mwotw momentum is messy

Momentum is Messy

My mentor Donald Miller has a new book out this month.

It’s called “How to Grow your Small Business.”

I’ve started reading it, and so far it seems pretty smart. 

It packages up the tools and frameworks he says he wishes he had 8 years ago, when he first tried to “professionalize his operation.” 

The StoryBrand marketing framework that I use to power all my website writing is included in the book. 

There’s also a bunch of other, nearly-as-brilliant (it’s a high bar) frameworks for leadership, sales, product development, cash flow management, etc. 

In a beautiful use of metaphor, the six frameworks he writes about all come together as a “flight plan” to power the “airplane” that is your business.

Follow his plan, and you can avoid the crash (failure) that plagues most small businesses within their first 5 years.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been following Don for several years now, and his path to this book has been a little messy.

In public.

If this book is your first exposure to his work, it’s coherent and clear.

But if you’ve been following along for a while, you can see that all the other books he’s written and many of the courses he’s launched over the past few years were necessary learning steps along the way for him to get this clear and concise. 

I don’t see this as a problem.

Rather, I see it as a brave and beautiful example of a person really committed to the creative process.

We learn by doing.

We learn by shipping work.

We learn by stepping into the arena and letting our experiences there shape what we can see and do next.

In the words of Jon Acuff, another author I admire, “Momentum is Messy.”* 

Don didn’t sit around waiting to write another business book until he had it all nailed down. 

He wrote book after book after book and let himself find his way to new insights along the way.

And he’s not apologizing for it, either.

Those other books are still good, still worth reading, still worthwhile.

I’ve been trying to remind myself of the value of movement in my own creative work lately.

Dead-ends do not equal failure.

Detours are not a waste of time. 

Learning is never linear. 

Momentum is messy.

Let’s go.

Vroom vroom,


PS – I made a little list of all the books I mentioned here (and more of my business favorites!) on, a B Corp that supports independent bookstores. Check it out! (Transparency note: I’ll get a tiny commission of some kind if you order a book from that list.)

PPS – If “How to Grow Your Small Business” sounds like something you want to read this month, I’m here for you. I’ll send free copies (US only) to the first 5 people who ask. (If you’re living elsewhere in the world, I can see about buying you an ebook, let’s talk.) Just hit reply and include your mailing address. Seriously, no strings attached  — except you gotta promise to actually read it.

*“Momentum is Messy” comes from the book Soundtracks by Jon Acuff. I highly recommend the audiobook if you’re ready to change the voices playing on repeat in your head…It’s funny and accessible and very smart.

This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

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