Big projects are made of lots of little steps. The wins are small. You post a position. You finish reviewing applications. You make your selection. You prepare to on-board them. On-boarding complete. Did you catch the dramatic moment or cathartic ending? No? Probably because there wasn't one. There are only little steps.
I've seen a lot of projects pop up over the past few years, most of them in tech, all with great missions. People with big, feel-good ideas get a nice crowd going and dive into their project with big hearts and full force. But a few months later, they stop. The tweets post less often, the newsletters are thin, the spirit fades, and the story gets cold. And I am always surprised.
When I started the CodeNewbie Podcast, I remember a podcaster with a much bigger audience and years of experience telling me that the key to a successful podcast was showing up and pressing record. I thought this was strange. How else do you have a podcast at all without showing up and pressing record? Seventy-two episodes later, I know what he means. Having a show sounds fun, but the truth is, it takes discipline and a good process to keep doing it every single week. It's late nights spent editing and cleaning audio for a midnight release, weeks spent researching and testing audio equipment, emailing back and forth to book guests and maintain a healthy backlog of interviews. It's doing those little steps over and over, and for most people, that's not an exciting way to spend their free time.
I don't mind the little steps. I've always been very process-oriented. I like structure, organization, efficiency. But I miss those cathartic moments. I miss being able to step back and take it all in at a distance. I'm too in the weeds to really appreciate where those little steps have lead to. It makes it hard to take a compliment seriously. I nod and smile my thanks, but I know in my heart that what I did wasn't special or genius. I just show up and do the work.