That’s what friends are for
One of my good friends is a person I have huge admiration for. I doubt he realises how much, as he spends a good deal of time looking outward and comparing himself to others, rather than taking stock of how much he has actually done in his life.
One of the reasons I admire him is that he has overcome adversities the like of which I cannot even begin to understand. Another is that he regularly refreshes my viewpoint by throwing a curve-ball into a conversation.
Just such an occasion occurred this weekend and jolted me out of a certain reverie. He asked me if I was pushing the boat out. He didn’t mean was I ‘having a cracking party’ or ‘celebrating’, he meant was I working as hard as I could.
He reminded me of the harshest lesson I have ever learned (the details are best left unexplored for now), that complacency destroys achievement. And by reminding me of that he made me ask the questions that help me avoid that lesson being repeated.
The complacent among us
Complacency is one of my major weaknesses (development areas in PC Speak). It is a truly funny weakness. I strive for a goal so hard and so long that when I achieve it I think I am sorted. I take a break and then get back to work thinking that I am working at the same level that got me to where I am but in fact I am taking my foot off the gas a little and becoming lazy. I am not pushing the boat out.
This has bitten me in the ass a few times in the past but now I have a few tester questions that try and jolt my sense of complacency:
⁃ Are you working as hard as you can?
⁃ Are your rivals working harder than you?
⁃ Is someone beating you at something you consider a strength?
⁃ Are you achieving you goals? (Key question)
⁃ Are you heading the right direction?
You want the answers to be Yes, No, No, Yes, Yes. To my mind anything else is trouble.
Why you might ask is this relevant to publishing?
Because it is an industry where smart, energetic and driven people work. There will always be hard workers, smart workers and often brilliant workers at companies that publish into your and other markets.
If you don’t match or exceed their efforts then you will fail. Maybe it won’t be spectacular, maybe it won’t be a hugely noticeable thing at first but five years down the line when your list is anemic and their list is kicking yours, you’ll know all about it.
This is especially true for the Irish market for reasons I’ll talk about tomorrow. So if I am ever fearful that complacency is creeping up on me, I asked myself those tough questions, act on the answers and redouble my efforts.
Enjoying this new found blog enthusiasm
PS Check this site out.
Times They Are A Changin’
Following some thinking, a great deal of planning, not to mention a small amount of stress and second guessing, I have decided to move on from Nonsuch Ireland. I have very much enjoyed my time there and the work has been exciting and challenging not to mention fun!
With team changes, departures and new arrivals I have worked directly with six* talented and capable individuals in the Irish office, all of whom have an enormous amount to offer publishing or any trade they choose to pursue. What is more, as a team, they have really built Nonsuch Ireland into an impressive and growing history publisher. There is still considerable growth ahead for Nonsuch and I wish everyone at Nonsuch the very best of luck. I know they will do great.
So where to?
Well its actually a pretty big shift for me. I am moving to the Real Capital of Ireland, Cork [wikipedia] AKA “The People Republic of Cork”. I will be joining Mercier Press in April as Commissioning Editor.
Mercier was established in 1944 so I am moving from one of Ireland’s youngest Publishers to one of her oldest and most established publishers.
It will mean a shift in a lot of factors, from lifestyle and personal to professional and perspective. Overall it is just about the most amazing move for me as you will see if you look over the company’s rich and varied list (here). I am excited by the prospect and the opportunity not just to work for such a great company but to grow with the job and to drive such a diverse list.
But first some downtime
I have been smart this time though and set aside some time for decompression. It will allow me to build my energy, catch up with my reading, find a new place to live and perhaps even get that trip to Westport to this place if I have my way.
Felling Pretty Good
*[Not forgetting the four excellent support staff from Irish Corporate Outsourcing who have worked with Nonsuch providing external services since 2004 or the people at our sister companies in the UK and elsewhere.]