The One Right Way

The One Right Way is something everyone—even me—seeks. Let's look at a story about this idea: back in college 20 years ago, I tutored fellow students in AutoCAD. That's computer-aided design (or drafting).

When I was 18 I walked into an engineering office that had posted a job for a CAD operator.

"I don't know anything about CAD or engineering," I told them. "But I'm a fast learner. Let me come in for a day. If you like what I do, you let me stay. If you don't, tell me to go away and I will."

They took me up on that offer. At the end of the day, the owner told me to come back tomorrow. At the end of the week, I got a paycheck.

Over the summer they hired a bunch of people to help archive a military base...converting the drawings from paper to electronic. Come Fall, they let everyone else go and I was the only one left.

autocad drawing one right way great western king

So by the time I was 20 I had some experience to share. Here's what I found, and you can use it to understand people's behavior:

People want to be told The One Right Way to do something.

The One Right Way Is What Your Client Wants

Now with AutoCAD there are at least a good half-dozen ways to accomplish a task. You want to put a circle on the end of a specifically long line? Depending on the elements around it, you could crop, lengthen, mirror, and do a bunch of other things to make that happen at the right spot.

But people do not want to have that level of creativity. They don't want those options. They want The One Right Way.

I found tutoring initially quite frustrating because of this idea.

I'd have say three or four ways of doing something, but the person wouldn't want to hear about them.

"Just show me how to do it," they'd tell me.

So I would. I'd limit myself and show them just a single way to do the thing.

In your world, as a marketer perhaps, you probably know a good half-dozen ways to do what the client wants done. But the client doesn't want to hear all of those options.

You know why?

Having all those possibilities brings LESS confidence to them.

MORE uncertainty.

They have to try and think about all those ways it could be done...try to figure each one of them out.

And that's overwhelming.

But if you show them just ONE way of doing the thing, that gives them the certaintly they secretly seek.

This is why giving prospective clients only one or two options to choose from is most effective.

Clients don't want skill. They think they do, but they don't. What they're really looking for is certainty. So know what you know. Come up with all the options on your own. But choose a single way to present to them, and give them The One Right Way.


Creativity In Your Life

Last week I got a drawing tablet.

It's kind of amusing, because I later discovered I could do quite well with my finger and a touchscreen tablet, but that's not what is most important.

They key outcome is getting this drawing tablet got me being creative again.

creativity in your life with drawing tablet

Creativity doesn't have to be expensive. This drawing tablet is under $50

In the business world it's easy to compartmentalize people into boxes: they do this one thing, and that's all you know them for.

Over the past several months I've been writing children's fiction for a colleague's comic series. Some people heard about this and were astonished. What, wait? Jason's a copywriter: how could he write fiction??

Truth is I've written over 50 short stories. In my high school I won an award for being most likely to succeed as a writer. I've been writing all my life.

Are You Blocking Creativity In Your Life?

Painting, though...I always knew I could do it. Picked up watercolors in my early 20s. That would be back in the 90s. When I sketch, I'm not great...my style is more a cartographer, slow and careful. I can emulate well: give me an album cover and I can draw the person on it recognizably well.

Painting people with watercolors is a mismatch. Watercolor is an unforgiving medium and it can be difficult to convey detail. You can't really layer. Putting two wet paints next to each other results in unattractive muddiness. But I didn't want to invest in oils or acrylics—watercolors is what I had handy, and so I stuck with it.

Funny thing, although I had the tools suitable for painting landscapes, I simply wasn't drawn to that subject.

creativity in your life with drawing tablet mountain

My first sketch with the new drawing tablet and app

At the end of 2001 I decided to stop training martial arts and begin concentrating on my political career. That decision also spelled what until now I thought was the death knell of my painting activities. I never had the time after that: setup, clean up, the effort of painting, struggling with the canvass...no thank you. Not to mention the challenge of choosing a subject. Of course, this was an illusion—I just would rather have been doing something else.

I had some great experiences leading committees of council in the City of North Vancouver, and running in two elections. That allowed me a creativity of a sort, for I was leading groups of intelligent and passionate people, mostly from the social worker field and some from business and real estate development. I learned a lot. How to initiate an idea and get support for it before you've started, especially.

Sticking To One Creativity Outlet Only Can Burn You Out

During the early to mid-2000s I continued to write. I'd crank out a story a season. Into 2006 and 2007 I found I could write "funny"; a lot of front page comedy articles on a parody site of Wikipedia are mine.

But after I moved to the US, creative expression of these types ground to a halt. I have an H.P. Lovecraft-style story that has sat in development hell, half completed, for five years. The only kind of creativity I applied was in my business. Marketing, copywriting, designing offers, creating websites.

And that, by itself, tired me out.

Creating solely in business is like using the same tool over and over and over again...and I live my business. So here I am with this one tool, I'm competent with it, and I've been using it every darn day for YEARS.


A few months back I bought some animation software. Animation, if you haven't experienced working with it, is tedious. I have a tremendous respect for animators now because it's a lot more than just drawing. I've done a couple little test projects, enough to know I can do it, but have let that sit as well.

creativity in your life with drawing tablet midnight expression

Four days plus all those long-gone years of experience in, with the Fresh Paint app. And my finger.

Feeding into the animation software idea comes the drawing tablet.

I have an idea for an intro video for a domain...one of many sitting around in my "that sounds neat" stockpile.

And now I can draw the elements to go into the animation.

Reigniting Creativity In Your Life

Here's why I'm writing this post and telling you about my experience:

Getting this tablet has sparked my creativity. And not just in an artsy way—in business as well. It's permeated into my entire life. I feel reinvigorated. That's exciting!

While I remember "not having the time" to paint with watercolors, there's no excuse like that here. The tablet works immediately. There is no prep. No cleanup, either.

I've found a couple very good apps to sketch and paint with.

And I've been magically "finding" time to paint every night.

The subject I didn't use in my previous artistic life, landscapes, has come front and center.


A couple nights in, after getting used to an app's tools

The energy is back! The excitement is back! The creativity is back.

So I have a question for you:

What creative activity have you been ignoring, putting off, making excuses about...that you could bring back into your life?

Because I can tell you, it has a huge spillover effect.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist focusing on new market development and conversion. He is currently busy fingerpainting on a touchscreen tablet, so please forgive any delays in response. <<