Remember the times when you saw the potential in some projects you participated, or initiatives you saw being started. You imagined their potential impact and were so motivated that it made you feel good. Temporarily. All this, was before you came to realise that all the potential got drowned away by not allocating enough time and resources. By not paying enough attention. By not thinking it through, or worse, simply not going the extra mile.
Making an impact, going beyond the typical efforts, the ones to keep a status quo, is something we’re not used to do. As if we’ve been trained, thanks to a brilliant education system, to just work within our comfort zone. To not be creative. To not think outside boxes. At work for instance, often – or at least from time to time there are good ideas and projects that you know would move things forward. Given the right approach, leadership and effort. And some creative thinking. Very often however the result is mediocre.
But we can always find good aspects of the process – typically that we have learned a lot and became a bit wiser. And here, history repeats itself.. Result-wise it is more of a blur. Rather than moving forward it feels like you are constantly trapped in a circle. A vicious one. If you don’t make an extra effort, don’t go the extra mile, you’ll be stuck there forever.
In the private sphere and at home there are projects too. And they are often derived from brilliant ideas on how to improve the practical infrastructure and logistics of our daily life. Building that shed in the garden. Re-arranging things, furniture. Changing some deeply rooted habits. Hanging those picture frames. Or, a bit of self-realisation like writing an unpretentious weekly blog post. Not to mention that lifelong project of writing a book..
The problem is – as it often is at work too – to keep a focus, and not get distracted by a whole range of things. The ones that get in our way and the ones we allow to get in our way. Optimism is good. Naivete is not really helpful. Allowing yourself to be naive makes you pay in the currency of disappointment and stress along the way.
So how to avoid the hiccups – while still setting some hairy but still reachable goals and managing to achieve them? How to leave your comfort zone? How do go the extra mile?
No easy answers. No silver bullets lined up. Other than getting your colleagues, boss, husband, kids – parents – friends – or whoever onboard – aligning your goals with the rest of the list of things that have to be done, every day and every week. Or simply getting them to encourage you come rain or come shine in your creative endeavours. All of this, irrespective of whether they, your dreams, projects, ideas are realistic or not.
Sometimes you just have to go against the tide. Or you change the direction of the stream. In any case, you have to follow your gut feeling every now and then. And work your ass off while doing so..