The Panicky Muse

Posted in How-To

Over on the Harvard Business Review blog “Managing Myself,” Rasika Welankiwar is discussing various methods she uses to keep her creative genius productively engaged.  When Welankiwar turned to the merits of the self-imposed panic states advocated by Shekhar Kapur in his (in)famous TEDIndia talk, I was reminded of the alarm trigger from Sally Hogshead’s Fascinate.  Either waiting until the last minute, or purposely making your earlier efforts unavailable as Kapur does, can work wonders for that final “get it done” rush of creativity.  I’ve do it myself all the time.

But there’s a dark side to all this thrashing.  As Seth Godin outlined in Linchpin, thrashing is the “apparently productive brainstorming and tweaking we do for a project as it develops.”  The catch: thrash too late and you’ll inevitability delay delivering your value.

In my seminars for artisans, I talk about the “great wall of self-doubt” that stands between the core business processes of Sales and Value Delivery.  The closer to your deadline you thrash, the more likely your alert muse will turn all panicky, giving rise to self-doubt that’s very resistant to acts of completion.  Fail to breach this wall and you’ll earn the reputation as the flaky artist who talks a good game but can’t deliver the goods when it’s time.

An alert muse is a wonderful thing.  Just don’t let her get panicky or you’ll never reach the summit.

Photo by woodleywonderworks