Pushback Pushes You Up

Hearing “no” stings

When you do the work, when you hear “no” or in some cases “why” it can hurt, especially if you’ve laid the case in a way that makes sense to you.

I’ve had it happen to me before, and I know it sucks. It can start you down the path of negative self-talk rather fast.

One thing I try to keep in mind, however, is that each time this happens, its resistance.

How do you build muscles? Resistance.

Pushback can push you up. And with that in mind, reframe it as an opportunity to get stronger.

One day it is going to count.

Pushback pushes you up.

Don’t Control. Challenge.

Put people’s feet to the fire, but don’t hold them there

Control feels good.

The feeling you get when someone does a task exactly what you want them feels fantastic.

It comes with a serious trade-off.

Trying to run people’s lives is exhausting. It doesn’t scale. Most importantly, it caps their ceiling. You limit their potential.

The alternative is to challenge them. Put your person in a position to win, make a landing zone, and let them go.

Make no mistake; there is more risk involved. If you can’t write the map, you rely on them to give you a post-mortem. This ambiguity causes errors. When you combine mistakes with some ambiguity, it feels worse.

There is a major upside here.

In my experience, every time I controlled what they (person working for me) did, I’d get maybe, half of their potential.

When I compare that to when I challenged them, I got closer to 75% to 95%.  Then, every once in a while, I’d see the person’s potential level up.

My reward for dealing with the ambiguity and giving them agency was someone who I could trust. For that trust, they would delight me.

Agency matters. Let them have it.


Bruce Lee Genius

Be like water – Bruce Lee

Sometimes I don’t see this quote for the genius that it is. At the surface, you can see it as water being flexible. “Water becomes the cup.” However, water also does two things.

  1. It is as powerful as it needs to be to get to where it is going – there is nothing stopping a river from flowing. Even if you dam the river – if you don’t redirect, one day, whether it is a week or a thousand years, the water will break the dam.

  2. It is always moving. Even water in a puddle is pushing against the ground, smoothing, sanding, and digging into the world. If it finds itself unable to accomplish its task in time, it reverts into air, only to come down as rain again to try once more.

So. Be like water.

Pushing The Plateau

We sit around and prepare ourselves to hurry up and wait. There is hanging silence in the room. What is the next move?

How do I get better?

The Plateau Effect hits every creative.

Basically – you have worked yourself into mediocrity. You have done a good job of it too. The next level isn’t so processed. You have to wonder – what makes you go from decent to good to great.

A lot of it is grit. Sometimes you have to ask yourself – Are you willing to push on?

But it isn’t as simple as pushing – you have to objectify yourself. Take yourself out of your work. Be your own best critic instead of your worst. Be in a rush to find your flaws – but be ready to fix them, don’t wallow.

There is a resistance that wants to keep you where you are. It is a lot of work, but those who can see the big picture – those people are the ones who end up on the marquee.

Further Reading

The War of Art
[Steven Pressfield] (http://www.stevenpressfield.com/)
[The Plateau Effect] (http://www.amazon.com/The-Plateau-Effect-Getting-ebook/dp/B009VMBNQ8/ref=tmm_kin_title_0_)
[Farnam Street] (http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2013/06/whats-the-biggest-barrier-to-accomplishing-great-things/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+68131+%28Farnam+Street%29)