The Way Forward Is Through the Work

The work I do is grounded in clarity. I firmly believe that if you don’t take time to look at where you are and where you want to be (or who you are and who you want to be, or what you have and what you want, or…I’m sure you get the picture), you won’t get there (or be that or have that). So clarity is crucial.

But without action, clarity doesn’t mean a whole lot. If you don’t use what you’ve learned to make a plan and then take consistent action, you’re not going to get very far—and in fact, you’ll probably wind up pretty frustrated.

This is an especially hard truth for me. At my core, I’m a planner—I have this innate drive to examine how all the pieces of an idea will fit together and also fit in with the bigger picture before I act. This is a good trait in many ways, but it also means that if left to my own devices, I would only work behind the scenes, thinking and researching and planning and iterating in private, only releasing something when I feel like it’s fully formed and it’s the best it can be. It’s why I love writing in layers.

But (sadly, for many of us), we know it just doesn’t work that way.

When I think about the creatives and the brands I admire most, I realize that not a single one of them emerged from a long hideout session with fully formed, best-they-can-be ideas and offerings and content. Instead, these creatives started with an idea (born from a problem they wanted to solve or a passion they wanted to share) and, after doing a reasonable amount of thinking and research, put that idea out into the world. Then they gauged reactions, listened to the people interacting with their ideas, and changed / revised / tweaked their idea. Then they put it out there again, and started the cycle of gauging and listening and changing all over again.

So the (hard) truth is that while initial clarity and a plan of action are crucial, you also need the kind of clarity that comes from putting your ideas out there and seeing how they do in the real world. You won’t grow—you won’t get to where you want to be—if you’re not putting something out there.

So today, your mission (should you choose to accept it, of course) is to write down a few creatives and brands you really, really, really admire. Then dig through their past. Read the very first blog post they ever shared. Scroll back a couple of years on their Instagram. Check out their old tweets. Look at where they started and then come back to where they are now. Notice what they experimented with, what has changed, what they’ve refined, what they’ve added, and what they’ve let go of.

And then look at your own past and present with an objective eye. What has changed? What do you still want to change? Can you see the evolution of your ideas and your content? Where do you want to go? Can you see that future in your present? If not, what needs to change?

And then make a plan, take consistent action, and get your ideas out there. Because the way forward is through the work.

P.S. Remember last week when I told you about that guide I’m working on? It’ll help you find that initial clarity, make a plan for consistent action, get your ideas out there in the form of meaningful content, and then evaluate and change as you go. I’m really excited to get this into your hands, and can’t wait to see the awesome things you share with the world.

Remember, the newsletter crew will get the first crack at it (plus a sweet discount!). So if you’re not already on my list, sign up below—along with first dibs and a discount on this super-helpful guide, you’ll get a free copy of Consume Mindfully, my guide to overcoming information overwhelm, plus weekly blog posts in your inbox and a monthly email about clarity and consistency. You can read more about what to expect here, and check out my privacy policy here. (Just to be clear, you'll be offered a discount even if you don't sign up, but I'm notifying my email list first!)