One of the most important decisions you can make to improve your life and drastically increase your career potential is to begin working on a what I call a “Big Project.”
Your Big Project will be something that forces you develop new skills and intentionally pushes you to the limits of your comfort zone.
You want to focus on projects or ideas that are challenging enough to stretch you and occasionally frustrate you, but still allow you to get in a few wins along the way so that you don’t get too discouraged.
This is the type of pursuit that requires the type of effort Georgetown professor and author Cal Newport would call Deep Work.
Some examples of a “Big Project” you could undertake:
- Learn to play guitar and join a band, then go on a mini-tour.
- Bootstrap a SAAS company or start a freelance business.
- Launch a Kickstarter for a product you invented.
- Study Japanese for a year and plan an extended trip there to practice.
- Write, direct and produce a film and enter it in a film festival.
- Write a book and plan the entire marketing rollout.
- Learn chess (or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!) and start competing at tournaments.
Everybody has something. You just have to find your something and get good. Then get great.
The ROI of a Big Project is usually much higher than advertised. But it’s not always money. And that’s the point. You will end up learning much than you could ever imagine, because you’ll have to dedicate yourself like never before.
It’ll force you to grow.
One of my first Big Projects was producing films. That phase of my life culminated in Blossoms for Clara, a short film that I wrote, directed and produced.
My team and I raised $13,000 for a two day shoot. We even got Jasmine Guy to star in it.
The experience showed me that I could create, direct and execute an idea — and launch a product with multiple people involved, while managing a budget.
I went in because I loved film, but I came out knowing how to launch a product and run a small team.
What would you learn from completing a Big Project?
Doing meaningful work pays dividends, in more than one way. There’s no way to say whether or not your first Big Project will lead to money, fame or any type of “success” as you may define it.
But I can promise you that when you get really good at something, your odds of getting paid really well to do it go up dramatically.
There isn’t always a direct correlation between skill and income, but there is usually one between income and time spent in the game.
So isn’t there something you should be working on today?
Please realize that only people willing to put themselves out there will get the opportunities now.
“Good enough” is worthless. Adequate is invisible.
You must be willing to absorb the necessary risks in order to test your ideas and get better.
That process of trying, failing, learning, growing, failing again — is how you earn success.