|Look, a turtle! Also, my booty.|
I brought my laptop with every intention of working on the draft while I was out there starting with using the uninterrupted time on the flight.
Long story short, I fell asleep on the flight over and was completely out for nearly 5 hours.
This never happens.
When I arrived, the warm balmy air enveloped me and I found all my productive fantasies evaporate. I just let it be.
Deadline, shmedline. This girl needed to rest. Come to think of it, you probably do as well.
As a little Thanksgiving gift, here is a section that I think everyone will find useful (whether you read the finished book or not--which I hope you will).
Assemble your team
Even if it feels like your goal is something you are working on alone, you will need help. Think of these helpful people as your team—the ones you will go to for training, advice, guidance, support (mental, emotional and physical) and feedback.
Anyone who is on your team will understand what you are undertaking and express in no uncertain terms that you are capable of accomplishing what you are setting out to do. This is not to say they should give you false confidence or blow smoke at you. Ideally your team members will have at least some insight into the pitfalls and difficulties of your goal and be there when you run into those things to either give you courage or much needed help to surmount what ever fresh hell pops up.
Here is my short list of the folks you should include on your team (as well as the ones that should stay the hell away).
Yourself—You are the only one who has 100% stake in your goal so you are the leader, the majority shareholder and the only one who needs to be satisfied with whatever it is you set out to do. You and only you set the standards, the pace and get to make the decisions on this. You may ask for help, for input, for advice but at the end of the day you are in charge and responsible for everything. Just own it. Its better to let everyone off the hook and acknowledge up front that whatever happens along the path you made the decision to go there. If you decide to change course or even bail it’s a whole lot cleaner if you do it for your own reasons than to point your finger at someone else or some external circumstance as the reason. Are you going to do it or not?
Experts (teachers, coaches, consultants etc)—See the above paragraph. These individuals are not in charge of your reaching your goal but can be very helpful when you are trying to learn a new skill, overcome a hurdle, or navigate your way through territory that you are not yet expert in. They just can’t do it for you.
Beware of any expert who demands slavish adherence to a fixed method or set of ideas. Also, beware of advice to keep doing the same thing (even harder) if your progress has come to a stand still. No matter what “experts” say, there is always more than one way to do everything. Keep any such experts at arms length.
Peers (who get it)—These are the ones who are working on something like you are. Maybe not exactly the same thing, but in the same spirit. These boon companions will be the ones who are likely to have encountered similar problems and either have good information to lend or can help you work through a problem through shared experience. The friendships that come out of these kinds of experiences are the kind that can last a lifetime.
I can’t say this strongly enough—don’t accept unasked for advice or feedback from people who aren’t on your team. While it is true that you can get good insight from almost anywhere I am highly suspicious of people who pop up in the middle of my projects with a wealth of advice to give when they have little idea of what I’m trying to do and have no stake in my game other than to hear themselves talk. I know those poor souls are desperate to show someone that they know something, but not on my dime. I avoid them at all costs—I recommend you do too.
Also, be careful of getting into unnecessary competition with your peers. It’s very tempting to play this game and it starts innocently enough with one person sharing their progress and another person wanting to show they are also making headway. While it might not seem like a big deal in the moment, what purpose does it serve?
The better you are at understanding your emotional outcomes for your goal, the less of a problem this will be and the less likely you will be to take the bait. Like the unwanted advice giver, be sure to not include people who try to goad you into competition on your team.
Cheerleaders—This is not a group apart exactly. I would hope that the experts and peers you add to your team are also cheering you on to success. But you will have friends and loved ones who might not quite understand what you are doing but who at a baseline believes you are equal to the task and tells you so—especially when things are going to shit. You don’t need realists in this role--you will meet plenty reality along the way anyway so don’t invite people to offer that kind of help.
Cheerleaders are not there to tell you to temper your expectations or aim lower. They are there to continue flying the flag of your shiniest vision even whey you aren’t able to yourself.
The Helpful Cast of Thousands (or perhaps one or two)--Anyone who does the dishes, laundry, runs errands, or takes on any task that frees you up to do your thing---these people are actually angels. Treat them like the precious saints they are with lavish gratitude, praise and appreciation. Seriously, make this a priority. If you don’t have anyone in your life helping with these things seriously consider paying someone—and then shower them with gratitude, praise and appreciation as well.
You will add to this group of stalwart companions as you make progress on your journey.