Big projects are hard to get started — even if you’ve avoided The Fortress Fallacy and scoped things down.
In Motivational Judo, you trick your brain into being motivated. One of the more powerful “throws” is The Whip.
Think about how you crack a whip: With just a flick of the wrist, you get momentum started at the base of the whip. That momentum builds until the tip of the whip breaks the sound barrier. Seriously.
You don’t crack a whip by moving the tip at the speed of sound, you do it by getting momentum in the right part of the whip, and letting that build.
How do you apply this to your projects? You start with the part of the project that is one of:
- The easiest
- The most fun
- The most likely to build potential energy that will make starting other parts of the project easier
- The most likely to make you look like a fool if you don’t do the rest of the project (optional)
…Or any combination of the above. The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t think of projects linearly.
How have I used “The Whip?”
When I started working on an email course that would eventually bring my list from 5,000 to 30,000 subscribers, I had a lot of work to do. I had 12 emails to write, a landing page to design, and a launch to plan.
At first, I thought I’d do it all at once: write all of the emails, design the landing page, then plan and execute the launch. But I just couldn’t get motivated. My dumb brain wanted to look at Twitter and Facebook instead. It hurt too bad to start.
So, I used “The Whip” to motivate myself and keep momentum. Here’s how I tackled the project:
- I brainstormed the topic of each email to make sure I wasn’t delusional — that I could actually execute the course.
- This gained momentum for me to write short summaries for each email to further bolster my confidence.
- This gained momentum for me to write a full draft for the first couple of emails.
- Now I was excited and inspired. I then ignored the emails and concentrated on the launch. By making a public commitment to give the course, and to the dates of the emails, I was sure to follow through, because I’d look like a fool otherwise.
- By doing the launch, and getting all of those sign-ups, I was then very motivated to do a great job with the course. I scheduled the course so I had to write one email a week, to manage my motivation.
Questions to ask yourself or your team to find out where to start The Whip:
- Which part of the project are you excited about working on?
- Which part of the project would be the easiest to start? If that was done, would it make other parts easier?
- Are you feeling motivational blocks on parts of the project? Would you be more motivated if another part of the project was already finished, or if you had more information about the outcome?
- Is there an action you can take will commit you to finishing the rest of the project?