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[BCC 026] Avoid Certain Contribution

publishedabout 1 year ago
3 min read

Ahh what a lesson this week.

As I've written about before, I made a massive shift in my life in December of 2019, where I realized (painfully realized) that everything I was doing what driven by a need for certainty and significance.

(I talk about these two needs as part of the 6 Human Needs in my Make Something course)

I realized how much those "driving forces" were hurting me, both in my past and present, and decided it was time to make a shift. A massive shift.

That shift was to focus more on contribution and growth, for myself but mainly for others.

Making that shift led to finally creating Craftsman Creative, an idea I had more than a year before but couldn't crack how to get started.

By making the business about contribution and growth rather than status and control over my work life, everything became clear and easy.

But, as with anything, the same lessons keep popping up when we need them most.

There were about two months last quarter where I didn't publish a single newsletter or blog post. Now, I can say with some amount of honesty that producing a movie was all-encompassing. 80-hours per week of work with not much sleep is a fair excuse, right?

But there was a bigger reason that was at the root of that hiatus. My coach gave me the term, and now I'm sharing it with you.

Certain Contribution

In digging into the analytics and results of a previous email that I'd sent, I realized that 9 people (or ~2%) of the people that received it unsubscribed.

Ouch! 2%! That's more than the number of people who clicked on the links in the email!

I was so affected by that statistic that I became afraid of publishing again, for fear of losing even more subscribers.

I put expectations and wrapped the contribution up in certainty, which made it near-impossible to write and publish for weeks.

My inner-monologue sounded something like this:

  • I'll only publish an email if I know that no one will unsubscribe
  • This idea isn't good enough, it's definitely gonna turn people off and I'll lose even more subscribers...
  • My list hasn't grown at all this week, I can't afford to lose any readers.

Now, see how hard - or dare I say impossible - I made it to write and publish? How could I with that set of beliefs and expectations.

My coach helped me see things a different way.

I was trying to get certain contribution, contribution that had expectations around it, where I knew the outcome before I took the action.

That's not how contribution - or service - is supposed to work.

Just like when you give someone a gift, you don't take it back if they didn't give you the reaction you expected.

Or, more accurately, you don't set a threshold of acceptable reactions before you give the gift.

No, you give gifts and provide service to those who need it regardless of the outcome or reaction.

The same goes with your work.

If you said "I'm only going to release this song if I know it will go platinum", you'd never release anything, because there's no way to get that certainty until you release the song.

Certain contribution prevents you from doing your work and sending it out into the world. It's a limiting belief that keeps us right where we are - not growing, not progressing, not learning.

The solution is simple: remove the certainty.

By making your contribution to the world free of any expectations, it becomes easier to write and publish, record your songs, take your photos, design your new work of art, etc. It takes the pressure off for that piece of work to "perform" a certain way.

Calculate less. Focus on the work, not the outcome. Measure the results only after the work is published, and then only let it inform your next piece of work, not prevent you from releasing it.

Focus on the contribution, not the certainty.


PS - As mentioned last week (I think?) I have finally created a referral/reward feature for this newsletter! If you enjoy getting this email each week and want to share it with others, I'd like to say thanks by giving you something in return.

Check it out here, and let me know what you think - are the rewards enticing enough? What else would you like to see with this new feature?

Just hit reply and let me know!

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