Repetition

Repetition

One of my favourite clients and mentors and people is a very inspiring man named Matt.

Every week, Matt would call me and repeat his goals for the project we were working on. He'd walk me through the steps he hoped would lead us to a successful outcome with charm and grace. He'd gently remind me of what was most important, and what he valued about my contribution.

Every. Single. Week. 

At first I'd thought he might be forgetful: perhaps he didn't realise he was repeating things he'd already told me, but he's such a pleasure to speak to I wasn't about to check. Then I wondered if he thought I was forgetful, until I noticed he was doing it with everyone involved.

Soon enough we were all singing in tune, on queue, and from the same hymn sheet.

By the end of the project, when all of his goals were successfully achieved just as he'd envisioned them, I realised: Matt's a smart, savvy music industry guy, and he knows that the secret to a hit is repetition

Despite the fact that we're creatures of habit, our instinct is to say or do something once, consider it done and move on.

When we've had that meeting, sent that email, rehearsed that section, got that radio play, been to that event, uploaded that content, performed that show and ticked off everything on the to-do list, we just want to be done

Repetition can be boring. We associate it with school, with reciting our times tables and French verbs and good-toes naughty-toes. We all know the words to songs we don't even like, simply because we've heard them so many times. 

That's why repeatedly sharing our work with others feels uncomfortable: we feel as though we're subjecting them to something boring. We've all had a mortifying moment when mid-story someone cuts you down with an "I know, you've already told me". Ouch. 

Yet repetition can be exciting. The familiar sound of an ice-cream truck, the smell of your favourite scent on your favourite person, the sight of your paycheck in the mail and yes, when your favourite song comes on the radio. 

The uncomfortable part is accepting that some people really want to hear from you over and over again, and others don't. But would you have ice-cream trucks drive around mute because they annoy some people? 

What many of the people I speak to struggle with, myself included, is the idea of self-promotion. Telling people about what you're working on loud and proud and on repeat feels egotistical and embarrassing so we avoid it

I'm not suggesting we all go out and spam the world, it's important to be respectful. There's no point sending mass messages to people who haven't asked to hear from you. 

But to some people, you and your work are just as much of a pleasure as the sound of that ice-cream truck on a hot summers day. 

Making your work easier to discover for those who are looking for it, remembering that those who follow you want to hear from you, and that your showing up is a reminder that you value them is what we need to focus on.

Repeatedly. 

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