I don't know, will you?
I can tell you that the deep sigh and a prolific exercise routine are what I use to get through the long, seemingly unending obstacle course that is product development. Believing that you will avoid all of the pitfalls will only make the process seem longer, and potentially, discourage you from following through or executing tasks that you need to finish. The unfortunate result of high expectations are the incredibly demoralizing lows that you experience when it just doesn't go the way you envisioned. Patience, that all too annoying nemesis, lurks just beyond the reach of most of us, unfortunately.
Some recipes for patience I have found useful during the process:
- Exercise regularly. That endorphin rush is no trick! It will relax you and make you feel a burst of positive energy. A perfect time to combat a failure by turning it into a wonderful learning experience. Something as simple as a one mile walk might be just the elixir for an ailing project lost in the development cycle. I find I can be much more patient when my mind and body are in a healthy state.
- Limit your influences. Surrounding yourself with every new opinion on every obstacle encountered can sometimes get you into a zig-zag motion, all the while a straight line was the shorter path. Obstacles can be ran around, but they can also be jumped over! Remember the goal, and limit the plethora of friends, colleagues, and advisers that have the next best opinion to offer. While sage advice should be collected and processed, too often we see folks get sidetracked in their mission by others not necessarily connected to, or qualified enough, to give input.
- Reduce your daily tasks, and delegate. This is almost always a mental procedure that builds confidence and reduces the frustration when things go wrong. Think about it this way: Your Monday is full of tasks, stacked back to back with barely a moment to blow your nose or have a snack. In the 2nd hour of your 12 hour day, the phone rings. The project from yesterday just hit a snag. It will require you to run to a sub helping you on your product development, killing 3 hours and delaying everything on Monday. Frustration builds, and you become depressed, and fall even further behind. - Think about this - most of the tasks we load ourselves with are because we are control freaks of our babies (the product we are developing.) If we limit our Action Steps to those most important (say, three critical per day) and delegate the simpler or less critical tasks to those that surround us, we can offload some of the stress and build bandwidth to tackle those unforeseen issues that bite the ankle when you least expect it.
- Consider if you can lead this project. If you aren't patient by nature, and get frustrated easily with surprises, perhaps you need to reconsider piloting the aircraft. Sometimes self-recognition of our weaknesses can play in our favor. Perhaps finding a partner to guide the development cycle is a better option to success.
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.