January 29, 2020—we’re almost a month into the new year; I wouldn’t be surprised if people thought that I quit?
But no, as usual, it’s quite the opposite—I’m working hard to reach the point where I don’t have to work this hard at all.
…let me explain.
Where We Left Off.
We ended 2019 with a post looking back at my last ten years, all the things I learned, and some of the hopes and dreams I had for the decade ahead.
But hoping and dreaming for things isn’t nearly enough to make them happen, so I hunkered down to start laying the groundwork for the future I saw ahead.
Hammering away blindly looking to stumble upon a result isn’t good enough, though—you can only work so hard. There are only so many hours in the day. You run out of steam, life distracts you, and if you’re not creating with an ongoing distribution strategy in mind, it means you’re shooting content off into the internet, never to see it again.
And when you’ve spent the better part of a decade putting well over a thousand posts out into the digital ether, let me tell you—that’s a lot of wasted potential.
But sometimes even the oldest dogs can learn new tricks, and that’s what squirrelled away this last little bit.
That said, though we have a myriad of tools in 2020 to do fantastic work, do we have what it takes to use them?
What’s in a Name?
Let me ask you this—what comes to mind when you hear Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad?
It dawned on me that I’d spent a decade honing my skills as a writer so I could write the best stories that I could, but what was the story I was trying to tell?
Just being a Dad blogger isn’t good enough. Just being a Black blogger isn’t good enough. What I eventually understood is that everything that makes me who I am in my head needs to shine through in my brand, and I wouldn’t make that happen without a heckuva lot of soul-searching to put words to every part of me.
But I’d be a fool to think I could pull off something that massive overnight.
Good Work Takes TIME.
Something that we’ve forgotten in our fast-paced world where we’re ready for next instalments the second we finish some content is that truly remarkable work is finish when it’s good and ready.
The work that’s stuck with us for decades instead of just days is work that not only took the time to reach its greatness but had a driving force behind it looking to make it the very best it could be.
Michael Jackson’s Thriller wouldn’t be what it is without a Quincy Jones obsessed with making every song a hit. And despite being born blind, Stevie Wonder shocked the world as a child prodigy, believing in himself and learning to navigate an industry that didn’t believe in him for nearly a decade before his career took off, creating the superstar we know today.
It’s a tempting rush to be first, but the greatest content’s refined over time, working all the filler out until all that’s left is the purest form of the idea you’re looking to express.
But you knowing that your work is good doesn’t do much for everyone else—your work needs to stir something in the people consuming it. Time is precious—the longer I parent, the more I understand how quickly it passes through your fingers, so if you’re asking your audience to invest some of theirs, your content better damn well be valuable.
You Might Think You’re Influential, But Are You VALUABLE?
Let’s face it—anyone can spin a yarn. Blogging probably has the lowest barrier to entry of just about any form of content creation, and it’s not too hard to get better if you keep at it. But the difference between having something to say and having something worth saying is what your audience has once you’ve said it.
What your content needs to do is solve a problem. It’s easy enough to tell someone how to fix a small problem, like making a meal or how to tie a knot—but you need a thousand of those solutions to measure up to the content that sticks—the content that changes lives.
Some things never go out of style. Saving money. Losing weight. Getting people to like you. With so much content all over the internet, you need actionable advice that stands out if you want anyone to stop and take notice. The more you can show people specific things they can do to better their lives, the more they can take it and share the key to their success with everyone else.
Smart investors make their money make money while they sleep. Titans of industry find people to do the work for them. And the greatest content creators create content so good that people can’t help but share it—and that’s where I need to be this year.
Casey Palmer 2020: It’s Time to Work SMARTER, not HARDER.
What ten years of storytelling’s taught me is that great stories have a purpose beyond themselves. Posts that take complicated ideas and make them comfortable enough for everyone to understand. Or if you’re really good, posts that help people solve problems they didn’t even know they had.
Great stories propel. Great stories transcend. They ask what we can create that you won’t find anywhere else. But we need to create with the desire to help others if our work will last longer than we do.
So in 2020, I’m digging through the vault and separating the bombs from the baubles, doing everything I can to shine them up real nice and make them better than they ever were before.
People aren’t stupid—they’re ready to move past the world of manufactured influence into one that does something for them. In 2020, we’re ready for a world of solutions—and I plan to be a creator who gives them.
Let’s get up and running this year, guys—it’s time to make this decade our best one.
Thanks for reading and until the next,