Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Stops Good Ideas From Happening?

Creating an award-winning, top-ten blog is fairly formulaic.

Step 1: Start the blog
Step 2: Work your tail off

But if the process of creating an amazing blog seems so simple, why don't we all do it?

I have a feeling it's similar to working out. You know how when you first start a new exercise program it feels energizing and rewarding? And then at some point (when we get sick or hit a plateau) we take a little break or stop working out as frequently. Then months go by and we're back where we started, debating whether to buy larger jeans or start a new, more exciting regimen (not that I'm, ahem, speaking from experience or anything).

For example, how many times have you seen (or written) "I know it's been a while since I've posted, but…."

At my previous job, one of the questions we frequently asked ourselves was "what stops good ideas from happening?" We found that starting a project can often feel like a sugar high. Everything is "go go go!" Then something happens (funds run out, life changes) and the sugar low hits. You sink into that valley and instead of rising back up, you back up or switch directions.

I hit the low point with full-time-piddix about six weeks in. Sales just weren't coming in like I had planned and our financial situation was getting a little scary. Then I took a good look at the options: head back to my previous job and see if they had any work for me, or recommit myself to making a go of full-time-crafting. I weighed my options and decided to move forward (and haven't looked back since).

I think the moment when we're first truly tested during a new undertaking--whether it be a business, blog, or new body--is absolutely critical, and where so many of my own projects falter (new jeans, here I come). In part it's the sugar-syndrome of newness. Crafty "Sister Diane" has a great podcast with Scott Belsky, author of Making Ideas Happen. In it they highlight why it's so exciting for creative individuals to start new projects, but equally difficult for them to complete them. Belsky's solutions include increasing focus, making goals public, creating opportunities for feedback, and plain "old-fashioned passion and perspiration."

If you look back at the top of this post, you'll notice I said that starting an award-winning, amazing blog is formulaic. I didn't say it was easy. As one of my favorite sayings goes, "if it was easy, everyone would do it." My own blog definitely does not fit into the top-10 category; nor do I have plans to make it happen. When starting any project, it won't always be easy. You will have ups and downs. There will be failure, as well as success. The trick then becomes how to sustain, how to persevere when roadblocks occur.

Over the next few weeks I'll be checking in with some crafty folks who are in various stages of their own endeavors, asking about their own goals and how they addressed--or plan to address--the critical moments that make or break a project. And of course my sneaky, ulterior motive is that by making their goals public, we can help provide that positive peer pressure and feedback that I think can be so essential for success.

So how about you? Have you ever felt that make-or-break moment? What do you think stops good ideas from happening? And what can we personally do to find and sustain success?


Romeo said...

How interesting that you should post this when at this very moment I sit here at the crossroads. I have been wanting to change directions and go crafting full speed. But what has kept me from doing it? Fear. of. Failure. and the scary old monster "what if". But my current business is not doing well and so perhaps this is a nudge to me, a confirmation of sorts that perhaps it's time for a change. Fate be kind. Please.

Thanks for the dose of reality AND encouragement!


piddix said...

Deborah, I am so tempted to tell you to JUMP! I've read so many "quit your day job" stories and they so often say they wished they did it sooner. But I also know I spent months (if not years) getting ready to do crafting full-time. I saved up almost a year of cushion money and was very, very glad I did. So no advice here, other than to wish you all the best. I'm sure you can do it.