To launch is propelling something--a rocket, a computer program or even your career--with a forward trust. It is implicit that once you launch something there's no going back. Because of that, we're often fearful of launching. And this is where The Launch Book, by CEO coach Sanyin Siang, comes in handy.
Siang, who is also the Executive Director of Duke University's Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics, explains that one of the biggest reasons we procrastinate or don't launch is fear of failure. That's why instead of focusing on skillsets or talent, she focuses on the mindset for launch.
To know if you have the right mindset, here are 6 key questions Siang wants to make sure you ask yourself before launching your next big project:
1. Start with Asking - Is this You?
Every launch has its ups and downs. To get one through the downs, there has to be a strong sense of belief that's the result of the launch being in alignment with who you are. For example, if you are pursuing a career change, is the new career consistent with your passion and what energizes you? Is your definition for what success looks like in that career in alignment with your values?
2. Who Is My Tribe?
Engaging others in your idea or career launch not only provides emotional support, but it can create additional personal accountability along the way, and be key to eliminating any blind-spots you may have.
"You may be a solo launcher but, if you are to have a chance at success, you can't approach it as a solo endeavor."
Engaging your tribe will help you imagine a larger set of possibilities than what you originally started with. Especially if you intentionally include naysayers in your launch tribe.
3. What Is Failure?
Failure is an outcome other than the one you hoped for. Redefine failure as not doing your best on the things that you can control and letting go of the things that you cannot. And on both aspects, be able to process and learn from when things don't go as planned. What if we take a longer view and see each failure and mistake along the way as a learning that can enable us towards greater success.
4. Am I Falling Into The Comparison Trap?
Siang tells the story of Carlo Dolci, a painter of the Medici's, the greatest family in Florence of his time. He fell into a deep depression when he realized that a fellow painter could complete a painting in mere hours while it took Dolci months, and this led to his decline. Beware. Even the most talented can fall into the comparison trap (Dolci was one of the greatest painters of the 17th century and a favorite of Thomas Jefferson and Nathaniel Hawthorne.)
5. What Am I Pursuing?
If you are launching in pursuit of becoming your best self then you've tipped the scales for success your way. Looking at the launch as a discovery process will ensure your succeed even if your launch "fails" in the marketplace. When you are pursuing the best you, there is no risk, because each step along the way becomes a learning process for achieving that.
6. Am I Generous?
The most successful people, from CEO's to students Siang works with, share a common behavior. They invest their time, energy, talent, and networks in helping others succeed. "Don't wait until you think you've achieved success to become generous and helpful to others. You become successful by helping others every step of the way."
My favorite aspect about The Launch Book is how Siang includes the story of the launch of The Launch Book at the end of the book. "The irony of launching this book is that I experienced everything I was writing about...I became the reader." It reminded me of how in launching Design the Life You Love, I became my first student.
This article first appeared on Inc.com on September 22, 2017