I came up with a saying a while ago that encapsulates my plan for success in anything. At the time it was more being clever than any meaningful thing. But, since then, I have thought about it a lot and it seems to be true, at least in my endeavors.
Currently I’m working a lot on The Board Game Workshop Design Contest and getting Tempus Quest episodes designed for Button Shy’s Board Game of the Month Club. Both of these things wouldn’t be happening if I wasn’t following my two step plan. So I thought I’d go into depth about it for this week’s post.
Step 1: Begin
This is a very important step. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And so on. This can be a really hard thing to do. Fear of failure. Wanting to wait to be prepared. It’s not the right time to start something like that. There’s no end to the reasons not to start something. Some are very real barriers, others are things we let be barriers so we don’t fail.
In the end, none of that matters. If you do not begin, you will not succeed.
I have a history of being very hesitant to start things. I’ll think about it a lot. Imagine how it would be. Then without a solid plan I will start the thing on a whim. This is how I started the design contest last year. I’m not saying you should act recklessly, or make risks you can’t afford. But, if you want to succeed at anything, you have to begin doing that thing.
Maybe you can start small by just doing a part. Maybe you can give yourself a deadline for the first step. Maybe you jump right in to a huge project that will probably fail spectacularly. The important thing is to begin.
Beginning is the second hardest step in this process. But it’s the most important step. That’s why it’s first. Step two is impossible if you don’t complete step one.
So you have begun the thing. You are half way through the steps for success. But now comes the hardest step of all.
Step 2: Continue
Keep on doing the thing. Do it again and again, make it better, make it more, refine it. Add some variety, try different styles. Whatever it takes, just continue.
Maybe the thing is something you can do constantly, in which case just always do it. More likely it’s something that takes some time and effort. It will have a flow of activity.
I started designing games almost five years ago. I wasn’t good when I started, but I continued. And with that I got better. Now I’m working on a year long game series that people are looking forward to. The process of game design has a very irregular pattern for me. But I’m always continuing.
Sometimes continuing is easier if you give yourself regular deadlines. On September 1st of 2017 I started writing this blog regularly. I decided I would post every Friday. And I have. This is the 76th consecutive week of my blog. Some weeks are really short. But they count.
Success is a tricky thing. It can have a lot of definitions and metrics. Some things have a concrete goal. When you meet the goal, you have succeeded. Other things don’t have any definite end. This two step plan works for both.
If there is a goal, you just do step two until you reach it. If there is no end, you just do step two forever and that becomes the success. As long as I post every Friday I am succeeding. Maybe one day I will define an end goal for this blog and succeed at that.
You can define success however you want. It can be easy, or hard, or logically impossible. But if you stick to the two steps, you will succeed. Or at least you won’t fail.
Good luck in all of your endeavors.