December 10, 2021

How is this activity a chance to learn and refine my process?


Game raising is the quiet, reliable catchall.

If we just keep learning, we’ll keep getting better; and if we keep getting better, everything else will take care of itself.

Success will come eventually. It’s only a matter of time.

Here’s a powerful question to ask yourself along the way:

How is this activity a chance to learn and refine my process?

See, there’s need to wait until it’s all over to run a post mortem. Whatever project you’re working on, it’s going to be iterative. There’ll be experiments, risks, failures, wins, disappointments, delays and restarts. And if you approach the work with this mindset of responsive learning, then nothing can stop you.

The senior web developer at my startup was masterful at responsive learning. Andy not only shipped brilliant code that employees and clients loved, but he also learned and refined his work rapidly.

Now, this wasn’t something anyone asked him to do, nor was it billable work. But he still had a system for capturing his learnings. He’d codify them into a coherent set of frameworks, post them the company wiki and share them with the team. That way, they could be used for future decision making. Through his intellectual capital, he built leverage for himself and others.

Now people could create more value for the same amount of time and effort.

We were chatting about his process at lunch one day, and he said this:

Go fast enough so the speed gives you more opportunities to iterate and learn, but go slow enough in case you run into something interesting.

Andy’s advice is a reminder that the most valuable skill is knowing when to adjust our course to accommodate new forces as we encounter them.

Responsive learning is about flexibility and adaptability, which is another way of saying humility and letting go.

Accepting that version one, as pretty as it was and as much as we loved it, must die.

Whatever we created in the past matters only that it brought us here, and now serves as a catapult to take the work to the next level.

Are you growing your creative work in an open ended, upward spiral of new possibilities?