Recently, I started a new project that failed miserably. The story basically went like this:
My husband and I decided to start a small garden. We got some materials, grabbed some seeds, planted our vegetables and waited for a beautiful array of fresh produce to arrive.
One problem. We didn’t do anything to it. When the plants started to sprout, we were excited, but couldn’t tell which were our baby vegetable plants and which were weeds. Rather than figuring it out using a simple Google images search, we just kind of let it go.
No care, actually, at all.
I heard a quote once that said, “Gardens, children, and marriages reflect the kind of care they receive.” Powerful words. In this case, it was true. My garden received no care and it clearly reflected this. Here is an embarrassing picture of just how bad it got:
From this experience, I learned three important things that I will keep in mind before starting another project.
- I need to ask myself, “When will I actually work on it?” This reality check is important. Say you’re going to start taking guitar lessons in the hopes of becoming the next Carlos Santana. In your fantasy world, you will take lessons and then become a rockstar. In reality, you’re going to have to actually devote some time to practice. Map out when exactly in your day that you will do this. If you can’t think of a concrete time you could practice, the results may be less-than-awesome.
- Starting small may mean starting really small. We only planted 6 different vegetables, so I thought this was “starting small.” Considering that I have kept very few plants alive in my lifetime, I may have been better off to start with one vegetable in a pot. With any new endeavor, it’s worth it to start small, but if your project is foreign to you, you may want to start really small until you master the baby steps.
- If it doesn’t excite me, it may not be worth it. Your life is likely pretty full. Before taking on another project, think about if it excites you. Are you willing to spend time and energy on it? Is it important to you? If not, taking it on half-heartedly is only going to leave you feeling guilty when it doesn’t work out because you chose to spend your time on other things.
One last thing I learned from this experience: Sometimes, even when a project fails miserably, you will still gain something from simply trying it out. In this case, I gained two yellow squash.
What have you learned from a failed project?
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