The effort is the point

When I was working with an executive assistant, one of their tasks was scheduling meetings with my clients. I considered having them schedule meetings with my friends too, and that never felt right for me. 

Sometimes, scheduling is just about meeting to discuss business, which is where tools such as Calendly or SavvyCal or Vimcal work. 

Other times, scheduling is more about making time. It’s very personal. I’m making an effort to spend time with you, will you do the same with me? I’m willing to go through the inconveniences of going through my calendar, assessing priorities, and waiting to hear back from you, are you willing to do the same with me? 

When it works out—and it doesn’t always work out—the reward is great. It’s not just about the synchronous time spent together, but also the validation of feeling seen. 

The effort is what matters. I could tell you a story that makes it seem like I put in effort. But if and when you find out I lied, you would feel at least a little betrayed, and I would lose your trust.

The effort is the point. It wouldn’t feel the same if my assistant remembered your birthday and sent you flowers on my behalf, compared to if I went to the flower shop, personally picked it up and delivered it, and so on.

It’s the same with conducting research. You gave some work your attention, and now you are giving it to me, so if I like it then it reflects well on you and I like your taste. It means less if it came from a ghostwriter and an AI, and even less if I feel like you didn’t edit it closely.

I’ve often written about how the process is more important than the outcome. Effort also matters to other people—sometimes, even more than the results do.

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