Skip to main content

*tap, tap* Is this thing on?? Yes, I know it’s been a little while – OK, months – since I’ve written in this blog but I’ve been busy writing for clients and working on my book. (NO EXCUSES, BLOG LIKE A CHAMPION!) Anyway, maybe this is the start of my triumphant return to the diminutive digital diary that is little word studio … maybe it’s not. We’ll see.
That’s not why I showed up on the blog. I’m here typing to you now because I had something of an epiphany around 7:38 a.m. today as I was walking my dog on a particularly grassy, half-shaded spot by my house. Nobody was around, I was wearing my pajamas and a sliver of early-morning sunshine illuminated my left slipper. Just as a chilly breeze picked up and a palm leaf above my head swayed, this is the thought that escaped my mind: self-improvement is a growth hack.
Let me explain myself. First you might ask: Why are you thinking about this at 7:38 in the morning? Irrelevant. I just am. When you have your own business it consumes your thoughts every hour of every day. Also, creativity in a sense is the act of embracing those random thoughts, so I let it slide from ear to ear until it was fully formed and bold enough to make its daring getaway from my mind. Second: How is self-improvement a growth hack? Ah, let me tackle that one next …
I write a lot about ways to become a better leader for my clients – enact systems, score-keep team progress, incentivize productivity – but I’ve always viewed self-improvement in decidedly selfish terms. We improve to become better versions of ourselves, to become brighter, smarter, sharper. It’s like that quote about how if you’re not growing you’re shrinking or if you’re not moving forward you’re sliding back, or some sort of dichotomy between progress and its opposite. Riding recklessly in reverse is a tough direction to travel when building or leading a business.
Despite the unassailable sorrows of an entrepreneur on a one-way ticket to Stagnation Town, self-improvement isn’t a selfish state at all. In fact, it might be the most altruistic exercise you can undertake. Self-improvement, when you really think about it with sun dripping on your left slipper or palms surrendering their leafy shade by your brow, is not just about becoming smarter or more efficient, it’s also a tangible way to grow a company, especially if that company is small.
In my case, the only limiting factor standing between little word studio and unending growth is time. We have X amount of team members who have X amount of hours in their day (everyone has to sleep, exercise, eat and carve out a few hours for fun). If we take on a client project, we only have X amount of time to get it done. This means there’s a limiting number of clients we can have on our roster before our brains collectively explode and our ears burn from insane frustration like Uncle Mortimer without sunscreen skinny-dipping on a Costa Rican beach during a heatwave.
When we become continually better and more efficient, time becomes less of a constraint; we control time, it can no longer control us. When we acquire more knowledge, we write faster. When we gain experience doing something we never did before, we can complete that task with ease the next time. In this sense, self-improvement is the key that unlocks the door that opens the window to growth we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
Maybe what I’m trying to say is that if you own a boutique creative content studio based out of Newport Beach and you’re looking to take on more work, work on yourself first. Then you’ll be able to handle anything that comes your way. No that’s not it. This advice applies to anyone in any field. If you’re seeking growth, you’re already behind in the game because growth can’t be sought, it exists at this very moment within you. It’s right there, ready to be harnessed and unleashed the minute you commit to becoming a little bit better tomorrow than you were today.


  • I love it when you self edit. “No, that’s not it.” LOL. It feels like we’re discovering all of this together!
    And, btw, all this just takes WAY TOO LONG! I want the growth NOW! *sigh*
    Glad you’re back….

    • melissa kandel says:

      We are all in this together! 🙂 As for growth taking a long time, I totally get it but this quote by one of my favorite habits business authors, James Clear, might help: “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it but all that had gone before.”

      • Garry Stafford says:

        I love James. Followed him since his old Passive Panda days! Yet I’ve not heard this quote of his. So true though. Especially, it seems, in artistic/musical endeavors I’m hitting that crazy rock over and over and over with seemingly little affect. I’d also add that along with this, there are numerous mini plateaus (they sure feel like plateaus) one must experience on the way to a desired level of mastery. Although mastery/efficiency can reduce time spent, to some degree, it still takes a majority of those blows to effectively shape it. I’ve been told more than a few times to practice slowly, deliberately. It’ll sink in more deeply (issue perhaps?). And yet until I do so, that rock either splits shoddily or will just sit there, waiting; winning. 🙂

Leave a Reply