Because great work feels like pain, and oftentimes, the work is hidden.
July 1st marked my “official” exit from copywriting and "online marketing."
Ever since my decision to quit copywriting, I’ve noticed several changes in me. I sleep more, eat more, and have more time for myself than I know what to do with.
I’ve also become a lot more curious about not just what’s next for me…but what to show up with.
Yes, it’s not just about how you show up. It’s also what you show up with. My creative thinking sense is heightened, I tell ya. I have more questions now and these questions have changed the way I think.
In more ways than one, I’ve decided to borrow a term I once despised in order to help me understand this flutters I feel in my stomach when I think about ‘creativity’: ambition.
You see, this ambition to do great work has nothing to do with the conditioning I’ve received from years of being an online marketing junkie but more to do with my search for great work. We ALL want to do great work. Whether you’re a staunch advocate of the 4-hr work week or the 9-to-5, we all want to be associated with work that is meaningful, impactful, and inspiring.
So…I decided to do something to normalize this ambition I can’t shake off. I decided to start my quest for great work.
In fact, in as much as I think I was blinded by the carrots dangled in front of me, I grew and became financially aware of how much I need to make in order to make my dreams come true.
Back to getting great work found.
I believe in the power of platforms, engaged audience members, email lists, and owning a powerful personal brand. But one thing that has sparked a tiny flame in me is the idea of “doing great work,” and the question of how much different it has to be to start a movement.
In other words, what is great work, and how do you stand out so your great work gets found?
I believe great work is birthed from a combination of courage, desire, and obsession. Courage because you absolutely need this dogged determination to go to places no one would dare to. Obsession because...no one should be more in love with your ideas than you are. And desire because when obsession and courage wanes, your desire will fan the flames once again.
But this isn't enough to ensure great work gets found.
1) Great work starts when you say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
The push to end something in order to begin something new is a trait of creators who do great work.
You don’t have to be a politician. You don’t have to be a Bill Gates or Tim Ferris. You don’t have to be an angel investor ready to shell out precious dough on the next hair dryer.
Enough is Enough means all you need is a true desire to end something undesirable. To replace something uncomfortable with laughter. To make a nightmarish process as easy as drinking water from a fountain.
2) Great work starts with a healthy balance between self-assurance and self-criticism.
When I started my writing journey, I didn’t want to be a bestselling author. I was fueled by anger, the injustices I perceived in the educational sector and the hardships I suffered as a new graduate with no job offers…which was why I wrote my first ebook on transitioning from college to corporate (2nd edition on the way, ya’ll!).
However, I had to realize that I wasn’t perfect. It took a lot of introspection and humility to realize that I might have felt entitled to having a job ready while overstating my suffering.
But because learning is an ongoing process, I also had to get better without killing my potential to get even better.
3) Great work feels like pain, and oftentimes, the work is hidden.
I’m sorry, but you don’t get discovered overnight. You might not be the typical rags to riches kinda gal or boy. In fact, it might be tough to cut through the noise in “online marketing” because there are so many gurus, strategies, and proven formulas thrown around.
Still want to do great work without getting distracted by laurels flaunted by 6-figure achievers. How do you do this?
Here’s what bestselling author, Jeff Goins, suggests:
Name the problem
Work harder, not smarter
Enjoy the obscurity now. Build your thing quietly. Limit self-promotion, there is a time and season for that, I promise.
Just. do. the. work.
Call it grit, perseverance, or endurance. Great work requires that you don’t give up because the heat got turned up. You need to show up consistently if you want to get a break and get noticed.
Call it mindset mastery, faith, or confidence. I can’t — no one, can do this for you. You need to believe the world needs what you have. You need to believe that your gifts, talents, and passion are valid whether or not someone else validates you.
Call it publicity, guest blogging, or list building. You need people who know people to get their people to care. As cringy as this sounds, you can’t swim alone in this modern day of promoting your creative work. Influencers aren’t just there to advertise sponsored cool aids and fitness products. Befriend them! Make a list of people you love and admire, and start following their work.
Get on their radar, develop a true relationship with them, promote their work(s) to your community, and start a conversation with their community members.
I am currently on the mission to find my own great work. And while I may not have a fancy marketing title right now, I’m happy and satisfied to explore this journey with you.
I write about the intersection of creativity, passion, and profit. I also share my own process towards doing my other creative endeavors via email. Sign up to be notified when the next post drops!