“Each day that we postpone difficult tasks and succumb to the clutter that chokes creativity, discipline, and innovation results in a net deficit to the world, our organizations, and ourselves. Die Empty is a tool for people who aren’t willing to put off their most important work for another day. Todd Henry explains the forces that keep us in stagnation, and introduces a process for instilling consistent practices into your life that will keep you on a true and steady course. Henry shows how to cultivate the mindset and the methods you need to sustain your enthusiasm, push through mental barriers, and unleash your best work each day.”
Todd Henry is the founder of Accidental Creative, a company that helps creative people and teams be prolific, brilliant and healthy. “Many modern professionals are “busily bored,” cranking through a lot of work but not engaged or meeting their larger objectives,” says David Siegfried, but “Henry provides a number of tactics and mental challenges to keep you focused on short, medium, and long-range goals.”
It’s a brilliant book especially for organisations and companies looking to leverage the talents of their team members and get them more engaged with a bigger picture so that these same individuals can produce their best work. Leaders especially will thrive as a result of absorbing the material that Henry presents, particularly where it concerns bringing out the fullest potential in the people you lead but also in understanding how you operate as a leader and how you can improve as one.
In the book, Henry describes three types of work that are needed to work at your fullest capability:
Mapping: “planning your work. It is when you strategize, conceive, think, plan, and plot your course of action. It’s the “work before the work” that helps you stay aligned.”
Making: “actually doing the work. It is when you are creating the actual value you are being paid for, or doing the tasks you devised while mapping.”
Meshing: “all of the “work between the work” that actually makes you more effective when you are working. It’s comprised of things like following your curiosity, study, developing your skills, and asking deeper questions about why you are doing your work.”
Henry then goes on to describe four different types of worker profiles based on the combinations above. For instance, if you map and make, but you don’t mesh, you would be considered a ‘Driver’, someone who is extremely effective in short bursts and in the short term but who becomes decreasingly effective over time because they haven’t developed themselves nor have they prepared for future challenges and obstacles. On the flip side, someone who maps and meshes but fails to make is a ‘Dreamer’. They love to talk about ideas and develop skills but they aren’t disciplined enough to follow-through and get the actual work done. Finally, there’s the ‘Drifter’, who meshes and makes but fails to map. As a result, they have no strategic long-term plan in place and often leave many projects half-finished.
Henry posits that in order for leaders and workers to reach their fullest potential, we all need to become ‘Developers’. Developers are people who have learned to combine all of the three types of work (mapping, making, and meshing) into a powerful trifecta. According to Henry, they can make the most out of opportunities and leverage them “because they are planning, they are being diligent about doing the work, and they are developing themselves and their skills to position them for future activity.”
So, which profile are you? Are you a Driver, a Dreamer, a Drifter, or a Developer? And which profile do the majority of your team members embody? Building up more Developers in the workplace can lead to a robust organisation where individuals are contributing on a more effective scale and putting out phenomenal work that can bring your company to the next level.