Updated: Apr 15
Day 13. Today has been one of my more frustrating days during this period of voluntary incarceration. A few days before the lockdown, my trusted and loyal Macbook breathed its… sorry… her last breath. My attempts to revive her were not effective. She lived a good life, traveled the world, and leaves behind a legacy. She will be missed. RIP. Anyone who knows me knows that I am quite the tech-racist. I don’t care what specs you list for a laptop or computer, it can, and NEVER will be a Mac.
By the time I realised this, I could not revive *sniff*… my precious, it was too late to replace her (or order online and have it delivered, since only food is being delivered). So for the lockdown period, I am using an old computer with an operating system other than OSX, and it is not a Mac. It feels clumsy, slow, disorganised.
My frustration may seem petty, but trust me it is real.
We all experience such moments of utter frustration in our lives, especially, while we are working tirelessly on our new business. If your business is born out of a vision, something that was laid on your heart, and you want to see it succeed with every fiber of your being, the smallest obstacle, can seem like an attempt by the enemy to derail your plans. More often than not dreams are shelved, and we return to the "easier" life of working for someone else because bringing our dream to life, was not as perfect as we had envisioned
I would challenge you to find a creator other than God, who could after the first attempt look at their creation and say "It is good." For us, there is no rest on the seventh day, as it was not that good…
Everything takes work. Hard work, and business or pursuing a passion is no different.
How we do business, how we socialise, how we are educated, all constantly change. Evolve. The old adage of "the only constant is change" rings true. Earlier this week was helping my 10-year old daughter do her homework. She is in Zambia, and I am South Africa. Yet technology for our communication, and the web-based platform they now receive their education on, made it possible. Can you imagine trying to do that 20 years ago?
So with everything constantly changing, it stands to reason the plans you have in place for starting your business, will need to be adjusted by the time you print and bind your business plan, leave alone have financing in place. You can make the adjustments to your budget, secure additional funding, simply to realise once this is all done, that you have yet again to adjust.
You must accept, and embrace the environment of constant change. Start where you are, Today. Start your business. Start a fitness program. Start a personal growth journey. There is no guarantee that tomorrow will be a better day to start. And there is absolutely no, zero, zilch proof that the 1st of January, of any given year, will guarantee any success,
I have for some time been promising myself that I will step into every part of the vision God has shown me for my life. One of the steps I had to take was launching a Podcast. I had all the plans in place, including budgets, required equipment, a content list for the first three months. Yet the time was never right. Is this the right mic for the job? Is home quiet enough? Did I get the right software? What if I sound funny… ?
Yet this past Sunday, I was moved to do it. I did not have the right mic and had no windscreen for the one I had (to stop the explosive P and Bs). I started with what I had. I neatly wrapped the mic in single-ply toilet paper. Because my Mac was dead (may she rest in peace), I did not have the studio software I bought a few weeks ago nor the content plan. I downloaded an open-source programme and just started. The final product was far from perfect. BUT I DID IT!
Adjust on go
Once you have started, the real struggle begins. The key is keeping your eye on the goal, the prize. Make small, constant adjustments as you go. Make slight coarse corrections, as the captain of a ship would do on rough seas. The waves will push you off course every once in a while, but that is absolutely no reason to jump ship. Get your bearings, adjust and continue.
I had to do just that with my TP-improvised-windscreen. The first take was terrible. The toilet paper was unbeknown to me moving ever so slightly as I was speaking. When I listened to the playback, the rustling sound was terrible. It sounded like I pocket dialled someone while running through thick bushes.
For the next take, I adjusted the shape, and size of my "wind-screen" and this time secured it with some good-old masking-tape.
Embrace the Naysayers
One of the biggest hurdles we face before starting lies within us. And ONLY within us. Fear. The fear of being judged. The fear of publicly failing. Fear of being ridiculed.
Every day we see some poor sod that made a comment on a post on social media, being torn apart by trolls and haters. We have become so afraid of what total strangers whom we will never cross paths with have to say about us. What if they laugh at you? Who gives a c***!? (It amazes me how someone who took a chance on their dream, is ridiculed by some fool whos only claim to fame is that he can post 100 pointless negative comments a day that contributes a big fat zero to society).
There will always be criticism. But develop the ability to sift through the negative comments and feedback to find the gem that will help you improve. In fact, go out there and ask for criticism. Some of the greatest advancements of our time, were born out of criticism.
When the iPhone was first launched everybody wanted one (I mean, why wouldn't they right?). It was not long before the owners started complaining about its restrictions. You could not add your own software, and there were very few bells and whistles. That gave birth to the Jailbreak community. Hackers that exploited Apple's software, to allow you to add you own non-Apple-Approved software, and a few bells and whistles.
Steve Jobs did not update his social status to "Steve is offended /sad-face-emoji /"angry-face-emoji" He listened to what the critics were saying and used that to bring features people loved to the iPhone.
My first Podcast episode was still far from perfect, but that is the beauty of it. Every new effort now can be an improvement on the previous. And I do feel a great sense of accomplishment. I may not (yet) have tens of thousands of downloads, but I launched.
And I did my happy dance (no, you cannot see it). I celebrated the win, as small as it may have been. And it felt good.
I am now encouraged, and excited to record my next show, and simply can't wait to post it. I will celebrate my first big when, when I reach 50 episodes. I can't wait!
What are you waiting to start? Why not now?