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An Idea, a Pen, and a Paper Walk Into a Bar

An Idea, a Pen, and a Paper Walk Into a Bar

Yesterday I wrote about Keep Your Best Clients Happy. I might as well have called the latter Worst Clients. The post wasn’t meant to bash my longtime clients. In fact, it’s my longtime clients who keep me going, pass around the good word, give me consistent referrals and new business. In fact, they pass along the new Best Clients. So are the best clients just the ones who pay more? Well, sure, that’s part of it. But, as I suggested, maybe the old clients would be happy to pay more. Have I asked them? Not usually.

The Anatomy of the Learning Process

But I wrote about the topic. I thought about the idea. As I wrote, it became more clear what I was writing about (“good” versus “bad”) and it was becoming more clear about what I should do about it (either turn those bad clients into good clients or find a way to make time (i.e. hire someone) to work better with the old clients). It wasn’t the original intention of the post. It just sprouted out from that.

Step back from your assembly line workplace and take a minute or ten to analyze what you’re doing. What are you doing and why? How could it be done better? Are you the best person for the job? If you don’t take a step back, you’ll just keep churning away until you fall over.

Why is this significant? Because I’m ridiculously guilty of not thinking about the business. I just work in the business. I come to work, I stand at my spot on the assembly line and I put together the pieces. I don’t think about what I’m doing which means I’m not going to improve on what I’m doing. I think it’s probably mathematically impossible to improve on something if you don’t at least take a minute to think about what that something is. My assembly line job is just my job, I just do it. I don’t ask questions, I don’t even look up from my workplace. I have lunch. I’m a good worker, no doubt about it. I don’t get fired, but I don’t get promoted either. I’ll keep doing it until my boss tells me to stop. Oh, I’m the boss too. Hmm, that’s another topic.

I didn’t ask a guru. I didn’t read an article or a book or take a course. I didn’t attend a workshop. I barely spent 20 minutes. But I thought about it, I sat down to a blank page and wrote about it. Who was my audience? For the moment, it was just me. I basically had a dialogue with myself and, fancy that, I accidentally learned something.

Can you learn from yourself?

I’m down here in paragraph five of this post and I don’t have a title yet. I was so thrilled with the fact that I learned something, pretty much on accident, yesterday with the post about Good and Bad clients that I wanted to write about the process of how I came to learn something. How did it happen? I just started writing about it and it came out. So what’s a good title? What’s happening here?

  • I learned something.
  • Pretty much on accident.
  • I started writing.
  • I had something of a topic.
  • But that topic changed as I wrote about it.
  • I had a “dialogue” with myself while writing.
  • I learned because I asked questions (to myself) and tried to answer them.
  • In answering them, I needed to define elements (e.g. good clients and bad clients).

Possible titles based on the bullets above, whipped out as I type them:

  • Start the Dialogue
  • Have a Dialogue with Yourself to Learn
  • The Anatomy of the Learning Process
  • If You Write It, Will They Come?
  • Blueprint for Article Writing
  • How One Thing Leads to Another–and You Learn Something
  • Can You Learn from Yourself?
  • If Me, Myself and I Have a Conversation, Can I Learn from Them?
  • An Idea, a Pen, and a Paper Walk Into a Bar

Aha. See the winner: it’s now the title of this post. I’m following my not-very-SEO-friendly naming process.

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