A few weeks ago, I shared a post from Austin Kleon called Just shut up and write the book. This post reminded me of a video by Derek Sivers. I had the opportunity to meet Derek at World Domination Summit, a couple of years ago. He talked about not sharing your goals and that there’s some science behind like keeping those things to yourself.
A couple of months ago, I spoke with Jeff Goins. Jeff shared with me a story about J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. Tolkien had never really shared his work before. The first time he did it with his friend C.S Lewis.
I think there’s some merit to that. We live in an era where talking about what we’re doing, or what we’re going to do, seems to indicate that you are actually doing the thing. That’s not necessarily the case. I’ve fallen victim to that too. Whether it’s been through announcing something that I’m going to do and then taking forever to get to it because I didn’t properly assess what else was going on. And I think that we see a lot more of this. We see it with pre-launches and on social media. But we don’t know everything that goes on behind the scenes.
But there’s advice like create a sales page, validate your idea, and then make it. I think that there’s merit to that, but I think the problem is that we live in an age where when you do that, it’s almost assumed – especially when you have a large following – that you’re going to make that thing. The Shut Up Strategy that I’m talking about is keeping certain things quiet to yourself.
What I will say is that if you’re going to talk about something that you’re doing, keep it to the one thing that you’re doing. So for me, The Shut Up Strategy involves the bigger things that you have a sliver of hesitation to share. You’re not sure if it’s going to be something that can be delivered in a reasonable timeframe, or it may even change or iterate before it gets released.
I got that recently when I went to Tropical Think Tank. I had people who told me, “Oh, you should build a course.” My reply was, “Yes, I am working on some courses, and I definitely have the content to do it.” In fact, as you’re reading this, I may even be closer to that being a reality. But when you start to share that stuff, an expectation comes with it. When you share too often, some expectations fall short and don’t happen.
There’s something to be said for diving in deep to do the actual work. Not talking about it, just doing it. Then the work speaks for itself when it’s done. I know that I’ve struggled with this.
Try to incorporate The Shut Up Strategy more often. If you’re finding that you’re talking about the stuff you’re doing, and it’s not moving along as quickly as you would like it to, spend time doing the work. Again, less talk, more action. The Shut Up Strategy can be incorporated in many different ways, but maybe, for now, I think I’m just going to shut up and let you think about what you can do to incorporate it.