All big things start as small things.
Fully formed ideas and products don’t just appear. They’re designed and built piece by piece, the culmination of countless tiny decisions.
Sometimes we have grand visions. However, the work needed to realize those grand visions takes time and comes in scraps. Big discoveries happen in small increments.
As creators, we give too much weight to giants. Trying to be like the others, the ones who’ve made it, only serves to hold us back.
But growth is what happens, it’s not what we create.
Because real work is about taking small steps every day. Week in and week out. That’s what matters. The stuff which moves us closer to finding answers.
Learn what gets results. Then do more of that.
Start small, and keep going.
I often remind myself of this phrase, to adjust my mindset. What's it mean?
We should be growing gardens 🌻🌱
Not slicing up pies 🔪🥧
It’s a simple idea. People think of things in the world as pies to be sliced up.
When you’re building something, starting a company, growing a team, thinking about how the world works, etc… you’re rarely making one thing which is finite and static.
“I get 50 percent, you get 10 percent, these people have 30 percent, and all these other people get tiny fractions.”
Thinking that way limits what you imagine is possible.
Pies are finite. They run out.
We’re not carving up increasingly smaller slices of an amorphous whole.
I think businesses and ideas are more like gardens: organic and dynamic.
You start small, doing just a few things.
Over time the garden will grow, shift, and evolve. They’re living and breathing and ever-changing. Just like the people who work on them.
If you give people ownership over their part of the garden, so both them and their plot can thrive, then the garden as a whole can become stronger.
A pie left out will rot. But a well-kept garden can flourish and become stronger.
So keep reminding yourself…
Gardens, not Pies.
It means many things to be open. Closed is easier, we know. It's less work. Less to confront. But it's also less truthful, which in-the-end makes life worse and more difficult. We believe life and work is better when people are open as much as possible.
Be open for business.
Tell people what you do. Spread the word and don't let the world forget it. It's easy to sit around wondering why people aren't walking in your shop, coming to your website, buying your wares, or sending emails to hire you. But it's because they don't know you're there! And even they do, they probably couldn't repeat back to you why you exist and what you offer. Don't make other people do your job for you. Give them the answers, and repeat it, and repeat it again.
Be open to new ideas.
Nothing is worse than sharing a thought or idea with someone and getting shut down right away. A dead conversation moves nothing forward. (And I'm not talking about racism, sexism, and other horrible thoughts. Shut that shit down.) Take a page out of an improv playbook and always try to move things forward. Approach sharing of new work and ideas with "Yes! And..." or "Okay, but what about..." statements. You'll either discover a new, useful idea or a logical end. Trust the people you're talking to are sharing because they have their own experiences and thoughts which led them here, and you just don't understand yet. Don't push them away and shut them out. Keep digging with them.
Be open with feedback and praise.
All but the most abnormal people feel doubt. We make up false narratives in the empty space of no feedback. Our lack of sharing what we really feel leads to uncertainty, doubt, and worse work. We get better together when we give direct feedback and clear praise.
Be open with your thinking.
Spreading your thought process with those who are affected helps them follow the same logic and understand the decision. Let's be honest, you're not that special. Holding on to your way of thinking just makes it more difficult for others and doesn't actually benefit you. And you'll likely find that your thinking becomes stronger, by necessity, when you have to share it.
Be open with your feelings.
Nobody can see through you. Bottling up what you're dealing with only causes problems. Having a bad day? Let those around you know instead of taking it out on them. We're all in this together, but we can't help each other without knowing how or why.
Be open with information.
We all owe a debt to those who've paved history before us. Those who discovered art, technology, process, and knowledge we benefit from every day. Similarly, on a macro level, we should pay it forward to those who follow. Share what you learn. And on a micro level, for the people you work with to make the best decisions they need to have all the data. Sharing helps us all work from the information, but to come at it from our own perspective and experiences. You'll get better outcomes and more motived people.
As much as possible... be open.