How do I make it happen?


Dallas Clayton has all the beautiful quote-art you could ever want –

I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by people making amazing things happen. I’m so fortunate to come to a point where others regard me with as much respect – and I can look them in the eye and we can share our pride unembarrassed. Its most wonderful and I appreciated like you couldn’t imagine.

Before you tell me to go-fuck-myself (which is how I feel seeing other people’s holiday photographs at the moment ) a disclaimer – that most ‘doers’ would agree with:
  1. It took a long time to get here and I don’t actually feel ‘here’ yet either.
  2. It hasn’t always been like this.
  3. The journey necessarily involves a phase I like to reflect on as the burned-out and responsible phase. I haven’t met anyone ‘doing it’ that hasn’t been through this phase and made changes based on what they’ve learned from it.
So for those still trying to make it happen – I wanted to share a few personal observations as they’ve been on my mind of late and see if you can relate?
First an umberella term to store all my thinkings within: Spiritual Maturity. What I’ve come to experience in those people who are ‘making it work’ – is – what I want to describe as the weathering of a transition to spiritual maturity.
I’m not talking spiritual as in theology or philosophy  here – nor am I talking esoteric concepts of soul (at least not this time ;-p). I’m referring to the self-awareness, comportment, creativity, intellect, personality – that make you – you. This transition then- involves a gaining of competence of spirit and the consequential natural confidence that goes with this. door6
This transition takes us towards a solid footing in our public life, and a blossoming out from mastering the inner and domestic aspects of life. In my case this has involved a growing feeling of competence bred from trial, and repetition. The authority I craved but hadn’t earned gradually emerging through practice. Stuff money and marketing can’t buy (incase you were hoping for a shortcut).
Fortunately, if you do something for long enough, you tend to gain in competence, and so as we age in our practices, we do naturally earn our way. This is your collect-£200-as-you-pass-go-type-ticket, only you paid for it with your youth (oh god).
Bottlenecks in ‘doing it’
It seems to me there are 3 main bottlenecks to ‘doing it’.
Not taking the first step – Thats why I say ‘weathering a transition’ because that seems to be what it takes – stepping towards public life and all her responsibilities, whilst held back and hampered by soft centres and insecurities. The recurring themes of not getting cracking seem to be around:
  • Hypersensitivity and self-pity – I’m not good enough, I’m not getting the chances I need, I’m not getting enough positive feedback. Who will spoonfeed you when YOU are the authority?
  • Fear of authority – the bar is set impossibly high given I won’t be approved of, it’s better not to try. Who sets the bar in your life and why?
  • Perfect getting in the way of good –  it has to be perfect before I can launch, I can’t build the business until the brand is perfect.  What is enough? 
Of course the ever poignant Seth Godin has this issue down:
“If you’d like to teach a kid to ride a bike, training wheels are a bad idea. You’re much better off with a small bike with no pedals. All training wheels do is confuse, distract or stall. The same thing is true for marketing. You don’t need to go to school for four years. You need to do marketing. Find a worthy charity and do a promotional event to raise money for them (you don’t even need to ask first). Start a micro business. Sell things on eBay. And the same thing is true for leadership. Find something worth doing, find others to join in. Merely begin.”
Not seeing it through – I keep encountering a phase too in this trajectory of ‘start-up narcissism’ – Where there’s a great idea, a great website and a cool url – yet each new project doesn’t actually materialise. Moreover it’s someone else’s fault. The web developer used all the money, the client was a unreasonable.
We do this to all sorts of degrees. The thing that screams out to me from others (and that I recognise in myself) is fear of failure and corresponding lack of discipline. This manifests in daydreaming and distracting oneself through new projects and essentially avoidant behaviour. Do you recognise these?
  • I didn’t do the core work but I cleaned the house.
  • I didn’t do the core work but I had an immense session at the gym.
  • I didn’t do the core work but I put together an advertising campaign for something else.
  • I didn’t do the core work, but I had this amazing business idea and called some friends and we are going to start a new company – I’m off to discuss it over beers…
  • I didn’t do the core work but I wrote a blog article ;-P

I also see this manifested in a sense of un-rationalised entitlement – I’m always busy (see above) but I don’t have the success I deserve? A place from which it’s hard not to blame the system, society, wealth, if you aren’t able to see you are the root of the lack of direction in your projects. It takes fortitude of some kind to be accountable for what we’re trying to achieve in our lives, and that we have to work on building that inner fortitude in order to hold the emotional resources we need to progress.

Fortunately / unfortunately I’ve figured out that in the age on the internet where the bar to entry for starting something new is very low – but the peak infinitely narrower – this is perhaps an important phase for ‘doing it’ – a step where you come to terms with living in a frustrum.

dallas-clayton-3Not Sharing – everyone I know, who has any degree of success, when they hit the burned-out and responsible phase / crisis – shared what they were doing. Everyone I know that has any success, at some point shared what they are doing. Everyone I know who hasn’t shared is still pissing about in the Not Seeing Through Phase.
I’m still formulating this thinking – and will rewrite it no doubt – so  reflections from the audience please!

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