Strategic Finishing

Bein' number 1 & 2 aint all that it's cracked up to be.

“Is this your first race?”

The old man looked at the woman with hot pink race boots and already knew the answer, even though she nodded silently.

“It’s an interesting thing….

the “ole qualifying…..” said the man.

“And it’s not as straightforward as one may think.

On the racetrack there are two cars that control the entire rest of the field…did you know that kid?

…and in case you haven’t realised….the cars controlling the field are the ones who hold position number 1 and position 2.

And do you know how they get those spots to begin with kid?

Lemme tell you.

It aint from wishful thinking.

Every one of them 36 cars <including cars 1 & 2>  needed to earn their place as much as the other driver next to ‘em.

Which brings us to qualifying.

The reason they have qualifying is to decide exactly “who” deserves which spot and why.

Over the next 3 days everyone at the field gets a turn to strut their stuff and earn their place.

Now all things said and done you would think this would be an equal affair, but lady luck and the three fates have a role to play too.

All kinds of interference can come up during qualifying…the most obvious being the weather.

The driver who qualifies in the dry is obviously going to be faster than the driver who qualifies in the wet.

The driver who qualifies on days when the temperature is over 40 is going to have different tire issues from the guy who qualifies during a balmy day.

But its not just the weather.

The track herself has taken many a driver too….but enough of that for now….

We’re here to talk about qualifying kid….and how you’re going to handle yourself out there…being your first race and all…..

so let’s get back to it <yeah>

Now, with 36 places on the track up for grabs, you can be forgiven for thinking that you always want what they call “pole position….”

That’s the number one spot kid….

but let me tell you straightup, that aint always the truth.

There are other things a woman needs to consider out there, other than just taking the crown for the number one spot….”

“Such as…” asked the woman.

“Such as…..” replied the old man… “such as firstly, you want to know the layout of the grid.

Not all race tracks are created equal.

Some of them have pole position on the inside of the first corner, and others have pole position on the outside of the corner.

If you turn up to a track that has pole position on the outside of the first corner….well…..in that instance you actually want to qualify second….or if you can’t get second then you wanna get fourth….

So that’s the first thing you want to consider yeah?

It’s the layout of the track and where the position is placed to the first corner.

You want to know what number on the grid holds the inside spot…because that’s the one you want.

Now…” said the old man.

In addition to this, there are a couple of other things too.

Firstly….bein’ number one and two aint all that it’s cracked up to be, because every person on that track wants the number one spot..they’re going to spend the entire race fighting to get that position, and once they get it they’re gonna do everything in their power not to let anyone else have it.

Now if you’re the greatest driver in the world kid… and you thrive under the repetitive pressure of someone nudging you every thirty seconds, trying to cut every corner you take, and slipstream you every opportunity they get, then pole position might suit you just fine.

But if you can’t handle it kid, then you need to decide what you’re gonna do because the repetitive pressure can cause even though most seasoned professionals to crack….

And we don’t want to see that happen to you yeah?

Because otherwise what’s gonna happen is you’ll get yourself knocked out of the race early on, and struggle to finish at all….and let me tell you kid…the worst thing that can happen to a race car driver is not finishing last….it’s not finishing at all….

Every time you finish….regardless of where you come in the field…it means you gain points.

You don’t finish the race however, and you get no points at all.

You understand that kid?

You’re better off finishin’ last rather than not finishin’ at all.

So what we need to do now is decide exactly where you want to sit on the field by the time qualifying is over.

Is it in the front of the field controlling the traffic in the number one or two spot?

Or is it in the middle? Staying out of the rubble as everyone goes hell for leather in the first corner and desperate men take desperate measures at any cost?

Or is it kid….

And don’t shoot me down about this yet yeah…..but is it at the back kid?

Do you wanna qualify slow, and give yourself some room to breathe whilst you find your feet out there?

Have a think about it eh?

I’m gonna get a coffee and you can give me your answer when I return.”

The woman with the crimson pink boots nodded goodbye and then pondered what the old man had said.

Did she really want to be in pole position?

Or was she happy to be second?

Did she want to be in the middle of the field?

Or throw her qualifying away all together just to stay out of the mess?

She looked to the heavens, asking for guidance before spotting a pair of ibis circling high.

