December 3

“The more people you have to ask for permission, the more dangerous a project gets.” — Alain de Botton

One of the big mistakes that many creative pros make is constantly re-visiting their previous decisions. They waffle on direction, and as a result they aren’t able to move forward in a meaningful way. This is especially damaging when your work depends on others, or they depend on you. If you re-visit the same arguments over and over, your collaborators will eventually learn to just wait until you’ve made up your mind before acting. This means that the entire project will stall until they know for certain that you’ve made up your mind.

Imagine that a project is like a long hallway. Once a decision is made, a thick steel door closes behind you and you have no choice but to move forward. Yes, you can go backward, but it’s going to require a lot of time and resources to make it happen. So, you must be decisive and move forward at each phase. I find that this is a helpful way to think about a long-arc creative project. As we all move forward through the stages of the project together, we make decisions and agree to live with them unless we learn something new that impacts the work.

Don’t constantly question or re-visit your old decisions. Doing so will train others around you to wait until you’ve made up your mind.

Question: Do you frequently second-guess and re-visit decisions on projects? Is there a decision that you’re questioning now that you simply need to commit to?

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