Tops Down Bottoms Up

Day 177 Week 26 Q2 Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Nope, I do not mean put the roof down on the convertible and tilt my drink upward until consuming the last drop. First of all, it is raining and putting the roof down would not be a good idea. Second, I rarely drink the kinds of stuff people say bottoms up about.

Okay, so what do I mean?

I mean that planning and charting direction works better from the top down, and execution works better from the bottom up.  And since we are always dancing between planning and calibrating and cavorting toward completion, we have to be flexible in which mode we are in so that it is appropriate for the task at hand. 

When you are trying to figure out the next steps, looking from the top down is a refreshing way to get out of the reality of the execution swamp, where everything takes longer than expected because there are more dependencies and hidden aspects than can be seen from above. But when you are actually taking the next steps during execution, the view from the ground level reveals what can not possibly be seen from above.

Conventional employees have this problem less than the view more likely for creative outliers, who have a greater tendency to be self-employed.  If you work in a large firm and are near the top, you need to have the top-down view, and if you work anywhere at all but not for yourself, then you are more likely to see things from the bottom up.

One great pitfall among many visited upon the self-employed creative outlier is the need to rapidly and often frequently change the vantage point where you take perspective readings. This is especially not intuitive, both if you have spent years in management delegating completion to others and were the worker bee with no one reporting to you. Colleagues have told me I helicopter a lot, meaning jumping up and down depending on who I am speaking with, as for most of us, there is a large range of different people we communicate with.

All of this shifting of gears, perspectives and directions consumes a lot of energy. A lot more energy than the normal circumstances most people find themselves in. This means if, as a creative outlier, you intended to or simply found yourself to be self-employed, you will need an extra dose of energy. It is a good thing that one phrase people use to describe creative outliers is gifted and that the gifted are usually regarded as having more. More everything from more opportunities to more discipline and to more energy.

You will need them all as helicoptering is, after all, flying, and you do need to have the energy to achieve escape velocity to get off the ground to experience Tops Down and Bottoms Up.