Productivity

It’s okay to feel exhausted at the moment. Many of us are. Ironically, lots of people finally have the time to start the projects they’ve been dreaming about, and none of the energy required to develop any momentum.

I’m in that camp too.

Tomorrow, if you’re in that camp with me, let’s find an hour to dedicate solely to the project we most want to align ourselves with.

An hour with no distractions, no excuses and no procrastination.

It’s likely that we’re going to have a lot more time on our hands over the next six months.

A single hour tomorrow, no more and no less, might just be the push we need to get the ball rolling.

It starts with us asking ourselves where we are.

Then we consider why we’re there.

Followed by us asking, “Where could we be?”

We consider how we could get there.

We act (hopefully).

We analyse whether or not we’re getting there.

Then we ask ourselves where we are…

Throughout the years there have been a number of brands who grew into international markets that their names were not suited to.

Before the Honda Jazz was called the Honda Jazz, it was called the Honda Fit. It was only after they launched it as the Honda Fitta into European markets that they realised that “fitta” translates to mean female genitalia in Swedish.

Another car, the Cherovlet Nova sold quite poorly in Latin America because “no va” reads “won’t go” in Spanish.

Coca-Cola, which at its invention meant little in English translates roughly to “bite the wax tadpole” in Chinese. It has since been transliterated into English as “ke kou ke le”, which means something more along the lines of “happiness in the mouth.” Far more appealing.

It goes to show that sometimes the things we build can sometimes grow beyond our own sensibilities.

The world is wide and we will only every be familiar with but a tiny portion.

Brands, however, possess the innate ability to be familiar almost everywhere.

I’ve spoken at length about feedback loops and the benefits of processing it productively.

But sometimes, you just can’t.

Like too much of anything, feedback can become a burden if our focus is on generating lots of it rather than specific feedback of high quality.

An embroider might glance over thousands of lines in the making of a piece, search for the slightest of imperfections to be mend. When he spots one, he examines the line thread by thread, learning what he did wrong, fixing his mistakes and making adjustments for the next time he picks up the needle.

Another embroider of similar skill makes the same piece. But instead of glancing line by line, he examines each stich closely and carefully, immediately after making it.

Both fix their mistakes, both are better embroiders by the end of the piece, but the first finishes his piece in one sixteenth the time.

Even if he misses a mistake which the meticulous second embroider notices, the first embroider gives themselves sixteen more projects to learn it.

Too much feedback is poisonous. We can’t let ourselves get caught up in the illusion of perfect improvement.

The time will never be right, but it might be right enough.

We might never be as good as we wish we were, but we can be good enough.

We’ll never be the fastest, but we can always become fast enough.

Life is not binary. Play it as such.

There’s no doubt that making ends meet, taking what you can get and doing what’s in front are all worthwhile and necessary things to be able to do.

However, we’re good at tricking ourselves into thinking that just because we did something yesterday, we should, or must, do it again today.

Which isn’t true.

If you can do the kind of work you want to be doing and still generate enough to survive, even if it means having less toys than your neighbour, why shouldn’t you?

The only way anyone makes a living from writing, music, surfing or Jiu-Jitsu is by showing up constantly, even though to begin with, the time they spend isn’t earning them a dime (and usually, costs them a lot).

After some time, they become good enough to earn a little, then those who continue to turn up and are adept at processing feedback get good enough to earn a lot.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s still hard work.

Tomorrow, commit to showing up.

Every item in your home, every app on your phone, and every person that you know is represented by brand.

It used to be that things were branded when companies wanted to make sure we understood who owned the product or service in question.

Nowadays, brand is no longer so tangible. Brands are now defined by how they make people feel.

Your brand is the result of the promises you keep. It’s the clarity of what you say you do, and your ability to follow through.

Confused, complicated brands flop. Sure, simple brands win.

Brands caught lying and cheating lose. Brands known for doing the right thing grow.

Imagine for a moment that your favourite brand were a person. What would they look like? What would they wear? How would they speak to you? What do they say?

I’d be willing to bet this person looks and sounds a lot like you’d like to look and sound.

If you can appeal to the interests of the people you want to connect with while proving reliability and fostering trust, you have an effective brand.

BrenĂ© Brown’s research shows us that vulnerability is a necessary prerequisite to courage.

There is no courage without vulnerability, no innovation without failure and no greatness without risk.

You don’t become a master at anything by bathing in comfort or skirting around failure.

If you’re comfortable with a reality in which you enjoy the modest comfort in choosing not to strive, all the power to you.

As for the rest of us, it’s time we stopped kidding ourselves and started making a ruckus.

Writers less creative than you have published books.

Producers less organised than you have made movies.

Entrepreneurs less intelligent than you have built million dollar businesses.

You are not the sum of all your parts.

You are the sum of how well you work. Not how hard, but how effectively.

You have never drawn a perfectly straight line.

Regardless of whether you use a pencil and a ruler ruler or a laser beam, if you zoom in far enough, the line isn’t straight.

When decisions in our life are overly important or scary, it’s common to wait for the ‘perfect’ time. Which, even if it did exist, would be such a minute window that you’d miss it anyway.

Circumstances will never be perfect because perfection doesn’t exist.

If you’re sitting around waiting for it, you’re going to be waiting a long time.

Forget being perfect.

Be first. Make a ruckus. Repeat.