I am a long-time fan of Project Runway while my husband and daughter occasionally binge on The Great British Baking Show.
What will they create under a strict constraint of time?
Last week I got to feel the adrenalin they likely feel, the joy of creating, in an intense, time-constrained way.
As I shared in our previous newsletter, we were on a manuscript deadline for the next book. Our team (thank you to Heather Hunt, Frank Morgan, and to Julie Berry, and Sarah Green, our mentor guides) worked fast and furiously to submit the manuscript draft to Harvard Business Press on time. When a deadline is close, and one eye is perpetually on the clock, it’s easy to understand how Cinderella might have felt—if she were an actual person. Submit by six o’clock or…turn into a pumpkin.
Although, in this case, if we’d missed the deadline, there was no handsome prince to come around with rescue in the form of a glass slipper: no exotic-looking, and no doubt delicious, cake to provide comfort food or no little black dress to wear to the next party. Only a late manuscript and excuses or apologies, neither of which I wanted.
With the deadline looming, during the home stretch of writing/editing, I said “no” to many things that were not book-related. It was fantastic to have such clarity about priorities!
It was also fun to be focused on what we were doing, collaborating, still on Slack at 9 pm on Saturday, creating something original in real-time, and watching the book manuscript improve significantly in a short time.
Meeting our deadline—that felt good too! To hit the finish line when we said we would, even if it meant sacrificing other possibilities and committing to several extra hours.
It was the sweet spot of the week.
It would not be sustainable to do something like this every week or even for a week every few months. But, every once in a while, it is fun to work extra hard on a tight deadline, blocking out distractions to create and build, doing it as a team.
Most of us will never be on Project Runway, The Great British Baking Show, or any other reality television contest for that matter. But we do have things that we are both passionate and excited about doing. And we are willing, at least occasionally, to work harder to make something meaningful (even if only to us) happen with people that make the additional effort a pleasure.
It’s good to be an adrenaline junkie for a day or two.
Our podcast guest this week is Chris Yeh, a specialist in scaling startups. Sometimes, he says, you need to scale so fast that things can be a little out of control and unpredictable. I understand a bit of what he meant. We did know where we were going, but getting there fast—that was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Similar to how I imagine skydiving would be. Chris is a fascinating, low-key person–a treat to listen to and talk with. Please join us!
As always, thanks for being here!
P.S. Next week, I won’t be doing the LinkedIn Live at 9 am Eastern on Thursday. Instead, I will be a guest on TED’s LinkedIn Live with Carla Zanoni at noon, Wednesday, June 30th. Here’s a link to the feed. Join us! We are going to be talking about taking risks.