Goals are one thing. Commitments are something else, entirely. Like goals, commitments should be specific, measurable, realistic, and timely, but whereas goals are objectives we set for ourselves, commitments are promises we make to others. For example, as I was setting things in motion to transition our magazine-themed blog into a real magazine, I set myself a goal of producing 12 monthly issues in 2013. When I published the sales copy on our Get Gearbox Magazine page, I promised subscribers 12 issues per year. That’s a commitment.
GOALS & FAILURE
I believe that, in order for a goal to be worth having, there has to be a distinct chance of failure. It’s got to be challenging, otherwise, what’s the point? Remember when we talked about SMART goals here on the site? It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals which challenge us to push ourselves harder in pursuit of improvements we can actually measure – and feel good about – in the end. When we don’t measure up to the specifics of our goals or complete them on time, that’s failure. Failure is a strange bird. On the surface, it sounds pretty bad. And I’d offer that when we don’t live up to our commitments, we’ve broken our promises, making failure particularly heinous. Thing is, none of us are perfect. None of us are immune to failure. Life is all about compromise, and as much as I tend to roll my eyes at all the “Yay! Failure is good” being pushed by those even more Utopian than I, I can’t deny there times in life where failure can, ironically, bring success a little closer.
- You have to learn from failure. It’s got to teach you a lesson.
- If you learn that lesson before the deadline, you better have good reasons for quitting.
GOOD REASONS FOR QUITTING
As I type this, it’s pushing noon on Sunday on a Build Day weekend. Issue 1.11 isn’t going to happen, meaning I’m not going to achieve my goal of 12 issues in 2013. That’s what I call a failure – BUT – I’ve got some pretty good reasons for why there will be no 1.11.
- My 1-year old daughter, Penny, got a serious round of vaccinations late last week and has been sick since Friday afternoon. It’s her first time being sick, our first time as parents with a sick child, and it’s safe to say all three of us have been running ragged for the last 60 hours or so. Family comes first, and I just sit in the office having fun building the next issue while V and P suffer.
- Today, though Penny is finally starting to feel better (at least her nose has stopped running like a faucet), V has a quick photoshoot for a customer 45 minutes away outside the city limits. She can’t take a sick toddler with her for that, so there goes another four-plus hours I’d ordinarily have for building the issue.
- I thought about pushing the build back to next week, but we ran late with issue 1.10 last month, which puts us at risk of being perpetually behind schedule and under the gun. Not the best plan. Besides, my good friend Bodo Engemann from Germany is making a special stop in Phoenix at the end of his US holiday to see us. I’m picking him up at the airport Friday afternoon and then the AZ Crawlers have organized a special 4WD trail run up one of the most famous trails in Arizona for Saturday.
- The weekend after that, I’m covering shifts at work and won’t have but a couple hours to do anything which requires the Adobe Creative Suite, which I only have use of on the computer at home. Basically, Issue 1.11 had to be done this weekend or not at all.
DO IT RIGHT OR DON’T DO IT
Any issue we might have been able to crank out this week(end) would have been hastily assembled by a guy whose mind is otherwise spread pretty thin. That’s not fair to my team of partners who have staked their reputations on this publication. It’s not fair to the people who have so generously shared their time and stories with us. And it’s certainly not fair to our paying subscribers. Do it right or don’t do it.
MAKING THINGS RIGHT
So here’s how were going to make things right. We’re going to pull together a bunch of additional things we’ve got in the works, commit to building individual pieces after work in the evenings, and then ship a SUPER ISSUE right before Christmas. Lately, we’ve been running right around 60 pages each month. Our goal for this issue? 100 pages. To put that in perspective, we’re aiming to ship a friggin’ book within the next two weeks.
I’m really hate that we’re not going to have 12 issues this year, because that’s something I wanted to achieve, but I’m very excited at how things are playing out. This issue is going to be our biggest yet, full of inspiring interviews with cool people, plenty of cool pictures, and editorial content which should give you an idea where we’re headed in the coming year.
The best is yet to come. Keep going fast with class, and press on regardless.