Last week I made the argument that we cannot do our best work in periods of stress. The value of having physical and mental space is that it allows us the ability to explore and experiment. It would be easy to conclude that all stress is bad, and that stress is to be avoided. That would be a mistake. While it is true that stressful experiences can keep us from doing our best work, sometimes the opposite of that is also true.
We don’t do our best work under pressure. Stress and productive creativity are poor companions at the best of times, and particularly now. While our current circumstances may not be optimal, that doesn’t mean that we can’t find the physical, mental and metaphorical space to function. It just needs a little work to define, and a little more effort to negotiate and make happen.
I started my career with what might have been misplaced confidence. The more my expertise caught up with my self-perception, the more I came to terms with what I know. The greater I can acknowledge the limitations on my knowledge and understanding, the more clearly and confidently I can speak to what I do know. Finding your voice is essential and influences how you show up in the world. It is a long process of reflection that starts with some important first steps.
Getting clear about what you are are doing and where you are going is incredibly valuable and important. It’s also very challenging to do. The greater your ambition, the longer the list of things that you dream of getting done. The more that you care about delivering quality results, the more essential it is to get focused about where you invest your effort and attention. That involves difficult choices that most of us very` often don’t like acknowledging, let alone actually making.
As is no doubt true for many of us, I started off last year with the best of intentions. While I am proud of what I accomplished (despite 2020 being, well, 2020) it was not without its challenges. My first post last year outlined my plans to revisit how I plan, how I organize and how I manage. A check-in on how that went—spoiler alert: inconsistently—and what I’m doing differently this year.
2020 wasn’t just an extraordinary year of events, politics and pandemics. It was an interesting year for writing, as well. Things started off slowly here. The reset that we all sought as a result of the pandemic, though, was its own reset for my writing. Join me as I explore the articles you enjoyed and valued most, as well as those that most inspired and engaged me.