Posts Tagged ‘work’
About a week about, I put out a question on Twitter and Facebook on what to do about writer’s block. With thanks to all who responded, there were two reasons for the question.
The first reason is to try to re-establish some sort of conversational tone with the folks that I follow / that follow me. I used to be able to have long conversations with people online, and then it instantly stopped (leading to the abrupt end of a ‘sure thing’ project, the Daily Quote & Question).
The second reason was to hopefully open up some curiosity on the subject. If it worked and you are curious, you can check out my new project which works as a ‘cure’ for writer’s block. ‘Random Topics To Combat Writer’s Block‘ is yet another work in progress, so I’m also asking for feedback as to whether it viable, sustainable, and/or looks like it could be profitable.
Part of the process of learning is learning that those who may have ‘made it’ (or seem to have ‘made it’ or are at least trying to convince you that they have ‘made it’) still deal with the same frustration they had on the way up and that you may be having now. Senior sales associates have bad prospecting days and bad clients they can’t seem to shake, artists deal with creative blocks more often than you would believe, and general creative types have projects that they fall in love with that somewhere down the line seem to morph into sentient beings whose sole purpose is to torture and torment their creators. I’m about to share with you on such monster I had to slay unexpectedly.
This time last year, I was in the process of giving up on the current iteration of the You Already Have The Answers / Today’s Quote & Question Website (the information is still live at http://youalreadyhavetheanswers.wordpress.com). Now, I am in the process of mentally killing two website projects that were launched at the beginning of this year because I am being drained of all my energy by all the work that goes into them.
You Already Have The Answers had the luxury of being a project that was years in the making, with some sort of daily quote or weekly question being published in some form online that turned into a full years worth of daily content ready to go a year before I even launched the website. Most of the upfront work was complete, and the bulk of the ‘daily’ work consisting of making sure the write up for the day’s quote and question was still relevant to the time (as I said, some were written almost two years prior to my 2010 launch of the project).
I took an inadvertent hiatus from posting to this blog on April 1st of last year, and within a few days lost the will to pick it back up. Turns out that I had made a major victory in the gathering of content around the concept. I will probably never know if I had a real winner in the concept itself because I was receiving no response. It was a daily blog / Twitter / Facebook / email send off that was bringing back no responses. And it was wearing me out.
As it turns out, being a ‘friend’ and posting that the dog is sick or that there is drama in your life that of course is not your fault is good fodder to pull in more than a few comments. Attempting to create coherent conversations with these same ‘friends’ doesn’t really work as well. This is even true for the celebrities and social media gurus using the internet and social media sites, although you may have to look a little harder to see it. They may attract huge numbers in the way of followers and actual responses, but you’ll find the bulk of those responses fall into the ‘you’re so awesome’ worship category or the ‘me too’ parrot category.
You Already Have The Answers never really worked as a way to garner conversation online, so I reluctantly moved away from it, and although drained from all the hard work, I had sincerely hoped I would find something soon to fill the void with something that I could love just as much, but would have its potential actually show some potential. So far, nothing really has.
I now sit on the verge of killing two other projects that I have put a lot of work into that both have daily components. One is Monday though Saturday, the other seven full days a week. Neither of them is as beloved as You Already Have The Answers, but both of them were created in part to fill a need for another love of mine, money. And they are not making any, and I’m getting the same feelings I did last year. I am getting a little tired of being a lot tired from putting in the all the time it takes to get these projects done.
I am not killing them, at least at the time of this posting, but the temptation is so there.
The key to dealing with the frustration of failed, failing, or frustrating projects and tasks is to make sure you are learning something from them. I learned so much about the process of editing my own stuff working on You Already Have The Answers that it has become second nature to proofread my work multiple times before publishing–even if it may not actually help any efforts to produce texts with fewer spelling and grammar mistakes. It also sold me on leaving the safety of Blogger as my blogging platform of choice, which I am very grateful of.
Sometimes you just stop working on things. You lose funding, time, or desire, and stop. I have learned there is nothing wrong with that, especially if you took the time to pick up a few lessons about your abilities and yourself before you pulled the plug on the project.
