July 8, 2010

Overcoming the Plateau

It is a widespread idea that a metaphorical plateau stands between you and success, whether your goal is losing weight, finishing a project, or starting a business. The plateau is the stretch that separates the dedicated from the undedicated. It tests just how badly you want to achieve your goal.

That is where I am at the moment. I hiked the side of the rock face, which turned out to be a little more strenuous than I expected. I probably forgot to pack a water bottle, even in my metaphor, making the climb that much more difficult. However, once I mounted that final lip, pulling myself over the edge, I stood up, stretched...then saw that I wasn't at the top after all. Instead, there was yet another wall to climb, but only after crossing a hundred-yard span of flat, sun-scorched rock. Rather than immediately setting out to tackle this distance, I sat down, raised an umbrella, and pulled out a thermos of chilled margaritas. I read a book, took a nap, crocheted, blogged (ahem). Whatever the tool of procrastination might have been at the moment, I handled it with efficiency and expedition.

I have said before that it can be hard to maintain motivation when starting a business, especially if you are forced to keep your day-job during this time. Moreover, you may find your motivation is being pummeled by Doubt. Doubt probably gets slapped around at home which is why it likes to take out its aggression on poor little Motivation, or so The Berenstein Bears tell me.

(I started to create a picture to insert here, but realized that was another way of procrastinating.)

While working on the business plan (which is turning out to be on par with Anna Karenina in forcing my brain to do the I Don't Wanna dance), I keep thinking, "But what if it fails? What if I spend all this money to get the business going and it just doesn't work out?"

"It will work out. It doesn't make sense to fail."

"But lots of businesses fail every day...especially these days."

"It won't fail."

"But it might."

And so on. Sometimes Superstition steps in, for good measure, ranting about signs and omens, sounding a lot like the guy on 16th Street who shouts out biblical verses to the dodging eyes around him. I'll stop with the inner monologue now because it really gets tiresome. I have to listen to those jackasses arguing all day...I don't want to read about it, as well. I wish there were a condom for the brain, something which would allow optimistic thoughts to be communicated, while blocking the pessimistic babble from infiltrating.

Recently, Kortney backed out of the business. She did so because she worried about her commitment to the idea and because she has a lot of stress to deal with already. I thought her decision was extremely commendable, since she backed out for my sake, not wanting to drag me down if she flaked out (her words, not mine). She was also worried about what repercussions might result from friends working together. I think it takes a stronger person to bow out, rather than going along with a plan of which you may be wary. Yet while her decision invited even more respect from me (if that is possible), it gave Doubt a bigger advantage. Two sets of Motivation are better than one; but with the right mindset (as well as a kick-ass Karate-Kid-esque montage), just one can still defeat the opponent.

The point? Did I have a point? I hope you hadn't come here looking for an informational article, because I have no idea what I'm talking about. Clearly. Nevertheless, here is what I plan to do in order to cross the aforementioned distance until the next mountain.

  • Absorb nothing but success stories.

    They are everywhere. I can't trip over my shoelaces without hearing of someone who successfully runs a business.** No more focusing on the failing businesses I pass on my way to work each day.
  • Figure out what can go wrong, then create Plans B, C, D, E...

    My grandma always says, "Plan for the worst and everything else is gravy." If I establish strategies for the event that something goes wrong (or if everything goes wrong), I will never be taken by surprise.
  • Quit the damn procrastinating.

    That's it. I'm grounded. No more Minesweeper until the business plan is finished. No more Lumosity. No more crocheting and watching movies. No more concerts. None of it.

    (Well, maybe just a little bit of Minesweeper.)
  • Keep the end goal in mind.

    What is my ultimate goal? To work for myself, to get out of Corporate America. How can I ever do that if I keep stalling? Do I secretly want to keep answering phones and taking orders which make no sense to me? Is that it? Am I just pretending to hate it because it makes me look hipper? (Sometimes I respond better to antagonism.) No, of course not. I need to stay optimistic and think of all that can be had if I just work through this, as opposed to what will be if I give up.
With that being said, over and out. I have work to do.

** This is not true. I don't have shoelaces.

Oh, and in the event that you came here genuinely looking for help, go here instead: Advanced Riskology. This guy seems to know what he's talking about and he doesn't even have to bring up condoms.


Miss Mandy said...

I recently started reading an awesome book called Creating the Work You Love. It is an inspiration. It helps you open yourself to the possibilities around you and make your inner truth an outer reality. I think you might like it.

(Thank you for fueling *my* procrastination. I love your blog!)

Miss Mandy said...

Oops! Almost forgot the link! http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Work-You-Love-Commitment/dp/0892815426

Kelli said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Mandy. That sounds interesting. I'll check it out!