All the time in my business I am asked different versions of the same question:
What’s the best camera for my budget? Which editing app should I use? Should I get a tripod? What about lighting? Which microphone is the best for podcasting?
And what those questions are really asking is, “What is the tool that will make my job easier?”
None of them, if you don’t know what you’re doing with it.
Which microphone you use for your podcast isn’t going to help you have meaningful conversations with your guests or dole more thoughtful advice to your listeners.
First, you need to have something to say.
The good news is, we all do have something worthy of saying. We just need to find what that is, and then decide what tools will best help us say it.
But most often, people do that work out of order and try to find the best tools before they work on perfecting their overall skills in their field.
Ramit Sethi, author of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” said it best:
“To put it bluntly: If you gave me the best tennis racket on the planet, I would still lose to Andre Agassi playing with a rickety old wooden racket.”
(Allow me to alter that for the current generation: If you gave me the best tennis racket on the planet, I would still lose to Serena Williams playing with a rickety old wooden racket.)
It’s like asking the painter about what paint brush they use or the writer what pencil. Instead, you should be asking about the principles they apply and the way they see a blank page and create an image or story out of nothing.
Instead, we spend hours and days and maybe forever looking for tools that might make us incrementally better at our jobs.
I believe we do that because we are scared.
We are worried about what someone will think if we build something so we try to control that by finding the best tools possible. Then, if we fail, at least we can blame it on the tools.
Yes, tools allow you to do your job more effectively and efficiently.
That’s their function.
But what tool you use depends on your vision.
Otherwise, you are susceptible to Maslow’s Hammer.
“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” – Abraham Maslow
Instead, figure out what you want to do (paint pictures, sell houses, play tennis, lose weight, save money). Start exactly where you are, using what you have access to. But just start.
Then, keep going.
As you keep going, your skills will grow.
As your skills grow, you will learn what tools will help you do your job better.
And then you’ll be able to do your job faster and easier.
If you don’t have anything to say, it doesn’t matter where you say it, how you say it, or what tools you use to say it.
But if you do have something to say, just start saying it.
Someone will listen.
Rain Bennett is a two-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker, writer, and competitive storyteller with over a decade of experience producing documentary films that focus on health and wellness. His mission is simple: to make the world happier and healthier by sharing stories of change.
You can read the rest of “Right as Rain” here, and check back every Wednesday on Chapelboro for a new column!
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