I love a good story and I love to hear the ideas that Seth Godin spreads.
So I was thrilled to find this video via @the99percent where Seth Godin shares a great story and implores people to just ship. “Shipping” is a phrase that Seth has usurped from the language and made his own. When you hear it you know that he’s talking about finishing what you start and getting it out there. He’s talking about finishing your book, or your blog post or your product or your corporate initiative and then launching it. That means sharing it, selling it, offering it up to the public and letting it go.
What he knows is that most people and companies get to the home stretch and freeze. Self doubt, fear of failure and the “lizard brain” that can best be described as your lower self, kick in and stop you dead in your tracks. It’s the voice in your head that tells you you’re idea isn’t good enough.
With the internet we can all publish without the excuse of not having an agent or a publisher. We can send up a test balloon on Kickstarter. With the internet we can beta test our major initiative with a small panel of users. It used to be easier to not ship because there were more excuses but that’s not the case anymore. If you ask Seth, it was never the case.
The way he describes the process, too many people (and companies) get to a point near the end and start thrashing around with self doubt. They get the committee to take another look. They go for the sign-offs of the upper echelon. Now more people get brought into the process and no one wants to put the seal of approval on something that might fail so just when you’re near the finish line, you stop.
What’s different about this talk–the twist he adds to the idea–is that there is a time to do the thrashing, the questioning. There is a time to question your idea, your business model, your process. That time is at the beginning. Don’t start something that you haven’t seriously considered and looked at from every angle and gotten everyone’s input on. That doesn’t mean there is a guarantee that it will succeed. But what it does mean is that you don’t embark on projects that haven’t been put to the doubting test early on. It means you won’t start as many projects.
But once you do, you finish. If you find yourself doubting the project at the end, just finish and ship. Don’t quit at the home stretch. The time to doubt yourself is at the beginning.