Tag: personal growth

Shipping Costs

It’s a daunting prospect to have people look at a personal project and (wait for it…) give us feedback!

O, the horror!

Fear of shipping said project (a.k.a. releasing it for people to view) sets in and we think “Well…I could make this a little better if I…”

Then we make that change and say “What if I tweaked a, b and c, too?”

Then we pick it back up and adjust x, y and z.

Before long, an attempt to make a project perfect in our own eyes has paralyzed any possibility of ever launching. All the while, we forgot that the goal of making something was to ship it! To provide content. To fill a need in the market. To follow a dream or passion.

But shipping a project can incur costs.

We have personal doubt that our stuff doesn’t stack up to someone else’s work. Our friends or family might thinking we’re crazy for trying. We could get negative feedback from consumers. We have to make time and sacrifice other things to get it off the ground.

Yes, Taylor said it best in that haters gonna hate, but what if you took those comments with a grain of salt and also paid attention to the positive reviews and constructive criticism from satisfied consumers with ideas on how to make it better and even more satisfying for them?

That’s the point — to create something that people want. Progress only comes from iteration. So ship. Make adjustments. Ship again. Make more adjustments. Then ship again. That creates a cycle. If we’re only ever making adjustments, we’re not creating anything cyclical. It’s just us, alone in a room that starts to smell musty and a little bit like those nachos we habitually get for take out every Tuesday night for dinner.

It’s stagnant.

So share your music. Showcase your photography. Publish your writing. Perform your comedy. Dance your dance. Post your vlog. Launch your fundraiser.

The biggest barrier to entry in most endeavors is our own fear. Yes – shipping has it’s costs. But we have to remember that those costs (like any other cost) create return on our investment.

Dream Big. Start Small.

It’s a rare duck that can start an endeavor for global domination and make it happen overnight.

Be it starting your own business or completing your first triathlon, most people don’t hire 5,000 employees on their first day or get to race the world championships in Kona on their first go.

As a result, I would propose that we mere mortals remember that it’s ok to start small.


What I Really Mean
When I decided to give triathlons a shot, I researched different distances (finding the shortest one!), bought the book “Triathlon For Dummies” and convinced a friend (my wife) to race it with me. As I began training, I could barely swim 25 meters in a pool without feeling exhausted. It was daunting.

When my wife decided to start her own business, she researched the different options to get started (finding the cheapest one!), read up on how to get an Etsy shop going and got a friend (me) to support her along the way. As she posted her first listing, she had no idea if any sales would actually come through. It was daunting.

Where To Start
I’m sure we’ve all been in a similar situation. We look at the end goal and say, “Man, I think that’s more than I can handle”.

Really, what we need to say to ourselves is, “What’s one little thing I can do to move the ball forward?”

Then go do that.

Breaking a dream up into manageable pieces gives us clarity and focus. You finish Phase 1, get to celebrate and then put Phase 2 squarely in your crosshair.

Whether it’s becoming adept at multiple sports for triathlon, understanding basic business principles to start your own endeavor, beginning a regular exercise routine, changing your spending habits or whatever – you have to learn foundational disciplines and then apply them regularly to hone your craft.

It’s Like Novocaine
What it boils down to, really, is process. Things need time to develop. We, more often than not, need to actually figure out how to get from Point A to Point G. And we do that (read: make that up) as we go.

In Remember The Titans, Coach Boone’s assistants are leery of his six-play playbook before leaving for training camp. He simply replies, “It’s like Novocaine; just give it time, it always works.”

Now I’m not saying that every dream we ever have we will work, but rather that we have to keep in mind that it takes time. Setting ourselves up for measureable successes along the way is how we keep motivated and keep a dream alive.

See It Through
For me, this all meant racing a Sprint triathlon in a pool, then a Sprint triathlon in open water, then an Olympic distance and then a half Ironman.

In my wife’s case, she started with a basic calligraphy services concept, got feedback, added products, got more feedback, added her own e-commerce site, got more feedback and now has people interested in wholesaling her work.

In each instance, there were days where we messed up, had something flop, made a mistake or didn’t meet a goal. But we learned from it, took advice and encouragement from others along the way and kept moving forward.

Step, after step, after step.

And the best part is, we’re not done yet.

Dream big.

A Merry Mary Christmas: Reflecting on the Season


Merry Christmas! ‘Tis the season for jubilant greetings, warm embraces and laughing until it hurts with family and friends.

For me, though, one of the big obstacles of Christmas is to make sure I truly have my heart and mind in the right place as it relates to my faith.

The Issue

Remembering “the reason for the season” is easy enough with a cliché phrase, but putting it into practice is sometimes a personal challenge because of all the distractions: I’m excited to head back home; I want to give thoughtful gifts; I’m thinking of next year’s goals; holiday parties have awesome food. The list goes on and on and my attention bounces from place to place.

In reality, however, my primary concern should be focusing on the fact that Christ loves me so much that He came to Earth in human form to save me from sin and show me how to live my life.

(Man…even typing that just made my list of distractions seem silly…)

So this year, my wife and I both prayed that we would keep our hearts in the right place during the Advent season and be drawn closer to Him in this time of preparation. I didn’t know what would happen or how, but was willing to hear anything Jesus wanted to tell me.

I Think I’ve Got Something

Most of the time, I really try to see things from other people’s perspectives, and so it hit me that I should try to consider Jesus’ birth from another perspective: Mary’s. It was precipitated by Francesca Battistelli’s song “You’re Here”, reinforced while celebrating The Immaculate Conception and hit home while discussing Gabriel’s visit to Mary (Lk 1:26-38) in a bible study this week. In each instance, my mind kept grappling with the incomprehensible enormity of the fact that:

  1. Mary was open to whatever God had planned for her and
  2. She got to hold him [God] in her arms!

The first point is one that can be a regular struggle. I dream up ideas and create plans of where I want to be and what I want to do; that’s just my nature.  So if God asked me to go down a different path (one that seemed really hard and out of my comfort zone) sheesh…I pray that I would have the grace to answer in the same manner as Mary.  Her willingness to accept her calling is such an amazing example of humility through faith. Plus, her situation of being an unmarried, pregnant woman in Jewish biblical times put her in a far more serious predicament than any I will probably ever face. It can be a scary thought, but I have to trust that whatever situation I’m in, He’s leading me through.

The second point is one that just fills me with a sense of awe. What it must have been like for Mary to know that she was responsible for raising her own savior and the uncertainty of what that would look like. God turned her world upside down, but in doing so literally put himself directly at the center of it. To me, it’s such a powerful thought to envision that situation. What could I ever say or do that wouldn’t make me feel completely self-conscious?! I can only imagine being speechless, staring at the infant in my arms and having an overwhelming sense of love take hold of me!

The Final Count Down

So where does this leave me now? With seven days to go, this may well be my most merry Christmas yet, but I believe it’s because God lead me down a path to consider what a Mary Christmas was like first.

Have you been doing anything specific this Advent season to prepare for Jesus’ birth? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!