The old man was gone getting coffee, but it didn’t matter….she had already made up her mind.

She might not be the best leader yet, but she could sure as hell could drive.

She made a decision then and there and that starting today she would earn her place as much as everyone else. 

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*

Today I Choose To Acknowledge My Weight Problem

Today I Choose To Acknowledge My Weight Problem

The brunette feeling shame was looking at the scales on the glossy oak table in the law firm.

The redhead  in front of her was <what?> <patronizing?> <or criticizing?> the situation she was in, and the brunette felt squeamish and wanted to hide.

As the redhead picked up another block of gold, she directed her question to the woman with the weight problem.

Speaking clearly.

And deliberately.

She asked her with an educated woman’s poise.

“What

About

this?”

“Where

Do you think

I should

place

this?

The brunette being chastized lifted her eyes and wrung her hands, whilst motioning softly that it belonged on the right.

The redhead placed the gold onto the scales and they dropped even lower with a loud “clang” as the brunette felt her heart sink.

The scales were already well and truly overweight, and yet the brunette still had many more blocks of gold to be distributed before the climax.

The lawyer picked up another block of gold and asked again.

Asking clearly.

And deliberately with an educated woman’s poise.

“What

About

this?”

“Where

Do you think

I should

place

this?

The brunette felt her face flush, as shame turned into rage and she lashed out swiftly.

“On the right.” She said sharply.

“It goes on the right.

They all go on the right.

I’m sure you’ve realised that by now.

We’ve gone through this long enough now and I don’t know what you are trying to prove….

Why are you doing this to me?

Why are you making me feel this way?

What’s the purpose of it?

We already know why I’m here.

And you already know <or I’m sure you could summarize pretty quickly> that none of those pieces of gold belong on the other side of the scales.

And yet it doesn’t make sense.

I don’t understand it.

How is it possible that there can be such an uneven weight distribution?

How is it possible that all the weight and responsibility of everything is on my side?

I have the responsibility to pay everything.

Secure housing.

Pay groceries and utilities on a 3 bedroom home

I need to pay for education.

Shoes.

Clothes.

Everyday living.

I have no social life

Family life

Love life

Financial life

No retirement savings

No career or even just the ability to earn an income

I am isolated

Ostracised

Marginalised.

Every waking minute of the day, his time can be used to produce income.

Even after he finishes work.

Or on the weekends.

His financial position continues to climb.

Every waking minute of the day, my time is used to care for our shared responsibilities, and yet I am given no time to earn an income.

Instead of earning income with my minutes in the waking day, my time is spent on tasks that produce no income at all…and even if I could find employment in between the hours of caregiving….

I wouldn’t be able to keep that job, because I need to drop everything for school holidays.

Curriculum days.

Sick days.

I cant save because more than 100% of my income goes on rent and expenses leaving me in deficit every week, whilst he rents a room in a share house for $50.

I can’t get work because I can't access affordable childcare, and even if I could, I wouldn’t be able to hold the job, pick up and drop off the kids, cook, and clean, and bathe them and do homework, and have any kind of life.

My savings, and retirement pension has been drained to pay for the children because my weekly bills go over my income each week whilst his retirement savings continue to accumulate well into 6 figures.

He pays $25 a week legally to support the children, whilst I can't even get a carer for an hourly rate of that – and yet the state governs $25 is all he needs to pay for the privilege of me to bear the weight of all his responsibilities....

I have no quality of life.

My kids have no quality of life.

We are barely surviving, and yet his life is flourishing…he is living like a king!!

His retirement pension is accumulating.

He gets paid sick days.

Holidays.

He has a girlfriend.

Goes on holidays.

Has a fancy car

Friends he can see and talk to at whim.

He can socialise.

Exercise.

He is healthy, fit and somewhat mentally stable…..

And yet the gold is piled high on my side….

I am the one who has the weight problem…..

All the weight…..all the gold….it’s displaced unevenly to me….

And yet?

I am the one crumbling.

Buckling under the unbearable weight of it all.

I have the gold…but not the money.

He has the money….but not the gold.

And so here I am deteriorating in health and wealth rapidly….whilst his health and wealth is flourishing at lightning speed

So..please.

Spare me the torment any longer and just tell me!!!

Because I’m confused.

Why do I have all the gold?

