Thursday, April 25, 2013

One Small Step, by Steve Thomas

In fewer than forty hours, to my delighted surprise, the Kickstarter campaign I’m running for my podcast was fully-funded. I have plans for any further money I happen to receive for the remainder of the campaign, but even if the pledges completely dried up, I’d be satisfied because I kept my expectations reasonable. I planned out my initial goal to help me succeed in moving the show forward qualitatively.

Sure, sometimes we allow ourselves to be so overtaken by our grandiose dreams that we won’t accept anything less (believe me, I understand having big dreams - just check out the stretch goals for the campaign), but perfectionism can be our greatest enemy. As librarians, we are trained to focus on getting the details right while at the same time holding up the Big Idea folks in our profession as the gold standard. But that’s not the only way to move forward. Even making mistakes can mean forward progression, so long as they are the right mistakes.

Look at an example from another industry: Apple stock has taken a hit in recent months because investors and the market are waiting for that next huge leap into the future, the next iPod, iPhone, iPad, not content with the slower pace of improvements they’ve made to their hardware and software. But why does every improvement have to be earth-shattering? Apple has turned the technology world on its head a half dozen times since its inception. Why can’t modest, iterative improvements be enough sometimes?

That’s not to say that “good enough” should be “good enough” or that we should always set our expectations low. We need lofty goals to aim toward and occasionally need to take that leap into the great unknown in the name of progress, but not every leap has to be of the Neil Armstrong variety and even these larger goals can be measured in smaller steps.

Slow progress is still progress. The backers of my Kickstarter have allowed me to take one small step into the future of a grander show, one I couldn’t’ve made on my own, and the completion of that step is as satisfying as taking a giant leap. Enjoying the small victories makes the larger ones even sweeter.

Steve Thomas is a public librarian and the host of Circulating Ideas, the librarian interview podcast. He lives in the suburbs of Atlanta with his wife, two kids, and two cats. He has never watched an entire episode of Doctor Who but hopes you can forgive him. This is the second post he has written for this blog. The first was “You Are Going to Fail (But That's Okay).” You can follow him on Twitter@stevelibrarian.

No comments:

Post a Comment