I want to tell you a story. It’s not about artwork, exactly. It’s about everything from tackling a big commission to repairing your bathroom. It’s about that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you set out to do something big.
See that pic? That’s my bathroom. Last week our faucet sprung a leak. A simple fix, right? Not so much, thanks to a 160 year old farmhouse that was built before indoor plumbing. We had to rip out the entire shower to even reach the leak. I wish I could show you an after pic, but there isn’t one – yet.
In the past, I would have looked at that gutted room and felt sick to my stomach.
I won’t lie – I still kinda do. It feels overwhelming. I don’t know how to fix it, and neither does Alan. Plumbing and electrical are the two “old house” skills we’ve never mastered. But I know within the next few days we’ll have conquered at least one of them.
Funny story, Alan did most of this by himself. Usually it is a good idea to have your spouse on board before going so far, but I was in a meeting. An executive decision was made, and by the time I walked back in the house, it looked like this. Cue that stomach ache.
But then he explained why. Trying to unsweat the pipes through a four-inch hole meant potentially setting the house on fire, and this seemed like a better alternative. True! Nothing like a good old change in perspective. And then he said something I didn’t expect:
We should look on Pinterest!
Pinterest?!? I wanted a shower, not a distraction. But he was absolutely right. Fifteen minutes of scrolling through pictures gave us exactly what we needed.
This is what I call a Big Project.
Big Projects are those big, ambitious things you want or need to do but they’re daunting as hell. Maybe it’s artwork, maybe it’s plumbing, but it’s definitely out of your comfort zone. You have no idea whether or not you’ll succeed – or maybe you’re certain you won’t. Or, maybe you start but stall halfway through because it all feels too overwhelming.
The difference between feeling overwhelmed about a project and feeling excited is subtle but crucial – and it all comes down to vision. Can you envision what you want to achieve? Vision comes from the same part of the brain as motivation. And motivation is the difference between whether you spend your Saturday afternoon curled up in a ball or grab a wrench.
When you’re motivated about a project, you get things done. Real things. Hard things. Ambitious things. Motivation is like fuel in a gas tank. It gets you up and running. When there’s fuel, there’s drive.
Ever felt that rush of energy at the beginning of a project? You know what I mean.
The challenge over the long haul is that motivation doesn’t last. It gets depleted, just like a gas tank would. If you run out of fuel before you finish – which you will! – your efforts stall. You have to find ways to refill the tank.
And those ways? That’s where brain science comes in.
The above is a sample of my upcoming class called From Dream to Done. It’s a deep dive into Big Projects. You’ll learn a clear path to get you started, keep you going, and set yourself up for success – no matter what you want to tackle.
This live, in-person class will be held on Saturday, May 7th at Copper Leaf Studios in Ashtabula, Ohio. Click the link below to learn more.