Failure to Ship

I’m finding it almost painful how long some projects take to be completed. Tons of details, waiting for others to make decisions, approve some item, return a call email or text. It takes much inertia to keep some projects moving. That being said, I also find many cases where leadership (myself) is bogged down collecting information, considering the options, weighing pros and cons, dotting every I and dotting every T. This process is not necessarily bad provided the process does not stall the project or delay it so long that people lose interest. Unfortunately, the latter offer happens.

I have a small no, micro toy business that keeps my mind occupied. I bought a Do It Yourself website from to sell items. That was well and good but what happened was I bought it and two months later no progress. I found I spent too much time working it out and generally being distracted from building the thing! I got to the point I sat down and just did it. Remember the old Nike moniker? I sat down on a hot weekend afternoon and worked on it until it was done. The next day I tweaked a couple things and went live. Notice I did not say it was perfect or all the details were completed. No, it is not perfect but it is published and people can connect to me. I shipped!

I think in ministry and many aspects of personal life we fail to ship. Too much time is spent contemplating, fretting, planning, and making each piece perfect before it is ready for the world. I think we are now in a world where perfection can be overlooked provided the project is authentic. Authentic! Is my website perfect? Still the answer is no but it is authentic. The people that will be become customers, that I have a relationship with, are happy to overlook a spelling error. Or, a less than perfect product picture because they are not on my page for perfection. They identify with my story, they like what I do and want to connect. I can go back and improve as I find things that need improvement. But stalling via perfection fails my customers. They can’t interact with something that is hidden from view.

Imagine then, if each ministry had this type of deadline: Ready or not, December 1st this project will be available to our parish. Or, each person that interacted with the youth of a parish felt confident to interact with youth in this way: “I don’t know how to teach my faith but I will take a journey with young people and figure it out together.” I think this type of idea is liberating. I think it frees us up to be who we are, to not need all the answer, to be who God called us to be.

Danger Zone. At the same time we need to ship, to get done with our projects right or wrong. I do not advocate going off without having planned and done all we can do to make our interactions and ideas awesome. We need to plan plain and simple. But the main idea is not to become so bogged done in details we fail to ship. We fail to interact, fail to love.

Go, ship, get the idea out where people can see it, can see us.

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