This is a story that happened before the last one.
The alchemist and I are in her shady cool tent as the sand-laden wind gossips about us viciously to the palm trees. I’m admiring an incredible rug; it smells faintly of cinnamon and diesel oil.
The alchemist smiles in fractals and says Hello there, darlingheart. What’s the hippy haps?
I admit to her that I have gotten a wee bit muddy about who my bestest people are.
Have you written down their qualities?
Well, that is the lack. If you don’t have a concrete list of criteria to measure your bestest people by, then you will always let wishful thinking have far too much influence in your decisions. Many many people can be made to fit, rather like the bloody-footed tale you told once about Cinderella’s stepsisters.
Oh. I need to get very concrete about them, so I can’t cheat?
Can we go through it together?
Of course, my dearest. She smiles algebraically.
Right. Hmm. (I roll up my sleeves.) Well, obvious stuff first, I think.
Very well. To quote yourself, what are the core assumptions that someone would need to have to work beautifully with you? What would they need to believe?
Okay. Well, they’d need to believe that cash and joy are equally important parts of your business. And they want to have oodles of both.
Write that down, then.
Obedientally I find a scraped lionskin and a quill of vermillion ink and I write:
My bestest people believe that cash and joy are equally important and want to run businesses that produce squoodles of both.
Good. I like the use of squoodles. What else?
They want to be magnificent, to do magnificent work.
I’m sure you could be a little more poetical.
Yes. Um. How about this?
My bestest people want to BLAZE. They strive for magnificence in every aspect of their work.
Lovely. Anything else?
World-changers! Watch me go!
My bestest people are unashamed world-changers. They know that the world would be worse off without their work.
I like that you included alchemy. But they are not the only ones who seek transformation.
My bestest people constantly challenge me to grow in skills, and in soul.
Are they the only beliefs one needs to have to join you?
Yeah, I think so. They need to be moderately open-minded, but I don’t think that needs to be on the list – the narrow-minded tend to see one cussword and flee. What next?
Tell me the behaviours that inhibit your best work and stop your flow. Then decide if you want the opposite.
Right, okay. Umm… I find it a bit difficult when…
She whipcracks into my ellipses. Do not pule and whine. You have preferences, and you must own them.
Okay, dammit! I, uh, hate having to soft-pedal. So:
My bestest people don’t need a cushion under hard truths. They know that clarity is necessary for greatness, and honesty comes from love.
Do you need that last sentence, or are you justifying yourself?
I don’t know. Hmmm. No, it matters… the first sentence alone says that they’re resilient – and they are – but the second sentences clarifies that their resilience comes from wisdom. The truth still stings, often, but they accept that and don’t shoot the messenger. Or knock out the surgeon.
Excellent. What else disturbs your best work?
I used to think my best work was with people who were still stuck in fear, but I know now that it isn’t. People who can unstuckify themselves get much more amazing stuff done. Right!
My bestest people regard their fears as logistical issues, not roadblocks.
Neatly phrased. She smiles through the unreal numbers.
Thanks! Ooh, and I just thought of another thing that people do right and I always appreciate it when they do…
My bestest people aren’t backward about coming forward. They share their feelings, while always staying responsible for them.
Again, good. But you have forgotten someone.
From outside I hear the dry sand-laden wind, and… the ringing of tiny bells.
Ohshit! I cry, and open the tent flap. In staggers the jester, her bells muffled with sand but her motley shining as bright as ever. Her hair is a redgold accident in the firework factory and her smile is a tatterdemalion majesty. The jester has seven freckles across her nose and eyes the colour of old Coke bottles.
‘Allo, lovely! she grins. She has a truly improbable number of dimples. Didja forget me?
No! I was just doing rulesy stuff. So yes, actually, I did forget you.
She grins wider; somewhere an angel faints. Well, you know there’s one super-duper important thing to add, babyluv. ME! You’ve done all that tranformational mumbo-jumbo whatsit magoozalah, but what’s the point of alchemy if you’re bored solid?
You’re right. My bad. How’s this?
My bestest people take their work passionately, but not seriously: they bring the funny and love to play.
You’re damn right. Aaaaand?
My bestest people are fast thinkers, fast talkers, and fast to implement.
Heh. The jester and the alchemist hug and compare hair products for a few minutes, along with a recipe that could be a soothing herbal tea or a high-powered demolition charge, or maybe both. (I’m just thrilled that they get along so well.)
Now they turn in eerie unison and speak.
Alchemist: Don’t forget the life water of your business.
Jester: Where’s the fucking cashola, sweetiepants?
Okay. Two parts to this, I think.
My bestest people feel heart-swelling gratitude for our work, and can’t wait to recommend it to other amazing people.
My bestest people respect my time, and feel a giddy thrill when they pay for it.
The jester says Cool beans. I can think of one more, though. Riddle me this: when do you want this all to happen?
Uh… yesterday? Riiiight.
My bestest people are impatient to ROCK IT THE FUCK OUT and take massive inspired action. Right now!
Yeah, baby. The jester gives me a high five and a fist bump, flicks a button on her cuff that starts White Zombie’s track El Phantasmo and the Chicken Run Blast-O-Rama playing at Too Freakin Loud, and back-flips out through the closed tent flaps.
The alchemist smiles exponentially at the disappearing jester and turns back to me.
So what will you do with the people who don’t meet all of these criteria?
Umm… well, I want to save my one-on-one work for the bestest people. But I could still make products for the right people: the ones who work at a slower pace than I do, or aren’t quite ready to do the intense scary stuff. They still have to share the beliefs, but they don’t need to work exactly the same way I do – I proved that with DIY Magnificence.
What will you do with the people you’re currently working with one-on-one work who aren’t your bestest people?
I… don’t know. I have to think about that.
Don’t worry, we’ll dream about it tomorrow night. See you then.
And I wake, to scramble fast enough to write all the criteria before I forget them.
I am profoundly unready for the next dream, but luckily I don’t know it.
Who are your bestest people?
DIY Magnificence is indeed there to help you answer that question for yourself. Check it out.
photo credit: pasukaru76 (out of town)