February 21, 2021

Clogging up the pipes of prolificacy

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And now for a brief list of things that don’t exist.

Closure, certainty, consistency, consensus, control, cleanness and completeness.

Kind of absurd that they all start with the same letter, right? God bless the absurdity of this mess called life.

But the good news is, in the absence of all of those things, each of us still has the ability to get clarity around our own intentions. That is worth its weight in gold.

Being an entrepreneur taught me this lesson numerous times. Because from a personality standpoint, planning isn’t my thing. Never has been. Structure and routine and ritual, yes, but when it comes to the ideation and execution of projects, planning is both an allergy and a four letter word.

In my experience, my finest work comes from responding to the world from an inner sense of what I’m feeling in a particular creative season of my life, not what was carefully mapped out on document seven months ago.

That’s the power of clarity, and it has never let me down.

What about you? To what degree are you much of a planner? Has that trait been helpful for your work, or has it clogged the pipes of prolificacy?

In many cases, people become addicted to planning because they crave certainty. Which makes total sense. We live in a circus of a world that’s as insane as it is unjust, and as disappointing as it is confusing.

It’s only human to want certainty.

But once you discover that certainty doesn’t actually exist, you have to pick something else. In my experience, you can aim for clarity instead.

My startup founder boss was big on clarity, as he was not a planner by nature either. He used to remind our marketing team, planning too far in advance is a waste of effort, since our reality is only going to change six months from now anyway.

Sure enough, that change happened multiple times during my tenure at the company. We worked in the travel industry, and it was amazing how a single isolated event, like a viral video of a passenger being forcefully removed from an overbooked airplane, could impact the competitive landscape, stock market, consumer preferences, industry behavior and federal policy.

Overnight our company experienced a public relations nightmare that lasted for months.

So much for all of our clever plans. Good thing we had a crystal clear brand intention to anchor us.

Point being, whether planning is your thing or not, the goal is understanding which moments belong to you, like clarity; and which moments are out of your control, like certainty.

If you’re feeling that creative tug to start something, concert your tug into a clear, directional and specific intention. And then let go of the rest.

Because change is taking place everywhere at every moment, and it’s not interested in how certain you want to feel.

Are you still chasing something that doesn’t exist?

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