Damn that Rabbit Hole!

I just spiraled out of control. Again. And to the best of my knowledge, there is no rehab center for my addiction.

Me! The one who studies and preaches focus, simplicity, and strategy. The one who rails against the evils of complexity, the nefarious buildup of “dark matter,” and the often useless “flurry” of micro-transactions such as those spawned by all things social media.

In meetings with my virtual Board of Advisors (yes, I have one and it works swimmingly!) I can draw and articulate a crystal clear Ideal Client (you) and Value Proposition. I can make a compelling case that rather than send out thousands of postcards or tens of thousands of e-mails, and rather than blog or set up a Facebook page, I’m just going to focus on a relatively small number of design firm principals that I can identify, truly get to know, and provide insights and analysis they can’t get anywhere else.

But then came a seemingly harmless thought: How do I best organize the archives of my materials? Think about it, in just the course of a year, I will have provided to Edge Members:

  • 192 single-spaced pages of newsletter content
  • 12 hours (about 100 tracks) of audio
  • A dozen or more live coaching online events
  • The content of a 2-day live conference
  • A variety of special reports
  • And more…

Imagine after three years, or five? What’s a new Edge member in 2020 to do? Wait for a single month of content when mountains of valuable advice exists…somewhere? That doesn’t seem right.

And that’s all it takes for Monkey Mind to take over. And, if you’ll allow for my mixing of metaphors, for Monkey Mind to spiral down the rabbit hole!

I know, I’ll just start a blog that can keep text, video, and audio! And keep things organized with years, tags, etc.

But listening to one audio at a time isn’t very satisfying; I need a true audio player for each full CD. Oh, but I’ll need to password protect those for members only. Uh, oh. A new membership site? (In addition to the one I have that won’t do all of that?) An online school with special passwords?

Suddenly, four hours have disappeared as I Google possible solutions. Along the way, I think:

  • Well, if I’m going to have that much content well organized online, I really should (a dangerous word, should!) create a pay wall and allow non-members to purchase some a la carte. Hmmm, I bet there’s an online learning management tool for that! (Google, Google, Google…more time off the clock…and my life!)
  • And if that, if micro transactions, maybe I really should build some social media lists and get back in the postcard game;
  • And if that, I probably need some partners, and maybe I should include their content on these sites as well…
  • Oh dear, I’ve always wanted to create an entire interior design MBA course…now that I have the online platform, why not? It would only take six months and I could do a lot of it in Santa Fe
  • Hey…maybe now is finally time to buy that place in Santa Fe
  • I wonder what the temperature is there today… Wow, 30 degrees cooler than here, I think I’ll check the flight schedule this weekend. Where did I put the number of that spa?

Somebody, please…make the madness stop!

It did, due to two disciplines I’ve put into place over the years. I’ve taught both of them at many a live event.

  1. R/W/C. This is what I refer to as “Reset / Workflow/ Constrain.” I have a good old-fashioned yellow legal pad on the corner of my desk, and whenever I get excited about a new idea, it draws my attention. The habit is now well ingrained; I take the pad and a pencil, and get the hell out of my office. I generally repair to a leather chair in the den, and that is the “reset.” I then begin to sketch out the workflow of how implementation of this great new idea would actually look. And lastly, I estimate both the time required (constrain) and the opportunity costs, in other words, what high-value tasks I would have to give up to take this path.
  2. Wait! Never launch something like this quickly. Most likely, dives down the rabbit hole will seem like a distant memory in only a week or two.

And yes, it passed. Whew! I can now go back to providing deep insight and analysis to a few. The business model I have committed to. You!

What’s your “rabbit hole?” And how will you escape? I’d love to hear your story.

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