On the eve of me launching my first online course, Ready. Set. Finish. - The Course Your Excuses Don't Want You To Take, I took a minute to look back at all the things I’ve learned about myself, business, life, goals, procrastination, Luke Skywalker and Richard Branson during the entire process over the past couple months.
Building the course was an example of what of what I teach in the course: What is the psychology needed to keep your excuses at bay in order to finish something?
Here are the 30 biggest takeaways I had from creating this course:
- I’m baffled by Parkinson’s Law every time it happens. The law states: The time allotted fits the task at hand. It is so true. With what I still have left to do tonight, I feel like I couldn’t have launched my course one day earlier - although if the launch date was November 7th, I would have made it work. But this leads me to my next lesson...
- A publicly proclaimed deadline is the single best way to stay on track towards your goals, period
- Youtube won’t accept videos over 15 minutes until you verify your account on the video upload page. That would have saved me hours of time and headaches full of packets of stress
- I really believe in the power of lists. Your project is the lion. Your list is your whip. Use it.
- That being said, I don’t know if I look at to-do lists in the same manner as I once did. It’s better to look at when-do
- Most things took 2 to 3 times as long as I thought they would
- Video and audio editing took 4 to 5 times as long as I thought it would
- Exporting and uploading audio and video took 7 to 8 times as long as I thought it would
- Not one of my video modules was ever good enough on the first take. Practice might not make perfect but it sure does make better
- I stutter a lot less when I know what I’m talking about, thankfully
- During a huge process like this, writing down what I accomplished at the end of each day helped me define, track and feel good about my progress, as minuscule as it might be
- Despite all of the nerves associated with the launch, I realize that I love the process of creation. I love learning something new and I love being able to provide something useful. I loved figuring some html trick late at night like I was Pasteur finding mold on a piece of bread. If you don’t enjoy the process somewhat, you’re going to be hard pressed to push through to the finish line
- When two things needed to get done and they were of the same importance, the easiest way to get them done was to flip a coin and go from there. When we are overloaded with uncertainty, we hate choosing because it only adds more uncertainty and possibly regret if we “choose wrong”. So, cede control of the decision making process to the coin. It almost makes it fun. That leads me to...
- My willingness and tolerance for uncertainty is directly related to how much rest my brain and body have
- The anticipation of the work is always harder than the work itself. When I had to learn some new software for this launch, I would be dreading even starting it because of what I anticipated would be a steep learning curve, so instead I just delayed it and watched episodes of Breaking Bad. This is quite idiotic when you think about it because I had the November 8th deadline that wasn’t moving so the software had to be learned one way or another. It was like a closet door that I thought was holding back tens and tens of objects that would come barreling down on me as soon as I opened the door. But each time I started the process, I was fine even if it did take me awhile to learn it. So...
- Do everything in your power to start the thing you know you have to eventually finish. Start it from anywhere but just start and watch the Zeigarnik Effect take over
- Without a daily routine I would have never gotten this course done on time. I woke up at the same time, showered and ate breakfast just the same everyday
- Even my mentors get stressed, freak out, doubt themselves, and struggle with motivation. I learned this through side conversations, interviews, and denied requests for interviews for this course. Everyone is human. (Thanks Captain Obvious.) But seriously, there is something humbling and empowering to learn that the people who you look up to struggle with the same things we all do
- Busy work makes us feel better about ourselves but it doesn’t get anything done
- Satisfaction set points change in life. Sometimes you drive your set points higher (Richard Branson going from broke to a millionaire, to a multi-millionaire to a billionaire) and sometimes outside forces push your set points to a different place (Luke Skywalker was living a humdrum existence on Tatooine until Obi-told him about Darth Vader and until his aunt and uncle got murdered). This insight was part of a bonus interview I had with a successful millionaire for the course. Thinking about moving set points is all the more reason to control what you can control because...
- Goals aren’t about the future, they’re about the present. The future doesn’t exist so in order for your goals to
have an impact on your life, they have to make you do something useful today. Wanting to have your own company one day is fine but how does that notion get you to do something different today? The motivations behind my goals are constantly changing. Being cognizant of that has made things easier and has solidified that it’s all about the journey. If you’re waiting for the Unified Theory of your goals, you’re going to be waiting a long time. Go forth with what you know now. Don’t worry, in 2-3 years you’ll feel different anyway. At least you will have learned something in the meantime
- Find out what your potential customer wants and give them that. Everything else is irrelevant
- I can be accountable without blaming myself for everything that doesn’t work out perfectly. Forgiving myself for errors - not feeling guilty about them - is what increases accountability. The key is allowing myself to make errors and then immediately learn from them
- For as many people out there who are snake-oil salesmen trying to steal your money, there is so much good online. I can’t tell you how many times I was at a crossroads and then just googled something and there were hundreds of entries that people had created to help people in the exact position I was in. Whoever you people are, thank you
- In order to do something you really want to do you might have to break away from the people closest to you for a bit, but just for a bit
- If you knew the outcome of everything you did, you wouldn’t learn and you wouldn’t have any fun in life. Some of the best memories I have in life and some of the best lessons I've learned have been when I truly did not know what might happen next. So...
- You’ll never ever feel truly ready to launch or do the thing you want to do so at one point you have to throw caution to the wind and in the words of one of my interview subjects for the course, “In commitment we find freedom.” Truly. Commit to something and let the chips fall where they may
- In its simplest form, stress is being unable to do something that you want to do
- I still can’t figure out if I’m a horribly inefficient person or if I learn by doing. It is a strange feeling to change the same button or page 147 times when maybe if I had just watched the tutorial in detail I could have reduce that number by 50. Or maybe not
- Marketing my own stuff still feels weird to me. Sorry, it just does. I'm extremely confident in the value of the offer and I know it is going to help people but it always feels awkward selling. Maybe it has to do with worthiness, I don't know. All I know is, I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into creating this product and I'm proud of it. There, I said it. I'm proud of the effort I put in and that alone feels pretty damn good.
The course launches tomorrow, November 8, at 1PM EST. You can still register at readysetfinish.com now to get access to all the free modules I released in the buildup of the course.
Signing up there will also give you access to my private launch post tomorrow which will include, "What Jay-Z would tell you if he were marketing this course."
The course will have 2 hours of video modules from me, over 3 hours of interviews with change-makers and 10 worksheets to immerse yourselves in.
What are you having trouble starting? What do you want to finish?