Clients and colleagues often ask me how I get things done. Specifically, they’re looking for insight into how I go beyond the idea and brainstorming phase and actually get to the executing and shipping of whatever it is I’m working on.
That question has inspired me to reflect on my own process – how I work, how I organize, how I deal with distraction and fear, how I push the metaphorical send button.
And while I’ve come to realize that I’ve always had strong follow-through skills, in the past several years I’ve mastered a key aspect of shipping, which is this:
Move beyond WHEN THIS, THEN THIS thinking.
If you’re not familiar with “when this, then this” thinking, here’s what it might sound like:
After I take this class, then I can X
After I read all these books, then I’ll be ready to X
After I figure out my brand/philosophy/mission statement/perfect client/ideal audience/core message/logo/you name it, then I’ll be ready to launch X
These may sound like classic procrastination distractions, but they’re more than that. Thoughts like these are rooted in insecurity and fear about taking the leap. They keep us stuck in a holding pattern, or at the very least, seriously delay our getting our messages and gifts out into the world – our websites, our blogs, our books, our passion.
The world can’t wait.
The world needs your messages and gifts now.
So HOW does one move beyond WHEN THIS, THEN THIS thinking?
Here’s what I do:
1. Acknowledge the little voice in me that tries to tell me I have to do X, Y, and Z first
2. Honestly answer this question: Is it 100% true that I have to do these things or could I move forward anyway? (ie: to launch a website, you need to have an IP address, etc.)
3. If my answer is anything but YES to the above question, then I go ahead and do it.
4. Deal with my internal fear monger by reminding myself (frequently) throughout the “doing” that there is no such thing as perfect execution and my work can evolve and change as I learn more things. (In fact, shouldn’t our work be constantly evolving anyway?)
5. Work + Complete + Ship
5. Celebrate the shipping and get excited to tackle whatever’s next.