Everyone knows the old line from the real estate business, “Location, location, location!” But did you know it can have a direct impact on your professional success and satisfaction?
I’ve lived just outside Nashville for almost thirty years. It’s been a major center for the music business for decades, but Nashville is now a major hub for mediapreneurs of all stripes.
Publishers, podcasters, bloggers, photographers, authors, agents, designers, marketers, musicians, filmmakers, speakers—you name it, and they’re here. So why aren’t you?
There’s a new book out about the Inklings. It’s called The Fellowship, and it explains how the work of authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and others emerged from their friendship in Oxford. They were far more talented and imaginative together than they were on their own.
That’s true for all of us.
Ideas don’t just come out of the blue. They’re usually the product of conversations. When we’re around the right people, we make better, more useful connections between thoughts and generate new and creative ideas.
Economist Enrico Moretti has studied this for his book, The New Geography of Jobs. “Being around smart people makes us smarter and more innovative,” he says.
“When you are in the business of creating new products, ideas, or technologies, you need to be close to other people who are in your field,” Moretti told an interviewer. You have to follow the action.
Whatever your dream is—publishing, new medicines, software development, artisanal cheese—if you’re serious about pursuing it, there are at least three reasons you need to be willing to call the movers.
- The vibe. We can nurture our creativity by changing our environment. When we’re in an area known for the kind of work we want to do, it gets us in the frame of mind to innovate, explore, and imagine. Can you do that anyplace else? Probably. But it won’t come as easily or as naturally.
The conversations. If you can meet someone for coffee or lunch, the chances you’ll have a meaningful exchange are far greater than a chat by phone or even Skype or Zoom. If you’re in an area with creatives in your field, you’re upping your chances for more meaningful conversations that will help spur your creativity.
The connections. When people congregate, it’s easier to make personal connections. If you live in the right community and you need x, y, or z, but don’t know how to get it done, someone nearby does know. And because you’re all working on similar projects within several dozen square miles, it’s easy to find new people relevant to your work and grow your network.
Actors don’t go to Los Angeles for the climate, though it’s nice. They go because that’s the best place to act. Programmers flock to Silicon Valley, activists to Washington, D.C., and writers and editors to New York and Nashville for the same basic reason.
Getting into the right frame of mind while getting to know a growing number of people who can help you realize your goals—that’s what moving to the right city can do.
Whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, chances are good there are cities that specialize in it. How serious are you? It might be time to call the movers.