WELCOME!  Here's a collection of some of my favorite posts.  Hope these insights & inspirations help you help others!

Transform you Career into a Gift

brett culp

I am a filmmaker. But I'm convinced that filmmaking skills & knowledge are only about 20% of my work. 

The other 80% is building relationships, finding the best in people, offering encouragement, listening, hugging, believing in what's possible, being nice, inviting people to be heroes in their communities, staying vulnerable, focusing on the values that matter to me, & dreaming of new ways to help others.

I spend very little time thinking about whether I should buy a new camera, and more time reading books & learning how to be better at the 80% stuff.

I think this way of seeing my career has allowed me to be a person who does MORE than make films. I hope it has allowed me to make an IMPACT. And that's the legacy I want to build. 

The fine details of your craft are important. Devote yourself to being the best you can. But don't neglect the other essential skills that transform your work into a gift that makes a lasting, positive impact.

You are Not a Statistic

superbowl

With 2:38 left in the 4th quarter, I knew the New England Patriots would win Super Bowl 51. I'm not a big football fan, but something inside me knew it. Maybe you knew it too.

But the computer at ESPN didn’t know it yet. Based purely on the numbers, the Atlanta Falcons were still overwhelmingly poised for victory, with a 95.3% chance of winning. But I was so confident the computer was wrong with 2:38 left that I took this screenshot & started writing this post.

Statistics are important. They provide vital data for making many decisions. But they are often bad predictors of the human spirit. They easily miscalculate determination, heart, & willpower.

Perhaps you’ve heard statistics about your life from a parent, friend, teacher, or boss. Maybe those percentages are controlling your story.

Here’s the good news… YOU are NOT a statistic. There’s stuff in you that my son’s fancy scientific calculator can never accurately analyze. There is a truth about you that cannot be input into the formula ESPN’s computer uses to predict winners & losers.

So, keep fighting. Because YOU are MORE.

The Middle is the Hardest Part

Three years ago, I was driving through a snow storm to get to the Boston premiere of Legends of the Knight.

The process of making & sharing these films is tough. Each film is 3 years of frustration, insecurity, & confusion. It's not glamorous. It often feels lonely & exhausting.

Our next film Look to the Sky is almost finished. This week I showed my wife Tricia the rough cut of the entire film. When the closing credits started, we cried together for a while, and she said, "It's beautiful. Probably your best work. It was worth it."

In every epic journey, the middle is the hardest part. The beginning & end are filled with excitement, passion, & hope. But the middle is brutal. It's mostly just you & the struggle. It's the part that very few people know about.

But the middle is where the magic happens. It's where you discover the beautiful stuff inside of you, & your unique kind of genius emerges. It's the hard place where you find yourself.

The dark moments in the middle of the journey are the inspiration you need to uncover the light.

Some days this feels impossible. That's normal. But these are the days where you will do your most beautiful work. These are the spaces where you need to dig deep & ask for help to keep moving.

And then, one day, you find that your struggles in the middle have transformed your heart. You have become something better than you were at the beginning. And you have created something that blesses the world. And you say to yourself, "It was worth it."

If you are struggling today, you are probably in the middle of the adventure. It's hard, & it hurts. Keep going, surround yourself with support, & decide every morning to choose hope.

It will be worth it.

Beauty in Unexpected Places

After yesterday's speaking engagement, someone I'd never met rushed straight over to tell me a story.

Two years ago, he & his wife were deciding if they were ready to be foster parents. They happen to watch my film Legends of the Knight on Netflix, and it inspired them to take the leap. They ultimately adopted the kids they welcomed into their home.

I never imagined the film impacting a family this way. It was a reminder that when you choose to express hope & kindness it spreads beauty into unexpected places.

Dear friends, keep shining!

Building Connection in the Midst of Division

Last night, I sat in a living room with 10 people of diverse viewpoints sharing their hearts.  They talked openly about their struggles and fears.  My wife Tricia & I were invited to facilitate the discussion, but we cried right along with them. 

I wish you could have been there.  My heart was filled with hope watching these people build connection with each other from love, even when they knew they didn’t agree on everything.

Healthy relationships and communities are built on speaking and listening well.  I believe the events of the past week are an opportunity for all of us to do this together.  Right now, some of our deepest beliefs and anxieties are coming to the surface. 

Whatever your opinions are, whomever you voted for, you have a choice to make today… Will you use this moment to stoke the fires of endless debate and separation?  Or will you create environments that help EVERYONE speak their hearts, feel known, and recognize that they are absolutely loved and valued?

Here’s a thought that might help:

In counseling sessions, therapists recommend speaking from your experience.  For example, your instinct might be to say “You don’t respect me.”  And maybe that’s true.  Perhaps the person you are speaking to doesn’t respect you.  But the bigger goal is beyond simply speaking the truth.  You want to create understanding, because relationships are built on connection, not information. 

You could choose to shift your words to “I FEEL like you don’t respect me” or “When you did this I SAW it as disrespect”.  Rather than condemning, you are sharing your experience and inviting me to listen and join you in it.  This opens the door for empathy. 

