‘Life’s up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want.’ Marsha Sinetar
Over the past few days, I have examined some of the phases you might go through when undertaking a legacy project. I talked about the legacy project honeymoon, the back-to-reality phase, questioning the legacy project, the motivation slump, and the last 100 metres.
In yesterday’s blog post I pointed out that I have based the descriptions of these phases on my own and others’ experience of undertaking legacy projects. I also suggested that you might experience these phases in slightly different ways, but that whatever your legacy project is you will go through some very difficult times. During those times, it is important to know that you are not alone, that it is okay to feel discouraged and unmotivated along the way, and that it is just a matter of getting yourself out of those dark moods and keeping going.
Incidentally, I am not the only one blogging about the difficulties you will encounter while undertaking your legacy project. Writer Steven Pressfield calls these difficulties sticking points, and in his blog post on the subject he has even provided rough indications of when along the way we might encounter them. In particular, Steven Pressfield suggests that there are six times on the journey where we are particularly vulnerable [read my own comments in square brackets]:
1) Before we begin, as we are afraid to commit to the project. [I haven’t addressed that one yet, because I see it as separate]
2) An eighth of the way through. The honeymoon rush of enthusiasm wears off [did he say ‘honeymoon‘? great minds think alike; this sounds like the back-to-reality phase]. We start having second thoughts. “What have I done? Where did I get the crazy idea that I could pull this thing off?” [similar to questioning the legacy project]
3) In the thick of the action. We’ve committed so much that we can’t go back–but we can’t see the end either. Befuddlement strikes, the fog of war. Paralysis. [sounds like the motivation slump]
4) Nine-tenths of the way through. We suddenly discover our whole premise is faulty; we must scrap 65% and start over. Arrrggggh. [to me, this seems like yet another trigger for the motivation slump]
5) In sight of the end. Can we close the deal? Will we freeze? Will we choke? [see the last 100 metres]
6) When we’re actually done. Now we’ll be judged. We are struck by fear of failure, fear of success, “the full catastrophe,” as Zorba the Greek once said. [similar to Steven Pressfield’s first sticking point – to me this one is separate, so I’ll address it some other time]
As it so happens, I wasn’t aware of this particular blog post by Steven Pressfield when I wrote about the different phases, but the fact that there are quite a few similarities does not surprise me. If you’ve already completed a legacy project, chances are you’ll have gone through similar difficulties along the way. It’s just the way it goes. You are not alone.
So, if you’re thinking of starting a legacy project, be warned: things will get tough. But, as Steven Pressfield says, ‘On the other side of every sticking point is blessed progress’. It’s just a matter of keeping going so you get on the other side.
The time is now.
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