I first heard about the concept of shipping from author, blogger, and entrepreneur Seth Godin. In a guest post at the blog Zen Habits, he writes about what it means to “ship:”
Ship as in get it out the door. Ship as in make a difference at work. Ship as in contribute your art and vision and expertise and passion to the project you’re working on.
If my life had a theme-of-the-week, this week it would be shipping.
Because this week I’m sharing the project I’ve been developing for the past few months with the world. I’m taking something I’ve spent countless hours creating in my safe little office, with the help of my Apple computer, Jill Bliss-designed notebook, and black Pilot Razor Point extra fine pen, and putting it out there for all to see, consider (or not), and decide whether or not what I’ve created has value to them.
As Seth Godin said on his blog:
Shipping is fraught with risk and danger. Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you’re exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself.
I’m feeling that risk, even though I’ve shipped plenty before. In fact, each time I write a book or article and send it to my editor or publisher, I’m shipping. But that, somehow, feels safer. That has the legitimacy of a publisher or a magazine behind it, someone who said ‘we value what you have to say and want to hear you say it.’ This? This feels different. This is just me and my idea and no guarantees.
But the key to shipping is to focus on the shipping itself – the launch, the share, the creating – not the outcome.
Because the moment the focus shifts to how something is going to be received or what the result will be, resistance kicks in. Resistance so strong it can prevent you from shipping in the first place.
So, here I go…shipping my new class – a 6-month small-group program for writers who want to traditionally publish their first nonfiction book.
And yes, it’s a little scary.
But it’s also more than a little exciting. In creating this class, I’ve been in the flow for the past few months, and I’m keenly aware that being the flow is where it’s at — not being attached to the outcome or feeling like my efforts will only be successful if others validate them.
Like Seth said…shipping is fraught with risk and danger. But it’s mostly about making a difference and sharing your vision and passion. And that’s worth the trade-off any day.