I used to work in public relations. I strategized and wrote content that would get our clients coverage on major mainstream media. I knew my stuff and I worked fast. I was good.
One day I was in my boss’s office, and she leveled with me. After about five years of that work, she looked up at me from her chair. “I can’t believe you haven’t burnt out yet. Writing, day-in, day out.” Little did she know.
I was burnt. To a crisp.
One time, I was toasting a very thin pita bread and I took my eyes off it for a little too long. Then I heard the whamp. Fire. In the toaster. It had gone up in flames. I was that pita.
I was so done with that place by the time my tenure there was up. I never wanted to promote someone else’s shinola ever again.
Then an opportunity came my way. As I was writing the proposal to do social media marketing and public relations for this awesome non-profit, I had an epiphany:
It wasn’t the work I was doing that I didn’t like, it was the form in which the work was being done. Who/what I was working for, mattered! Being invited to bring my experience to bear for this new client was a gift! And that opportunity opened me up even further, to the consulting work I do helping entrepreneurs get their communication plans, online presence and social media in order. I mean…I was so excited.
This epiphany was me, effectively, separating the “form” from the “frame.” The context in which I did my work was the frame. You can switch out the frame. The form is what matters. The form is the work. The form is the talent. The form is the instinct, the guts. In my crispy doneness, I had thrown out the entire work, the canvas and the frame.
So, I ask you: Was there ever a time you chose to focus on the frame over the form?
Overlooking the feeling you get when you’re with a guy or gal you really like because he or she isn’t the right make, model, or serial number.
Ruling out an apartment because it’s not in the right neighborhood before considering the feeling you’re going for when you walk into your home.
Making sweeping declarations about what you won’t do anymore for work without considering who you’re doing it for and their level of appreciation for you and your talents and how much that might matter.
How can you focus on the form over the frame?
It’s all about the feeling, the inner game. Remember, the frame is just ornamentation.