Weather the Storm with Small Wins

I’ve been working with an entrepreneur for two months. She’s a developer with an app idea who could never find time to create an MVP to test her idea. We settled on a weekly cadence: she would email a group of advisors about her progress and ask for assistance if she needed it. The plan was simple but gave her the encouragement and accountability she needed to execute on her idea.

All was well for the first six weeks. In week seven, the pandemic affected her personally. She wasn’t able to focus and stopped sending the updates. She had stopped working on her app altogether. This was a huge red flag to me.

After hearing about everything she was juggling and her desire to make the app a reality, I made a recommendation: focus on one thing you can accomplish in a day or two. It doesn’t matter how small it is—it can be anything that moves you closer to your goal. Repeat every few days. The idea was that she could continue making progress while dealing with other responsibilities, and she’d have wins she could celebrate.

Sometimes even the best plans go awry. Life happens. It’s just the way the world works. At CCAW, there were many times when I felt like everything was going wrong at once. It was paralyzing and discouraging. Over time, I learned a few things:

  • Focus on what you can control. Don’t dwell on things outside your control.
  • Figure out how to keep making some kind of progress in small chunks. Celebrating small wins can change your perspective and give you a much-needed spark.
  • Talk to credible people about what you’re experiencing. Keeping your feelings bottled up isn’t healthy. You’ll find that other people have been through similar things and can convince you there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
  • No success story is up and to the right all the time. There’s always a period of struggle. This too shall pass.

The next time life prevents you from accomplishing your goals, find one small thing you can do quickly. And do it again in a day or two. Small wins will help you weather the storm!