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Reach for the stars – and if you make it 80% of the way, you win.

by Meagan Francis on April 27, 2014

Every Sunday morning I share a moment from my week and something it illustrated about motherhood, family life, or simply being human. I invite you to set aside a moment out of your weekend for reflection and join me for Sunday Morning Tea. -Meagan

Beyond Baby dedication

This past week went by in a bit of a blur. The launch of Beyond Baby is coming up fast – just four days now! – and there is a lot that had to come together in the last week or two: finishing up the manuscript, of course; filling in extra elements like the dedication (pictured above) and acknowledgements page, getting the whole thing ready for sale, and beginning the marketing process.

At some point I experienced a bit of panic. So little time left, and it seemed, so much I hadn’t yet done.

I had Big Plans for this book – putting together a launch team and interacting with them regularly, writing 40 weeks’ worth of great, helpful content, working with Sarah to create a design I was thrilled about, getting the book on Amazon in time for early reviews, reaching out to blogging friends to ask if they might consider writing about it, promoting on social media. And suddenly, about 10 days out from launch, I felt like I’d barely made a dent in my book-related to-do list.

But I remembered that I had a way of knowing exactly what we’d accomplished – and what still needed to be done. Months ago, the fabulous Brook Easton had made me a detailed launch marketing plan that listed every detail from writing the book through spreading the word on launch day. We added a few of our own ideas to the list, and as the more detail-oriented side of our duo, Sarah followed along with the plan and recorded our progress. So I opened the document, and was pleasantly surprised to see a long list of tasks followed by one word: DONE.
Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 5.21.59 PM

From a functional Table of Contents to an excited and on-board Launch Team, it turned out that we’d pulled off so many more items on that to-do list than I had even been aware of. And seeing all those tasks laid out in order and, one by one, checked off as completed, was eye-opening to say the least. Sure, there are a few “hope to do” items on the list that we haven’t gotten to yet, and may have to put off ’til later. But looking at that list of “DONE’s” there in black and white made it clear just how much we’ve accomplished.

It occurred to me that, if somebody created us all a “Life Plan” and we went through marking off each task as it was accomplished, we might all feel a lot better about the way we spend our time. I might not be building skyscrapers on a typical day…but simply caring for my home and family and doing the bare essentials in my work life still adds up to a lot. It’s just that I don’t record it, so it tends to slip through my fingers unnoticed and unappreciated – by myself, the person doing the work.

But I’m not about to start writing things like “put away bread after using” on my to-do list so that I can get a boost from marking it off (though I certainly won’t judge if you find that tactic helpful!) Instead, knowing that I’m actually getting a lot done even when I don’t feel like it has encouraged me to keep thinking and dreaming and planning a little bigger than seems reasonable to actually pull off – even when I don’t have a big project like a book launch on the horizon. Because even if I don’t get it all done, I’ll probably do a lot more of it than I would otherwise.

Like creating a free printable accompanying workbook for the book. We knew it would create more value for the reader. We also knew it would create more work for us! But in the end? I’m glad we left it on the task list, because it’ll make the book experience that much better. 

WORKBOOK 3D COVER

When I met with Kathleen, my health coach, last week, I expressed some frustration that every week I seemed to fall a little bit short of whichever goals I’d set for myself that week. If I set a goal of making it to two yoga classes, for example, I’d typically make it to one but not the other.

“But that’s just fine,” she said. “Over time, it’s great if you can make about 80% of your goals. If you get 100% every single week, you probably aren’t challenging yourself enough.”

In my desire to meet her expectations and be a straight-A coaching student, it hadn’t occurred to me that it would be better to push myself and fall a little short, than take the easy path and ace it every time. But she was so right!

Looking over the book launch plan, I saw that we managed to pull off about 80% of those pie-in-the-sky goals we’d aimed for. Sure, I’m a little bummed that we didn’t manage to do it all, but in book-writing and in life, there’s what you hope you’ll pull off and then there’s what you actually get done. And when you aim high, even “just” 80% adds up to more than 100% if you stuck with the status quo.

We’re all doing so much more than we probably realize. But if we challenged ourselves a little from time to time, what might even an 80% success rate look like? 

Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with me! If you’ve missed them, you can catch up on more Sunday Morning Tea posts right here.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol April 27, 2014 at 11:33 am

Congratulations on the book launch! This is truly exciting!
Thanks for writing about your challenge of not getting it all done. I just had a conversation with my boss last week about not feeling like my goals for first quarter were met. I made progress on everything, though and kept my customers happy. Looking back, I wanted to take on a lot, and I probably could have done it if NOTHING else was going on. Priorities are constantly shifting and what I want to do can’t always come first. Taking on your 80% perspective makes me feel more proud of what I did get done and I am looking forward to setting myself up with more challenges.

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Sarah Powers April 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm

I love that you wrote this! I had the same feeling of “wow, we DID get a lot of stuff DONE” when I went through and marked the “done’s” recently. Here’s to the home stretch!

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Brook April 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Congrats ladies!
Thanks so much for letting help me help you create a plan, and so excited to see the final product.

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