This week, Deadspin was told to “stick to sports”, a crazy piece of advice for a site that weaves pop culture and numerous topics as parallels into its brand and product. The advice did not sit well with editorial staff at the site, so on Tues Oct 29, they publish no sports at all, instead posting stories about anything but, such as one writer’s video clip of a local pumpkin thief, a piece about three good dogs, and one titled “Nationals Fans Didn’t ‘Stick to Sports’ about he booing of the President at Game 5 of the World Series. That led to the firing of interim editor-in-chief Barry Petchesky.
Let’s view this through a creative/personal development lens for a moment. When someone tells you to “stick to” something, they are largely, if not explicitly, doing you a disservice. It’s one thing to pick a focus, or concentrate on a specific area in search of a targeted breakthrough. That’s good.
It’s another thing to limit yourself in service to someone else’s idea about what you can and can’t — or shouldn’t — do. Go beyond the business plans and click-driven revenue models for a second. The story of our lives, personal and professional, is about challenges. What we accomplish, what we set out to do, what we are willing to do, and what we follow through on. Almost everything we get to experience wit our time on Earth relates to these 4 things. And if you believe in the power of ideas, of creative endurance and problem-solving, subscribing to external limitations isn’t going to be good for you.
People reveal themselves in the advice they give to you. Whose interests do they have in mind, yours and their own? What do they base their advice on, premises founded or faulty? Why are they giving you advice? What do they think they are fixing? Is their advice prescriptive (telling you exactly what you should do) or illuminating (helping you see what’s possible)?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you see advice and directives for what they really are. Just never let anyone tell you to “stick to” something.
Founder, The Idea Enthusiast. Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, and writer about all things creative consulting. DC-based consultant to individuals who want to be more creative, teams who want to collaborate without fear, and anyone who wants to deliver the best pitches and presentations.