Hands Dirty and Knee Deep in the Messy, Risky Act of Creation

creation is messy


creation is messy

I am most engaged, satisfied and passionate when I am getting my hands and mind dirty knee deep in the active creation process.

It’s a risky, chaotic, intuitive process.

Both in business and in life there are two differing positions that you can be in.

  1. Hands dirty and knee deep in it creating
  2. Or hands-off above it all doing the minding

Both have incredible value, both are needed and can provide satisfaction and quality. I know many great people who are exceptional at the hands-off, above the fray minding level. I’m not one of them. I’m a hands dirty, get in there and literally create things kind of person. it doesn’t always have to be physical creation, but it must involve creating.

David Maister wrote a classic treatise on Managing The Professional Service Firm. In this book Maister outlines a simple concept postulating that in business there are basically three types of people and roles.

  1. Finders (leaders, idea and product creators, rainmakers etc)
  2. Minders (managers, builders, operation management, accounting etc)
  3. Grinders (Doers, the more technical work, contributors)

I have always wished that i was a better minder. Successful entrepreneurs tend to be exceptional finders and strong grinders and hire great minders. Great minders are essential and often over looked in the race to create and build and execute. I wrote about how creation is the lifeblood of entrepreneurial minded people and have been thinking a lot about it and how much satisfaction I get from the act of creation. In tech I like product marketing because I get a little bit of product creation mixed in with a massive amount of messaging and marketing creation. In food I love the often literal hands-on act of creating something mouth-wateringly good and then the near impossibility of getting that into the customer’s hands and mouth intact and sparkling with magic.

I also love stories. Stories sell but stories also resonate. (which is why they sell.) It is always better to have a brilliant story matched to a perfect product than even a great product matched to a crappy story. The former is more fun, more engaging and more satisfying for me and the customers.

I have found that when most people have some involvement in the messy, risky, chaotic and scary creation process that they are happier and far more engaged and productive. Not everyone enjoys all of it and some are even terrified of that type of barely controlled chaos, but the majority of people I have encountered do enjoy getting their hands and minds a little dirty by having a hand in the creation of something unique and exciting.

Of course it could simply be that I have chosen to repeatedly surround myself with sharp, intelligent, creative, passionate people regardless of industry or profession. As the famous quote goes:

If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

I highly encourage you to get out there, stick your hands deep into the mess of passion of creating something and get covered in the sparks and dirt of creating something you care about. It’s literal heaven.



By Andy Newbom

My name is Andy Newbom. At this time there are less than 10 Newboms in the world. Not sure if thats good or bad.