In 2003, I interviewed Damon Dash for Glamour magazine.
At the time, he was Jay Z’s manager and business partner, running a successful music label, Roc-A-Fella, and one of the first big streetwear brands, Rocawear.
He’d arrived in London to launch launched a high-profile collaboration with Victoria Beckham – her first venture into fashion. At the same time, he was juggling a dizzying array of other projects: films, a new nightclub, branding on all kinds of products.
I’m not holding him up as a particularly great role model here.
After acrimoniously splitting with Jay Z in 2004, Dash has had a somewhat chequered career, his successes marred by conflict and court cases. But there was something he said, during our meeting, that has stuck with me ever since.
I was asking about his exhausting schedule, about what drove him. And he talked about how you behave when you have an early morning flight. You don’t lie in bed once your alarm has gone off. You don’t procrastinate, or get distracted. Instead you get up, you get ready, you get out and you go straight to the airport. Because you don’t want to miss that flight.
“To me everything is like catching a plane,” Dash explained. “I’m trying to get up and catch a cheque. So that’s how I think – if there’s money out there, I get up. I can’t even sleep if I know there’s money sitting on the table.”
For you, money might not be the main driver.
It might be about recognition, fame, being the best at what you do. Perhaps you want to change the world, tell your truths. To make something beautiful or useful. Or just make people happy with your work, entertaining them or evoking an emotional response.
But without a deadline, a sense of urgency, it’s easy to put off the things we really want to do. To convince ourselves we’ll start tomorrow, next month, next year. Or some vague point in the future when we’ll magically have more time, more space, more inspiration.
Whatever motivates you, it’s worth considering what you might achieve if you got up every day, and dived right into life and work as if you had a plane to catch. Or a cheque.
If you got straight to your work without hesitation, without debate, without procrastination, what could you create?
Sheryl Garratt is a writer and a coach helping creatives to get the success they want, making work they love. Want my free 10-day course, Freelance Foundations: the secrets of successful creatives? Click here.