And all of the weight?

Yet none of the financial compensation….

And yet, he has no gold.

No weight.

And all of the money?

The redhead waited until the brunette had finished her speech.

Then picked up another block of gold and asked:

“What

About

this?”

“Where

Do you think

I should

place

this?

The brunette rolled her eyes, then motioned to the right.

“On the right….” She said sarcastically.

“I can tell you right now….

They all go

On

The

Right.”

The redhead placed another block of gold onto the scales with a solid “clang” then picked up another block of gold and asked again….

“What

About

this?”

“Where

Do you think

I should

place

this?

The brunette rolled her eyes,

looked at the weight displacement of gold

and then stopped and considered thoughtfully.

That one

I'll keep

in 

trust."

Strategic Creativity-- Lesson #1

Getting acquainted with the storyboard

Whether you want to call it “Stack The Cards” or it’s easier to remember as “The Prosperity Project” all my creative strategy uses a framework built on a creative “storyboard”

And then on top of this storyboard sit cards…

which I like to think of as “islands” or “train stations” used as a simple way to teach the complex subject of journey mapping at it’s most basic level.

We use this storyboard “journey map” to mark pivotal touchpoints for customer solutions, with the goal of each “island” or “station” being to “transition” the customer from one state of problem into the next state of suitable solution.

This enables the customer to self direct her own journey to reach the end goal she wants to achieve (which is usually a solution to a problem or something she desires).

For the substack goal of finding my tribe of 1,000 true fans, I’ll show you how I am going to do it as part of The Prosperity Project Master Journey.

To begin with today, let’s start by looking at how the board is made up.

The board has 6 rows of 6 cards for a total of 36 cards all together.

We break the 36 cards into 3 levels.

Cards 1-12 are named foundation #1. Look at the surrounding colour around the cards images— it’s navy blue.

Cards 13-24 are named foundation #2. Look at the surrounding colour around the cards images <ignoring the card of ONE> — it’s light blue.

Cards 25-36 are named foundation #3. Look at the surrounding colour around the cards images and you will see it is aqua.

For now, all I want you to do is get acquainted with the board, and then once you have a comfortable grasp, take a moment and ponder the following questions:

  • Why do you think there are 36 cards?

  • Why do you think there are 6 cards per row?

  • Why are the cards grouped into 2 groups of 6 equaling 12?

  • Why is the board broken up into three levels?

  • What do the three colours surrounding the cards signify?

Feel free to leave your answers in the comments below.

There is no right or wrong to these questions, so if you have any questions or want to discuss further, please feel free to reach out, or if you are ready to get serious, click below to find out more about working with me 1-1 or subscribe to substack for future updates.

Much love

M.E. xo

The Master Level

Removing gaps and Inserting voids.

“You realise this is irreversible yes?”

The woman nodded. “Yes.” She said.

“I realise that.”

The shaman nodded.

“Are you sure you want to go ahead with it?

My services don’t include giving advice, however this situation is somewhat <close to my heart> and I feel the need to ask you if you are sure this is what you really want?”

The woman nodded.

“Yes. I’m sure.

I have no need to live in two worlds any longer.

For all the time I live in another world, it detracts the time I have in the other.

And we both know already

that

my time is

limited

and

 running out.”

The shaman nodded.

“Is there anything else?” He asked.

“Something to repair or replace the gap it leaves?

This removal will leave a void unable to be filled

 unless I fill it

now.

I need to re-iterate again.

If I don’t fill it now, it won’t be a gap.

It will be a void.

And there’s a difference.”

The woman nodded in understanding.

“I know that.” She said.

“I don’t want it filled.

 I’ll keep the void…

….it will help me remember.”

The shaman shook his head.

“It doesn’t work like that.

A void is not a memory.

A void is a void.

It’s nothing and yet it is everything.

It is an opening and a closing.

A beginning and an ending.

A darkness and a light.

It is chaos and it is structure.

And….” He said

“It’s none of my business, <again> but I can’t help but ask.

“Are you sure you won’t consider filling it.

There are many things you can choose from….

Here…

<shaman presents a wooden box for the women to sort through which she does not touch>

This?

What about this?

It’s adventure.

 It’s a great one.

Sail the seas.

Travel the world.

<woman shakes her head>

What about this?

