With so many things to do and so many confusing options, it’s natural to want to find a secret or shortcut to get where you’re going faster or without as much effort.
But when you look at what most secrets and shortcuts amount to, you see some combination of the following:
- A pre-existing connection or set of connections
- A head-start or first-to-market advantage
- Focused effort toward specific goals over a long period of time
- More money to throw at the problem
- An unorthodox way to use a specific tool for some specific outcome
- Having the courage to do something new, bigger, bolder, or different than the way the activity in question is already being done
- Doing fewer projects with more gusto rather than half-committing to a lot of projects
The secret about secrets and shortcuts is that most of them are ones you can’t use because they’re so unique to the people who discovered, created, leveraged, or implemented them.
For instance, you might know that my success has largely been based on the relationships I have with people in the ecosystem I’m in, but your knowing that doesn’t translate to you being able to do anything but the steady work and fun to build your own relationships for the next few years. Unless, of course, you want me to share you with that network, but to do that, you’ll need to do your work and have the courage to ask.
But “do your work” and “have the courage to ask” don’t at all sound like secrets or shortcuts. They also happen to be the things that people aren’t doing because they’re too busy looking for the secrets and shortcuts.
If you accepted that there were no secrets and shortcuts, how would that change what you would do today? Go do that and find your secrets and shortcuts.
Laurel Decher says
Nice post. I like the whole “hiding month” concept. Another shortcut might be: putting the work that isn’t working yet aside until the right tools become available and working on something that is possible right now. The opposite of the persistence forever model.
Charlie Gilkey says
Nice, Laurel. The persistence forever model can be a wicket trap, especially since we wrap into it stories about sunken costs. “I’ve been doing this for so long and I just need to do it a little more” or “if I stop doing this, then my last (however long) has been a waste of time.”
There’s an art to knowing when to dig in and when to bail out.