Mini-Mastermind “A Beautifully Shaded Penny”

 In mini-mastermind

How many of you have spent the day busy busy busy, going from one task or another… only to realize at the end of the day that you never actually accomplished what you needed to?

Boy you sure were BUSY, but, what were you busy doing exactly? Did it grow your business? Did it make you a better leader? A better business owner? Did you learn something? Did you help someone?


We all have 24 hours in the day, and I bet we all wish at times that there were MORE hours, so that we could get MORE done.

We find it nearly impossible to say NO, because there are so many GOOD and BENEFICIAL things out there!

Ed Catmull, co founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Walt Disney Animation Studios, wrote a booked called Creativity, Inc. in which he talks a lot about creative problem solving, honesty, and learning from failure. Today our focus is on something Ed calls in his book “a beautifully shaded penny.”


At Pixar, Ed calls “allll those little things,” all of the little tasks that just never seem to end before out 24 hours is up,  as a

“beautifully shaded penny.”

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At Pixar they expect nothing less than perfection, and everything must be top notch.

They have the talent and the budget to make THE most beautifully animated penny for a scene. That little penny, sitting on a table in one scene for 5 seconds could be the most perfect animated penny there ever was. But… would it be worth the money and man power? Would that perfect little penny really add anything to the movie as a whole? Or could those man hours and dollars be spent in a more meaningful way?


So let’s discuss: What are some things that might be “beautifully shaded pennies” in your business? 

What are those things that we COULD do really really well in our businesses, but in the end, don’t really matter?

All of us want to do the very best that we can, but, part of that means using our 24 hours each day wisely.

It can be hard to NOT do something supremely well, but, if scaling back on something insignificant means that we can give more time, energy and focus to what really DOES matter, then, wouldn’t that be worth it?

Hint – if you are having trouble identify what to cut from your task list, because lets face it… it would be great to get EVERYTHING done and it is ALL important in one way or another… try thinking backwards.

If you could only do THREE things on your list today, what would those things be? Identify those, and let nothing else get in the way, no matter how marvelous those pennies look.

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