Counting Down to Launch
Launching a new product is such an exciting time! Visions of extravagant success dance in my head. I love working closely with my team to get everything in order, making sure that nothing is left out or forgotten. Seeing our progress toward the launch and imagining my grateful customers is inspiring. Approaching this last part of my endeavor is like riding a roller coaster—and birthing it is nearing its pinnacle.
So, why am I not on top of the world? Why do I feel discouraged? Why is my mind filled with thoughts of quitting?
I’ve never been one to stuff my feelings and just do it anyway. That may result in getting things done, but at the cost of sometimes ignoring important items it would be useful to examine. In the long run, ignoring the unpleasant feelings that seem to come from nowhere at critical times, will drag you down and can lead to discouragement and even depression. Most tragically, it can lead to self-sabotage that can undermine the project right on the brink of its success.
I also don’t believe in “never give up” or “quitting is for losers.” Sometimes your best option IS to cut your losses and move on to something else. But this is best determined as a rational decision, made after you’ve given it your best shot, carefully considered your options, and identified the real source of your dissatisfaction.
In my experience, my uncomfortable feelings can be an indicator that I could benefit from paying attention to something I’m overlooking or whether some aspect of the project could benefit from deeper reflection. That’s why, when I feel like quitting—especially at this juncture—just short of likely success, I stop and look more closely at my feelings.
First I look for patterns. Is this a common theme in my life–to feel like quitting right before a launch or a break-through? Actually, this is a normal time to feel discouraged, and it’s been true in my own life. Right before my book (Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women) launched, my discouragement almost became debilitating. But when I looked into it, I could see that it was just my fears of how the book would be received, whether it would be good enough, or whether I was even qualified to write this book in the first place. Once I saw that the source of my discouragement was only these ungrounded fears, I was able to step outside my anxiety, see the contradictory evidence, and determine what steps I could take to counter my fear.
Next I look at the product and ask myself, “Is there something important that’s missing?” I look at it from other viewpoints, such as that of my imaginary, kindly, expert mentor. (If you are a perfectionist, however, look beyond the tiny imperfections that will lead you to procrastinate; you’re only seeking important things you may have overlooked.)
Then I ask myself whether anything is concretely different now from those previous days when I was excited and optimistic. In the case of this launch, I could see that the difference is that now the product and the marketing is even more developed and effective than it was before. This tells me that my fears popping up now are just my psychological mechanisms that are normal to feel at the brink, not something to really be afraid of.
Now it’s easy for me to see that rationally—it would be unfortunate and misguided to quit now! Just seeing that concretely helps to dispel my discouragement. Physically moving the negative feelings out of my body through exercise, taking steps to make sure I’m eating and sleeping well, and doing things to raise my spirits such as listening to inspiring music, spending time doing things I love, and invoking gratitude, all work together to uplift me.
In other words, I’ve found that feeling discouraged tells me to examine whether I might do something differently, there is something it would be beneficial to add (or subtract) from my offering, or I could gain from looking at it from another perspective.
My uncomfortable feelings about something tell me to pay attention, they don’t dictate what I should do.
Do you have a hard time feeling inspired because there are unpleasant tasks in the way of your goal? Check out this video to learn about a few specific actions to put yourself into that productive frame of mind and get it done! bit.ly/TransformOneThing