Finished is the new perfect.
You’re never fully ready.
You’re never completely done.
You’re never entirely sure of yourself.
What matters, what counts, is that you execute – without remorse – every single day.
1. Battle the excuse barrage. Instead of getting ready to prepare executing your plan for formulating your strategy to begin the initial stages of brainstorming your pre-launch, just start. Less aiming, more firing.
Otherwise your bullets will rust, your gun will crack and your trigger finger will atrophy. And those sons of bitches from your biggest competitor will coast right past you, waving their hands in the air, grateful for your endless excuse-making. What lies are your excuses guarding?
2. Send your guilt to the guillotine. Remorse comes from the Latin remordere, which means, “to bite back.” Translation: When the inevitable guilt caused by the execution process starts to creep in, bite back. Show that chump who’s boss. Refuse to be held hostage by guilty feelings like, “What if people hate this?” “What if I bomb?” or “What if someone finds a bug?”
The reality is: All of those things are probably going to happen anyway. No sense getting acid reflux over minor eventualities. Instead, be shameless. Be an imperfectionist. And remember that flawless execution doesn’t exist anyway. Off with the head! What do you need to murder to pave the way for exquisite execution?
3. Get comfortable with the risk of failure. If you screw up early enough, quickly enough and quietly enough – then make a conscious effort to extract lessons learned from those biffs – only a few people will notice. Truth is: Mistake is the mentor of man.
The challenge is attending to your failures with a mindset of personal growth, life-long learning and never-ending improvement. Do this, and disappointment will slowly dissipate. Do this, and discomfort will become less threatening.
Then all you have to do is ask the two big questions:
*Why did the universe want me to make this mistake?
*What would I have to learn about this mistake to make it no longer a mistake?
Remember: Failure IS an option – not learning from that failure isn’t. How are you exponentially growing from your screw-ups?
4. Build in accountability. In a recent blog post, Seth Godin said, “Make shipping an obligation. Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly.”
Here’s how: I suggest pairing up with a fellow entrepreneur or creative professional. At the end of each day, call, text or email each other with the question, “What did you execute today?” If you can’t come up with an answer, lunch is on you.
Better yet, sign a series of blank checks for each other. And if someone fails to ship, the other person reserves the right to fill in – and cash – that person’s check in with any amount he wants. Think that would your execution ratio?
5. Intentionally surround yourself with obstacles. Great way to challenge yourself. Helps keep your chops up. It’s also good practice withstanding external pressures that attempt to deter you from your productive path. I learned this from the United States Tennis Association:
“Systematically practice with distractions present,” they suggested in their 2002 guidebook. “Otherwise, training under ideal conditions won’t mentally and physically prepare you to cope with unusual events.”
Remember: Resistance is healthy. Make friends with it. How are you using pushback to strengthen your capacity to execute?
6. Constraints kindle execution. As a writer, my favorite feature of Twitter is the 140-character constraint. This structural limitation expedites execution in several ways.
With 140 characters, content is easier to manage and deploy.
With 140 characters, creativity and conciseness is challenged.
With 140 characters, you’re forced to minimize extraneous clutter.
With 140 characters, writers don’t trap themselves the purgatory of wanting to add more.
Ultimately, Twitter’s character constraint crushes the single biggest barrier to creative execution: Staring at a blank page. So, with every tweet you publish; your executional victory bank grows incrementally larger.
Then over time, those minor victories accumulate. You start to believe in your ability to ship. And before you know it, you’re executing bigger and bigger projects that are way more than just 140 characters.
Remember: Constraints provide focus, and focus paves the way for execution. How are you using structural limitations to execute faster?
7. Build executional capacity into your idea from the beginning. “It's hard to stay motivated and excited about executing crap,” wrote Guy Kawasaki. “But it’s easy if you're changing the world. If you and your team are having a hard time executing, maybe you're working on the wrong thing.”
The secret is to run an Execution Audit at the onset. Ask your team questions like, “Will the time/money/energy investment required to execute be less, equal or greater to the benefits of executing?” “How well does our team represent idea people and execution people?” and, “If we don’t end up executing this, will anybody even notice?”
Questions like these save time, save face and save money. How are you entering into your project with execution on the brain?
REMEMBER: Execution isn’t an action you take once – it’s a mindset you maintain for the rest of your career.
As Seneca once observed: “There is no person so severely punished as he who subjects himself to the whip of his own remorse.”
Go ship something.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What did you execute yesterday?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010
Finished is the new perfect.