Letting go of passion projects that turn into monsters

Did you ever start something that was exciting at first, something you thought ‘well this is it’? That something, that project, then started eating away at your time. Or, you just downright avoid it because you’ve inadvertently fed it with expectations that turned it into an obese monster that foams at the mouth for more.

That is what I have been experiencing lately. I avoided writing on this blog because everything had to be perfect. The stars needed to align and inspiration? Well….when the stars align inspiration comes by default. In another post I wrote about how overrated inspiration is vs. being consistent. Raise your hand if you find it hard to take your own advice.

Let go

Letting go of the monstrous expectations we have of ourselves and the “projects” we dream up is akin to losing a great friendship that no longer serves its purpose. In the long term, you later realize that it was the best decision you ever made.

A friend recently posted something on Facebook about giving yourself permission to walk away from things that creep you out. Walking away seems simple enough, the challenge is walking away from the things you started. The ideas you breathed in to. Those are near impossible to let go of, but we should.

Be the villain

In Batman, we know who the hero is and the villain is the guy who reeks havoc on Gotham City. Bane, my favourite character in The Dark Knight Rises, is not Batman and in the end you want the hero to win.

What if the hero and the villain are both the same person? What happens when you have to cut ties with that small community project down the road, which helps cute little kids when your fledgling business suffers because of the time you spend there? The roles have suddenly changed, Bane is no longer someone external. It’s your turn to be Batman and save the day, but that might mean you may soon be unable to make a living.

Slay your monsters and get to work

Instead of my writing being the fun pastime it once was, it became a painstaking chore that had to be perfect every time. The more things compete for limited time, the less likely we are to do the ones we are not passionate about.

In ‘Do The Work’, Steven Pressfield talks about the resistance and refers to it as all the things we experience which prevent us from producing our art. That resistance for me was perfecting every post, it’s not putting something out there ‘til everything is perfect. That was my monster and I’m going out to slay it every single day going forward.

Do The Work is a book that shows you what resistance is and how to overcome it. Read a quick review here and go slay those dragons.

What are your monsters? What resistance are you grappling with and how are you dealing with it to keep your passion projects alive? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Short Book Review: Poke The Box by Seth Godin

Seth Godin made an announcement last year that he wouldn’t publish another book through traditional means. Never again! There was much debate online, questions were asked and many speculated that he still will.

All speculation was cast aside when he launched The Domino Project, with Poke The Box being his first release. So, I went over to Amazon, ordered a copy, waited 3 weeks. . . . . . And voila! The 84-page little book, with a running man arrived.

Seth Godin cuts through all assumptions and challenges you right from the start. Much like he did in Linchpin, he tempts you out of comfort, he calls you out, he asks you to take a stand. No contents pages, no forewords, no introductions, he just gets right into it.

In all of four sittings, each less than an hour – with coffee breaks – I was done.

“The job isn’t to catch up to the status quo; 
 the job is to invent the status quo.” 

When you read those opening lines, you know it’s you. Or not. If it isn’t, don’t bother reading further. This post is not for you. Check back next time.

Poke The Box – is a book about:

  • Doing!
  • Doing what you love
  • Questioning the status quo
  • Starting things
  • Starting everyday
  • Failing!
  • Failing often
  • Making a connection
  • Finishing what you started
  • Shipping
  • Shipping often
  • Repeat!

In 84 pages, Poke The Box takes you through a journey of changing things. A journey of getting to ‘Yes!’. Of facing fear. Of living without the fear of starting. You realize when you’ve done enough and you need to take your ideas out to market.

Now go!

Go start!

Start new things. Start every day. Ship your ideas. Repeat!

Gifts, book reviews and Linchpin give-away

It seems 2010 brought with it a downpour of work and little distractions that just keep me away from writing. But there will be more reading this winter.

If you have been here before, you would know I had an interview with Seth Godin about his book Linchpin. (If you haven’t – you just might score yourself a free copy. I’m glad you stopped by).

Linchpin is a book about gifts, and art and adding value and being indispensable. If you thought that couldn’t be done where you are right now – in your job or business. This gem blasts that misconception along with the lizard brain that propagates it. Seth describes the ‘lizard brain’ as that part of our minds which holds us back from making real progress. It strikes a balance between being an entrepreneur and a change agent where you currently work.

Lost marbles

By now you are probably thinking I’ve lost my marbles, books that accomplish such balance are watered down and don’t really speak to the one or other person. But it does, in a way that on only Seth Godin can. And I will have you know that my marbles are still intact. Thanks for the concern.

Monthly read

The idea is to share and recommend our latest reads, while giving one book away every month. Yes, you stand a chance to get yourself a copy of Linchpin, because that is what I’m reading at the moment. Leave some ideas in the comments and the best one gets the book. It’s really that easy! We’ll keep expanding on the ideas and probably make it more intricate with your contribution, but that’s not intention.

Terms and conditions don’t apply, but there’s just one small thing

As you might have guessed it, there is one thing that could be a potential challenge. Because this is a self-funded project, I’d like to try keep it as cost effective as possible. So for now, the give-aways will be to our South African readers and we can spread it globally at a later stage.

Why should you get it?

Leave some ideas in the comments and if yours is the best to spread this project to most people, you get the book sent to you.

Seth Godin discusses his latest book Linchpin: NetwebTV Exclusive [episode 9]

“Good enough” – will no longer get you through the door when your most remarkable work is what matters.

Seth Godin a marketing guru, international author and well sought after speaker wrote yet another thought-provoking book. The difference now is; we were one of the first shows he spoke to about his latest offering.

Linchpin is a book that questions what your best is and how you as an artist, an agent of change can get it out there without leaving your job. The times of work, get a paycheck, retire or even worse get retrenched are gone. Now the world is looking for you, for your work and we are listening to what you have to say.

In this episode Seth tells us how we can take advantage of change and even better be the cause. I also asked him about the concept of giving things free yet still being able to make a living.

Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin can transform your business model

When developing a business model, we often overlook implementing marketing tools to spread our concepts virally. Unleashing the Ideavirus, a book that I think requires a sequel, transformed the view I have of my current business model.

While there many concepts covered in the book, for the purpose of this post, only 3 significant highlights will suffice.

Loosely referencing The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell on how some ideas turn into social epidemics and others don’t. Seth takes us through the process of how companies such as Hotmail and Vindigo spread as viruses and the Toyota Prius, while an award winning vehicle, didn’t.

The second mind altering concept, though disputing all known marketing ethic, is focusing on a smaller target audience (called ‘a hive’) instead of setting out for large numbers. This makes sense if you view your client base as a community that can reach friends and recommend your product or service better than adverts and large marketing budgets ever can.

The steps below, a very short summary, are how you develop an Ideavirus.

Step By Step, Ideavirus tactics (summarized from the book)

  • Make it virusworthy – If it’s not worth talking about, no one will talk it.
  • Identify the hive.

You won’t get the full benefit of the ideavirus until you dominate your hive.

  • Expose your idea

Expose it to the right people, get them into the experience as quickly as possible and pay them if necessary. But never charge if possible.

  • Once attention has been volunteered request permission.
  • Amaze your audience.
  • Some viruses don’t forever, embrace the lifecycle of yours.

Any business model that has a viral marketing method built into it has a better chance at longevity, besides why not make it easy for your clients and customers to spread the idea? If there’s one thing I would recommend, it would be read it with an open mind and download the ebook or get the shiny collector’s version here.