March 16

When you solve problems and make things for a living, there are three distinct challenges you must confront:

Your process is largely obscured from many of the people who will be evaluating your work. They often don’t understand what it actually takes to do the work you do, so they might ask for unrealistic things. You must give them visibility into your process and realistic expectations.

The work is largely subjective. The opinions of your stakeholders might be very different from your own, and there is little you can do about it. You must learn not only to craft the work but also to argue for why it’s the right path.

There is never-ending fodder for ego and insecurity. Because the job is to confront and resolve uncertainties, less secure people are tempted to posture themselves as masters even though they are just as uncertain as anyone or retreat into their insecurities and fail to make a case for their work. You must be confidently adaptable, arguing for your work but willing to listen to disconfirming information.

Creative work offers some unique challenges. Knowing them helps you navigate through them.

As you consider these three challenges, is there one that you find most common in your work? What can you do to remedy it today?

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