13 things you'll gain from starting that big project
Today I'm sharing with you the big fuck off reminders life gives you when you're undertaking any big project. Whether you're writing a book, thinking of starting your own business, planning a wedding, or even thinking that you'd like a big project; there are so many great takeaways. Now, if you're anything like me, you like to take on big projects. Or the idea of taking on a big project. Over the last 3 months, I have completely overhauled That Hummingbird Life's website, and when I completed it, like most things in my life, I asked myself, what are the lessons in this?
Any big project will tell you a lot about yourself. Pursuing any big dream, and the hard graft that it takes to get there, will teach you invaluable lessons.
So whatever project you're working on, or even thinking of starting, hopefully these home truths will help and inspire you.
1. You find out what really matters to you
When we take on projects, of course we always have hopes and aspirations for the end result, but it's fair to say that a guaranteed and specific financial income isn't set in stone. Money might not even come into it, like many things in life we love. What that means is that so many of us are motivated by the things that matter to us. Fulfilment, working for a purpose, happiness, connection.
Taking on a project is a chance to get to the root of what lights us up. It's an opportunity to remind ourselves of what really matters, what we're working towards, and keep us grounded and focused. And no matter where we are in life, it's a welcome and much needed reminder for all of us.
2. You gain so much more confidence and resilience
Something will always go wrong last minute. And it's usually something you don't plan for. But it's not a reason not to try in the first place. After all, by the time you're near completing your project, you've gained so much self trust and confidence, the thing that goes wrong usually comes as a surprise. And as a result of that, you deal with it. It's a great cycle that shows you that you're able to deal with anything life throws at you, and in turn increases your confidence further. Win win.
3. Everyone will have advice but you have all the answers
E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. It might be well meaning from someone you love, it might be someone manipulating where you're at to sell you something (buy this book to write a BESTSELLING novel). Everyone loves to give out free advice. But somewhere in between starting out and really getting stuck in, you'll realise how much knowledge you already have. And how much listening to your gut tells you. And that's pretty fucking powerful stuff.
4. You realise you can't please everyone, and that's OK
The same way as everyone always has advice, everyone always has an opinion. And they'll give it to you, unsolicited at a moment's notice. If you have a friend/partner that you trust to tell you the truth (in a loving way), use them as a sounding board. But what many famous writers have advised around not telling everyone the whole story until it's done? I think there's some leg room in that. It's not your job to please everyone - it's an impossible goal, and you'll just end up feeling shite. But you'll learn that along the way, and that is pretty fucking powerful.
5. You have to trust in yourself, that you will be able to bring your vision to life
Putting your idea into words is hard. Explaining it can be even harder. Even with the most elaborate Pinterest boards or deck of notecards, it's hard to show other people your vision before it's come to life. But just because you can't find the right words, or other people seem confused as to what it is you're aiming for, doesn't mean that it's not going to happen. And it certainly doesn't mean your ideas are silly, or too big. In the moment when you're faced with fear and self doubt, remember that you had the idea. You have what it takes to bring it to life. And if people aren't understanding it just yet, it's more likely to be because you've tapped into something special, instead of your idea being intangible.
6. You'll accumulate a ridiculous amount of skills
You get such a larger set of skills by starting a project that sets your heart of fire, instead of starting out to just learn a skill. Instead of starting by trawling through technical details, you start with what makes you excited, and pick the skills you need up on the way. Research and development are two of the most essential parts when it comes to working on a project, and it's always worth writing a quick list of skills you accumulated after it's done. I guarantee you'll be surprised.
7. You have to start before you're ready
While research is important, it also functions as a defence mechanism against fear. When I was a teenager, I spent years buying writing magazines instead of just putting pen to paper. There's something safe about learning more about doing something, without actually doing anything. One thing starting a project shows you is that you'll never be 100% ready. There will always be something else you could have looked up, or something else you could have spent money on. But when you get that urge just to start already? That's an image that's going to stay in your head and motivate and inspire you for a long time to come.
8. You'll find courage you didn't know was there
Starting before you're ready takes a lot of fucking courage. And throughout all of the twists and turns of whatever you're working on, you'll find courage that you didn't even know existed. Courage to tell the outside world what you're doing. Courage to share yourself with the world, and courage to feel the fear and keep on going.
9. While everyone will marvel at what you've done, not many people will see the blood, sweat & tears
Dealing with other people's reactions is an important one. People will wonder where you found the time, where you found the energy and where the talent came from. It's always worth remembering that jealousy and admiration can be sides of the same coin, and the bitter ones? The words they speak say more about themselves than what you're doing. We're increasingly living in a world where people produce the latest shiny things as if it's as easy as taking a shit. They don't show you the messy bits, the late nights, the tears of frustration. They want to be seen as having it all figured out. 1) No one has it all figured out and 2) Seeing the messy bits shows that you're human. That you didn't come out of the womb dressed in a tutu and with an iPhone.
10. You learn that it's okay to take a break
You can only have so many sleepless nights, stare at the computer for so long, or read the same paragraph so many times. At some point, you're going to realise that, like it or not, you really need a break. Then you realise that when you're rested, you can get so much more done and it starts becoming fun again.There's nothing like tiredness and exhaustion to suck all the fun and enthusiasm out of your life like a dementor. When you learn that your mind and your body needs a break, and it's often the best thing you can do, life gets a hell of a lot easier.
11. Deadlines increase your ability to make decisions
When you have no timeframe, it's so easy to get caught up in analysis paralysis. Decisions can take days and it just gets really frustrating. But when you've got a big project and you set yourself deadlines, it can be a different story. Decisions that might have taken you a week to make? You don't want to stall the project for too long, so they're made much quicker. And you end up trusting your own judgement so much more. And self trust? That's something you're not going to find on Amazon.
12. There is no right feeling when you've finished
This is a big one for me. When you finish a project, it's a whole mixed bag of emotions. We can put too much pressure on ourselves to feel over the moon and enthusiastic. For me, right when I finish a project, exhaustion sweeps over me. Any sort of pride, or ability to give a fuck goes. Then a couple of days it all catches up with me and I get a huge boost. Whatever you're feeling, your feelings are legitimate. Just remember to mark it/celebrate it in some way!
13. You learn to manage your own expectations
Starting a big project can do wonders for managing your own expectations. We tend to downplay the things we're great at, simultaneously giving ourselves huge goals that aren't always attainable. Somewhere in the process, you start working out your own definition of success and managing your own expectations to something that makes you feel great.
Everyone's experiences are different, but I know one thing for absolutely certain. Starting a big project gets you closer to where you want to be. Whatever the motivating factor, the main thing is that you start.
Because once you start? The world is your oyster. You have so much genius only you can put into the world, and the world needs to see it! Wrestle those fears!
I'm looking forward to writing more posts on starting and planning projects.
I'd love to know any questions you'd love me to answer, or any experiences you've had in the comment box below!