiti. Saint John Paul II made 5 visits to Mexico and his impact is still rippling through the nation.

jp2 graffiti

Seth Godin talks about similar impact “ripples” with business. Harley Davidson isn’t just a successful business. It’s a movement. “Nobody get Suzuki tattooed on their arm,” Seth says, “but they do get Harley tattoos.”

So when you brainstorm ideas (books, stories, movements, conferences, businesses, websites, homeschool lessons, architecture, classes, etc.), ask yourself is this “tattoo worthy”? Personally and theologically, I’m against tattoos (sorry Harley dudes), but what I mean is: “Is this idea so good that people would brand themselves with it.”

If the idea is so life-changing (good or bad), then people will personally identify with it physically and emotionally. People at the USCCB should contemplate this more deeply because most Catholics don’t identify with the body of bishops because they are not inspired by what they do/say as a conference of leaders. The Republican party is in the same position. Nobody wants to say, “Yes, let me slap a GOP sticker on my vehicle.” Harley does a better job getting people excited and invested in their brand.

For “changing the world,” look again at John Paul II in Mexico. His impact was so deep in Mexico, that even graffiti artists depict him on roadsides. If you want to be a saint (you do, don’t you), you should inspire a movement that leads people to transcendence. That leads people to greatness, sanctity…and to Christ.

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