Years ago, my mentor recounted
a story about one of his former employees that always stuck with me.
exit interview, his direct report was outraged at her termination,
explaining that she had put in ten years of experience with the organization,
and had earned the right to stay on the team.
But he explained to her that she
didn’t have ten years of experience, she had one year of experience, ten times.
Ouch. Imagine if your decade’s worth
of effort was dismissed and invalidated like that. How would you feel?
though I knew it was just another dopey management trope, still, that moment
scared me. It gave birth to a voice inside my head that began to whisper, don’t be redundant. And as I grew as an
artist, that voice only grew louder. The fear thickened. I became overly
cautious about repeating and plagiarizing and cannibalizing and competing with
myself. To the point that I began to hinder my own expression.
when a friend of mine asked a question that interrupted my pattern.
do you treat your work when you believe you’re going to be redundant?
answers were right there in front of me. Unkind, untrusting and unexpressive.
But that’s when I started to realize, in art, redundancy is a physical
impossibility. You can’t make the same thing twice. Because each time you sit
down to create, you’re not the same person you were the last time you sat down.
And so, the fear of being redundant and derivative and unoriginal is completely
As my songwriting hero once said:
After a certain age, you stop caring what
people’s opinions about your output are. There’s no such thing as releasing too
much material. You don’t get those breaths back. Why are people curating other
It’s a deeply liberating place to be. Creating art without the fear of
being redundant. Trusting that the process can’t help but be original. And
owning the result as something nobody can take away from you.
when you start to feel bad about yourself, find the lie.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you treat your work when you believe you’re going to be redundant?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a copy of the list called, “50 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!
* * * *
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
Now booking for 2016-2017.
Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!