When you start freaking out about change or challenges, then its time to take a step back and reframe the work in the larger context of your career and goals — the big picture.
When you’ve invested yourself in a goal and worked to deliver, it’s especially difficult to learn that new requirements have changed the rules and that “success” will have a different look than originally forecast. If your blood starts boiling at scope changes, or your client starts thinking outside the box (read outside your carefully orchestrated plan), then its good to ask yourself a few simple questions in order to regain perspective.
- Will the additional work make the end result better?
- Is the change going to set you up for something even better down the road?
- Where am I going after this? Is there something else in the pipeline?
- If time and money weren’t an issue, then why wouldn’t I do this?
Sometimes you end up deciding that the extra work isn’t worth it. That’s life. But oftentimes you’ll see that the extra effort will payoff. Then you have to go for it.
If you work for yourself, then doing this type of analysis is even more important. As a entrepreneur your time is your most valuable asset. You have to keep thinking about next steps and new opportunities. Yet often the next opportunity will come from a current client, so you have to keep your mind open and remember that everything is connected.
I was recently presented with some (understandable) changes in the timeline and requirements for a project. I didn’t take it well. After a few near-meltdowns and some honest conversations, I was able to come to grips but acceptance was not graceful and things could have gone bad.
In the end, it wasn’t the just the value of the project itself that kept me engaged, but the knowledge that this project could be an asset in getting more work down the line. It was something I’d invested myself in not only for the sake of the client or my bank account, but because the work gave me new experiences that would translate well down the road. I’d nearly ran from a project because I’d lost sight of the big-picture value of the work and leaving would have cost me dearly for quite some time.
Asking myself these simple questions (and taking some deep breaths) helped me regain my perspective on the whole thing.
Image courtesy of Rana Banerjee on Flickr