Hierarchical Orientation: You define yourself by your place within a pecking order. You look to others to validate your efforts or calling.
Territorial Orientation: You do the work for its own sake.
Here are some examples of “territory”:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger’s territory is the gym
- Stevie Wonder’s territory is the piano
- a writer’s territory is the word processor or the typewriter.
The question is, therefore, is your creative work orientated towards hierarchy or territory?
Do you really care what people think? Or are you doing the work for its own sake?
Are you chasing validation in the form of money or fame? Or are you seeking to serve the muse (your creative inspiration)? Are you showing up to get better every single day?
Will you show up in your territory to work whether people know it or not?
Or, as Pressfield suggests,
“Ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?”
Territorial vs. Hierarchical Orientation Exercise
- Make a list of the 5-10 creative projects you have worked on in the last week.
- Ask yourself, honestly, was your motivation hierarchical or territorial?
- Put a T or an H next to each project.
Here’s my list from the last few days
- Gospel Meditation on the Third Sunday of Advent Article – T
- The Religion Teacher Membership Weekly Email – T
- Lead us not into temptation! Live Lesson – H
- Evangelization Course Lecture Notes – T
- The Religion Teacher Membership Receipts Email – T
- Immaculate Conception Live Lesson – H
- Growth = Input + Output Article – T
- Nonfiction Author = Teacher Article – T
Here are a few observations based on this exercise:
- None of these creative works were purely one orientation or the other.
- The two H’s stemmed from the fact that I created them quickly and in response to what I knew people would be thinking and talking about right now (vs. days, weeks, and years from now).
- The blog post articles, which have become a daily practice for me, have a goal based on learning not attention. They help me think about how I can grow. That’s the purpose of the post I’m writing right now. If it helps others, great, but I would do this anyway even if no one read it.
- Whether you worry about the stats and analytics could be a good giveaway for H or T. I haven’t checked the traffic stats for the articles or the emails, but I’ve checked the number of views on the live lessons multiple times already.