There are a lot of quotes on social media reminding us not to compare our beginning or mid point with someone else's finish line. We are reminded to celebrate the small wins along the way. But what about the road blocks, the losses, the rejections? They are all stepping stones on our journey, and each one helps us move forward, or correct course along the way.
The developmental stage of any given project is anything but glamorous. It's a series of chats with potential clients, meetings with possible partners, and building relationships that will hopefully lead to collaborations. It's the cold-calls and the intro emails, the hours of research and the awkward networking. It's the unglamorous, uncelebrated backbone of achievement.
Tracking your efforts creates a visible timeline and a framework for your success. It is a repertoire of the steps that guide you and give you hope when you feel like you don't have anything to show. It is progress. Every step you take leads you closer to your goal, or helps you redefine your vision.
It's my hope for you that you populate your path with guideposts of your journey, and that you take a moment to be grateful for every tentative step, every fumble, and every leap you make.
Feel like trying it out? Get your copy here. You can fill in each starburst with the steps you take: sending something out for publication, each cold-call, every CV you send or interview request, every pastry you bake or artwork you make. Download this handy progress tracker and keep tabs on your efforts for the next little while. If you feel like sharing the journey, tag your pictures with #PCCtracker or mention @plancultivatecreate on Instagram and I'll cheer you on! Feeling ambitious? Print out a few to keep the momentum going, or use a different one for your various projects!
So go forth and track you efforts. You'll be glad you did, when you are in the thick of a project that is taking up your time and you feel like giving up. It will remind you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that the process is part of your progress.
P.S. What others are saying and doing to track their progress:
Sarah Von Bargen from YesAndYes.org wrote about tracking your efforts, not your accomplishments. She wisely reminds us that the only thing your can control is yourself, not others' responses, and gives some concrete examples that apply to a work scenario, but are adaptable to your particular situation.
Tiffany Han leads a course on getting 100 rejection letters. For every negative answer to a proposal, you get a gold star. It helps you see that you are doing the work, even if that means you are not getting the results you want in the moment. It makes it that much sweeter when you do. I have not taken the course, but have learned about it through interviews on podcasts and the introduction video to the course. I love the idea and think it too can be adapted to your personal situation. The most important part is to put your work - and yourself! - out there! I decided to send out some art and photography over the last year. One of my creations was published, while the others have earned me gold stars. I haven't yet reached 100, but I plan on filling up my tracker with them.
Lastly, there is a planner system developed by Angela Jia Kim, The Daily Action Planner that I was sent for review (you knew this was coming, can't talk tracking without talking planners!) that integrates tracking your efforts, the "seeds and weeds" that move you forward, and prompts you to celebrate your success(es) at the end of the week. Want a peek? You can watch the video review.
Have you read or seen any interesting posts about tracking your progress?
Share them below, I would love to add them to the list!