Big project? Celebrate the milestones

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2013 started with the best of intentions. My goal is to record 300 songs before the year ends, and I'm well over 10% of the way there.

And yet...

It feels like this hugely daunting task right now. Like I'll never make it.

I know I'm in the thick of it. I know the year's only just begun. I also thought I'd be farther along by this time.

I mean heck, it's almost the end of the first quarter. By my math, that's 75 songs that need to be in the can by the end of the month.

I'm about half way there.

Zoinks.

I was reading Josh Pais' blog. He was recently in a car accident, and while he walked away pretty much unscathed, his inner critic saw an opportunity and seized control of his "inner story" for a moment. In that moment, Josh's inner critic told him that no matter how good life gets, there's always something that's going to go wrong, so why bother?

I'll quote Josh here:

"This, of course, is total bullshit."

And yet...

Here I sit, with more than 30 songs in the can for the year. That's easily the equivalent of three albums. THREE! Most artists are lucky to do one album a year, and I've essentially done three times that level of work... with little satisfaction or celebration.

Never mind the fact that the kids have yet to be in school a full week since 2013 started. Never mind the fact that I had a hiatus for a hard drive upgrade in the digital recording studio. Never mind the fact that my oldest was in the hospital.

Nope. I'm looking at what's NOT done, instead of what IS.

Does that feel familiar to you?

I recognize what happened. I got so caught up in the doing, that I failed to celebrate the milestones along the way. Actually, that's not entirely true. What really happened is that I didn't break down my milestones small enough so that I could celebrate more consistently.

What I did was break my year down into quarters. I used my own Get Your Year In Gear process to decide that when I hit 75 songs, THEN I'll celebrate.

Um. No.

When you're tackling a big goal, you need to celebrate small milestones.

Like every 10 songs, or every 4 videos, or even for every 100 video views - which would pretty much ensure a celebration at least once a month. For me, I need encouragement on that level. The hilarity of this is that I actually begin the GYIG program by asking clients to celebrate their milestones!

Heck, some of my videos have already been viewed more than 200 times! I could be celebrating a LOT more than I am.

Sometimes we teach what we most need to learn, right?

The other thing I'm reminded of is something my former coach and friend, Teresa Romain taught me:

"Some sprouts take longer than others."

On my windowsill in my kitchen, I keep a jar for growing sprouts. Alfalfa, mung beans, broccoli - they all sprout within a few days. I always have fresh sprouts on hand because they grow quickly. But I don't grow carrot sprouts, or lemongrass sprouts because they can take months to grow.

The first quarter of the year has seen  a lot of growing pains as I transition my focus to music. There's a learning curve I didn't accurately account for - a lot more work than I planned.

As a result, I have fewer songs in the can, fewer "sprouts" that have broken through the soil.

Celebrate eating the elephant one plateful at a time...

... and celebrate each helping you complete. They say you eat an elephant one bite at a time, so I guess that means one plateful at a time, too. Celebrate each plateful. Stop focusing on how much elephant there is left and focus on what you've got on your plate in front of you.

It's a good thing I use my GYIG program quarterly. At least then I'll remember to celebrate!

That's my lesson to myself this week. What's your takeaway?

 


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