Choose Your Radicalism
If you want to succeed with your creative business or your next project, you’ll need to get after it like you’ve never done before. If you don’t have a knee-drop obsession for your work that matters most, you’ll have a hard time grinding through the hours required to get to the other side.
We have too many choices. The shelves are packed. The baseline noise level is loud. And the market will never be less-crowded.
But you’ve got something special. You know your work will help your tribe, if you could only get it before them. Your competition is coming for you. If you want your tribe to buy your idea, it’s time to turn the knob.
If you want your best work to stand out you’ll have to earn it.
But we can’t turn everything to ‘eleven.’
There’s a famous rock and roll parody film called This is Spinal Tap, where the lead guitarist is being interviewed. The faux documentary filmmaker asks the guitarist why his special amps go all the way to eleven instead of ten. The guitarist, Nigel Tufnel, says [paraphrased] “When you’re on ten and you need that little extra, where you can you go from there? Nowhere. When you need that little extra, our amps go to eleven.”
Eleven is our radicalism-level.
Eleven is the work you put in past the office hours. Eleven is waking up in the middle of the night with a great idea, then acting upon it, before you gave a chance to slack-off.
Eleven is that little bit extra your competition ignores, or is too lazy to do.
Radicalism is different for every entrepreneur. Whether your version of radical is prolific writing, drawing, painting, or coding — you don’t have to serve some great cause to perform your work in a radical way.
The point is we must be selective if we want to practice our best work for the long-haul.
If we turn everything up to eleven, we’ll burn out faster than we can shake a finger. Instead, we’ve got to be selective radicals — the ones who know when to burn and the ones who know when to simmer.
We can’t pay attention to everything all the time.
Yet, too many entrepreneurs attempt this. It’s OK to let the non-essentials fall a little. Some tasks get turned-down to three. Some to zero.
If we run our engine on eleven, all day, every day, we’ll never sustain our work over time. This will hurt the business. Burnout hurts our customers.
Have you ever spent time with an all-eleven person?
They’re unbearable. They can’t hold still. They leave every project half-finished, because every project is an emergency (until the next emergency). All the balls are in the air… until they aren’t.
There’s no escaping gravity.
Something will fall.
It’s best to choose our radicalism wisely. We aim our relentless focus towards our work that matters most. We start with the work. If there’s time for anything else, we can do that too, but the work comes first.
The other tasks get a knob-adjustment.
We all have room for eleven. Our best work needs eleven. But your in-box zero habit probably doesn’t. Neither does your social media — or your Netflix habit.
Radical and present
When we’re selective in our radicalism, we give ourselves down-time. We’re present when it matters, and we turn-off when it doesn’t.
If you’re always on, all the time, something in your life will break.
Be it your health, your relationships, or your business — there’s no sustaining all-eleven — everywhere.
And if you want your tribe to buy your work, you better create an email list you own (instead of relying on your precarious social platform). Tap the link below. Enroll in my Tribe 1K indie email masterclass. I’ll show you how to get your first 1,000 subscribers (and your next 1,000) without spending one hot nickel on ads.
We’re waiting for you.
August Birch (AKA the Book Mechanic) is both a fiction and non-fiction author from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make work that sells and how to sell more of that work once it’s created. When he’s not writing or thinking about writing, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.