April 4th, 2015 - Brand

Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard

I’m conflicted.

Does hard work combined with the unprecedented need to be turned on 24/7 kill creativity or demand it?

It’s a big question and one that’s hard for me to answer after a grueling month of tackling new and challenging projects.

But I’m going to try.

Over this past month while I’ve been scaling this mountain of work, I’ve come across some interesting articles and videos that have been tickling the back of my brain. Conflicting messages are bouncing around demanding attention.

One article, Your Late Night Emails Are Hurting Your Team, claims we all need downtime to be creative: Creativity, inspiration, and motivation are your competitive advantage, but they are also depletable resources that need to be recharged.”

While the video Never Quit makes the compelling argument:

“Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft … If you don’t study, if you don’t work really hard, and dedicate yourself to being better every single day, you’ll never be able to communicate with people with your artistry.”

So here’s my hypothesis. To truly excel, to stand out, to be really, really good at your craft, you need to work hard and you need to get tired.

Creativity, like any other natural talents, are ‘table stakes’… they get you in the game. Talent merely sets you up with the ability to become excellent.

Hard work, being tuned in and turned on, works that creative muscle. It stretches it, tones and flexes it, and builds it into a better and stronger muscle. Hard work and determination make you better, more creative, more alive.

But hard work that goes unchecked will eventually begin to kill creativity.

Think of it like an intense physical workout program. Muscle mass cannot be built without appropriate recovery time in between sessions. Hard physical workouts take you to the brink of exhaustion. Then rest helps you recover and allows the body to repair and rebuild making your muscles stronger for the next workout.

Want to excel? Don’t let that creativity muscle get flabby. Work it. Rest it. Repeat.

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Inspired by a little blackcoffee

Some of my favourite moments are spent in search of something beautiful while I drink my first cup of coffee and hear the house wake up. From there I move on to the paper and the news of the day. In this space, I’ll share some of those inspirations.

Now that's some good advice

Articles, snippets, or videos that highlight what to do and what not to do in the always changing world of branding and design. 

By Anita Chaperon @ www.stevenaitchison.co.uk

'Work Hard – Play Hard! The Power of Full Engagement'

OK – we’ve all heard the old adage “Work hard – play hard”.

But what does it mean to you? And do you really know how to?

Imagine if you could get a lot more done at work, a lot better. Imagine if you could really relax every single day. The kind of relaxation that leaves you rearing to go to work the next day. Your ‘batteries’ fully charged. Your brain fully focused…


Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at www.BlackcoffeeStudio.com


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.