The Chair Test

“Should” or “Must”?

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“ It is our soul that provides us with a kind of inner voice, a moral compass and direction. It is our soul that we hear as this ‘little voice inside’ reminding us that there is more we can become, and it is our soul that suffers when we don’t nourish it by integrating a spiritual component into our lives and striving to give our lives meaning and purpose.”
~ Christa Mackinnon.

When Duke was co-curating DO USA, he got an amazing woman called Elle Luna to do a talk. She spoke about a point in the road where we hit a crossroads called ‘Should or Must.’

Her thesis, which I love, is we have to choose. And, if we choose Must, we are alive when we do the work that we Must do.

In her book, she has a simple exercise where you have two real-life chairs. One is the ‘Should’ chair. And one is the ‘Must’ chair. When you have some important decisions to make, you have to sit down in the ‘Should’ chair and write down what you think you ‘Should’ do. Then, you have to go and sit in the other chair, the ‘Must’ chair and write down what you ‘Must’ do.

It is a simple but powerful tool to help to make decisions and keep you staying true.

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For far too long, the creatives in Radio – air talent, program directors, promotions, copy and production – have only been made to sit in the ‘Should’ chair.

They’ve worked at stations that threw the ‘Must’ chair out, along with a third (or more) of the “creative” staff.

My challenge to the creatives today is to bring it back into your decision-making, starting with the very first decision: Should I keep working for this company in this environment which is crushing my creative spirit?

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