A few weeks ago I extended a trip to New York City for a speaking gig to include a fun weekend with Hilary. The highlight was definitely seeing Hamilton on Broadway!
I walked out of the theatre with my mind racing and feeling a million different things. As a creator you see life differently than many people around you, which often leads to feeling out of place. But after 2 hours and 45 minutes in the Richard Rodgers theatre I’ve never felt so seen as a creator.
Things that I had felt or that mattered deeply to me were expressed in story and rhyme better than I could have said them myself.
The room where it happens
The very first conference I attended was called A List Apart in Seattle. As a fan of web standards this was the conference to attend. I didn’t know anyone and was too shy to introduce myself. The three people I met the entire weekend all introduced themselves when proximity made it necessary at lunch or in the auditorium.
Walking along the waterfront back to the hotel one evening I realized the group walking in front of me was all the speakers from the conference. As they talked and laughed I quickened by step to close the gap…then I realized I wasn’t going to introduce myself, so I slowed down to avoid being creepy.
Then in a moment of courage, I sped up, ready to introduce myself and join the conversation. But my courage was fleeting. This time I dropped back further.
Looking out over the harbor I wonder what it would take to be a part of that group. Not as an awkward outsider, but to be laughing and sharing ideas together, as one of the crew.
Back at the hotel I went through the lobby and turned towards my room. Walking right past the speakers lounging around in the the lobby, the room where it happens.
That’s a theme in Hamilton, of wanting to be in the room where it happens. Deals, debates, and discussions that all happen behind closed doors. Those who aren’t there feel excluded and jealous. Constantly wondering what it would take to be in the room.
My first motivation for working as a creator is to earn a living. But the second reason is to build the reputation and relationships to be invited to the room where it happens.
Since building an audience and a company I’ve been on the inside at many events. The people I’ve people I’ve met, conversations I’ve had, and long-term friendships formed have been incredible.
Hamilton reminded me that it’s normal to strive to be included and belong, but also that the pursuit of that above all else can have dire consequences.
Why do you write like you’re running out of time?
I try to do everything all at once. I want to build a company, write a book, run a homestead, build a tiny house, start a YouTube channel, travel the world, run three different podcasts, host airbnb guests, and just about everything else!
Why? That’s what my wife, Hilary, always asks. I overcomplicate life by trying to do everything at once. Why not just slow down and do a few things?
- There is so much to create. For every idea I complete I think of five more. All my creator friends suffer from the same problem: more potential than time.
- I’ve always thought I was going to die young (though hopefully not in a duel). I can’t shake the feeling that if not now, then it may be never. I want to take advantage of every opportunity I’m given.
Forget whether this is rational or not, it’s what I feel. Many other creators do as well! When you have this much potential and opportunity you can’t help, but approach it with urgency.
Hamilton acts that on the urgency that I feel every day as a creator. He both shows that the bar can be so much higher than I’ve even set it for myself and that it’s okay to pursue it.
Writing as a powerful tool
Throughout the entire story Hamilton turns to writing as a powerful tool for creating outcomes. He uses the Federalist Papers to make a case for the constitution, writes articles against slavery, and even when backed into a corner over his affair, he turns to writing as his solution.
Writing has been a powerful tool for creators for thousands of years. Marco Polo was not the first to discover the Silk Road to China. Not even close. But he was the one who wrote about it. That’s why we remember him.
Hamilton knew the power of writing so he built the skills to become incredibly prolific.
Alexander joins forces with James Madison and John Jay to write a series of essays defending the new United States Constitution, entitled The Federalist Papers. The plan was to write a total of twenty-five essays, the work divided evenly among the three men. In the end, they wrote eighty-five essays, in the span of six months. John Jay got sick after writing five. James Madison wrote twenty-nine. Hamilton wrote the other fifty-one!
And that’s with a quill and ink. Imagine if he had a typewriter!
Want to create fame? Write.
Want to create change? Write.
Want to create legacy? Write.
I am not throwing away my shot
Being an orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton is obsessed with not throwing away his shot when it is given to him. When opportunity is scarce it’s even more important that you take full advantage of it when it’s in front of you.
This is my shot. I have every opportunity. If I fail, if ConvertKit fails, it’s on me. That drives me to work harder and make the most of what I have.
If you’re reading this you have everything you need. A computer for creating, YouTube for learning, WordPress for publishing, a phone to record videos.
This is your shot.
Your shot to become the creator you have the potential to be. Don’t throw it away becoming just another consumer.
Look around. Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.