Is Your Writing Important but not Urgent? by Mindy Gibbins-Klein
ver the past few months, I have seen a number of people put their writing on hold as they deal with pressing business issues and prepare for what we have been told will be a major recession. For most people that do not write for a living, writing is a ‘luxury’ or at least something that can be put to the bottom of the priority list. Some of these would-be writers committed to producing very important books which would help them achieve many of their business goals. But that is ‘out there’ in the future and people find themselves fighting fires today and losing sight of the end goal. They forget that writing is one of those investment items that usually appear in Quadrant II of the 7 Habits chart (Important but Not Urgent). And as Stephen Covey himself says, if we do not put time and effort into Quadrant II activities, we will never really move on and achieve our most important goals. I know it can be worrying to read the papers or look at a skimpy prospect pipeline and wonder how we are going to pay the bills. I have been there myself and still creep into that space occasionally. Here’s what I do when I catch myself in an unresourceful state that threatens my output. I simply stop and think
about the bigger picture. I think of the most important goals I have set for myself, for the coming year and beyond. Then I think of how my writing (and speaking and cold-calling, or whatever activity I’m avoiding) play into that big picture. I visualise the people I will be helping, and how their lives will be enhanced by my work. I make the picture vivid and compelling (I think you know how to do this!). Then I ask myself the biggest power question of all: “What will not happen if I don’t do this?” Putting it in a negative frame creates a set of emotions that allow me to indulge in a bit of ‘awayfrom’ for a change. This in turn creates tremendous energy to get started again. We do this so well with our clients, don’t we? I just want us to give ourselves this amazing gift as well. We can help each other, buddying up with other coaches that have similar goals. If you have your own coach to spur you on, even better. Either way, you must have a certain amount of faith to work on things that have no immediate, and in many cases, no guaranteed return. Do you really believe in the importance of your Quadrant II activities and the outcomes you will achieve by doing them? Can you make it even more tangible, for example, getting a colleague to
Only you can rate the importance of writing to gain more business, raise your profile and leverage your knowledge
Summer 2008 - rapport
promise to put your finished article on their website? That’s always a good motivator for me. If you are working on a book, which takes between 50 and 100 hours to put together, you will need to do these things several times, to sustain you throughout a longer period. I know what a book, or at least a series of excellent articles, can do for your business. Only you can rate the importance of writing to gain more business, raise your profile and leverage your knowledge – the most common objectives of non-fiction authors. If you decide it is important enough, you may raise it higher on your priority list and keep yourself motivated with the tips above, and others. I am here flying the flag for good writing that transforms lives. It may not be urgent, or perhaps it is.
Rapport issue 12, Summer 2008