Commit #5 – Do it together

As part of our Commit series on how to undertake an intensive challenge, we look at using the special power of being in synch with someone else

illustration print painting hands in front of sun

Reach out. Laura Eades 2014

Create a current that carries you along

Do it on the same schedule, on Skype, or at the same time.

Even two people is a community. I did a novel-editing schedule for six weeks. At the same time, my friend did a 6-week comedy-writing challenge  set her. It helped no end – we mailed each other smugly as we enjoyed the treats we’d allocated ourselves. Celebrated when we hit targets. Made jokes. It all helped.

Tell someone you’re doing it

Tell your friends humbly that you’re doing a challenge of some sort and you’ll find most of them supportive! If you don’t… find friends who blinkin’ well are!

Tell Facebook – some people are great at cheerleading.

Tell your mum, tell your lover.

Tell the people who’ll root for you. Eat carrots and parsnips so they’ll root for you. Get a wireless router to route for you.

Be defiantly deaf 

Most people understand how hard a challenge is, what a lot of steel it takes, and they like giving out advice. Anyone who says you’ll fail, or is negative about your attempt probably has their own agenda that you should totally sidestep.

Find a mentor and give them an amazing job title

Tell a friend you need a football coach. Appoint a personal productivity director, an agent of action. A thought pilot. Someone with a sense of humour. You just need to know they’re there, to be accountable to someone.

My friend has a Mindfulness mentor – they have a Skype checkin once a week. They sit in silence together on Skype. Only kidding.

Join up

I could go nuts over online communities. I’ve already mentioned Puttytribe (for people with varied skills) and NaNoWriMo (for novelists) but it really depends what kind of challenge you’re part of as to what you sign up to. The only disadvantage of something like the Novelling/NaNoWriMo combination is that being online is a total distraction to getting your writing done. But it’s a great place to announce your milestones at the end of the day.

What? there’s no community for your challenge? Oh! Looks like you just found a niche, and a very important reason to start your own movement!

Do it for someone else

It’s harder to do things for yourself. Like cooking a beautiful meal for one. Is yours the kind of challenge you could turn into a sponsorship crusade to raise money for something bigger and more important than you?

Or if it’s a more selfish thing, like my novel for example, can you personally pledge to give money to something brilliant if you complete, and get people to cheer you on ‘for the cause?’. I haven’t tried this, but it worked for my friend who ran up the staircase of a towerblock!! Oh. That wasn’t actually for her personal pleasure. (Or was it?)

Do it over luncheon

My friend Godelieve van Eekelen called a fortnightly meeting of women at a career crossroads. It’s called Peer Motivators and we have a little Facebook group but meet round her kitchen table too. She makes soup in winter and salad in summer. Since figuring out your work life is a long-term goal, having regular review sessions is phenomenal. Decision-making is a soupy business. I’ve been thankful to her time and time over for her initiative.

Transferable skills?

I have a baby, and so I’m actually thinking a lot about letting go of my expectations of productivity at the moment. This Commit series is all about how to be less equivocal in order to reach your goals. That’s a skill I’ve developed and would like to share with you. Relaxation is something I’ve yet to learn. Could I create a community spirit around resisting the urge to be productive?

My recent experience of trying to stop self-improving and take a holiday in my everyday showed me just how programmed to pursue challenges I am: I had to stop myself reading self-help manuals for ‘fun’.

I’d like to create a laziness boot camp. Where ou’re sentenced to an hour’s lounging if you’re caught making a list. If you’re really naughty you have to go on a li-lo with a bowl of strawberries floating nearby.

* * *

When have you found strength in numbers? Or is there no community yet for the challenge you want to undertake? Love to hear from you: Click on the pale grey dot with a plus sign below the blogpost to open the comment thread.

* * *

Read more on Illlustrated Guide to Life