By Qiana Brown for WomenCo.
Starting a new project means different things to different people. Some people take on new projects with a sense of adventure, while others may take on new projects with a serious sense of apprehension. Me? I tend to fall into the latter group. For me, new projects have always meant dredging up old fears and having to expel them time and time again.
What can you do to make new projects less ominous? Well, the first step in de-ominizing your project is to start with a plan. A very wise person once told me, “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.” How true those words are. They are simple words, and at the time I blew them off as funny and a little bit uptight in their meaning, but it turns out that they are as true as the sky is blue.
I do not have enough appendages to count the many, many times I have launched into a great idea and then watched it fizzle in the wake of poor planning. Time after time, false start after false start, I would sink lower into new lows of frustration, unable to figure out just why things were not working out the way I wanted them to. And you would think that after so many failed attempts at success I would have gone back to my nine words of advice.
Planning is important to anyone who wants to file a “mission complete.” (Sorry, my husband is a Marine!) But this is most essential to someone who struggles with fears and apprehension from the outset. A clear plan presents your mission in bite-sized pieces. I make sure that my goals have an execution date so that I can go back on a weekly basis and make sure that I’m still on track. Doing this allows me the opportunity to see what’s working or not and make adjustments accordingly. It also let’s me see the small successes that will eventually make up the whole.
A good plan also allows you to manage your time in a way that will make certain that you implement your actions in an orderly fashion. Understand this, There’s absolutely no reason to try to go from step one directly to step five. And believe me, I know how easily one can get side tracked. I know the excitement of seeing something start to work out as planned and want to race to the finish line. Remember, I’m the queen of false starts, but no one ever finished climbing a mountain without putting one foot in front of the other. In other words, you cannot decide to write a book, write the first paragraph and get so excited that you start calling agents without a complete first chapter or outline. First things first!