10,000 More Hours
A few weeks ago, I posted about how practicing leads to success. (If you missed it, you can read it here.) I talked about the 10,000 hour rule which is the belief that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient at anything. I referred to an article on Brainpickings.com that pointed out that the quality of the time spent is as important as the amount of time spent when it comes to becoming a pro though.
Jeff Goins, blogging and platform guru, believes that habits are built over time. And make no mistake, success is a habit. He talks about the Japanese practice of continually seeking steady progress called kaizen.
He suggests starting our small, extremely small. And through the process of very small steps, you will achieve success. Taking a giant leap of faith and quitting your job to pursue your writing career or to join a rock band may seem like a grand romantic gesture. But success doesn’t usually come along with a sudden bang. It takes time. It takes repeated baby steps.
This process is the way that I finished and self-published my first book, though I didn’t have a name for it at the time. I had been holding on to this big romantic dream of becoming a writer and seeing my words in print for so long that I was frozen. I was terrified and confused and could not bring myself to take action. It was through baby steps that I finally found my feet again and started to move in the right direction.
I made a list of tasks in the smallest increments. Contact one editor. Google copyright. Make appointment with accountant. Write “about author” page. Then I assigned these tasks to monthly and weekly goals. I saved these plans in a Word document title “Big Goals.” 🙂 As I completed each task, I put an X next to it. If life got crazy and I had to re-evaluate my week, I would do so and reassign my tasks. And most important, I would forgive myself for not getting it all done at once.
The process took over a year. I was working on certifications for my day job at the same time and I had to allot weeks to the work involved in my online class and certification exam. During some of those weeks, I didn’t have the time or energy to even think about my book. I tried to schedule those months as ones when my editor would have the book so I wouldn’t feel like my writing had completely stalled.
And guess what? It worked! Some weeks I felt like the baby steps were too small. And if that happened, I would do some tasks from the next week as well. Other times, I felt overwhelmed by even the simplest thing. And when that happened, I went with it, and scheduled some much needed down time to decompress.
Through this series of small steps and these hours of practice I managed to achieve a lifelong dream. I published my book. Sometimes I felt like I was moving so slow, I was standing still. Other moments felt like they were flying by and Launch Day was running toward me at warp speed!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, or if you have a Big Goal that you just can’t seem to progress on, try this process. Baby steps. Break it down into small manageable increments. Reward yourself for accomplishing them. You got this. 🙂