I love your heart, and your voice matters.  The good news is that being yourself doesn’t require attacking or shaming others.  It doesn’t have to be “you” against “them”.  You can invite people to understand your story and expand their own story in the process.  This is the essence of real community. 

Dear friend, thank you for being so beautiful.  I am honored to be on your side.  

Update on our next film, Look to the Sky!

For the next 3 months, my primary focus will be finishing our upcoming documentary film, Look to the Sky.

We are planning to begin charity screenings for this uplifting film Spring 2017, & we would love for you to join us on this adventure!

The film is about HOPE... what it is, how we lose it, and how we get it back. It will tell the stories of young people whose lives have shared a vision of hope that I think all of us need to experience. And 'Look to the Sky' is also about Superman. 

Just like our previous film, you will be able to host a screening in your community to benefit a charitable organization.

Stay tuned... It's going to be SO fun!

#SupermanIsReal

Anything is Possible

After 71 years of failing to reach the World Series, last night the Chicago Cubs forced Game 7 with a Grand Slam.

A few days ago, many people thought the series was over. Months ago, most people would NOT have imagined the Cubs in Game 7.

Will they win the World Series for the first time in 108 years? No one knows. But for me, the joy is in the idea that it COULD happen. This improbable possibility fills me with such hope for me, for you, and for the world.

If this opportunity can exist for baseball players in Chicago, just imagine what might happen in YOUR LIFE today, tomorrow, or in the days ahead!

Anything is possible. There is always hope.

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UPDATE:  They won.  Congrats to the Chicago Cubs & their legions of fans who have waited & believed.

A Superhero on a Bike

amanda

I am filming with my new friend, Amanda. In the last 130 days she & her bike have traveled 30,000 miles! That's an average of 229 miles a day!

This morning, she broke the women's cycling world record for highest annual mileage.

And she's not done! After a few minutes of celebration, she pedaled away to reach her goal of breaking the men's world record. 

Her heroic Dad has been with her every day, supporting her throughout the journey. I can't wait for you to meet them in our upcoming documentary film,A Voice That Carries.

We Are Starlight

This week I was honored to present the opening keynote address at the NCSHA conference at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach.

Watch a VIDEO CLIP from the event

I continue to have incredible opportunities to speak to business leaders, educators, and community heroes around the country. I share stories from my filmmaking adventures that show the potential all of us have to be leaders & bring more hope into the world.

After each presentation, people feel inspired to tell me their personal stories. Sometimes we smile and celebrate the successes. Often, we hug and cry about the struggles. I try to speak a blessing to each of them. Yesterday it took 3 hours to meet everyone who wanted a moment together.

brett culp

There are many things I don't understand about my life, but I know for certain that I was made to do this. And it brings me great joy.

I hope today you are using your extraordinary gifts to bless others and make the world a more compassionate & loving place. It will help others, and your heart will be so full!

Return to Hope

Today I spoke to a group of educators near Green Bay, WI.

After the presentation one of the attendees found me. With tears in her eyes she said: "Last year was my first year teaching. It was such a difficult time, and I almost lost my faith. Thank you for being here this morning. You really helped me in my return to hope."

I gave her a big hug, and I cried a little too.

As I drove to the airport, I thought about the career ahead for this heroic teacher, and the sense of possibility she will spread to hundreds of students in the years to come. What a joy to affirm her heart and play a small role in multiplying hope in the world!

So, I'm really glad I visited Wisconsin today! 

The Little Things Become the Big Things

dad

I travel a lot. My Dad always drives me to the airport. He drops me off for the 5am departures and picks me up even when my flight is delayed until long after midnight. Our conversations in the car are some of our best time together. 

Today, I'm headed to Green Bay, WI. When Dad dropped me off, we hugged and he said: "Go change the world!"

Please don't miss the simple moments. Make the time. Take the drive. Give the hug. Say the words. 

The little things become the big things.

Leadership is NOT a Title

This morning I spoke in Washington DC to leaders who are defining what housing & care for seniors will look like in the next decade. 

Using my filmmaking projects as a starting point, we had an uplifting discussion about embracing our humanity and infusing a heroic spirit into their organizations. Their thoughtful questions about my work showed their heart to use their industry to make the world a better place. 

We had a wonderful time together!

A Gathering of Heroes in Kentucky

Last night I spoke in Bowling Green, Kentucky at a United Way event honoring 60 local heroes who have made an impact with their everyday leadership. 

The world is FULL of good people who are committed to the beautiful possibilities they see in their communities. Such a joy to share thoughts about leadership, compassion, & hope!

And I love my grin in this photo! 

In 1999, I graduated with a degree in Journalism from Western Kentucky University, so it was a joy to be back in Bowling Green speaking to 250 community leaders about my filmmaking journeys. 

And the President of the University sat on the front row & led the standing ovation when I was finished. I thought Dr. Gary Ransdell was a cool guy when I was in school, & it was such a unique, affirming moment for me. 

I have a feeling I am going to be back in Bowling Green for the release of our next film, Look to the Sky.

Here's a clip from the local news about the event...