January 30, 2015 Chris Fuller

Making ’15 your Sistine…

For ‘Going Big’ there are some that go big more than others and one of those that comes to mind with ties to ’15s’ is Michelangelo, whom some consider to be one of the greatest artist of all time.

In the latter 15th century (1498/99), He carved the Pietà, which was soon after considered to be one of the World’s greatest masterpieces of sculpture. A few years later in the 1500’s, He created what is considered to be his most famous work, the Statue of David and so solidified his reputation as a sculpting genius. In 1508(or just before), He was asked by a Pope to paint the 12 Apostles on the transition between the walls and ceiling of a Chapel in the area near the official residence of the Pope in the Vatican City. Initially, he turned down the work because he didn’t care for painting – after all, he was a renowned sculptor!

As it turns out, one of his jealous competitors had asked the Pope to commission Michelangelo to work in an area that wasn’t his specialty, in hopes that he would fail. Ultimately, Michelangelo accepted the work after renegotiating the scope. It would have to be the entirety of the ceiling and it would be from his passion. The rest, as they say, is history. The ceiling and building are now synonymous with his great work known as the Sistine Chapel.

For me there are a couple of key takeaways that might apply for the new year ahead:

 – Even when the enemies and competitors plan your demise you can still come out world-class!

 – It takes great courage to step out of a proven genius and embrace a new challenge.

 – You can negotiate with your boss or client before taking on the “BHAG” (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

 – Be Resourceful. There were still challenges to overcome.

In order for Michelangelo to reach his “canvas” he had to invent the scaffolding. There are things that we are going to have to do, things that seem outside of the scope of our sweet spot – how can I learn more to overcome these obstacles with a great attitude?

Scaffolding for me has another meaning in that it is the block and tackle, the systematic approach that supports the mastery.

And lastly,

– He did not finish this great work in one year.

Every year we will start and we will finish but the greatest contributions in our lives are generally those that occur over an extended time. We should not shy away from starting just because we know the process will likely take us years to complete. There’s no way to finish if you don’t start – so endeavor to start some amazing things in 2015.

It is said of Michelangelo that he painted with bold colors that it may be seen even from the ground. I want to encourage you to paint with bold colors in 2015!

It will not be pristine in ’15. There will be ups and downs. There will be challenges, obstacles, successes, and setbacks. Pristine implies pure, perfect, and flawless. The likelihood of that occurring is virtually zero. The process like sculpting, like painting, is likely to have a lot of dust and a few paint runs! It’s noisy. It’s Messy. It’s frustrating and it’s satisfying. It’s Life.

Remember: “Anything worth doing is worth doing ugly!”

Start the process, get better every day, overcome the obstacles, paint with bold colors…


Make ’15 your Sistine!


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