Open Notes

That Dream Project? Partner to Get it Done

It’s January 1. Have you started procrastinating yet?

I bet you’ve experienced it. The start of a new year, particularly this new year, can feel amazing. You wake up on January first with great energy and a sense of purpose. There is a tomorrow and a tomorrow after that, but they look manageable from the vantage point of today. The trick, as you know, like with so many things, is to get that feeling of purpose to last through tomorrow and tomorrow and beyond.

Brush the crumbs from your intentions list from last night. Take a look at it. You may have resolved to get your TEDX talk presented. Or write that book that lies spread like a magnificent ruin across your notebooks and to-do lists. It’s aching to come together. The world is calling for it. You might even have made a fresh try at it today. It felt good, didn’t it? But what about tomorrow? What inner voice will urge you to pick it up again and keep going?

Then there’s your blog. By now everybody pretty much knows that regular blogging is good for the soul. You can work things out, reach a friendly crowd, experiment. Having your own words on your own platform is a special pleasure. But when you look at the last entry, it’s in June sometime. What happened?

Your to-do list might have a podcast on it or a curriculum for a workshop. It’s all there and it’s all in your head. The people who need it aren’t in your head, though. They’re out here in the world.

So what’s stopping you? There’s a gap you need to jump. It’s so small, really, and also enormous.

What is your procrastination made of? Getting started on that list will be an easy one. Not enough time. Feeling stuck. Overwhelmed. Knowing there is a beginning somewhere but not knowing where it is.

Great things are inside you and not finding a voice — and the solution is surprisingly simple. You have to ask for help. You need a sounding board, an accountability partner, someone to shape your ideas for the rest of the world.

To get your project started at the beginning — not in the middle where there are multiple paths forward, not at the end where it seems to peter out fast — but at the beginning, when the novelty gives you the energy boost you need and the road ahead is visible — well, that is often only possible with a friend, an editor, or a coach. Asking for help can be hard. But when you sit down with someone (on Zoom!) you see the trail into the woods of the project. You have someone by your side with a compass saying, at just the right time, “that way.”

I’ve had people like this throughout my life and they have all helped me beyond measure. What about you? Scroll through your address book, look at those holiday cards on the mantelpiece. Maybe the name is there among them.

If you are a feminine change maker with a project that needs to get out of your head and be in the world, I have a recommendation for you. My wife teaches a five-week one-on-one leadership coaching program that has what you need.

Going it alone has its satisfactions, like setting your own agenda, workflow, and pace. But for getting started and keeping on, you need a partner. Dream projects need a doula.