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We're absolute beginners - and that's OK

Learner plateA sneak peek at next week's Best Bits episode, which I finished recording this morning: 

If you’re finding it tough – building your business or writing your book – here’s some wise words from Amy Wilkinson. In Episode 32 Amy talked about how she wrote The Creator's Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs – she did years of research with successful entrepreneurs, and then analysed the interview transcripts to identify the six common principles that underpinned their success, translated those into language and images the reader could easily grasp, and illustrated them with brief stories from that rich body of research.

But the bit from that interview I want you to hear again isn’t so much about that, but about the fact that this is HARD and that’s OK: the myth of overnight success really is a myth, in business and in writing, and it’s dangerous if you believe it. When Amy talked to those successful entrepreneurs during her research, they gold a very different story: 

Amy Wilkinson: When we read stories about entrepreneurs and authors, we think, "Oh! They just sat down, and their pens started flowing, and it was just a beautiful endeavour," or, "They just came up with this great idea, and the next day, someone wanted to fund it, and the next day, it was a global success." In fact, it's not that way. It takes a lot of hard work.

Me: I think, actually, culture, generally, does us a huge disservice by presenting these overnight success stories, as you say, and, also, there's that sense that you sit there and compare your scrappy book that you're in the saggy middle of with the polished things on your bookshelf, forgetting about all the work that goes in in-between, just as you sit and compare your company that's struggling with the Airbnbs out there. There's a real corollary there, isn't there?

Amy Wilkinson: Yes, I think there really is. It's difficult to be a first timer in any field, really. You talk to people that are first timers in writing books, in starting companies, first-time professors, first-time doctors that are just getting started, first-time lawyers. Everyone is learning and growing, and it takes a lot of energy, and effort, and focus, and it takes some time.

The thing about the modern economy is that we are all beginners all the time, and that's what people don't realize. I think even when I graduated from college, or business school, people thought, "Oh, now I've graduated! Now I'm going to be a success," and, in fact, what you find out is you're just beginning. You're just starting, then, and in any one of these endeavours, with the technology shifting as quickly as it is, with the global landscape changing as rapidly as it does, with our own lifestyles changing pretty rapidly, all of us are beginners all of the time.

It's a little bit back to the curiosity point. You have to stay curious, you have to be willing to learn, and that will take energy and it will take time. It's the Achilles heel to believe that you know everything, and you are an expert, and somehow you have your career wrapped up with a bow on top. It's not like that. The people that are the most successful in the world right now, in the world of business, they're constantly uncomfortable, and they're willing to be uncomfortable so that they stay on the innovation edge and they stay creating as they move forward.

We’re programmed to avoid discomfort, so that idea of leaning into the sensation, being willing to be uncomfortable so that you can move forward, might just be what makes the difference between doing OK and being all you can be.

So if you're worried you haven't got it all wrapped up yet, don't worry - you're in good company. 


This entry was posted on 14 December 2016 at 14:40 and is filed under writing | creativity. You can leave a response here.

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