Helping growing creatives produce their best work through mindset, personal development and productivity tactics.

Why You Should Stop Thinking Long-Term and Do This Instead



This article was inspired from an episode of Invisible Details hosted by two awesome people Cory and Kyle. Fate or not, it was an episode that arrived in a timely manner and really caused a knock on my reality.

We all envision what our future could look like, have probably been asked where do you see yourself in 10 years and have been asked to plan your career. What these advisors and sometimes I’m guilty of this too is they miss a major key for to reach your version of success—short term action.

While having goals and ambition is important, because you want to show you have the drive, what you do each day matters, meaning; what is the next step versus what’s the most relevant step.

Reading Is Easy

Reading business books are great, but be totally honest with yourself and ask “are these books helping me achieve my more immediate goals?”. 

Further more, reading articles on how to achieve success can be a game-changer. Sometimes it just takes a few sentences to work wonders and you’re off cranking a tonne of work. But here’s the thing…

Reading is easy, the real win is putting what you learned into practical, actionable steps.

Importantly, learning skills that will help you immediately achieve the next step in your career should be a no-brainer move. Whether that’s practicing interview questions, learning a new piece of software or getting your body in shape. You can’t nail the first interview without practicing, you can’t expect to be a pro After Effects user by just watching tutorials nor can you have a great body after 10 pushups. 

You want the results? First, what are the necessary steps to get there?

It’s knowing what the appropriate action is and that action means being deliberate

So make decisions based on where you are, not where you want to be.

Cory from Invisible Details podcast mentions: 

Sometimes you have to step back and focus on your short term actions rather than what might happen in the future…

That was an uppercut towards my current lack of appropriate action. 

I’m all for learning, personal development and growing. I knew the decision to learn business strategies, b2b sales and marketing will serve me later in my design life (when I launch a design agency) the problem however…

They just weren’t serving me right now.

Honestly, I’ve had some of the toughest conversations this year. Can you imagine working on your brand for five years and realising you’ve been doing it wrong this whole time? Yep…

Be Intentional With the Subjects You Choose to Learn

The internet is full of perceived success. We see dozens of creatives sharing fantastic work and when we compare our current position with theirs it can go either two ways:

Light a fire under your butt so you get to work or demotivate you and worry that you’ll reach that level then never do anything to improve.  

Settling for the same lifestyle, same routine, same way of thinking is not going to create any meaningful change.  

You do need ambition like I said in the beginning and certainly having aspirations will get you excited to go work on what’s needed. The danger is assuming you are going to get there. 

Lead With Your Version of Success, Not Others

You might have a big goal and from your own research, you trust the experts who are doing what you want to be doing. After all, they’ve been through it all so this must be the what you need to do also.

First problem with that is, the advice is necessary, but may not be necessary for your current reality. 

You might choose to learn a new marketing tactic such as, email marketing (and I’ll use my own example) in which I started the year learning and dive into several articles and courses on how to use specific email newsletter software. No doubt It felt good, it felt like I was progressing. 

I was building skills to add to my arsenal and I knew the benefits of growing an audience using email marketing. Surely this is what I need?

Cory mentions: 

Making decisions for the long-term, you have to be in a place to in the short-term that gives you that ability.

After hearing that as well as having those tough conversations, I realised email marketing wasn’t what I needed to learn right now. 

While email marketing will certainly grow my audience and there’s a heaps of sources that suggest email marketing is alive and kicking, the bottom line—I needed subscribers. I needed clients (who are my target audience for my newsletter) yet I barely had any. More importantly, it wasn’t a skill that would improve my circumstances.  

What is having an email newsletter right now going to help me achieve? The real answer I discovered, was very little. 

Now here’s the crux of this article… 

Take Action Based On Your Reality

Without going into much detail into my personal life, I thought learning business and marketing tactics will propel me to new heights. 

While it has (a little) my circumstances never changed. I will be vulnerable for a bit and admit I used learning to hide from the real problems, from the difficult “adulting” areas of life. I was comfortable going to coffee shops, setting generous deadlines, being productive all while the real problem wasn’t being addressed. 

Sometimes what you want to do, overshadows you need to do. 

Sometimes facing the real problem head on is what will take you the next level.

Sometimes it’s best to ask yourself, what is holding me back from doing the most difficult task? 

To echo what I learned from the podcast…

Avoid looking too far ahead and look at where you are at now.

On top of that, ensure the decisions you make are clearly communicated to the people closest to you. No one wants to be on a ship and not know where they’re going. Inaction, is still action, yet failure, is still growth. 

Three Actions You Can Take Right Now

  • Plan for the long-term, but choose the actions that’s the most immediate, most scary and most relevant to get you to your goal.
  • Focus on the real problem that needs tackling right now. How? Pick the one thing that’s going to help you become a better person. 
  • I love writing. Use whatever method that helps get your thoughts onto something visible so you can make the appropriate choice, for more meaningful results.  


Hey! Thank you so much for reading!

A little side note because this is usually the area of the article where I give an informal-kind-of update. It’s been about two months unbelievably since my last article. Yikes. So whether or not you have been wondering why I haven’t been uploading (I’ve been writing that’s for sure) like I mentioned in the blog post above the last couple of months have been the toughest months of my life, which meant I needed to step away from some of my commitments and uploading weekly articles was one of them.

Going forward, I have no plan on the frequency of articles uploaded here so if you were expecting a swift return, unfortunately I am unable to make that a commitment. I’m always learning and developing my design and writing skills, so no doubt there will be more articles from me. Uploads will be irregular but will always be uploaded on Fridays. 

As always, I appreciate you for reading. Let’s connect on Twitter and Instagram