That was an intensely hard weekend (stepmom’s memorial). I learned something valuable, though – not working doesn’t help. Making forward progress daily doesn’t need to be filed under ‘addiction’ if it keeps you sane 🙂
Yesterday I built the outline of a slide deck. It’s not entirely finished – it’s 90% scripted; I need to put together slide content and text, then build the actual deck, obv. Still, it’s forward progress. And because I failed pretty quickly with the filming a week and a half ago, I made the turnaround quickly too.
Instead of being scared of failure, fail fast so you can fix it faster!
You likely have a project that really, REALLY isn’t working, but you’ve put so much time into it that you don’t want to give up on any existing work. This is an illustration of the sunk cost fallacy – a psych principal that makes us believe there’s some value into holding on to work that’s bad simply because we spent a lot of time on it. How to get around that really easily?
Hold on to the lesson.
If you’re making something new, whether that means painting a new piece, writing a new song, building a new process within your business, starting a new business entirely – hell, even trying a new way of training your dog! – get attached to the learning, not the intended product. Maybe the painting isn’t going as planned; it doesn’t look exactly like the thing you wanted to capture, but this piece over on the edge has some really cool surrealist qualities that you’d LOVE to explore further. BUT THAT WOULD RUIN YOUR ORIGINAL IDEA!!!
Ruin it. Go ahead – let it go. Go the new direction, because you’re in this for the process, not the product. Besides, if you’re actually that attached to the other thing you were doing, you can start again on a new canvas and do it better this time. You’ll get to the same point faster and without all the nonsense you’re experiencing right now.
Your new business isn’t gaining any traction, and you’ve spent a TON of time in market research and it should be working?
Should isn’t reality.
Right now is the time to take a good, hard look at what is actually going on here. With a buddy, if you’re delusional like the rest of us 😉 Maybe your research was off – or maybe everyone was saying “yeah, that product sounds fabulous, especially if you added ____” (did you listen to them?!?). Maybe your processes need a solid tweak. Maybe you’re trying to copy someone else instead of develop your own voice. Maybe your marketing message is off. Could be that it needs a language tweak, could be that you need to scrap the whole thing and develop a new message.
Whatever the issue, GET EXCITED, because you get to learn!
Learning has to be your north star. The physical bits of your business don’t actually matter – what matters is that you commit to the process, which means committing to your growth as a business owner. That project you can’t let go of? The one that’s keeping you from growing?
That’s your ego.
And it will keep you stuck until you release it. Right now, I could choose to be in a place of “I shot video for over an hour and struggled to figure out the import and did a ton of prep for it so I HAVE to use it!” Or I could look at the video, realize I didn’t do what I set out to do (namely, I’m not concise when I just wing it – something I know about myself, for fuck’s sake!), and decide that I may find some useable content in there but I need a better approach.
This right here is the ‘test’ phase anyway, and that’s a great concept for the start of your business. You’re in ‘test mode.’ This means that none of this matters except for what you learn from it.
The trick here is to stay in ‘test mode’ throughout the life of your business, at least in certain areas. If you can keep yourself here, you’ll avoid some cognitive entrenchment (read Epstein’s Range for more on that). You’ll also have more fun, because ‘test mode’ is all about playing with things so you can find out what works. It’ll put your ego on the back burner, because this isn’t serious – you’re just trying things, so it doesn’t need to be attached to outcome.