An email about the Shit Shovelling principle

“I’m shovelling shit to remind myself of what I’d be if I wasn’t who I am.”

– Thomas Shelby


No matter how hard you try, there are going to be moments in your life where you feel as if everything is slipping through your fingers.

Schemes will fall apart.

Plans will unexpectedly change.

Your “genius” idea will end up being full of holes.

And you’ll be walloped with an overwhelming feeling of losing control.

The quote above is from a Peaky Blinders episode where everything is blowing up around Tommy.

**His territory in London was raided, attacked, and given back to whom he fought for years to win it from.

**His brother and cousin are both arrested.

**His nemesis in the police force stabs him in the back.

**Yet another attempt his made on his life, and members of his family are threatened.

Par for the course considering his line of work, but we all experience similar problems.

**A long-time client unexpectedly bails on you.

**Your product launch bombs.

**Relationship problems.

**Unexpected bills you don’t have the spare change to cover.

It’s enough to make even the most stoic feel like things are spiralling out of control.

Thing is, you are where you, and you’re experiencing the problems you are because of who you are.

Thomas Shelby faces extortion, beatings, arson, and death threats because he’s a “bloody gangster.”

I deal with overwhelm from tackling too many projects at once, angst over whether or not a piece of copy is good enough, and the rare inability to see the next step.

I can’t speak for you. You and I have different lives, but I imagine we’re painting the same picture with different paint.

Either way, the common denominator is the same: loss of control.

Times like these, I suggest the Shit Shovelling Principle.

Reminding yourself of where you’d be if you aren’t who you are is one hell of a way to wake yourself up and get back to business.

For me, a pertinent reminder would mean going back to sleeping on my parents futon while slinging starbucks or not spending money anything aside from food (no clothes, no fun, and little to no espresso).

Do with this what you will.

As for what’s next:

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_A. Mullan

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