Earlier this year, we came up with the idea of monthly theme—a topic that could anchor conversation and guide our creative thinking as a team. Every Monday in our staff meeting, we use a portion of the agenda to explore the month’s theme. The discussion is led by a different PB team member each week, and it’s up to them to interpret the theme in a way that inspires conversation and reflection from the whole PB team. It’s been a fascinating way to approach teambuilding—to get to learn new things about each other and to share new and interesting perspectives on a broad range of topics.


This month’s theme was Fear and Awe—two powerful emotions that feel, somehow, very closely related. We kicked off the month by sharing some of our deepest fears and how they may be borne from a sense of awe. Like how a fear of open water comes from a sense of awe about the power and vastness of the ocean. Or a fear of outer space comes from awe for the endlessness, weightlessness, and mystery of the cosmos. And how a fear of death may be tied to a sense of awe for human life.

Next up, we had a conversation about how people tend to fear the things they don’t understand. Our production designer Harry shared a video by Brendon Burchard and his idea that “most fear is just bad management of our mental faculties.” This set off a conversation about how we manage our fears so they don’t get in the way of creative exploration.


And we also explored how fear is examined and expressed through art. Our senior project manager Kellee shared the powerful and moving work of Crystal Pite and Kidd Pivot. The work sparked a conversation about how art can affect change by helping people work through their fear.


Finally, we rounded out the month revisiting the fear inherent in creative work. Our senior designer Andrew shared Alex Honnold’s incredible story about free solo climbing El Capitan. Honnold has interesting things to say about fear and points out that his experience didn’t eliminate fear, but inspired him to step outside it. So we asked how might we, as creative professionals, step outside of our fear of failure? How might we take more risks? Because the more risks we take, the more we step outside that fear of failure—and even embrace the idea of mistakes—the stronger the work inevitably becomes. When we take risks, and agree to fail forward, we make new discoveries and creativity flows more freely.