I had a big website project at work that was hanging over my head. My boss wanted to redo our website, specifically the homepage and I was totally up for the challenge. After a few weeks we had the big changes implemented and were moving on to some of the smaller details that weren’t essential to the project, at least as far as I was concerned. I started to feel pressure from my boss because now the project was getting close to going over budget. After implementing a significant round of edits on a Wednesday, I decided that on Friday we were going to launch.
Most people know I’m a converted Apple-guy. As I’ve studied Apple, I’ve been fascinated about the narrative that other business people adopt from the narrative of Steve Jobs. The most common quote from the late Steve Jobs is “real artists ship.” Sadly I am not an artist. Could this quote still apply to me?
I stumbled on this quote reading various business and leadership writings. Many of the writers, in fact, are artists themselves. But I began to see that “artist” could be painted with a broader brush. I have learned that I am an artist. I create things. I edit things. I publish words. I do more than just consume. I am an artist and so if Jobs was right, I need to ship. I need to get things out the door. This means I need to pay attention to how much I consume vs. how much I create. At some point, consumption needs to lead to creation, and my web project for work had plenty of consumption and plenty of creation. But until that Friday when I launched, it really didn’t matter because no one saw it. Hitting publish, shipping my project was when could call it art.
I was reminded of this principle today reading this article by John Muldoon on Medium. It’s a fascinating idea to constantly be aware of your consumption and your creation. This topic also took me to the topic of exercise training. It’s been a long winter, it’s been tough if not impossible to train outdoors. I’ve planned a lot of training for the next couple months. But planning doesn’t do anything for me until I ship it, until I put it into the world and start executing.
Consumption is fun and it certainly has a place for the artist, the business person, the athlete. But growth happens when we execute what we’ve consumed and put it all into practice. Are you consuming more than creating? Do you need to hit “publish” and get some things out into the world? Do you need to start executing?