“Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
“Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.”
“Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.”
Why is it that so many proverbs about managing your workload are related to food? (Okay, so maybe I’m cheating a little bit with that last one, but chickens are food too, right? Unless you’re vegetarian/vegan/allergic to chicken, in which case I humbly apologize.)
Looking back to the beginning of my project on Communications in Alberta’s Oil and Gas industry, I can definitively say that my eyes were bigger than my proverbial stomach. My project began with a simple premise: learn about communication within the oil and gas industry by interviewing people about their experiences in communication. However, as I hit the planning stage, things quickly began to spiral outward. I would perform 20, 30, maybe even 50 interviews from professionals all across Canada! I would expand my project to include experts from Oxford, and the States! I would create a unique, inspirational film project from the interviews that would inspire people to be better communicators!
However, as Sir Isaac Newton so kindly pointed out, what goes up must eventually come back down – in this case, referring to my sky-high aspirations. After several inquiries, it turned out that the professors at Oxford were not available during the summer months. Travel plans across Canada quickly became unavailable or expensive (who knew that so many people would be traveling for Canada 150?). Interviewing and film editing were all skills with considerable learning curves and a high time commitment.
So where did that leave me? Fortunately, another adage came to my rescue: shoot for the moon, and if you miss, at least you’ll land on the stars. For me, the message was simply this: downsize. I might not have been able to get people from Oxford or America, but there were plenty of people right here in Alberta with brilliant experiences in communication! I ended up being unable to create a film project (for various reasons), but came up with a really creative way to present the audio clips instead! Most of all, I learned to find value in the things that were right in front of me, rather than looking to the ends of the earth; and in doing this, I got to create an amazing, educational, insightful stretch experience project.
So what’s the take-away, you ask? Did I bring you here to waste your time with ancient adages, a multitude of maxims, and a stretch sob story (and ample alliteration)? The answer is yes. Yes I did. Because the takeaway that I think best describes my stretch experience project is this: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Your ideas might be amazing, but the application might be different that you initially expected. Don’t let that keep you down. Have faith in your ideas, and don’t let defeat or discouraging circumstances keep you from working hard to succeed.