Clouds and dirt

I recently picked up a copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s latest book, #AskGaryVee. It’s a fun read, with the self-confidence and raw energy you’d expect from Gary. It’s what I call a loo book: the Q&A format makes it easy to pick up and read when you only have 5 minutes.

My favourite takeaway from the book is a concept called the clouds and dirt.

“The clouds are the high-end philosophy and beliefs that are at the heart of everything I am personally and everything I do professionally,” Gary explains. “The dirt is about being a practitioner and executing toward those clouds. It’s the hard work.”

Gary continues: “Most people get stuck in one or the other, getting so bogged down by minutiae or politics they lose sight of the clouds, or so into the clouds they lose the appetite or neglect the skills they need to execute successfully.”

While this applies to leaders running large organisations, I also think this is just as important for independent consultants.

You need to be a great business person and understand how to sell, how to create processes and procedures, and so on. On the other hand, you need to know your craft. You need to be in the trenches, getting your hands dirty.

Here’s how I’m thinking about it:

The clouds are my internal compass. These are my values, morals, and personal philosophies for how I want to live life and run my business.

The clouds are the antithesis to long-term goal setting. Yes, I have things I want to accomplish in the next 6-12 months. But planning too far out is a fool’s errand. Things change. Things that I can’t predict.

The dirt is the here and now. Forget about years, months, and weeks. Focus on today. It’s about eliminating distractions and doing deep work. It’s about having a priority for the day. It’s about execution.

Gary puts it well: “you want to be an equally good architect as you are a mason.”

I’m really enjoying the DailyVee series. A small dose of Gary really pumps me up for the day.