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Stop looking at the mountain! The secret to achieving the big projects at work & in life

Posted in Our Community @ Jul 23rd 2015 - By Judy Gillespie, Vetanswers
The Secret To Achieving The Big Projects In Life 2

This article originally appeared in the AVNJ Vol 20, No 2

You know that feeling when you really, really want to achieve something? Whether it's a goal in your veterinary career or personal life.

Or when the boss at work asks you to take on a new project, a very BIG new project?  There’s that feeling of excitement at the thought of starting something new and also anticipation of the sense of achievement you’ll feel when you successfully finish BUT it’s the bit in the middle that can be the problem.

“It’s huge”

“It’s insurmountable”

“There are too many obstacles to overcome to get to the end”

“It seems like it's going to be too hard”

“Perhaps it really is too hard?”

“Maybe I just won’t start.”

And guess what... you won’t. You won’t go on that overseas trip, you won’t lose the weight and you probably won’t get asked to work on that new project at work either.  Which would be a shame because you know, you really could do it all.

It’s too high & I’m not good with heights!

It’s not unusual when faced with a major project to get overawed by just how BIG it seems and to let that fear stop you from even starting but it’s really just like climbing a mountain.  No one gets to the top of a mountain in one flying leap.  They get to the top by placing one foot in front of the other and taking one step at a time.  They don’t even have to be particularly big steps either; they just need to be in the right direction.

So what’s the secret to achieving success in the big projects at work and in life?

Stop looking at the big picture (the mountain) and instead concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.

Before you enthusiastically take off up the mountain - there are a few areas you need to consider.

Maybe your boss has asked you to put together all the policies and procedures in your practice.  Or your practice wants to introduce regular school visits or undertake a client satisfaction survey.  Or maybe you want to travel overseas, buy a house or a car, run a marathon or plan a wedding.

What's the ‘scope’?

Whatever your ‘mountain’ is, the very first thing you need to do is determine the ‘scope’ of the project.  What do you want to achieve?  What are your objectives?  When your boss asks you to write policies and procedures what does he or she really want?  Operational?  Administration? Reception? Surgical? Human resource management? Occupational health and safety? (And if the response is “Yes” to all of the above, it might be a good idea to agree to start with just one area first!)  If you want to buy a house you’ll need to work out what sort of house in which area, to get an idea of property prices and how much deposit you’ll need to save for.

By when?

Once you’ve determined the scope, the next question to determine is timing.  When do you want to travel, buy the house or finish the Administration Policies & Procedures Manual?

What do you need?

Now you need to list the resources you’ll need to reach your Summit such as money, people, equipment and time.  If you’re going to compile an Administration Policies & Procedures Manual, you’re going to need at the very least a computer, printer, some time away from your normal duties and probably help from other team members.

Skills for success

The next consideration before you start your assault on the Summit is to determine what skills you’ll require to successfully achieve your goal. For example if losing weight (and keeping it off) is your ‘mountain’ you’re going to need some knowledge and skills to put together an exercise program and most importantly you’re going to need basic knowledge on nutrition and cooking skills (you can’t live on shakes for the rest of your life!).  If you don’t have those skills and knowledge, you’ll either need to get them or find someone that already has them.

Base Camps & rewards

Next you’ll need to set up some major goals along the way.  You can think of them as being ‘Base Camps’ on your trek up the mountain.  Base Camps are important as they allow you to have a bit of a breather, review how far away is the summit and most importantly, look down the mountain to see how far you’ve already come. You should also decide on some rewards for when you do reach each Base Camp as it’s important to celebrate all your victories – even the smaller ones.

Now you can start breaking up all the little steps you’ll need to take before reaching Base Camp 1.  The trick is to not start thinking of all the steps you’ll need to reach the Summit – just the ones required to reach Base Camp 1. 

Then start planning the steps required to reach Base Camp 2, and so on until before you know it, you’re closer to the top than you are to the base of your mountain.

Next stop?  The Summit!  

Tell me about the big projects in your life you've already achieved, or are hoping to achieve, in the comments section below.

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