And a little time away can lead to a fresh approach if you find yourself renewed with the spirit to get back to that dormant project.
Image Source flickr/fireflythegreat
There has been a lot of talk about the movie “Back to the Future” lately. From the year 2010 being the year Marty arrived from the past to save his kids future (which it wasn’t), and the non-existent auto lacing shoes (which may exist sooner than we think) to the plutonium Doc Brown stole from Libyan terrorists to fuel his time traveling DeLorean DMC-12, that got him killed, sort of. I want to talk about Doc Brown stealing plutonium for a moment.
Or more specifically, what happens in business when one entity (like a hired contractor, colleague, or boss) takes a tool or resource from another entity (you) with promises to deliver something valuable to that second entity (still you), but in actuality uses it to create or produce something complete useful for the first (them) and completely useless to the second (yep, still you).
Sure, the Libyans could have made great use of a time machine, if it were offered to them. What they asked for a bomb, what they received was a fake bomb, and what they saw built from their stolen plutonium was an overly modified, already overpriced car that failed to catch on with the driving public. Not exactly a moment of confidence for Emmett Brown in their eyes, in spite of what he had actually accomplished.
When you hire a contractor to produce something that is suppose to showcase your talents and strengths, but instead showcases the contractor’s talents and strengths by using you as an example . . . it can be beyond frustrating. When you offer up some data points to a colleague or boss to show how a few changes could improve your working conditions, and they sell it as their own original idea for a company wide initiative that will trickle very little benefit back to your department . . . it can be beyond infuriating.
For contractors and those that work for you, be careful of what they are actually doing with the resources you are giving them to work with. Allow them and their work to shine, but make sure they are insuring you shine as well.
For bosses and colleague . . . lets just say taking the extra time to find a way to properly ‘watermark’ your work as your original concept before sharing is always a good idea. Because it does no good if you chose never to share.
A fact of life is that you can’t find out what you are good at until you have some idea what you are bad at.
Early in your career, failure will be an option you will be forced to take more often then you will like.
Do not think it is for a lack of ability. Ironically, it is in failure where you learn some of your more valuable lessons.
Testing yourself to your limits without the eventual mishap will never help you set boundaries. What can you not do? Find out and avoid it.
What can you do with some level of success? Is it worth putting the extra time and effort to pursue? Then take a chance and go for it!
What can you achieve with great success on a consistent basis? Is it something you feel passionate about doing? It’s a no brainer.
Oddly enough, you’ll find that the boundaries of relationships will also work in a similar way.
While there are as many detailed approaches to child raising as there are parents of children, here are two simple schools of thought that can adequately sum up the major approaches in teaching a child how to find their place among the world’s masses:
- Assurance Of No Limits: giving children expectations above their actual level of mastery with the hopes that having no limits will help them to surpass their expectations, and possibly even yours.
- Knowing Your Limits: knowing just how far along your children really are, and giving them expectation exactly on that level, to ensure they can reach their achievements with as little frustration from possible failure possible
While one would suspect ‘No Limits’ would be a more preferred philosophy than ‘Know Limits,’ there are pros and cons to using either approach, and the key lies in the individual child. Because eventually, they come to an age and level of maturity where their actual limits will play a greater role in the definition of their destiny, and their ability to overcome or circumvent these actual limits will make a difference.
Like say, in the work place, when they hit mid-twenties.
At that point, it will be their managers responsibility to make sure they are developing as well as possible in their career growth, or at least well enough to keep the manager from getting fired. This activity is a lot like raising an actual child, only the allowance and popularity contests that are now at stake are actually families, mortgages, career progression and possible lives, based on the nature of the occupation.
Here too, you can use the same basic approaches suited for raising children in hopes to lead your workers to fulfilled career growth.
The big difference here is that ‘No Limit’ is by far a more preferred philosophy over ‘Know Limits.’ But do keep in mind the exact dynamic you have to work with, and the abilities that actually exist in your company’s talent pool. You’ll probably not be lucky enough to have all-star talent to fill your entire work crew, and some employees will be adamant about how adequate (or not) they are in their performance.