April 27, 2021
Every major project (hello grants!) includes a point where we start to question whether or not we’ll reach the finish line.
This huge, unmovable deadline looms – and all we can see is everything left Undone.
Even if we’ve had plans mapped out week by week to avoid this very feeling of last-minute panic, I’ve found that it can still creep in. I’ve started to wonder if it’s inevitable.
I think the truth may be that with any big thing we’re trying to get off the ground (or submit), this struggle is universal. Grants are just a prime example. There is so much social commiseration around them, that we actually interpret a normal part of the process as evidence to quit. It looks like this:
We feel mild panic at how close the deadline looms.
We identify something that’s missing: i.e. we don’t have the samples, the green light, the shining feedback – whatever…
The judgment starts.
We start to ask…“what’s the point”?
Pressure creeps in and we are tempted to stall and wait until ‘next time’. My people, this is a trap. Next time will be the same as this time. This panic-moment will show up in a new flavor. The details of the hurdle are arbitrary. The only thing that really matters is how we respond. And your response is a *decision.*
I want us to take our power back. We can be focused on navigating this point, instead of trying to avoid or prevent it. Because the way we respond to this crunch-time alarm will determine the fate of the submission.
We can give ourselves all the excuses not to continue and we are achievers *very* good at that. We have genius-level antennae to detect when we *might* fail and pivot with the quickness. We’ll wrap that pivot up very nicely too, thank you very much.
But the truth is that we are choosing failure in advance. And when we do this, we also rob ourselves of the opportunity to find out the true potential of our work.
You make a decision to quit or a decision to submit, period.
When fear is running the show, you can come up with all sorts of conditions to choose whether or not we’re going to keep going towards submission. Something like “ if I’m able to do X” or “If y comes through.” The problem is when you make your persistence conditional, you encourage your brain to find problems and excuses. All of sudden ALL you can see is what is wrong and what is not ready.
I encourage you to choose differently.
Decide to keep going, to see it through. Once you give yourself that gift, that considerable brain of yours will start to focus on the how. That problem-solving that got you where you are now will gleefully take the wheel and starts running the show. You will look up and the finish line is in sight.
The panic-moment doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It means you are *so close.*
You’ve got that one last hurdle. Don’t call and rant to your friend. Don’t schedule a mentor meeting just to self-sabotage. Decide to see it through – and Get. To. Work.
I dare you.