- It doesn’t happen when things are perfect, because things are never perfect.
- It doesn’t happen when we’re ready, because we’re never truly ready.
- It doesn’t happen when we know how things will turn out, because we can’t ever guarantee outcomes.
- It doesn’t happen when we’re experts, because there’s always something left to learn.
- It doesn’t happen when we’re famous, known or popular, because those things are both fleeting and utterly subjective.
- It doesn’t happen when we’re confident, because it’s impossible to be confident when there are so many unknowns.
- It doesn’t happen we compare ourselves to other people or their launches, because comparison only leads to unnecessary suffering.
- It doesn’t happen when everything goes right, because something will always go wrong.
Launching is a full-contact sport. Whether it’s a book, course or some other product, launching happens when we aren’t sure if something will work and yet we move forward with it anyway.
Regardless of how many times I launch a new whatever, regardless of how much I learn from my previous launches or from launches of people far smarter and talented than myself, I realize that launches mostly involve just stepping to the edge of a cliff, hoping the water below is deep enough, jumping, then feeling your heart pound out of your chest as gravity quickly pulls you down.
You can plan for the jump and that does help a little. You can judge the distance between you and the water and that does help a little. You can know why you’ve made what you made (and why you’re now free-falling) and that helps a little. But all those littles don’t ever add up to a lot.
A friend of mine said that I am like a “product launching tank” because regardless of the outcome of my launches (since some go great and some are colossal failures) I just keep pushing forward at the same steady pace.
After thinking about that statement for a bit, I think it comes down to a few things. The first is that at the time of publicly launching anything, I’m already at least half-way finished creating my next thing. So the momentum is there. Secondly, the process is really what drives me – everything else is gravy. I also think it’s just a quirky personality trait of mine where I have to keep making things to feel useful and taking risks by releasing them. I wish I could turn it off sometimes, so I could rest or relax or enjoy doing “nothing” for a spell, but I’ve yet to find that off switch.
Finally, I make and launch things to make sense of the world. Oftentimes I don’t know what my opinion on something is until I’ve explored it thoroughly, used it and made my experience of it into something else. When I was young, I took my ghetto blaster (and several other electronics/engines) apart and tried to make new things with them, invariably breaking them beyond repair and having nothing to show for it. Maybe that set the bar really low for future launches. Maybe it just stoked that urge to answer, “let’s see what happens if I try this…”
By all means, you do not have to create and launch things. But if you do, know that simply hitting publish or share or release or send means that you’ve joined the ranks of the few who put their ideas out into the world for others to see, judge and hopefully… use and enjoy.
Launching is a full-contact sport. You can suit up in protective gear, you can make a game plan, you can even have a great coach. But at the end of the day, the only way to see how things will play out is to get out onto the field and play.