There is a phrase that pops up in coaching now and then when talking to clients about their projects. I didn’t make it up, I *borrowed* it from a 2006 Movie, but I have been using it ever since.
It’s the phrase: Failure to Launch.
It was a silly romantic comedy about a thirty-something guy who never left mommy and daddy’s house because he couldn’t commit to one woman because…well…one better just might come along. His parents finally hired a commitment coach to help “launch* him into adult life.
While none of my clients are discussing problems in their dating lives, (that’s not what I coach on) and (to the best of my knowledge) none of them live with their parents or have anyone conspiring to”launch” them anywhere…I see other similarities with clients and friends who struggle to take their ideas, dreams and hobbies and turn them into profitable, successful businesses.
Some of them have been trying for years. They even call their adventures “businesses.” Even though the difference between a hobby and a business is the ability to make an income, they go on year after year, thinking about deciding to do something instead of actually taking the steps to decide and taking the action steps to DO the business.
They want to.
They talk about it.
They dream about it.
They take classes for it.
They have mailing lists for it.
They go to seminars for it.
They build websites for it…that don’t go live.
They work hard…behind the scenes, building products and creating ideas that nobody ever sees.
They suffer from Failure to Launch.
They can’t pull the trigger and let their baby go.
These are wonderful people. Some of the nicest, most creative, amazing people I have ever met in my entire live. Who are they? They might be you. They might be me. They might have been all of us at one time or another.
In fact, I know I have been this person. Deb has been this person. We held our first book, Loyalties in our hands and stared and stared and examined and ordered copies and held our breath and sweat, and stared and ordered again and finally….finally…we had to take a deep breath and say…okay, it isn’t perfect, we know that, but we HAVE TO LAUNCH.
And we did. And it was scary.
But it was okay. And now that we have books five, six and seven in rewrites and edits and are starting on book eight, all that angst over holding on to one book seems so far away and silly that it is hard to remember. But, at the time, it felt like the scariest thing in the world.
So What Causes Failure To Launch?
There are more reasons for this than one article can tackle but we can address some of the top ones. Every single one of them can be summed up under the big umbrella of FEAR. But let’s take them one at a time:
Perfectionism . It’s not perfect yet.You live in fear of finding that one terrible mistake. No, it isn’t perfect and here is the bad news: It never will be. When you find an error you can fix it and move on. There will always be mistakes, they are a part of life and an opportunity for growth and learning. Waiting for it to be perfect will keep you from launching permanently.
Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side . I just saw somebody else’s (fill in the blank ) that I like better, I’m thinking of starting over… This is one of the sneakiest forms of self-sabotage out there. There will always be something else out there to slow you down. At a certain point, design has to take a back seat to existing at all!
I Might Have A Better Idea Tomorrow So, I should just wait and not doing anything with this one, just in case. It is a guarantee that you will have a better idea tomorrow if you are a creative entrepreneur. That is the way we are created! We are designed to build on our last creations. But if you don’t jump in the game somewhere, you don’t ever get to play. Jump!
“They” Might Not Like It So I should ask around and get about a million more opinions before I begin. These mysteriously critical “They” people have been holding up progress for far too long. Who gave them all the power anyway?? The trick here is to figure out who your ideal client is, figure out what THEY need and want and create ONLY for them. When the mission is clear the path lights right up. The mysterious “They” don’t get a vote.
The Endless Well of Information I need to do more research. I might not have ALL the facts. Here is some possibly disturbing news. You never will have all the facts. Facts are changing every single day. You couldn’t possible keep up with every single bit of industry news no matter what your profession is. And here is the good news. You don’t have to. Even if you have a healthy smidgen of the facts in your trade, you are likely to be light years ahead of someone just starting out. Once again, jump in, and commit to keeping up as you go along.What you learned last month is already obsolete anyhow so stop wasting time!
Fear of Keeping up With Technology I need to wait until next month when the new (fill in the blank) comes out or I won’t be up to date. Bad news again. No matter what you buy, ten minutes later somebody else is going to come out with something new. This is an insidious procrastination device for not deciding to launch because you can never win this one. Sooner or later you are going to just have to decide and take your lumps with the rest of us. Unless you are willing to make ridiculous financial investments in technology you will always be one step behind.
The bottom line is there will always be a “good” reason not to start if you are looking for one. We are masters of Self-sabotage and delusion at keeping ourselves from following our dreams and our hearts desires. But sooner or later…if you want that hobby or dream or behind the scenes business to become a vibrant, money-making reality you have to do ONE THING FIRST.
You have to take action and LAUNCH.