• Chuck
I built a cathouse once. I was 12, and it was swanky. There was a step-down living room, a hallway, and two bedrooms—all in six square feet. The rooms were finished with painted drywall and rust-colored shag carpeting, clad in redwood siding and topped with a cedar shingle roof. This constituted pretty much every useable scrap I could find in the discard piles rising up around my parents’ new home.

I was sure my client—my beloved cat, Cleo—would take to it instantly. Sadly, I don’t think she ever stepped foot in it after the first 10 times I ‘redirected’ her there. But, no matter. I still made sure to tell EVERYBODY about Cleo’s Cathouse. I was just so proud of it—at least until my parents overheard me, and gently informed me that ‘cathouse’ had another, somewhat different meaning. Apparently, those kinds of cathouses were only legal in Nevada.

Live, and learn. I’m better at architecture now, and only occasionally stick my foot in my mouth. One shout-out for getting involved with your local Toastmaster’s group, by the way. It definitely helps with the foot-in-mouth thing!

A lot has changed since the days of Cleo’s crib, but not my core identity. As far back as I can remember, I was a ‘maker’. I like to create things. I can get lost in detail. Experiencing and making beauty is one of the great gifts of Life. I’m also an insatiable learner—an ‘aspiring polymath,’ if you will. My diverse interests have translated into a wide range of career experiences. I’ve earned a living creating furniture, clothing, sculpture, painting, architecture, urban planning, graphic design, websites, 3D models, and writing. I probably don’t do them all equally well—but I aspire to. Sure, it requires a lot of energy to do many things and to do them well. And sure, my breadth comes at a cost to depth. But I value seeing the forest through the trees. Ultimately, to be fully conscious, I believe we need to see both, the leaves and the forest. We need to ‘Embrace the Balance’. The pace of technological innovation is clearly speeding up. As we race forward, some of us need to stand back to see where we’re going!

Being a generalist can get a blank stare at times. In our complex society, the expectation is that to really ‘be someone,’ you need to be a specialist. I guess that’s why I’ve gravitated to fields where I can be both, specialized and multi-disciplinary—a seeming oxymoron, but possible in architecture, product design, and web development (which has been my focus for the last 7 years). All of these fields sit at the intersection of art and science, emotion and logic, yin and yang. For me, it’s all about that blend–and it just keeps getting better. The older I get, the more I see underlying connections, patterns and processes in all of Life. As Simon Sinek said, “The big picture doesn’t just come from distance; it also comes from time.”

The other pearl of wisdom I’ve acquired with age is a greater understanding of the value of connection. We are a social species, and we do our best work together. I’m interested in meeting people who are passionate about their purpose in Life. People on a mission. What can we collaborate on? Take a look at my work, ask me a question, start a conversation. Let’s solve a world problem together!

CWB