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‘Til Someone Tells You to Stop

There’s something I can’t get out of my head that came up during the video shoot for our Redbook Pitch Slam 1-on-1: We’d concluded the planned portion of our taping with would-be Redbook contributors and editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison, and dismantled the camera setup that had eaten up her office real estate for the preceding two hours. The pitchers had taken their leave and myself, our assistant editor Noah, and our freelance videographer Kelly were swapping impressions of how things went. Then, seemingly out of the blue, Kelly picked her camera back up and began roaming Redbook‘s halls, shooting. My first thought was, “We didn’t request permission to shoot this — this girl is going to get us bounced right out of Hearst Tower.”

Calm and cool, Kelly strode amid the cubicles shooting B-roll. I watched her make her way around, a leisurely 10 minutes of capturing people in their workspace, and when it was all said and done, there’d been nary a repercussion. When I asked her what prompted her conspicuously slow turn around Redbook‘s virtually silent space, she responded simply, “I just keep going until someone tells me to stop.”
The reason I’m stuck on this idea? Its larger implications for how one approaches his or her work — without a preset notion of what’s ok and what isn’t. What if you just kept going with what you were doing until someone told you to stop? How much broader and deeper could you go in your efforts without the nay-saying and fixation on parameters that, more often that not, curtails your best efforts? How might that help you ask the tough interview questions, write a razor-sharp lede, or prevail through persistence to score your next big assignment?
I can imagine how things might change by adopting this approach: Solutions driven by the best possible ideas I can come up with or integrate from those around me. Outperforming the notions I have of what can be done. Proceeding along all the new avenues I can envision to discover fuller, better answers to questions I strive to answer through the stories I develop. How will all this take shape? Not exactly sure yet — and that’s the point. I plan to keep going with it ’til someone tells me to stop.

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