Doing your best starts with facing the blank page courageously, with your whole heart.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.Arthur Ashe
Dropping “Into the Intensity” as Muse
Actor Cillian Murphy set his steely blue eyes toward his interviewer and explained what it was like to work with director Christopher Nolan. He described how Nolan avoids using computer-generated imagery (CGI) as much as possible and instead creates outlandish stunts and practical effects.
One of Nolan’s goals, according to Murphy, is to put the actors and the audience straight into the intensity of the scene. Murphy noted that this piercing realness has helped him “get there”—to the deepest wells of his emotions so that he can surface and then convey all of it in his performances.
By dropping actors into the thick of it, Nolan literally sets the stage for actors to produce their best work.
Doing Your Best as a Leader
As entrepreneurs, we need this, too.
We, too, need to “get there” to do our best work and to know what it is we really think and feel.
But how do we drop ourselves, Nolan-style, right into the intensity of our creative potential and embrace it, especially when the mere thought of doing so sends us to the bunkers of procrastination and avoidance?
We can start by softening our relationship with the blank page before us and know it is our ally, not our foe.
We have been taught throughout our lives that not knowing, the strangeness of getting started, is a thorny hedge that will set its spurs into our tender flesh regardless of which move we make. That there is only a narrow set of possible paths to success, and that one wrong choice or act will serve us up to judgment, ridicule, and crushing failure.
No matter how many times I have begun something new, I always begin believing this. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A few moves in, and I finally remember: Leaning back and rappelling into the dark Unknown as I let the rope slide through my fingers, puts me in a rhythm of being able to feel the walls of the creative territory. I pick up clues immediately as to where to place my feet next, where to push off, and how to respond to the undulating cave of creating.
Doing Your Best Demands a Release
I struggle with Trust Falls so this sort of blind rappelling initially sends my controlling tendencies into overdrive. I crave the perceived certainty of gripping the rope, but know that unless I let my hands relax, I will not coax my intuition—the raw material for my best work—forward.
I remember, once again, that the game is merely a series of calls and responses. Not knowing all the steps or challenges I will meet along the way is the prerequisite to a discovery that liberates me, and in turn, others.
I let go.
In the freefall, I can believe I will perish right up until the moment I don’t. The carabiner clips hold after all. Safely down, I step out of the harness and turn my headlamp toward each tunnel opening. I choose one direction, knowing if what I seek evades me, I can return and make a new decision.
A new move.
We can courageously spelunk our own depths with barely enough light to see by, explore all of our roughest edges, and place our pickaxe into the soil of who we truly are. It is what we want to avoid doing the most, yet it is where our most resonant creating—our best work—resides.
Pick up that blank page, and begin doing your best.