TJJS Ep 3: “Your mess is your mission.”

ep 3 cover

Oh, guys, this is totes ridic amazing. It goes for 90 minutes, and look at all the show notes I had to write to try and capture even a teensy bit of what Pace Smith and I cover from the starting point of “Your mess is your mission.” Plug in and get ready to ROCK YOUR WORLD FOR REALS I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW MUCH VALUE IS IN HERE ALL CAPS IS PROVING INADEQUATE


Show notes

  • “I’ll change the world! But first….”
  • Common “Once I”s
  • Your mess is the thing you know
  • The useful field of intangible work, full of messes.
  • Where’s the concrete? It’s probably different.
  • OR IS IT?
  • Internal mission versus external mission
  • Mission may not be the focal point of the work
  • The meshion!
  • Fricking amazing marketing
  • So human
  • So meaningful, real and painful and awkward and legit and great and oh God
  • “I thought it was just meeeeeeeee…”
  • We’ve now invented Carla the chair-maker
  • Making your mess visible in the work, and/or (preferably and) the story you tell about your work.
  • Knowledge workers and dentists and mid-level admin workers and that guy who is reading the electricity meter
  • Punch the bubble!
  • Is there space for your meshion to shine through in electric meter reading?
  • Soapbox!
  • “There is always room for you to be you in whatever work you do, and I have never seen a job where that is not possible.”
  • A story from Catherine’s old day job
  • The amazing and much-lamented blog, Creating Passionate Users. (We love you, Kathy Sierra.)
  • Where Catherine gets very excited and interrupts Pace. A lot.
  • Book time! (How did it take so long?) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
  • I win!
  • …and then remember we have an audience. Hello, belovedests.
  • How a slot-A-tab-B job can be meaningful and engaging
  • …back to the beginning! Woo!
  • Your mess is where the gold is
  • More books, of course. Brené Brown’s blog about shame, vulnerability and sharing your mess
  • The incredible inspiration of sharing your mess, through whatever it is that you do.
  • Life in the bubble, and why we moved in in the first place
  • “There is nothing more pernicious and caustic than the idea of doing this shit alone.”
  • Getting shoved outside the bubble
  • Pace’s bubble history, with bonus stretching time.
  • All-inclusive bubble = cult.
  • Bubbles are mess helpers, ‘cos your mess is scary as shit.
  • “Raw does not equal vulnerable.”
  • Vulnerability vomit, and how posture makes the difference
  • “That doesn’t mean that you take your mess, and you pick it up, and you plop it down right on the page and you send it.”
  • What are the boundaries of the page?
  • It’s not whether you’re in the middle of it, or whether you’re in control of it, or whether you’re at peace with it
  • Our hesitancy to talk about doing it wrong, because so many people sweep their mess under the rug. We don’t want you to not do it!
  • You find out what works very, very quickly.
  • The word is YLELELELGH
  • “If you’ve never crossed that line, you can probably go a little further.”
  • (Much further. Trust us on this one.)
  • Inch if you wanna!
  • “It feels like everything will go to shit if you mess up, but it’s Not True.”
  • The startling lack of reaction
  • More books – Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath
  • “You’re paying way more attention to you than everyone else is.”
  • Some of your mess is the dead battery kind, but most is just… stuff.
  • (Unless you’re a serial killer.)
  • See the title image at top, featuring my coffee table
  • Apologising for the mess, and the toxic Instagram perfection standards
  • The coffee table is where shit happens!
  • “Mess happens when stuff happens.”
  • The internet publishing revolution – collaborative! instant feedback!
  • Dance Dance Revolution and Rock Band
  • Pristine provides no information, no opportunity for closeness
  • “The blue coffee table is the curse of professionalism.”
  • Your mess is where you are interesting.
  • Ad break!
  • The YLELELELGH and the urge to make yourself look better
  • “Writing from that urge to make some sort of specific impression, that makes the YLELELELGH.”
  • Agendas mess with the authenticity.
  • Enneagrams (with reference to the co-author of The Visual Enneagram), and not wanting to admit who you are
  • Part of Pace’s mess and mission
  • “Your mess is where your attention is.”
  • The instant you learn how to tie your shoes, you stop thinking about it.
  • “Aw fuck, this again? I thought I was done with it.”
  • No urge to take the easy stuff deeper, ‘cos why would you?
  • Without struggle, it’s not interesting. (Back to Flow again.)
  • “Oh great, another fucking opportunity for growth. Hooray.”
  • Spirals versus circles (and the article I wrote about that from a business context).
  • “God help you if you think you’ve mastered something… your joy dies on that day.”
  • Brushing your teeth with the wrong hand
  • “No-one cares about your shoelace-tying ability. Not even you!”
  • “Pick the battles that pick you.”
  • Linear progress is the domain of machines. Sometimes the machine is you.
  • Programming a questing robot
  • (Please don’t critique my programming skills!)
  • Why “Follow your dreams” is a useless thing to say, and “Follow your mess” isn’t.
  • A totally unnecessary recounting of the dream I had last night
  • “Start with the struggle, express it with ease.” aka “Take the things that you’re struggling with, and express them in the ways that you’re good at.”
  • You’re ready, belovedest! You have skills – this is not up for debate – and you have a struggle. If you combine them, you will make something that matters.
  • A story beamed back in time to Past Pace
  • Feel free to start with the surface-level skills, but accept you may not end up there.
  • Start with the skills you feel confident with. “Do what you can do, change when you have to.”
  • Two kinds of struggle at the same time is super hard, and to be avoided when possible.
  • Why you might need The Shoe-Tying Blog
  • “It’s really easy to blame the mess, when it’s actually the skills letting you down.”
  • Arranging your lounge room, and other communication methods you might not have thought of
  • Future Catherine, and your mess as a tool for growth
  • If it matters to you, it matters.
  • Allow your stuff to matter! I will glare at anyone who says different!
  • Dungeons & Dragons, the Nine Hells (I was right!) and the universal oneness
  • “The details are just a vehicle for the universal qualities to ride in.”
  • Damn you, Jesse Pinkman!


My epiphanies

I have gotten much, much better at expecting my inspiration to come not from Somewhere Out There, but instead to lie right in front of me. In the mess.

It’s SUCH a blessing.

Pace wrote a little wee book with “Your mess is your mission” and ten other fabulous truths in it. It’s free, and I recommend it: go and grab one for yourself.

What bells rang for you in this episode? Thoughts to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

  • Karen J

    Ooh, Cath, and Pace! I’ve so-o-o-o been in that damned-close-to Cult Bubble, lately! My mess has been to get more together around my husband ‘s death, and spending every cent he left me, and losing the house, and not having a ‘my space’ to live in… and I love this: “Your mess is where your Life happens”!
    Love and hugs!

    • Catherine Caine

      Wowsers, darling, what a lot of mess you’ve had to play with! Big squishy hugs to you as you navigate that space.

      • Karen J

        Thank you, thank you! My “Messioon” expands and reduces unpredictably – and when I can step back a bit, I can see that it’s really an “Arghhh! You again??” spiral!

  • Karen J

    Just listened to this again – jam-packed with yummy-good insights, hiding in plain sight. Love and Hugs to both of you ~K