The other day, I was on my walk (fyi – when I say “a walk” it means just a putter around the neighborhood where I might stop into a clothing store and try on a top; when I say ”my walk” it means a long one that counts as my workout for the day. A walk that must happen. Podcasts loaded up. Non-negotiable. As in, “Let’s do dinner late. I still need to go for my walk.”)
Where was I? Oh right, my walk. So I’m on my walk, and it’s raining. Not enough to absolutely need an umbrella, just a constant mist that beaded on my hair, dampened my hoodie, and coated my sunglasses. I wear sunglasses rain or shine. I have ever since my mother got cataracts decades ago and told me to always protect my eyes in daylight. I consider them not sunglasses but “dayglasses.”
Just ahead of me on Hudson Street, a man stepped out of his building, looked up with a squint, and put his palm out. He stopped me.
“Excuse me,” he said. “Is it supposed to be raining today?”
“No, it wasn’t supposed to be,” I told him. I’d checked before heading out. No rain on the weather app. “But it is.”
He nodded in agreement, thanked me, and went back inside. Maybe to stay inside, maybe to get an umbrella. (Maybe to get naked and howl at the microwave. I don’t know what the guy does when it rains.)
Are humans weird, or what?
We see what it’s doing out, and then check phone apps and other humans to verify, “Is what’s happening actually happening?”
Or, if that’s what’s supposed happening — as if we could lodge a complaint with the sky for not coordinating its story with the Weather Channel. In the case of The People vs The Sky, we find in favor of The People and require The Sky to pay The People 1 million dollars apiece for letting us think it was going to stay nice.
This “supposed to” part is pretty specific to weather. And flights. “We’re taking off late. Were we supposed to?” OK, and medical stuff and/or recipes. “Is it supposed to be turning a bluish-grey and crumbling?”
But as for wanting to be told what we already know, that’s across the board.
And if you’re a writer or speaker or creative communicator of any kind, how great for you!
It means, you can make a living telling people what they already know. You don’t have to deliver new information every time. You don’t have to reveal a new, proprietary framework, create an exclusive, ground-breaking recipe for success or banana bread. You don’t have to discover gravity.
All you have to do is tell people what you know. And do it in your way.
I had dinner with my friend Susie Moore the other night. She told me I needed to put my writing in other places, on other platforms and publications, so more people could find it. I knew this, but I needed to hear it from her. Maybe I needed to hear it while sharing a greasy cheeseburger. I went home and started submitting to Thrive Global. Now, I have five pieces up. More to come.
You can tell people what they’ve heard before, what’s staring them right in the face. Literally. There is rain falling on their head, and they want to know, “Is it raining?”
You probably knew this. But you wanted me to tell you, right?
What’s the last thing you knew that you needed to hear from someone else anyway?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
James Mathison says
YES! I needed to hear this… again!
For a few weeks (about 1 year ago) I understood this in my bones.
I was on fire, content-wise.
I would just sit down with an idea to write about – and ask myself – “Might someone find this useful?”
If the answer was yes, I’d write and publish without a second thought. No worrying whether it was “good” (which really meant “would make me look cool”), or “bad” (which really meant “would make me look stupid”).
The ego wasn’t so loud anymore. It was awesome.
I wish I could have that mindset on tap.
Maybe if I revisit this post a few times… or hear the same message relayed over a cheeseburger… I might get it back. :-}
That I was indeed applying to a bigger, better life not in NYC.
Liz A says
You had me at “Is it supposed to be turning a bluish-grey and crumbling?” Was that the medical stuff or a recipe? Thank you.
I was told/reminded yesterday that I have a great story to tell. It was good to hear as 1. It reminds me that all the highs and lows add up to something useful and 2. I need to get the hell on with finishing my ebook so I can turn that into profit.
Jess Robson says
Not one thing I needed to hear from someone else, but a few:
1. That I can’t afford NOT to hire an assistant (advice via a post by Janne Robinson). In process of writing description of human needed to grease up these business wheels and g-r-o-w.
2. Use my own words. AKA: prioritize my work + sharing ideas + stories as more important and worth more of my consistency than my client work. Yes, be responsible and deliver like a motherf****r for the people who hire me AND, dedicate myself to my own stuff TOO. (Thank you, Natalie Miles).
3. That it’s okay to succeed. I mean, #duh, and also figuring out that a limiting belief around success was cutting me off at the knees and keeping me in ‘just enough’ (aka: scramble mode) was one helluva bottleneck I was stoked to bust through (…am busting through). Source of said insight unknown…but a reminder I received lately that empowered the ‘huge financial goals here I come!’ mentality that’s fuelling my productivity + creativity flame.
Thanks for this (and every) post Laura – you’re inspiring some serious action, confidence and truth telling with every word I read. Big time internet high fives.
I’ve programmed my emailer to send me the same message every morning. “You’re not doing what you should be doing.” I reply, “Thanks for the reminder.”
Why are you publishing on Thrive Global and not on Medium? I don’t mean to be nosy. I’m wondering if I should do the same.
Annette Gallagher Weisman says
Laura, I love everything you write, your wit, your craft etc. That said, I am one of those people I feel is on your admonishment to do list – for not getting on with things: that “so little time whine” that I chant on a daily basis. Yes, I’d love to make time to read more of your advice, more of a lot of things, but I seem to be swimming in jello. I know prioritize – tried that. OK I will finish that memoir someday, hampered by asking myself who wants to know about my life??? And then I read stuff that seems well, boring, so I should get on with it. Ugh oh, I typed the word “should” which I know is on the verboten list. But this is really to say, that I took the time to say how much I like your work. And that I will keep reading it even if I don’t always heed your advice. Annette
Well, you’re in good company, because I’m one of those people, too!
Trust me, people want to know about your life. You can do so much better than those boring people. But good for them for writing theirs.
Thanks for reading, Annette. A secret: I don’t always heed my advice, either.
Louise Shanahan says
Ha. This reminds me of the One O’Clock Gun in Edinburgh, where I live. Every day at exactly 1pm, a shot is fired from a 600 year old cannon at Edinburgh Castle. It’s called Mons Meg. You can hear it all round the centre of town. It’s been fired every day since the 1860s. And still, whenever it goes off, literally every single person in town will look down at their watch. Yup, it’s 1pm.
That’s hilarious! I would do the same thing.