We asked three Campowerment Experts — Business Strategist Dawn Andrews, Career Transition Coach Tama Kieves and Productivity Consultant Wendy Ellin— to give us the skinny on finding and committing to the project that can enhance our life – even just a little— now. They’re breaking down the WHAT, the HOW, and the FOR HOW LONG to take us, step-by-step, through the motions of starting, doing and completing something that makes us proud.
1. The WHAT: How do I choose a project? 3 Ways of Looking for Your Next Play
DAWN ANDREWS, Business Strategist: When I have the luxury of picking my own project, I use these questions to guide me: Is there something I’ve been wanting or meaning to do but just haven’t marshaled the support for? Is there something I’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t given the front parking space in my life? That’s when the best projects come to fruition.
TAMA KIEVES, Career Transition Coach: If you want to start a passion project and want to be on fire instead of just going through the motions, then choose the project or desire that chooses you. If you want to be consistently inspired and excited, don’t listen to your head; listen to your heart. What has heat or energy for you? What always gets shoved to the back burner but still whispers to you? When you’re moved, you’ll move mountains. Nothing is more productive than being inspired. And please, don’t start watering down your dream. If you compromise your desires, you’ll compromise your strength.
WENDY ELLIN, Productivity Consultant: Sometimes, our projects pick us, and they might not be inherently fun. If you have to move homes or offices, that might not be fun, but it’s most definitely a project. Regardless of whether it’s a project you choose or a project that chooses you, it’s important to remember to embrace it and look forward to the joy on the other side. Even if your current project doesn’t set your soul on fire, you can make the process smooth, even fun (really!). Enjoying productivity happens when we enjoy how we tackle the things we do.
2. The HOW: Where to even begin?
TAMA KIEVES: Don’t think too much about how to begin. (This can be a fancy delay tactic.) You might feel afraid of beginning because you’re not perfect it at yet. You don’t want to make a mistake. But that’s your mistake. Clarity doesn’t come from your brain; it comes from your feet. Jump in. Just start.Your inspiration is waiting for you in the wild country of doing new things.
DAWN ANDREWS: I think an important first step is finding collaborators. [The project] always gets better when you share it with other people. Have enough clarity around the idea that you can talk about it with your community and your people, and then see if it raises the flag for them.
I wish more people would get messy. There’s a lot of change that needs to happen, but it’s not going to go very quickly if we’re trying to have our projects and ideas perfect before we even begin talking about them.
WENDY ELLIN: Ask yourself: what’s the end result? Then, back that up. When contractors come in to build a house, they have a list of everything that needs to get done for the house to be built. It’s called a punch-list. Make a list of the elements that have to happen for the project to be complete; that’s your punch-list. Then, decide what has to get done first. In the case of project you might not have chosen for yourself, it is important to set deadlines for yourself and prioritize the steps. If you get organized in the up front, even the most dreaded projects can feel a little less like work and little more fun.
3. The FOR HOW LONG: What are the best ways to hold yourself accountable and see it through?
WENDY ELLIN: Are you someone that needs accountability or not? Know who you are, and if you know you need accountability, reach out to someone who is willing to be there for you. It’s important to know who you are, and what your skills are. If you need help, ask for it! Sometimes, you might even need to hire help. If you need something done, you should never be afraid to ask for hand or enlist a professional if you aren’t sure how to see a project through on your own.
TAMA KIEVES: I’m more interested in you following your guidance, intuition, or heart than in rigidly following through on a goal. Many of us are over-achievers and we know how to force ourselves to do what we don’t want to do. I want you to do what you really want to do. And don’t give up on something just because you stopped. Choose again. You may have to look at where you judged yourself or decided that something wasn’t going to work. That’s where you lost energy. Choose again. It’s better to show up sporadically than not at all. Showing up is showing up. Really, this whole process is an exercise in self- love.
DAWN ANDREWS: Be as clear as you can about what the project is and what your deadlines are, and then get as many people in on it as you possibly can. Stop trying to sit alone with everything you got going on in your life, and get some help.
Sometimes our projects arise out of a necessity: a tactical need to do something; other times, out of desire: a whimsical or deeper-rooted want to channel those productive vides into what may be a budding passion. Living life re-ignited is a decision you can make each day, so no matter what your project looks like, set yourself up for success and embrace the process.