Completing and Creating

Written by James Elliott
on March 15, 2019

Seems that we’re here on the planet to learn about and do two things—complete and create. We are responsible for what we have put into motion on all levels, and we must manage the process of what we are putting into motion every moment.

I work with people and organizations about both aspects. Complete means getting control of all those things into which we have invested our attention and commitments. The create part is the proactive process of focusing our energies toward more expanded and positive expressions and outcomes.

Though both aspects are primary, I think a lot of people could use a good bit more emphasis on the complete part. Our cultural personality seems bent on limitless expansion and not necessarily cleaning up after itself. Consider on a macro scale how we’re dealing (or more critically, not) with climate change and our roles in that.

In one of my more sublime enlightenment moments many years ago, I got a message loud and clear that I needn’t be so concerned about “what to do with my life.” I had already created so much that all I had to do was deal with what was present in front of me to the best of my ability, resolving it as quickly and cleanly as possible. The conveyor belt of life would just deliver the next experience in the queue, as soon as I had dispensed with the last one. It’s been good advice.

When I work with people to get closure and completion on all their “stuff” lying around their desk, in their email, and on their mind, without exception I’ve watched significant creative energy burst forth in them. It seems to be a natural state for us, when we clean up the kelp on the keel.

-David Allen


25 %

only 20% of managers believe that their systems for managing commitments across silos, work well all or most of the time

Why Strategy Execution Unravels, HBR - 2015
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