Searching for expectations … that’s all anyone is doing.
Once they find them, of course, they’ll see if the promise is kept.
In various situations, like work, they’ll even seek to fulfill that promise.
Alas, they need the direction first; the expectation.
That’s why the worst meetings start without anyone sharing why they’re there.
That’s why the worst projects end up outside of scope.
That’s why the worst creative is completely off target and in need of multiple revisions.
That’s why word of mouth can either help or hurt your business–they’re merely sharing whether the expectations you set (or the ones they set because you didn’t) were met.
Stay Positive & It’s Your Responsibility To Set The Tune
It’s incredible how smart things can sound when we write them, but when we say them aloud …
The best advice I have ever been given about writing?
Read it aloud before sending it out into the ether.
Take any idea, for example. It does well to write about it, but nothing will make the idea more clear, the intention as obvious, than discussing it aloud.
Same goes for problem-solving, too. And pitching. And convincing.
Stay Positive & When It Doubt, Talk It Out
You’ve heard it before: “I want you to give me 110%.”
100% is easy to give. It’s following a road map. Checking a list. Doing exactly what you’re told.
Giving 100% is a linear path whereas giving 110% requires a leap.
It requires us to give up the foundational way of thinking. To get that extra 10%, we have to think differently, act differently, not care what others think, make our own boxes to check.
It’s tough work–all of it is–but it’s tough work performed on a different path.
You won’t achieve that 10% by working a little harder at what you’re already doing.
You achieve it when you deviate with passion, with a mission, and yea, a little fear.
Stay Positive & You’ll Find The 10% In Situations Where You Say “This Might Not Work”
A business can’t be ethical, the same way it can’t self-implode.
A business exists to turn a profit, nothing more.
Certainly there are other reasons you may think it exists, but you would be wrong.
The business can’t exist for a shared passion. It can’t exist for world change. It can’t exist for getting people to try something new (unless that’s what makes it profitable).
However, the people within it tell a different story–they exist for other reasons beyond profit.
People can sacrifice the bottom line to do what’s right. They can strive to connect people and not sell anyone short. They can uphold ethics, fuel a shared passion and do the work that matters whether it turns a profit or not.
Alas, decisions need to be made.
You can shrug them off as a business decision or you can own them as personal ones.
In my experience, the people decisions hurt in the moment, but ultimately lead to profit in the long-run (so long as you maintain the stance).
Stay Positive & Let’s Stop Saying “It’s Not Personal, It’s Business”
Eventually we have to face the reality of a to-do list.
The longer it is, the more we’re hiding.
A long to-do list keeps us busy, spreads our time and energy thin, stretches us so we can’t fully commit to the work that matters.
Equally as distracting as a long to-do list is the mindset of, “If I can crank through a bunch of these tasks, then I can focus on the big ones once the list is smaller.”
More challenging (and valuable) is to remove items from the list altogether.
Stay Positive & Pick A Door (The Important One)
Contrary to what we might assume, most people don’t want a literal map. They don’t want a step-by-step process. They don’t want their hand held.
On second thought, it’s not that they don’t want any of that.
It’s that they want something else more.
The feeling of achievement, perhaps.
Or the feeling of belonging. Or the feeling of prestige or transcendence.
When in doubt, people don’t need you to manage their work or be by their side the entire time telling them what and what not to do–that doesn’t lead them to a sense of meaningful impact.
Instead, they need you to lead. To point the direction. To outline. To pose questions, not orders.
To say something like, “Let’s go this way. It might not work, but let’s see what you can do.”
Stay Positive & If Someone’s Frazzled, They Don’t Need Help, They Need Direction
Masters of ideas understand when they need more and when they don’t.
Certain situations require more brainstorming. Fresh content. New ideas.
More often than not, once something is started, you don’t need more new ideas, you need to own the one big one that got you going in the first place.
Even that layer, you don’t need more new ideas. You simply need to do what you know works. To care. To string that idea into every corner of your brand.
Dogfish Head doesn’t need a new idea. They simply need to do more of what they know to do to appeal to off-centered people.
Bose will likely shoot themselves in the foot within the next six months because they think they need a new big idea to replace their current one.
As they say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Stay Positive & Then Keep Flaunting It