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LM: #263: Creativity partners

May 13 2024 – 10:00am

People looking for 5 to 9 motivation often seek accountability partners. But creators should seek creativity partners.

Accountability partners provide “stick” motivation. You agree with your accountability partner you’ll do such-and-such thing. If you don’t, maybe they go to a carnival and send you pictures of themself having fun with your money.

But accountability and creativity don’t always mix. To be creative is to be open to possibilities, and to be accountable is to close yourself off from possibilities so you can complete a specific thing.

That’s why I prefer creativity partners. A creativity partner is primarily there to act as a guide. Like a stick attached to a plant that helps it grow vertically.

I’ve met with my creativity partner every couple weeks for about eight years. We talk about what we’re working on and provide feedback on each other’s ideas.

Like accountability partners, we write down what one another wants to accomplish in the next two weeks. Unlike accountability partners, when one of us doesn’t follow through on his plan, we approach it not with animosity, but curiosity.

Instead of, “You owe me $10,” it’s, “Why do you think you didn’t do this?”

Sometimes it’s because we picked the wrong task for the stage of the project. Sometimes we’ve learned something that made the task irrelevant, or another task suddenly became a higher priority. Sometimes the task needs to be scaled down, or a more motivating task in the same project needs to be chosen. Sometimes we conclude we aren’t excited about the project and should abandon it.

The result is, we don’t dread our meetings, and we’ve become experts on our motivational quirks. And our businesses have grown a lot over the years.

Accountability partners punish for not sticking to a version of a future you can’t control.

Creativity partners act as a sounding board & reasoning check for growing organically from your creative DNA.

Aphorism: “To yell at your creativity, saying, ‘You must earn money for me!’ is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away.” —Liz Gilbert

Book: Why Now (Amazon) is Paul Orlando’s treatise on how a product’s success is determined by its timing.

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