This particular post has been circling my mind for the past week and a half. It has been hard to organize my thoughts and put these reflections in writing.
Every time I work on a post, I try my best to tell a story. My preferred tone is the one that sounds like if we were having a conversation. Conversations sometimes flow quite eloquently. Other times there is rambling, circling back and over explanations involved; at least in my perspective, the latter does not make conversations less profound or less interesting.
So, if you encounter some rambling and over explanations next, please bear with me.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself tackling my new writing routine (which I am very proud of), more or less like a To-Do List. It reminded me of how I would approach my day at my sales job. Have too much coffee early in the morning, go for a run, take a shower, look into emails, call to confirm meetings, go to meetings, recap meetings, eat, sometimes reflect, repeat.
My last two previous jobs required an extremely high sense of urgency. When working in operations execution and then in front line sales, I needed a high-intensity form of energy to tackle the day. A rush. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the rush. I lived for the rush. To me, that rush meant I cared and that I was doing my absolute best.
If you are familiar with the 4DX concept (Four Disciplines of Execution by McChesney, Covey and Huling); you know that one of the greatest enemies of achieving our wildly important goals is being caught up permanently in the whirlwind. The whirlwind meaning, everything that is urgent but not necessarily important; emails, non-purposeful meetings, etc.,
At my previous jobs, the real challenge was cruising the whirlwind. The real challenge was focusing on what was really important, slowing down and making time to reflect and think beyond.
The rush approach was my way of managing the whirlwind first to have time to reflect and focus on the important. Acting on the whirlwind, not just withstanding it, is necessary. Reflection and thinking beyond are critical in any job, but when you are a middle manager or a front-line salesperson, so is answering the phone to your customers.
When I found myself taking the rush approach in my writing routine, it just felt off. It was not related to the quality of the output. I was writing, it was good writing (I think!) but the how felt off. I was not mindful of the process; I was not cruising the inspiration wave. It was like having a list: have too much coffee, take a cool photo for Em’s Instagram, run, think about ideas for the blog, write blog, work on book.
After this realization, I thought: “Wow, so I don’t have a whirlwind anymore”. But that first thought was wrong. I do have a whirlwind, a different one. My job now requires a more meditative type of energy, but the challenge now is how to resist being caught up permanently in this serene approach. To resist for it to become so serene that is never transformed in some sort of rush to actually create an output.
I genuinely believe that mindfully cruising the inspiration wave is needed. I truly believe that looking actively for inspiration and surrendering to it is part of the job of the writer, but so is writing.
I’m grateful that I learned about whirlwinds and of wildly important goals. I’m grateful for the power I have found in reflection. Everyone at any job needs some kind of rush, days of high-intensity energy. Everyone also needs days to nurture inspiration through reflection and serenity, my type of “writer’s day”.
Do you agree with above? Entirely, partly? Any suggestions or different approaches?
Thanks for reading me,