This weekend I celebrated the 4th birthday of the launch of The Giving Challenge. Honestly, I still pinch myself that I have a book I wrote, people read, and like. Life is surreal some days.
As I thought back on the journey, there are five lessons, probably more, that bubbled to the surface that may help you as you are pursuing a goal or thinking about making a pivot in your life/career.
- Think long-term. The Giving Challenge took me about five years to write and launch. Success doesn't happen overnight. Don't get frustrated if you aren't moving as quickly as you would like. Keep plugging along, and over time you'll pick up wins and momentum.
- Only get advice from people who have been there, done that. This lesson seems like common sense advice, but we often let people who have never done what we are trying to influence our decisions. When it comes to my books, I have a small team of experts who provide advice and guidance in their expertise. Take, for instance, hiring a coach. I'll only coach people on activities I've done myself. You wouldn't hire me to teach you how to fly a plane, but I could help you write and launch a book.
- Put perfectionism in a drawer. Are you a perfectionist? If so, your perfectionist tendencies may prevent you from accomplishing a project or goal you are pursuing. I got stuck in the perfectionist wheel for quite some time. That is why my book took forever to complete. I kept swapping out stories and editing and reediting. At some point, what your working on has to be good enough, and you have to get the darn thing competed. I still cringe when I find a mistake in my book, but then I remember that even James Patterson made mistakes in his books. I know because I've caught them, and they make me feel just a little bit better. No one is perfect!
- Not everyone is going to support your big dream. It's hard when friends or family members don't show any interest in a project you are working on. It's easy to spiral into negative thoughts of why someone isn't supporting you. Focus on the people that do help you. Please give them your gratitude and appreciation. Turn the tables. I know there have been numerous projects, due to schedule, conflicts, etc., that I couldn't help someone on. It wasn't anything personal; I couldn't commit. Remember, usually, their lack of support has nothing to do with you or your project.
- It's okay to go back and make improvements. On the first version of The Giving Challenge, I must admit that I had no idea what I was doing. I had some connections in the industry, but they were few and far between. Also, I wasn't the best writer. But over the years, I attended writing conferences, developed relationships with experts, and even received an endorsement from Dave Ramsey. Instead of being satisfied with my first book in the original form, I went back and made improvements. The stories have more depth. The writing improved. Resources were created. And the cover got a facelift. Total redos aren't always necessary, but if you feel like you need to make improvements to get you to the next level, by all means, go for it!
I hope the lessons I learned, from writing and launching The Giving Challenge, help you as you set out to conquer a goal or two this year!
Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”