By Amy Kinnaird
With the recent passing of Neil Armstrong we again heard John F. Kennedy's famous speech about the space program and the race to the moon. I love his words: “[We choose to go to the moon in this decade] and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, [because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win…”]
So often in business we get wrapped up in our day to day work and forget that we, too, need to do what is hard. Most of us aren't going to the moon, curing cancer or saving humanity, but we all have the potential to do more than we are doing. We deserve it, and it’s a “challenge… we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
Why aren't we doing what is hard?
Probably because we have so many hats to wear. The hours we can work are limited, and we are running just to stay in place. Sure, we have big dreams. And as our businesses grow, our dreams get bigger. It's often easier and more of a habit to do just the same things and not get out of our comfort zone.
What happens when we don't do the hard tasks?
We don't grow, and we may not reach our goals. It's certainly possible to reach our goals by doing the easy things, but we can grow and do some amazing things by trying some of the hard things. By pushing the envelope and making ourselves stretch and do the big, new things, we are growing as individuals and as businesses.
What makes projects hard?
They are hard because they may be new projects that you don't know how to do; they likely take a lot of time, concentration and commitment, and they push you way out of your comfort zone. They may even be things you don't want to do! Have you ever said, “I don’t know where to start?”
This year I did some hard things. They scared me silly and I had no idea how to get them done. But I followed a few steps each time and that made the job, not necessarily easy, but very simple and achievable.
Here are the steps that you can take, too, to do the hard things.
1. Say out loud that you are going to do this “hard task.”
By just saying out loud that I was going to do them it started to become real. No turning back! I told a few colleagues so it was out there, and they helped me formalize the idea.
2. Find someone to help you in the process.
I found a couple of people who were willing to hold my feet to the fire. They were there when I was stumped, or when I was ready to breath into a paper bag. (By the way, you will need to help them in return when they do the hard things.)
3. Brainstorm with your buddy and break this hard task into baby steps.
Keep after it until the whole thing is broken down into individual tasks. Assign a due date to each task. This takes some time, but is the best way to get your arms around conquering your project. The main reason I was successful in my “hard things” is that my business buddies helped me break this big unknown into small, easy to handle tasks, AND we put dates on the calendar for each step of the way.
Years ago I printed out one of Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quotes: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” It has hung above my desk every single day and has sustained me on many an occasion when I didn’t think I had the interest, ability, or wherewithal to go on.
Start today and choose to do the hard tasks. Push the envelope farther than you dreamed possible. Shoot for the stars, and at least land on the moon!
Amy Kinnaird has over three decades of experience in Marketing with half of that time spent working from her home office. While working at IBM for 15 years, Amy discovered a techie inside herself, a trait she continues to use and cultivate in her own business – UnCommon Sense Marketing. Amy is a Social Media Evangelist, a Marketing Consultant, and a popular speaker based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. Clients find that Amy makes the technical world simple to understand and can find her where Southern Hospitality meets the World of IT, and at just about every local networking event in between! For more information on Amy, visit http://uncommonsensemarketing.com.