Against all of my tangent-loving instincts, this week’s “Listen To This” will (attempt to) be laser-focused. That’s difficult for me, particularly today, because Unmistakable Creative’s entire interview with Jerry Kolber is top-notch. As I was listening through, I kept writing down time stamps and quotes, each time thinking I had found the golden moment. But then…there would be another one. And another one. And another one.
I have a page of notes sitting in front of me that I could delve into, but ironically, Jerry also talks about why it’s so very important to focus on one thing. So I will. We are going to laser in on a moment about halfway through (24:50) the podcast. That moment is all about the importance of doing good work, regardless of the immediate payoff, or at least regardless of knowing what the payoff will be. Let’s get into it.
“If you have done good work, whether you think it’s been recognized or not, someone recognizes it. That is the nature of the universe, is that good work – honest good work – is recognized.”
Do Good Work
It is highly likely that you do good work. We should all have this as our Purpose. What is less likely is that your good work is always noticed, at least not in the way that you might hope. We all suffer from this; see this article for a brutal self-examination of such. It is why the creation process is so daunting as it comes to a close on a particular project.
First, you work extremely hard on your good work, be that a blog post, a book, financials, a presentation, a strategy document, etc. That alone is difficult. But then, there’s the glorious moment of putting it out there for your audience: publish, present, email, ship, record, etc.
For the most part, you have control over the process up until it ships. You have created it, and you have intentionally chosen to make it public. But then, as Jeff Probst would say, the power shifts to the jury…but only if you let it. This is where we can easily lose track of the importance of the good work and start to go off the rails. Worse, this is the time when a lot of good work dies on the vine.
I’m as guilty as anyone else in turning the period after the “glorious moment” into dark obsession. You create, you publish, then you wait. And wait. And wait for your good thing to get noticed. On one hand, this is the amazing beauty of the web. Your thing can get noticed. But this is also the imminent danger. Waiting for it to happen.
It’s dark and dangerous because you have already completed the hardest part of good work: doing it and making it visible. But the temptation lies in waiting for validation, and validation is very hard to come by. Especially in the short term.
Do More Good Work
Instead of hitting the reload button, watching your email, or waiting for the phone to ring, I’d strongly encourage you to start doing more good work. Sure, there is value in self-promotion; do that, too. But instead of wondering whether that first thing will be noticed, start working on that second thing. Or third thing. Or maybe both.
Again, there should be triumph and celebration in creating and publicizing good work in the first place, so don’t allow a lack of validation to stop you from creating even more good work. Time after time after time, you will hear stories that reflect Jerry’s quote: Do good work, and it will be recognized. So what’s stopping you?
No, it might not be recognized the way that you intend. And it likely will not be recognized on your preferred timetable. It might not even be recognized in the space where you think it fits. But that’s not your decision and is not in your control. And thank goodness it’s not.
Focus on the Good Work
Your focus should be on the creation and publication of your good work. So do more of that. Your focus should not be on how, when, and where others recognize it. So do less of that.
What good work are you pursuing at the moment? Where is your zone of genius? Where can we find the good work that you have already made public? Let us know in the comments.
Many thanks to Srini Roa, Founder of Unmistakable Media, and Jerry Kolber of Atomic Entertainment for this wonderful hour. With all sincerity, listen to the entire episode. It’s so worth all of your time.
Hit up the comments with your podcast recommendations for a future “Listen To this” and also to broadcast your good work. And thanks to you for tuning in! Until next Friday…*Shanti*