Time | Team | Tools & Reality

Best Laid Plans

Exodus-Moses-Parts-The-Red-SeaWhen it comes to any project planning, recognizing your limitations is key to accomplishing realistic expectations. We all have pie in the sky ideas for what our incredibly amazing, life/world changing project is going to be and all the phenomenal success we will have as a result. None of this will come to pass unless you give some real thought to the actual time it will take to accomplish the project goals, the team you will need to make it all happen in a seamless way with all the tools right at your fingertips. In an ideal world, everything flows and blends together. The Red Sea parts and the world is your oyster.

 

This. Is. Not. That.

 

The Reality

Yellow Sea Horse in Aquarium

Our pie in the sky vision is exactly that without hardcore tough love decision making. I’ve been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants gal my whole life. And for the most part, it has worked out pretty well so far. There were big opportunities I missed out on because long-term planning wasn’t “my thing”. Sure, it’s easy to dream. It’s easy to set your sites on a goal. How to get there? You can probably eyeball that, too. How to get there exactly as your ideal vision has pictured? Well, that’s a horse of an entirely different color….or type.

The Cold Hard Truth

When it comes to actually seeing your vision become reality you’re going to have to face some cold, hard truths. Your ideal plan is not going to happen with a team of one. You will need a team in order to fill in the gaps in your knowledge and expertise. Or even to just do the tasking that is required, but perhaps does not require your specific time and talents to accomplish. Hire outside of yourself. On a shoestring budget? Consider a trade of in-kind services. We all have special skills that are valuable to someone else and vice versa. Still not able to find someone? Then consider hiring small. In a perfect world, you would have the financial ability to hire your ideal person full time. What about for just a few hours per week or month? Get that ideal person at the front gate. Let them get to know you and your business. By the time you are ready to bring them to full-time they will already know the ins and outs of your business. They’ll be ready to dive into the deeper aspects of your projects.

Plain wooden block truck child's toyNot ready to bring anyone else on board? Is a team of one your motto and words you live by? Then it’s time to get out the red pen to your project. What can you do realistically each and every day? Be tough and honest with yourself. Pare down your project down to its very basics. We’re talking the framework of a car without all the bells and whistles. A plain, standard model to get you from point a to point b. Does it have an engine and wheels that work? Then that is all you need to get started.

 

Chin up

It’s easy to get discouraged at this stage. You know the ideal way you want this idea to come to fruition. Taking the Ferrari in your mind down to the Ford Truck is hard. Here’s what I want you to remember, getting started is more important than holding on to the ideal version of your project and not getting started at all. Keep those little pared down darlings close by. As your project continues to develop there may be opportunities for them to be brought back into the plan. Some of them will make a comeback and others will not. Timing and the growth of your project will indicate when if their time has come. Some never will. Others will turn into Phase 2, 3, or 4 additions.

 

The Lessons Learned…….The Hard Way

I share these tips with you because of my own epic pie-in-the-sky planning failure(s). Most recently, I planned a repeat of something I did a few years back: Three different daily podcasts for National Podcast Post Month in November aka NaPodPoMo (30 podcasts in 30 days).

I was able to accomplish this originally in 2015. I recorded three shows a day for a total of 90 shows in the month of November. When I tried to reattempt this in 2017 as part of the 10 year anniversary of National Podcast Post Month, I failed miserably. Why? I set unrealistic expectations on the time I had available, the team who would help me accomplish this goal (me) and the tools I would use to make it all happen (1 live show and 2 shows prerecorded with post-production edits).

So, why was it I was able to accomplish this so easily in 2015 and yet stumble through the entire month in 2017? It all comes down to Time, Team & Tools.

Back in 2015, I was just coming back into the world after a health scare with my youngest son. NaPodPoMo was what I needed to get out of the medical brain fog that had been the previous months of my life. Plus, in 2015 all three shows were done live. Recording time was all I needed which made keeping the three times daily podcast sessions easy to keep up with. Due to months of being out of the loop, my workload was almost non-existent. I was just in the process of on-boarding a repeat client. Which meant my attention wasn’t split in too many directions. I had a simple calendar and it was easy to keep track of everything.

You can talk sense to a fool and he will call you foolish - Euripides quote

Fast-forward to 2017 and I had several client projects, am teaching courses each month to students while also taking a few courses myself. Out of the three podcasts, I scheduled for NaPodPoMo, only one was live. That single podcast is the only one which accomplished the goal of 30 podcasts in 30 days. When push comes to shove things fell into the cracks. I was so in love with the idea of doing three shows for the 10 year anniversary, I refused to see that the reality was there was never going to be an opportunity at success given that I did not plan for any deviation to my vision. I also did not bring in support to help with the prerecorded shows. This was the fatal flaw to my perfectly laid out plan. I should have known that I would become the bottleneck to success. Yet, I persisted with the idea that I could do it all.

