Have you ever taken on a big project or a new creative endeavor and, after hours, days, weeks of working, you think you’re finished? And then someone offers you a suggestion to make it even better?
Do you settle for “good enough” or do you step back, take a breath and say, YES, I want it to be Great!
As you may know, for the past few months I’ve been working on creating a brand new Video Tutorial program for my Mac training clients. Anytime I begin a new project, I think I am just working on the project. But somewhere along the way I realize it is much more than just the thing I am creating.
This latest endeavor has been like an intense hike through familiar, yet foreign terrain, giant boulders appeared in my path and, for a while I lost sight of the destination and just had to stop.
But with the help of my coach, my friends and some great tech support, I am proud and happy and delighted to announce that the first series is now available! And it’s FREE! Even if you don’t have a Mac, you might want to check it out. Just click on this link to sign up and try them.
Here are the 10 steps that kept me moving from that first brainstorm of an idea to its brilliant completion.
1: GET EXCITED ABOUT THE IDEA
You will need to tap into this excitement and inspiration throughout the process, especially when you are feeling frustrated or stuck. Draw your idea, write about it, post these notes where you can see them to keep you excited, focused and motivated.
Anytime I was stuck in the frustration of a particular step, I remembered the WHY of what I was doing, and it kept me wanting to work through it.
2: PLAN! TO AVOID OVERWHELM
Any new endeavor, at first, seems like it is simply about the end product. Sure, you have an idea of the basic steps you’ll need to do. But as you get further along, problems come up, spirits go down. Without a constantly evolving plan, overwhelm is bound to stop you in your tracks.
When I first got the idea to do the training videos, it seemed pretty straightforward. I had to record the videos and find out how to upload them to my website. I had no idea that I would also have to learn about editing, conversions, compressions, video hosts, feed-burners.
Several times I hit a wall, overwhelmed with everything I didn’t know and had to do.
When I was able to step back and break things down into smaller, more manageable tasks, I was able to move forward, one next step at a time.
3. CELEBRATE EACH SMALL ACCOMPLISHMENT
Every time I finished a task, I did a little happy dance. I celebrated the achievement. I called a friend and shared my success. This kept me focused on the bigger picture, kept me excited about the project, and it honored all the work I had done so far.
If we wait until we’re all done, we’ll never celebrate, because there’s always something next to do….
4: STRIVE FOR SOMETHING BETWEEN GOOD ENOUGH AND PERFECTION
The first time you do anything new, it’s not going to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be. In fact, it CAN’T be. If you wait for perfection, you’ll never get to the next step.
When I initially recorded the first video, it was full of stops and stumbles-not very professional at all. I re-did it many times, until I had a version that was “pretty good.” And then I moved on. For my own sanity, I had to move on to the next step, and then the next, to see how the whole process worked.
Once I had the whole production process down, I was willing and able to go back and re-record that first video until it was professional and polished and pretty near perfect.
5: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Even with a good plan, unexpected things happen. In the midst of recording my videos, my computer’s video board went out (does anyone else see the irony here?) and I had to buy a new computer. It was certainly an unexpected and expensive challenge for me. But I also knew that, in order to move forward with the bigger picture of the project, I had to make the investment. And of course, because the new computer is faster, it handles all of the video work so much better.
6: PREPARE TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE
Doing anything new is bound to take us to our best selves, and also to our most uncomfortable places. Old doubts, insecurities and patterns are sure to poke us. How we deal with them is the challenge.
Acknowledge that you are charting new territory. Be patient and gentle with yourself and continue to celebrate each little step you are taking.
7: TAKE A BREAK
Big things take time. Stepping away from a project gives us perspective, distraction, breathing room. When we come back to it, we are less stressed, and often, we can see a new way to approach what had us stuck.
8: ASK FOR HELP
Whenever we take on something knew, we are knowingly moving into the unknown. Some things we can figure out for ourselves, but if it’s causing you sleepless nights or knocking the wind out of your sails, ASK for help.
I tend to be a do-it-herself-er. I pride myself in being able to figure things out. But a lot of this video stuff was beyond even my ability to figure it out. I got crabby, frustrated. And more crabby. When I was finally willing to ask for help, I didn’t even know who to ask. So I just kept saying I NEED HELP. And eventually I found the tech support I needed to move me to the next step.
9: GET FEEDBACK
What may seem clear and simple and wonderful to you may be completely confusing for others. Ask some selected people for feedback. Be specific about what kind of information you need them to tell you. Be prepared for people to not like something. Stay open to constructive criticisms, suggestions, input. Remember, you want this to be an amazing product for others.
10. BE WILLING TO TAKE IT FROM GOOD TO GREAT
It’s tempting to sit back and say, “This is mighty good.” But then, when your ego is feeling secure enough, dare to ask yourself, “How can I incorporate that feedback and make this even better? How can it be Great?”
Then step back, take a breath and do the work that will take that original brainstorm of an idea to sheer brilliance.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. To share, click on Comments and a box will appear.