Ship It. Ship it Good.

It’s 6am. Just before sunrise. I’ve written up my latest proposal for a new potential client. I re-read it, making sure I included everything. I re-read it again, second guessing that things aren’t quite perfect.

Did I miss something? Did I price it right? Are they going to think I’m crazy? What if they say yes right away? Did I not charge enough?

Finally, I’m ready to ship. I type up an email, everything’s ready, and then I sit there, staring at my screen, hovering over the SEND button…

Yes, I’m guilty of second-guessing and self-doubting. It’s one example of fearing failure. And let’s face it, we’re all afraid to fail. 

But failure, as ugly and complicated as it can be, is the single most important factor to success.

There’s a feeling I get in the put of my stomach, every single time I’m about to press SEND when I sent out a proposal to a client. It’s terrifying and wildly exciting, an equal combination of both. It’s the fear of failure mixed with the vibrancy of success. It’s possibility and opportunity. It’s the unknown. It’s beautiful and maddening.

But I’ve started to think, especially lately, much more critically about my psyche as I go through this process. A process I’ve gone through literally hundreds of times by now.

This year I’ve been much quicker to get things shipped. Instead of telling clients I’ll have something to them by ________ day, making sure I allow myself enough flexibility to put it off a bit, should something else come up, I’ve focused on exceeding expectations. Every time.

The results speak for themselves. Six weeks into 2012, we’re doing big things at Proof and signing on with some amazing clients.

I believe the concept of under-promising and over-delivering is flawed. It allows for procrastination. It makes room for excuses.

Instead of following the under/over model, I’ve started making ambitious promises, and then focus on doing whatever it takes to meet those guarantees.

Maybe it’s time we all adopted this philosophy not only in the work we do, but in the lives we live.

  • Instead of putting it off until tomorrow, do it today.
  • Instead of planning a trip sometime later this year, plan one for next weekend. 
  • Instead of saying you’ll quit your job when the “time is right”, pick a date to take the leap (and stick to it).

We’re afraid to fail. We’re afraid of the unknown. We’re afraid of “I can’t”. We’re afraid to ship.

But your todo list is only going to keep getting longer. Your list of excuses is long enough, and it’s only going to keep growing the longer you put things off.

Instead of hovering over the SEND button, wondering and worrying, click it. Click it with confidence.

Try. Create. Learn. Fail. Succeed. Do. Ship.