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Leave Room For The Magic

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You’re smart. Determined. Focused.

You’ve got a plan and you are working it like nobody’s business.

Just remember to leave room for the magic.

Magic: that little bit of stardust that arrives when you least expect it.

When it comes to creative work, it may be that you have to keep soaking on “good enough” to find your way to really good or—sometimes—the truly great.

And don’t try to tell me your work isn’t creative—I’m not buying it. We all have creativity inside us that we put in service to our daily life and work.

The financial advisor that pulls cherished dreams out of his clients and maps a pathway to get there. The consultant that brings stakeholders together and facilitates a solution. The coach that uses metaphor and story to show her clients new ways of looking at a challenge. Creative, every one.

Whenever I’m working on writing and strategy projects (which are, oh, about 90% of my time), I always face the fear that this time, the magic won’t come.

So I’ve learned to fight it. I do every single left brain thing I can think of to prime the pump. Homework. Research. Analysis.

And then it’s time to give it up.

To put all of those inputs in the back of my brain and go do something else. Heart-pumping exercise. Retreating to the kitchen to test a new recipe. Reorganizing a closet (seriously).

Absorbing yourself in something new allows your creativity to percolate and regenerate.

That’s what I mean by leaving room for the magic. For the inspiration that produces the golden fairy dust we all crave sprinkled on our projects, our work and our passions.

It’s refusing to be satisfied with the first go-round when it doesn’t seem quite right. Even when—maybe especially when—you can’t explain why.

You just know the magic isn’t there yet.

When I’m working on a project with a new client, I always add a couple of weeks to the deadline for that first deliverable. Because that first phase—from when they hire me to when I present the first draft of their Brand Brief and big idea—is pivotal. If the positioning isn’t exquisitely right, it will taint everything that comes after.

I build in room for the magic, trusting that it will come if I do the (non-negotiable) baseline work to create the optimal conditions for magic (if you have trouble doing your core work, read Steven Pressfield’s work on resistance).

So whether you’re writing your opus, consulting to clients or translating your genius into a training program—please—leave room for serendipity. For stardust. For magic. Because isn’t doing incredible work why you started your business?

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