Music.

 Also amazing.

I can give you a guitar….a flute…a violin…..something you can take with you everywhere you go….or even something large….a piano… music….will you consider music?

<woman shakes her head>

What about this?

<shaman presents an image>

This?

Surely you want this?

I know you want this…..

It’s not something I would normally suggest….

I just….

I don’t want to leave you with a void….

you’ll carry it with you forever….

if I don’t put something in there now, once you leave here you won’t be able to fill it…

Never.

And I think you’ll regret it.”

The woman looked at the image the shaman was offering and her heart ached.

She lowered her eyes,

sighed with a heavy heart

and then shook her head.

“No.” she said.

“Thank you.

I appreciate your concern.

But I’ll take the void.”

She handed over the things the shaman had asked her to bring in addition to the two lists and climbed onto the bed.

“Does he know?” asked the shaman and the woman whispered softly.

“Yes…..

He knows….

The decision was mutual.”

The shaman acknowledged what the woman had said, and considered his options.

Would he leave the void or fill it?

He knew she’d have no recollection once she woke.

He felt himself torn between his professional duties, and his personal feelings.

*

The woman was unconscious and surrounded with the things she had brought for the ritual.

His heart pushed and pulled as he watched the magic work swiftly.

In a split second decision, <without removing his hand on the woman>, he reached as far as he could with the edge of his fingertips and pulled the wooden box close enough to reach into it.

As the last of the relics burned and with not a minute left to spare, he removed the first totem his fingers rested upon and gave it to the woman

Placing it on her heart

And bestowing

His Full Blessing.

*

**

*

The Void

Using voids in creative projects

What is a void?

It depends on the context.

When I discuss a void in every day growth, it’s where we get to a place in our personal journey that we stop replacing one thing for another.

At the apprentice stage we rarely void unless something forces us to do it, otherwise what we see is <substitution> where one thing is given up and another is put into it’s place.

Some examples are:

  • Swapping smoking for food

  • Swapping illegal drugs for prescription drugs

  • Swapping alcohol for love

  • Swapping love for shopping etc etc etc.

A void is not a substitution.

It is a deliberate and conscious <hollow>

It’s saying:

Im leaving this behind, and Im choosing not to fill it in.

*

In a creative project, we rarely use a void because of the heavy cost attached to it.

I suppose it’s similar to what SG would call a sunk cost, and we all know sinking projects costs a helluva lot of money.

What does a project with a void look like

Depending on what the project is, a void looks similar to a gap….though it is much…much…larger.

Looking at my portfolio of work over the years <only because I know what’s in it and can reference it accurately>..…

you could remove any of these pieces of work and it would create a gap, however if you removed an entire portfolio with an intent to leave it out forever, it would create a void.

To the naked eye this wouldn’t seem much, but when stories or characters or universes hinge on links or anchors which were originally crafted, it has an opportunity to lose “depth” and “breadth”

Can a project with a void be re-opened?

Yes. But you wouldn’t do it.

Making a decision to insert a void would be a last resort.

If the decision was made from creative design, chances are it was done because of the cost attached to releasing it.

Like anything you would weigh up the cost: Sunk cost for a void, or the cost to the project if it was published.

If management made the decision to push it to the void, then you would know the decision wasn’t done lightly.

So yes.

You could re-open a void, but you would be going against the care and thought that was put into making the original decision.

Why would you insert a void into a project?

As mentioned above, a void would be inserted into the project when it is deemed that whatever is being removed would be more a liability to keep there than what it would be to remove it.

Can you “fill” a void in a project?

I’ve thought about this question all day since writing the post this morning.

You could fill a void…yes.

We see it done all the time with comic book universes….however the creative management would need to understand that inserting and removing a single item/character/place/word causes big ramifications.

If the person filling the void knew all the gaps, holds, pivots, closes and especially language usage and mirroring <which is what this project is designed to teach>

…..then yes.

You could fill a void.

If you weren’t aware of it though, what would be inserted into the void could throw all the other bits and pieces out.

So our Master Journey lesson for today opens up a discussion on voids.

  • Do you believe they should be used?

  • Should they be allowed to be filled?

  • Or should they be left as a void forever?

My answer?

Sometimes a void is just better off left as a void.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Much love

M.E.

xo

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