I’m training for a marathon so, once a week, I do a session of hill repeats. The hill I do my repeats on has three distinct sections and looks like this:
Section 1 is a gentle decline. Section 2 is the hill proper. Then things level out a bit in Section 3, but you’re still going up.
When I first started running this hill I approached it this way:
- Cruised Section 1.
- Went hell-for-leather in Section 2 where the incline was steepest.
- Then, when I reached the top of Section 2 (the point where things levelled out slightly), I’d be so stuffed all I could do was unattractively grovel my way through to the end of Section 3.
One day I decided to approach the hill in a slightly different way.
- In Section 1, I pushed hard. The slight decline meant that even though I was running harder, it still felt relatively easy.
- In Section 2, I went ‘comfortably hard’ instead of ‘all out’. My goal was to keep a little bit in reserve for the final bit.
- Once I reached the end of Section 2, instead of tapering off my pace in Section 3, I pushed hard.
The result? I knocked several seconds off my previous best time for that hill.
And it occurred to me that my initial approach to my hill closely replicated the way most of us approach launching something new – be it a business, new product or a book.
Stage 1 – The idea
This is when things are fresh, exciting and easy. You’ve had your idea and this first bit is where you’re doing all the fun stuff – designing logos, websites and cover art; planning how you’re going to build your thing; dreaming about how amazing your ‘thing’ is going to be once it’s out in the world.
Generally speaking, we cruise through this part of the process because the urgency levels are low. Our launch date is far in the future.
Stage 2 – The execution
This is the energy-sapping sloggy bit where all the hard work gets done. It’s early mornings and late nights. It’s promising your family and friends ‘I’ll be able to hang out with you again once this thing is launched.’ It’s when deadlines loom and stress levels are off the charts.
This is where we generally go ‘all in’.
Stage 3 – Launch
Our thing is done! We’ve written our book or created our new online course. It’s time to get it out into the world. The only problem is, we’re exhausted. While we know there’s more we could be doing to give our new thing the exposure it needs, we just don’t have the energy for it.
So, we kind of just throw our thing out into the world half-heartedly and … we have a failed product launch.
What if we approached the above differently?
What if we apportioned our energy levels in a way that more closely matched my more effective approach to running those hill repeats?
In Stage 1 when we’re fresh and full of zip, we’d use that time to create a firm and sensible plan of attack for Stage 2 (instead of simply cruising along just doing all the ‘fun’ stuff). This plan of attack would include a strategy for ensuring we don’t completely burn out during Stage 2. This might involve extending timelines slightly and factoring in time to work on restorative activities.
This would allow us to execute Stage 2 at a high level (i.e. produce a rock-solid offering) while still ensuring we have something left in reserve for Stage 3.
Now, imagine getting to Stage 3 and, instead of being completely exhausted and spent, having the energy to take advantage of all available opportunities to tell people about your thing?
Imagine how much better your launch would go!
Ask anyone who’s ever launched a successful ‘thing’, be it book, album, online course or business. They will tell you Stage 3 is where all the magic happens.
So, take the lesson from my hill-running exploits. Keep a bit in the tank for one big final push once all the hardest work’s been done.
Your new ‘thing’ deserves a killer launch! And YOU deserve it too.
Have you ever spent so much energy producing something that you had nothing left for the launch?