Work that Matters

What Matters

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Seth Godin is the master of keeping it simple. I borrow his expression ‘doing the work that matters’ frequently. Seth’s blog post simplifies the difference between choices and decisions and our confusing of the two. We encounter choices in our real-time wayfinding process. What if we streamlined our efforts by making quick choices, so we open bandwidth to focus on the decisions that matter. Make a game of choosing by spinning a wheel, asking the opinion of the next person we encounter, selecting the adventurous route, or going left. Decisions impact the work that matters and requires time and information. Which TSA security lane to stand in at the airport is a choice. Which person to join you for a month-long expedition is a decision. Make time for the decisions that matter, few remember how quickly you navigated TSA, but many benefit from your decision to commit to the mission.

A template for a spinning wheel if you are game to choose differently.


Making Mistakes in Public


Read the Q&A section on Banksy’s website* and be prepared for simple responses.  

Question: Best and worst part of creating Street Art?

Answer: Make your mistakes in public.

What is worth doing, even if it contains mistakes?  What risks are we willing to take in order to connect an idea with a community that may care?  Who are we willing to disappoint in order to complete our quest?  

The opportunities that cause me the most anxiety are usually the ones that I need to explore.  I said ‘yes’ to a university experience even though I did not have all the answers and was bound to fail repeatedly in a classroom of strangers.  I agreed to work on consulting engagements that challenge my approach and yet I continue to look for ways to serve and add value.  Travel brings numerous opportunities to fail publicly and yet I continue to pursue a destination even when I make a wrong turn or plan poorly.  I participate in sports that provide moments physical pain.  My original front tooth lies somewhere on the side of the road in NH thanks to a cycling team crash in High School.  The very public mistake of inadvertently brushing my front wheel against another rider’s rear wheel left me more committed to my craft.

As Seth Godin reminds us, do work that matters.  I highly recommend Seth’s audio book, Leap First: Creating Work that Matters.  The development of the audiobook inspired the publication of Your Turn, which is equally engaging.  I have been handing out my extra copies to people who are trying to create change and are willing to succeed and fail in public.

I look forward to seeing our mistakes in public venues.  Our art matters.

* Banksy is not on Facebook or Twitter but his art continues to be discovered wherever he produces it.