I just completed the manuscript for my next book. I literally sent it to the publisher ten minutes ago. If you return to this site on a semi-frequent basis, you’ll hear more about it in the weeks to come. I love marking something big off my list. How about you?
What’s on your list? What are you working on that you’re excited about? Is it a project at work? Something you’re doing at home? Maybe, it’s neither. Perhaps you are involved with a non-profit organization whose attempting to make a difference in the world. Regardless of the arena, I hope you’re working on something big!
Why would I wish that for you? Three reasons:
Big projects stretch us – If the project is big enough, it will stretch our thinking, our creativity, our patience, and our capacity. Also, the bigger the project the greater the opportunity for learning. And, because, leaders are learners, we need them in our lives. (If you're interested in reading more, I’ve written several posts over the last few years on strategies for personal growth.) Oliver Wendell Holmes said it like this,
“A mind once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
Big projects often make a big difference – You and I love to make a difference. That’s one of the primary motivations for us to lead. Therefore, when given a choice, between making a small impact and a big one, I’m guessing you usually choose the later. There seems to be a direct correlation between the size of a project and its potential for impact. I hope you’re working on a BIG project.
Big projects fight off complacency and stagnation – Nothing stirs us as leaders as much as a challenge. Big challenges are often found lurking in big projects. If you’ve been successful as a leader and your routine is starting to dull your senses, you may need to find a big project to shake things up in your world. If you choose wisely, you’ll find new opportunities and big challenges to be a wonderful antidote for the mundane.
How do you make a big project successful? Here are four suggestions to consider:
Do your homework – On most projects, big or small, you don’t have to start from scratch. Chances are good, someone has successfully accomplished what you’re about to undertake. Learn from them.
Schedule the work – The biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome to my writing is the time. Interestingly enough, the solution for my books has been to schedule the time. Now, putting the days on the calendar to write is part of the process. I know that if I don’t, I won’t write. Have you scheduled time to tackle your big project?
Create deadlines – closely related to the scheduling idea, deadlines can be magical. For some, they create stress. However, there is such a thing as good stress. If deadlines create focus, energy and momentum, you should set some related to your big project. Often, it is a deadline that can break the grip of inertia that is keeping you imprisoned by inactivity.
Seek help – I’ve reached a point in my life I’m really not interested in projects I can complete by myself. I want to do more and accomplish more. I want to enlist others with complementary talents and gifts and together, accomplish big things. That's why the acknowledgments in my new book contain over 70 names! If the project you’re considering is truly a big one, you’ll need help to make it a reality.
If you don’t have anything big going on right now, why not sit down and brainstorm some ideas. Here’s a question to help jump start your thinking…
If you knew you couldn’t fail, what big project would you undertake in the next year?[GLS_Shield]