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How to Take Your Stalled Projects to the Finish Line

Q. I have several projects going at once -- but I never seem to finish them! I'm pulled in so many different directions -- and I end up with nothing to show for my efforts!

A. While you're in a creative mode, you're most likely to be swamped with ideas! Most people have too few ideas or too many. Here's how to deal with the "too many to finish" challenge.

(1) Stop berating yourself for not finishing a project. Instead, say, "I don't feel ready to move in that direction. I'll write down the idea and file it away for the future."

(2) Tell a story about what would happen if you finished each project. "Susan finished all her art projects and..." You may be surprised what comes up. One client resisted finishing a book because she dreaded getting a slew of rejections from agents. Another resisted applying for jobs because she dreaded spending eight hours chained to a desk.

(3) Review your economic situation. If you're desperate to finish these projects to make money, fear may be blocking your intuition. You'll have trouble thinking clearly and setting priorities.

On the other hand, if you don't need the work, you may not be motivated. Some people need a certain amount of pressure to get moving.

(4) List up to three goals that you'd like to accomplish in the next six months, even if you do nothing else. Some people need to focus on a single goal or they get hopelessly distracted. However, others (including most gifted adults) are multi-taskers, who aren't happy unless they're juggling several balls in the air.

(5) Study the market for each project you are considering. Once you've identified your target customers and the need you'll be meeting -- and made sure people will pay for what you offer -- you'll realize whether moving forward makes sense.

(6) File each new idea in a computer or paper folder or set up an "idea board" near your desk. As you think of ways to flesh out an idea, add notes to each folder. Give each idea time to mature. Some will fade away on their own; others will ripen into exciting opportunities.

(7) Create a strong support system, even if you have to hire a consultant or coach. As Julia Cameron wrote in The Artist's Way, the notion of solitary creativity is nothing but a stereotype. Writers, artists, business owners and professionals need opportunities to talk about their progress. They need to feel someone cares about what they're doing and believes in them.

In my experience, this lack of a support network tends to be the single greatest source of success in any field.

About The Author

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First Steps to a Second Career. "Ten secrets of mastering a major life change" Contact: 505-534-4294


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