Conquering the "Beast": How to Tackle Daunting Projects
By Kathleen Harmon, Creative Coordinator, Spring 2020
At one point or another, we all have found ourselves looking a project in the eye we convince ourselves is too much too handle, or even impossible. Maybe you don’t feel you have the right skills, or that the timeline is too short. I refer to this situation as “the cave.” Here, your heart starts beating a bit faster, the shadows of uncertainty start creeping in, and before you know it, the project transforms into a “beast” before you. You have two choices at this point: give into the cave’s darkness or conquer the “ferocious” beast. Here is how I do the latter:
Don’t Fear the Dark
I think it’s safe to say most of us as kids grew up fearing the dark. Though, there came a point where we were able to not panic when a mischievous sibling turned the lights off on us while playing in the basement alone, or we had to sleep without a nightlight. I argue that we didn’t eliminate the fear, we simply became familiar with it. We eventually understood that the dark itself couldn’t harm us. The room didn’t change when the light was off. Rather, we became confident in our ability to handle the situation. This is exactly how it is when facing the “beast” of a project. You may feel like a project unexpectedly turned the lights off on you, but you must remember that nothing changed. You’ve successfully completed projects before. You know the steps. With this said, remember to remain calm and confident in your abilities.
Take a Lesson from Bats
Bats are known for their echolocation—their ability to locate one another or the resources they need in the dark through sound. Something can be learned from this. When you find yourself in the cave, know how to communicate. If you’re feeling lost and don’t know which direction to take the project next, reach out to a coworker. If you need resources necessary to complete the project, speak up. Communication is crucial when it comes to conquering a project successfully. Without it, you will get nowhere.
There is Always Light at the End of the Tunnel
It is important to remember that the cave is not a home. You will not be in it forever; the darkness is not permanent. In the moments you find yourself stuck in the office late into the night or that deadlines are too quickly approaching, remember that with every hour and every deadline that passes you are one step closer to completion. Soon enough, the beast will be conquered. You will find yourself successfully back in the light, ready to face the next challenge with more experience under your belt.