For so many of us, 2020 has been a year of unexpected challenges and opportunities, sorrows and delights, and a whole lot to process going forward.
I always enjoy the process of journaling and reflecting at the end of each year, but this year, it feels non-negotiable. As though the lessons and experiences of this year need to be written out of my system in order to be fully processed and embodied.
And so with that in mind, here are some of the lessons that most stood out to me from a year full of growth, experimentation, small steps backward…
To the person seeking to move a boulder to the top of a hill, gravity is an ever-present, malevolent force to be fought with, pushed on, and toiled against.
To the person seeking to move a boulder down the hill, however, gravity is a benevolent ally that takes care of most of the work itself.
We know gravity is a constant.
What’s not a constant is how we choose to view it and how that view informs the ways in which we work with or against it.
Used wisely, simple physics provides many solutions that allow us to leverage gravity…
The mentality of the underdog is an empowering mindset to own and embody.
The underdog expects that nothing will come easy.
That nothing will be freely given.
That everything they desire must be worked, clawed, and fought for.
The underdog owns her situation.
She doesn’t blame or begrudge, others, fate, or the system she is working to change for her hardships and the inequities forced upon her (even though they may be stacked against her).
She simply recommits to working harder, taking a new tack, approaching the challenge from a different angle. …
Getting a new idea off the ground is a lot like healing from a broken bone.
New ideas are typically made up of two (or more) disparate ideas that have never been connected and must now be grafted together.
We set them in place, and at first glance, they might look complete. But apply even the smallest amount of pressure and instantly, they splinter back into their component parts.
In order to fuse properly, new ideas must be given support, encased in a protective cast, and given time for the connections to strengthen into something that can support weight.
We all wish the muse would speak to us more often.
That it would whisper the perfect words in our ear, guide our hand across the canvas, set us on automatic mode as it takes over and does the work.
Once we’ve tasted that flow state once, where it feels as though something other than us is in control, we long to experience it every time we sit down to work.
This is often the source of our very best work after all, when we feel connected to something greater than ourselves. Something expansive, universal.
And so we’re tempted to…
We often hold back on taking action because we’re uncertain of the effect it will have.
Sure, we have an idea that might work, but what if it doesn’t give us the result we were looking for?
What if, in hindsight, we realize that we would have been better off taking that other action instead? Or the other action besides that?
One of the core traits of successful creators is an eagerness to topple the first domino and simply see what happens.
Rather than get hung up on the blank page or the empty canvas, they commit easily to writing…
When we set out to create something meaningful for any group of people, no matter how big or small, the first step is always understanding.
Who are they? What are their specific challenges, backstories, and circumstances? Why haven’t the other solutions available been effective for or adopted by them?
When we understand, we can draw up an informed blueprint outlining the best way to solve the problem.
Then, we get to work, follow the plan, and build it.
The trap we often fall into is that we don’t fully understand before we start building. …
No matter the goal we’ve set for ourselves, there are always going to be challenges, hardships, and hard-learned lessons of which we are completely unaware until we’re staring them in the face.
These are the things we wish someone had told us to help us prepare, whether mentally, physically, financially, or most likely, emotionally.
In the moment, we can’t believe the oversight. How could everyone who’s walked this road before us failed to mention the part where it drops away off a cliff edge into the sea?
And so we must choose to either forge ahead or turn back, in…
Pursuing creative work is a bit like buying in to a game of poker.
You don’t need to bet on a single hand to still slowly have your chips eaten away at as hand after hand you pay the minimum ante to stay in the game.
You can spend the whole game playing it safe, waiting for the perfect timing for your perfect hand only to have the opportunity fail to materialize.
Or, maybe it does…
You go all in, play the hand perfectly, and yet against all odds another player happens to have something even better.
You leave the…
As creators, we tend to waste a lot of time early in our careers trying to make work we think others want from us.
The truth, however, is that nobody wants anything from us. In fact, they don’t care about us at all.
As Steven Pressfield writes, “Nobody wants to read your shit.”
But while the chances are that no one wants anything from us, there are some creators from whom a given audience actually does want something specific.
The irony is that these are creators who have bucked the notion of catering to expectations, basing their work on a…
Founder of podcast production and content amplification agency Counterweight Creative. Believer in the power of kindness and generosity.