The Clouds and Dirt of Gaming

One of the more down to earth entrepreneurs I follow is Gary Vaynerchuk aka Garyvee. He started his career with a wine website and now makes a living off his personal brand of speaking and consulting in the creative & business space. His brash, honest, in-your-face style leads to an authenticity that permeates his work. I follow his Instagram and Twitter as a motivational boost and a constant reminder of the kind of energy and motivation I need to bring to my work.

One concept Gary has spoken about is Clouds and Dirt. Basically the idea that to be successful at anything in life, you have to be both up in the clouds and down in the dirt at the same time. What Gary means by this is that your mind, thoughts, and dreams of the future need to be lofty - up in the clouds so to speak - while your actions and daily work needs to be down in the dirt, sleeves rolled up. You can have the greatest ideas in the world but if you're not putting in the work, you'll never reach your max potential.

For the outsider that looks at LAN Mob it seems like a very easy business, but there is a lot of work behind the scenes to keep us moving along. The idea of clouds and dirt helps drive my daily work here, be it planning or running an event, to scrubbing toilets and mopping floors, to the 70+ hour work weeks I've been operating on for a few years now. I see the future of where I want to be in one, three and five years and never lose sight of that dream.

Streaming - Clouds & Dirt

Streaming is another great example of clouds & dirt in action. So many people want to be a successful streamer, YouTuber, or pro gamer, but very few of them are putting in the consistent work that it takes. It can be a grind very much like any job to truly make it in this space, but there are a few out there locally that I see are making a consistent effort at it.

Esports - Clouds & Dirt

I'm inspired by the Rome Revolution teams that show up every week for practice, but more so the in-between when I check Discord on an off night and find the group putting in extra games. The wins feel great for the organization, from Zehn Masters to Clash Beta to seeing Kolunas being selected for the AGA national in Las Vegas.

Read the full article about Thomas heading to Las Vegas by clicking here

We all have those few hours of our life every night after our work, family, and social obligations are met. If we're unhappy with our lives in some way, how we spend that leisure time can have the greatest impact on our future trajectory. It's both possible to work too hard and burn ourselves out, and at the other end of the spectrum waste all that time on leisure and self indulgence and find ourselves stuck.

Playing games by its nature usually falls under leisure, but the growing field of esports has brought gaming forward as a viable pursuit with legitimate careers and futures available to those who pursue it. The "dirt" here is the hours of practice we pour in and the hard work of keeping and maintaining a healthy team atmosphere. It's not always an easy thing to do pulling together for a team meeting around multiple work and family schedules where we talk through our issues and plan for the future.

Then there is finding that balance in our play - when are we having fun, and when are we trying hard. Even here you'll find polar opposites between those that approach their play in a 100% competitive-improving attitude, and those that say the game should remain a game and not ever be held in a competitive light. The former approach is likely to lead to some burnout, and the latter is somewhat dismissive of the entire field of esports as being viable. The truth for the person on an esports path is finding a middle road as the healthy way forward. Work to improve and keep it serious, but always take some time out to enjoy the game in a social way and remember the love of the game that drove you there.

Aug & Matt taking top two in our Black Friday night Fortnite event

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  1. Well written post! In your opinion, how does one actually find that middle road? It's easy to say, but in my experience it's difficult to achieve. Anything less than all in isn't enough, and going all in can take away from that primal love of the game and paint it in a murkier light.

  2. Finding ways to keep the game fun is probably the best way to avoid burnout. For our League team I encourage ARAMS and URF as a way to blow off some steam or have fun with teammates. Take off nights where you focus on other games or pursuits. Your "enough" needs to be the most you can put in without burning yourself out. If it starts to feel murky, take note of the parts of the game that bring you joy and the parts that bring you down. You can take steps to maximize the joyful parts (like encouraging positive comms leading by example) and minimize the stressors (mute at the first sign of negativity).