This is the kind of thing that just seems to happen to me on a vacation – this time it was finding a wonderful parallel between what I learned at a Broadway musical and from the great Impressionist painters of the nineteenth century. My wife and I were just in New York as the guests of McDermott & Bull celebrating my 10 years with the firm – we were there to see shows (my thing) and to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (for Laura the artist).

I had loved the movie from a few years back, Once, and I was really excited about seeing the Broadway musical based on the movie – the musical was recently recognized as the year’s best. The movie had delivered a strong message to me about the passion that the lead players had for the original music they played on the streets of Dublin, Ireland. However, the message on Broadway went much deeper.

For me, the show was about the characters overcoming their fears and stepping out to take on great challenges including truly believing in their artistic expression. However, this commitment also extended to fully embracing the most important relationships in their lives, including “doing the right thing” even when everyone around them was encouraging them to take a different (and easier) path.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Laura and I spent many hours absorbing all the great paintings from the nineteenth century, considered one of the major turning points in the history of art. Many of the greats from the period, including familiar names like Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, all shared a very important characteristic – they challenged the status quo in their work and persisted in creating a new way of expressing themselves as Impressionism challenged realistic and representational artistic traditions. Sadly, many of the most talented Impressionists were never financially successful in their own lifetimes. However, they persevered through adversity because they truly believed in their message, and art fans ever since have been the fortunate beneficiaries.

I believe a common thread weaves through all of these stories – including the passion and commitment to persevere toward a vision; staying the course in the face of stiff opposition; choosing to do the right thing even though others might encourage a shortcut; and facing and conquering our fears – the common theme for me? Courage.

Over the years while working with my Coach Vance Caesar, whenever ideas are shared about thinking counter-intuitively and doing things differently from others, Vance has always been quick to point out how these choices are really just other ways to describe a more fundamental and powerful concept – courage.

Here’s to all of us living lives less ordinary, walking a path that stays true based on great choices, and most importantly, truly believing in what we do. Here’s to all of us living courageous lives.

Thanks for sharing time with me; as always, I welcome your feedback. Please feel free to pass this message along to others who may find value.

A Quick Business Update: Our fit-focused retained search practice has enabled us to serve wonderful clients who believe that ideal fit of talent is critical to their success. We love to work with companies that really know what matters most to them. We have just completed a 2 min. video to tell the story of our practice and about how fit happens – including the reflections of some of our clients.


Jeff Black
Partner, McDermott & Bull Executive Search

Cell: (714) 356-1949
Office: (949) 529-2672
2 Venture, Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92618

I believe creating relationships that truly fit makes a big difference in the world