When I opened my own communications consultancy in 1989, my life took a Big Turn. It’s not the turn that a lot of creative people can survive. They take their eyes off the road to look at the scenery and they crash. They spend too much time looking in the rear view mirror trying not to lose what’s back there and they stall. They turn on the radio and start to boogie like this is all a big lark and they run out of gas.
No the U-Turn is something you just have to put your head down and barrel through. If you think too much about the decision you made, you will more than likely unmake it and go back to a good job stoking the industrial furnace.
The nature of the Big Turn, the numero uno thing you have to remember about it, is simple: It’s not a job. It’s a business. It’s your business. Nobody else’s (unless you have partners).
Nobody’s gonna give you a little pep talk if you screw up. They’re just not gonna call you back. Or refer you to anyone. Or maybe not even pay you for the stuff you have already done.
Nobody’s gonna walk into your life with a project and a budget that will excite you. You have to walk into somebody else’s life with an idea they will like and a budget that they can afford. Then you have to do it spectacularly well, because people like you are a dime a dozen out there in the Big Turn Buyer’s Market.
The Big Turn also comes with a pro bono client who will never go away. That would be you. On top of all the paying work you get to do, you have your business marketing to think about.
Back in the day before social media this was all about phone calls, networking and mailers and emails and appointments to show your work to people and referral requests and the list went on.
Now it’s all about your web presence, your Google ranking and your status in social media and your blogging. It’s all about being interesting and capturing interest. And it’s all fucking uphill work that never stops.
If you thought about it too much you’d probably just fold up your tent and get a job as a night watchman, where all you had to do was walk around a building with a flashlight and watch old movies on a crappy little TV.
If you thought about it too much.
But you don’t, because there’s an upside to The Big Turn.
There’s no timetable for it, and it only happens to the most dedicated, but it happens. A confluence of events that synch up with your skills and your availability and slowly but surely turns into ‘something’.
Something that’s regular. Something you are valued for. Something you enjoy doing. Something that fills up a quarter of your dance card, but fills you with a confidence that only those who actually have a clue possess.
The “Something’ is your position of strength from which you bargain for other somethings. You don’t care if they are bigger or smaller. If they’re bigger you can handle them…if they’re smaller you can make them grow.
But now you’re on your way. The Big Turn is behind you . And all the lies ahead is the The Hurry Up & Wait.
The Hurry Up & Wait is is really an indicator of how far you have come. How quickly and effectively you have taught yourself to get things done.
Much quicker than most people have the ability to deal with. Hence the ‘Wait’.
But the Wait, if you want to think of it this way, is a reward. It’s a respite from the Hurry Up. It’s the thing that allows you to have a life apart from your work…it’s the stuff that keep you sane. It the mundane grocery shopping, exercising, socializing, quality time or just vegging out in front of a baseball game on TV.
And you had better make the most of The Wait, because the Hurry Up is always lurking. It’s just a phone call or an email away. And it will not care at all how much life it’s sucking out of you. That is not its nature.
Balance. In a world that is very good at pulling us along at a thousand miles an hour, balance is essential. Work is a vortex. It will suck you in and swallow you whole if you let it.
So don’t do that. Perform at your best in The Hurry Up and cherish The Wait. They are two sides of the coin and life is such that the coin is always being flipped.