Much is swirling in my DNA. Four new books…maybe five. Concepts with roots. Roots growing concepts. Streams of coin, streams of giving…and white space. Mostly white space – can never seem to get enough of it.
Every year, I map out my creativity intentions – I use the word “intentions” (not “plans” or “resolutions”) because it feels fused with direction and moxy.
If I’m to realize my intentions, what I stop doing is just as important as what I start and continue to do. Stopping = the white space. Stopping = room to run free and create from the deepest place of being without restraint or compromise. Stopping = more time for what matters most.
I know how to go, go, go. Stopping, I’ve learned is the stuff of mastery.
Jim Collins sums it up brilliantly in this USA Today article. He brings forward three profoundly simple questions from Darwin Smith CEO Kimberly-Clark, which became the foundation of the Hedgehog Concept:
1) What are you deeply passionate about?
2) What are you are genetically encoded for — what activities do you feel just “made to do”?
3) What makes economic sense — what can you make a living at?
If your answers to what you’re doing come up no, no, and no to these questions – then stop doing it. Shut ‘er down. Take it off your plate. Let it die. Cease. And exhale a sigh of relief. You can move with more velocity toward your dreams.
Look back on this past year and get very clear about what sucked. What didn’t work, got mired with resentment, felt onerous, weighed you deadly down? A note on resentment: you can’t continue to do things you fully resent and think they’re going to transform into enjoyable activities over time. It just doesn’t work that way. Think of resentment as a blaring, mega-watt STOP sign. And stop.
WHAT’S YOUR STOP DOING LIST? Here’s mine:
- I will not leave Twitter, Facebook and Gmail open while I write. I need blocks of two to three hours to think clearly and craft that clarity into something useful. Writing is a “yes!” to all three of the questions.
- I will continue to lovingly decline requests for on-going coaching. I’m a Strategist. Capital S on that. I do my very best work around creativity and entrepreneurship, facing forward, thinking big while being ruthlessly pragmatic. I’m not great at untangling things that happened yesterday. See question 2. I’m just not made for it.
- No schlepping my old book to speaking gigs to sell. Forget it. I pay for extra luggage, I cuss at my suitcase as I’m heaving it up escalators. And besides, since I left my last company, I don’t make a cent off of the book (because I signed the copyright over to the incorporation.) See questions 2 and 3: I’m not passionate about it. I can’t make a living at it.
- I’ll stop answering business-related email on weekends. I’ve thought of putting “I don’t work weekends” in my e-signature, but that’d be just obnoxious.
- No red eyes flights. Ever. Never worth it.
All of the above activities only serve to make me busier, or put me out of the zone of my true strengths. (And you know how I feel about busy-ness.) Stopping what’s distracting, draining, or aggravating you doesn’t require any heavy lifting or stamina. Just love and self respect.
So seriously, consider this a poll. WHAT WILL YOU STOP DOING? What ACTIVITIES are coming OFF your to-do list? What will create more space when you get it off your plate?