When will you ever grow up? When will you ever be able to stick to one thing? How can you ever expect to get somewhere if you are never finishing anything? I could go on and on asking many more questions like this and I’m sure as a multi-potentialite, you’ve heard them all.
Basically they are all telling you the same thing: You are starting up projects but never finishing them. You are following your passion, but your passions are changing the whole time. All the time, you are running after the next shiny object you see, leaving behind you a real mess of things left somewhere in the middle.
People are saying: “You are so inconsistent!” Ouch, that hurts! But what if you could live your multi-potentiality and be mature and consistent at the same time? Impossible? Not at all.
How to start a new passion or project?
I know what you think the answer is: “You just start”. Not quite. Take five minutes to think before adding a passion or project to your life.
First of all, start small. Write down what end result you want to get out of the project you are starting. And before even starting, write down your exit strategy. To do that, answer the following questions:
- What are the minimum success criteria of your new passion or project?
If I reach [this point] I consider the project a success and as my objective is achieved, the project is coming to an end naturally. And then I can start another project that is something completely different, something related or a continuation or ‘advanced’ step of the same subject.
E.g. I want to learn Spanish, basic level. I want to learn how to order what I want in a restaurant and be able to ask for the right way to a place I want to go. When finished I can choose to learn about Thai cooking, I can learn the same thing in Italian or continue and learn how to have a conversation about the weather in Spanish.
- What would be criteria to stop your new project or passion before your objectives are reached?
If [this event] happens, I will close the project down.
E.g. If I need to cancel my trip to Mexico, there’s no immediate need to learn Spanish anymore, so then I stop and do something else instead.
- What threshold must be reached to close the project before you have reached your end result?
If I reach [this minimum level] and I’m not interested anymore then I will stop.
E.g My aim is to have conversations with Spanish speaking people but if I can order food and drinks in a restaurant, then I’m happy and I can stop my course.
- At what moment do you cut your losses and close your project?
E.g. I started a paid course to learn Spanish. If I don’t get through the first module, I will not subscribe to the next module.
- What will need to be done after closing your passion or project?
List the actions you will take to properly close the whole chapter.
E.g. After I decide to close this project of learning Spanish, I will take my course book, notebook and anything else related to the course, put it in a box with label ‘Spanish course’ and I will put the box in the basement. I will also archive the computer files.
The example above of a Spanish course is a simple example. For bigger passions and projects, your exit strategy can be a bit more complex.
Another important action is to communicate your exit strategy! Communicate it to anyone that is involved in your passion or project and in your life.
The 7 benefits of creating your exit strategy before even starting a project
The aim is to think things through beginning-to-end. So, when do you plan your project exit strategy? Before you start; Not somewhere in the middle, at the moment you are feeling bored.
But what exactly are the benefits of doing so?
- As you are thinking things through before you are starting, you are more conscious about the passions and projects you are adding to your life.
- It helps you to keep your projects small. Small projects give you the flexibility and agility you need as a multi-potentialite.
- The objectives of small projects are much easier to achieve so you are able to finally finish projects that you’ve started and to be successful.
- Even if you need to close a project before you have achieved the objectives, you will know exactly the reasons why.
- As you communicated in advance your exit strategy, criteria and thresholds, people will not be surprised when you close down a project. They will see the logic.
- As you communicated your exit strategy at the start, when the moment comes to close down the project, people will find you decisive and courageous instead of immature and inconsistent. You will feel much better and more confident.
- As you defined in advance the actions you will take when closing a passion or project, you will not end up with the clutter you usually get when you leave a project somewhere in the middle.
It’s not difficult to be mature and consistent and live your multi-potentiality at the same time. All it takes is defining your project exit strategies in advance and communicating it to all others involved. Piece of cake!