If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in the past decade it’s this – you can’t be ‘on it’ all the time. Even though it hurts like hell…
OK time for some soul baring.
I’m passionate about what I do and how I do it.
To the point where I want to be the best in the world.
That’s why I get caught up occasionally.
Because I don’t want to miss anything. Because I want to absorb everything that might just give me that edge. Because I’m hungry for it.
And I want to be ‘on it’ all of the time. You know what I mean. In ‘the zone’ and a million other clichés.
In that magical place where the gap between the idealised self and the reality narrows to nothing and everything just ‘works’. Every phone call ends in victory. Every email sent comes back with a buy-in signal. Every ad concept is just so damn hot it’s causing burn-in on older monitors.
But, here’s the thing.
I’ve had to learn that you (I) can’t be ‘on it’ all of the time. Take yesterday for instance. With a dose of man-flu and over the counter medication, it really wasn’t happening. It just wasn’t.
And that hurt. I fell asleep thinking about it. Sure, I got work done to set me up for today. Sure, I put a few ticks in boxes and knocked a few jobs down. Sure, the client was happy to see me in their office and confident that I’m doing what I’ve been selected to do.
But I wasn’t ‘on it’. I didn’t ‘sparkle’. Yesterday’s work, while adequate in terms of shortening the To Do list, won’t get me to the place I need to be in five years’ time.
Or will it?
I’ve had to learn that being ‘on it’ all of the time is impossible, at least for me. There are moments when ‘it’ won’t come.
And that hurts. That niggles at the back of my brain. I end up beating myself up about it. Because I care. Because I’m passionate. Because I want to be the best there is and anything less than that feels like failure.
But failure’s the most constructive part of industry. The part that has always taught me the most over the years. The things I’ve tried and failed have made the successes bigger, better, more rounded.
It’s another lesson, for me, in the creative process. Being reminded that I can’t be ‘on it’ all of the time.
Being reminded how much it hurts when I’m not.
And being reminded just how deeply I care about getting to where I want to be. Because it hurts so much.
I’ll remember that feeling. It will help me grow into the person I need to be.
So maybe even the off days can be on – even just a little bit. It’s just remembering that that’s hard…