May 29, 2019

What Do You Need Next?

If you haven't already, stop by these posts first for some context:

Week #1: “What do you care about?” — Notice the issues and situations that frustrate or excite when you move throughout your day.

Week #2: “What do you enjoy making?” — List the types of work that feel natural, meaningful, energizing.

Week #3: “Who do you like working with?” — Identify the specific kinds of people you’re curious about learning from or working with.

Week #4: "What might you do?" — Tips for combining the previous three questions and beginning to think through what you might do next.

I was a chubby kid. Husky jeans, Little Debbie snacks, last one to finish the mile in gym get the picture.

And I loved it. I enjoyed being the king of belly flops and the winner of any food-eating contest.

Then, during some my of middle school and high school years, things got hard at home. To cope, I threw myself into every extracurricular activity possible. Soccer was my favorite. And since I wasn’t very fast, I thought goalie was the best position for me.

That illusion soon faded when I actually started playing the game. Being too slow to stop a ball, I quickly traded my zebra cakes for healthier snacks and spent time before and after practice doing extra work to get into better shape. I couldn’t afford nice soccer gear either. Not having the newest and greatest goalie gloves, or gloves at all, meant that I got used to catching the ball again and again with nothing more than my bare hands.

Then one day, an older goalie gave me a pair of lightly used gloves and I was amazed. The gloves had seemingly given me Spiderman abilities to catch anything. Eventually, I learned I was best when I practiced with no gloves and played games with gloves. That way, I wouldn’t rely on them too much. It turned out that learning without the gloves worked to my advantage. I still practice and play that way today (hooray for old-man-pick-up games).

Getting a Boost

If you’ve been following along this month, you may already have an idea of the next thing you’re interested in doing in to change your life, community, or world for the better. As you embark on a project or experience, take stock of what you’ll need to make it fly. If you're missing something, don't let that hold you back. It could even be helpful to not have that thing yet (no goalie gloves = stronger hands, better form, better catching, etc).

At the same time, it’s helpful to be explicit about the things you need to clear potential barriers. They'll energize your work and push you through the dips. Think of these things as "Boosters" for your project. For example, most of us may feel more time or resources would be helpful. Those things usually are. But if you can be specific about what kind of time (ie: Saturday mornings for a month) or resources ($xx for materials), the easier it is to search or ask for them.

So your very final step before getting started is to note which Boosters you need.

Here are ten we see again and again:

Time: Days or weeks to work on the project

Connections: Introductions to people who are working on similar projects

Knowledge: Books, articles, classes, resources to learn more about the topic

Money: Resources to make something come to life

Feedback: Advice from someone who’s had experience with what you’re attempting

Supplies: Specific tools you don’t have

Milestones: A clear plan and checkpoints, usually with accountability

Habits: Setting small, continuous actions to make your project come to life

Skills: Teaching around specific activities necessary to complete your project

Which Booster(s) do you need for what you’re working on next?

PS: We’ve making a deck of cards for you to think about this question with friends and colleagues. Snag yours on KICKSTARTER here.

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