• Sarah Carter

Craft Break 2!


I am a firm believer in work craft balance. While having a one track mind can be a good quality when working towards a deadline, in life outside of the office it does not leave room to reboot, recharge, and try new things. If you read our last book, Barking up the Wrong Tree, you may recall what Barker said about the importance of hobbies, creativity and trying new things. Here are the highlights:

"Spending 5 percent of your time trying new things, knowing you will quit most of them, can lead to great opportunities" page 110.

"Trying stuff outside of your field of expertise is correlated with big achievements" page 108.

Referring to Benjamin Franklin and Charles Darwin: "These guys had a lot of hobbies. Facing different challenges in different contexts allowed them to look at things differently, to challenge assumptions, and to realize breakthroughs. Getting lots of different ideas crashing together turns out to be one of the keys to creativity" page 109.


"So don't be afraid to do some experiments, and quit the ones that don't work. it can lead to great things. You need to quit some things to find out what to be gritty at. And you need to try stuff knowing you might quit some of it to open yourself up to the luck and opportunities that can make you successful" page 109.


I have posted three very different Craft Breaks so far, including this one, and you can bet there will be many more to come. Some new things I try will be successful and I'll definitely try again. Others I'm sure will be less successful and I'll share that too because there are lessons to be learned in the things we fail at and the things we quit. Michael Jordan famously said "I fail therefore I succeed." If I only shared with you my successful moments, that would not be authentic or honest. Life, like crafting, is messy. Mistakes are made, new approaches are tried, and plans are revised. If you do not practice that in relative consequence-free setting of your hobbies, where will you practice it? Your job? Maybe that is why so few people "color outside the lines" at work because they have not practiced mistake making in a controlled setting.


My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was young as a way to get me to sit still. It back fired mostly and I picked up an excessive amount of sports instead so I could have hobbies and stay in perpetual motion. Years later, as a newly-minted Ensign in the Navy, I picked crocheting up again as a way of giving people Christmas and birthday presents without breaking the bank. It is my number one "sitting still" hobby so you will probably see several more posts involving it.


The creation featured here is a Christmas preset for an adorable little girl in my life (she does not know yet so I'm not going to spoil the surprise). I started it in DC in July. It helped me put the stress of packing Jason up so he could move to Japan, separating from active duty, packing up stuff for storage and shipment, getting my car to its storage facility, and finally me moving to Japan aside at the end of the day. It is a well traveled blanket already. It has been to seven states and two countries over the past three months. One of the pictures in the middle of the slide show above was taken while I was somewhere over the Pacific Ocean working on it midflight. When I showed it to my dad he said that "it looks like a slice of spumoni ice cream cake kid" which I cannot unsee now. I cannot wait to hear what the recipient says about it! I bet she sees ice cream too :).


We'll resume book talks with The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations on Nov 9th so order up a copy and get ahead of the game!