The Rub

You would think I would have gotten wiser by this experience……I have and I haven’t. I had a 2018 planning session with my business coach to lay out the course of my business. I narrowed my focus down to three main pieces, which is quite a feat considering how much Shiny Object Syndrome plays out in my life. I had pushed back one of “my darlings” to later in the year instead of creating a big bang launch in January. This made complete sense in the overall planning. Yet, I realize I still need to thin the herd a bit. In order to be successful at some, I will sacrifice others. These are sound decisions. They make black and white sense. Here’s the rub, the things I am sacrificing are my own personal growth and pet business projects. Zen stones being knocked over by black ocean waves

As a mother, this is nothing new. You always sacrifice what you might need or want for the greater good of your family. It’s just what you do. We can always wait until later when it’s a better time…..or……

The logical part of myself says, “Grow up, there will always be time to get these things done later. Take care of these other things because it will help you in the long run.” <-This grown up is not wrong. Yet, I can look back and see the many times I was on the precipice of something truly amazing and the reality of life forced me to reconsider the bigger picture. Some things absolutely needed me to stop, drop, and roll for something or someone who had needs greater than my own. But not all. There were several I have a very strong feeling would have changed the whole direction of my life. There is a definite feeling of “Rinse and Repeat” present. A deja vu of opportunities slipping away…..again.

Silver Linings

This is not a tale of doom and gloom. Not by a long shot. My life is my own. I work with clients I like on projects I enjoy and on a mission I believe in. My motto which can be found on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn et al.. is “Living the Dream” and I am no matter what you’ve read above. Just because I am living a life of my choice doesn’t mean I’m still not challenged. I’m still growing and learning and yes, also still compromising along the way.

yellow and white paper origami ship on waterThe silver lining is that I am in charge of this speedboat. Sometimes my plans will have to be docked or perhaps I trade in that speedboat for a leisurely ride on a pleasure cruiser or ocean liner. Slow to maneuver, but they will eventually get to their destination.

At the end of the day when I look at 2018 or any year for that matter, I see an ocean of possibilities which are ripe with opportunity. It’s up to me to chart my course in whatever mode of transport fits the situation to see success in all its forms as they manifest themselves on the journey.

January 2010: You Are Still You

 

“Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get things right” ~Oprah Winfrey


With a new year comes the feeling of a fresh start. Which seems especially exciting if the previous year was less than stellar. I know some folks who could not wait to shake off 2009 like unwanted mud on the bottom of their shoes. Others were sad to see it go, but looking forward to what 2010 has in store. You can count me in with the latter group.

 

Good in = Good out

Regardless of which group we fit into, we still look at a new year as a chance to “get things right”. I refuse to look at 2010 as a way to fix real or perceived wrongs. I prefer to look at the glass half-full and tend not waste time worrying about things I cannot change.  It seems to me that we as humans are bound to do things that work well for us as well as things that do not work out well. The best thing we can do is applaud our successes and make a concerted effort to modify the behavior and decision making that was not successful.

Seems simple enough, right?

Do more of the things that are good for us and less of the things that are not good for us. By doing those two simple things our life should be golden. Sure, except for the fact that we are human and not robotic in nature. There will be circumstances good and not so good that will affect our decision making. Which over the long haul will once again result in some folks shaking off 2010 and looking forward to 2011 and so on.

So what is a human to do?

To begin with recognizing that we are human and will make good and bad decisions is key. Just because the calendar has changed doesn’t necessarily mean that our world has changed. We still live in the same place. We still have the same friends and business associates. We still have the same food in the fridge. Our health and physical fitness levels are still the same at 12:01am on January 1, 2010 they were at 11:59 on December 31, 2009.

 

Hope springs eternal

Let me reassure you this is not a doom and gloom post. Quite the contrary, this is a post of hope. Here are a few things that can help make far-fetched resolutions and goals obtainable:

•  First of all, be kind to yourself. The list of resolutions and goals you have made are wonderful. In a perfect world we would all be able to check them off in a manner so efficiently we would be the envy of everyone we know. In our imperfect world we’ll be lucky if our resolutions last through the month.

•  Second figure out what exactly constitutes success for you. Sure we all want to loose weight, but we could modify this by instead stating, “I will walk for 30 minutes 3 days a week and eat salad for lunch 2 times a week.” Stating this as a goal seems more manageable and certainly healthier for us in the long run.

Walking for a few days a week and a slight modification in a couple of meals doesn’t seem like a huge change, but I will bet that after 30 days of doing this you’ll feel a difference. Maybe not in pounds lost, but in energy gained. Plus isn’t a fitter more energetic version of ourselves something we would all like to see?

•  Third, take people on your journey with you. It may be a surprise to you that there are other folks who also want to lose weight or become more organized or ______________ (insert your goal here). Making a change with others is like having a helping hand. Being part of a group dynamic means that not only are we in this together but we have one another to lean on when the going gets difficult. We can rejoice in the success and encourage one another through the challenges.

 

Slow and steady wins the race” – Tortoise from The Tortoise and the Hare


One Step At A Time

My goals for this year revolve around organization, fitness, faith and family. The fastest road to failure would be for me make an extreme change and attack these goals all at once. Since I have always been a fan of the Tortoise method of thought, I have opted to slowly add the steps that will help me accomplish goals. By making small changes that will over the course of time lead me to make a lasting change.

I would love to hear the things you have done successfully or maybe not so successfully.  What are some of the small steps you are taking to make those resolutions turn into a lasting change?


image by Milo Winter