This guest blog post comes from Bassam Tarazi, founder of Colipera. Colipera uses both individual goal setting and the social pressure that comes from being a part of a group endeavor to help you stay committed to your goals.
We find plenty of reasons to not start; plenty of made up, self-sympathizing reasons to never see a dream or a goal through to the finish. Truth of the matter is, we allow those reasons to seep in like water in a punctured hull because we haven’t committed to the task at hand. We’re not devoted to the all-hands-on-deck mentality that is needed to keep the dream afloat.
You see, commitment is the first and most important part of the journey. Commitment comes before the first action is even taken. That’s where the journey starts. To continue on the mode of transportation analogies, if you were committed to driving cross-country from New York to San Francisco, it doesn’t matter the exact route you take only that you were prepared for the long, sometimes ass-numbing, but wholeheartedly unique voyage ahead of you. While you are no doubt excited for all the new people, towns, experiences and wonders you’ll see, you have to be mentally ready for the hundreds of monotonous and forgotten stretches of road you’ll consume along the way.
Too many people in life get in the car, and figure out 3 miles in that they’re not sure where they’re sleeping that night, a bridge may be out in Utah, and San Francisco is still 2,900 miles away. So of course, quitting seems like a much better option.
The Journey Within the Journey
How do you manage the 3,000 mile journey mentally? Day by day. Exit by exit. Mile by mile. Inch by inch. Our brains don’t like being less than 50% done with something. We don’t want to only get excited for the inevitable downhill, no-turning-back psyche of passing Chicago. We need to have smaller, mini-goals because we take great joy in hitting milestones. “Hellllooooo Ohio!” and, “Nebraska, you’re big, but I will beat you yet!” We play the “How many miles can I drive today before I stop for gas/food/sleep?” game. Accomplishing goals, no matter how small, feels great.
This psychology works in fundraising, as well. Why do most charities only start broadcasting their current funding state to the public when they are near 50%? Well because it shows people that the cause is worth fighting for and that the goal is within reach. Fundraising also uses another tactic to help raise money at that point: peer pressure. If other people have helped it come this far, it must be a worthy trip. It’s part social proofing, and part the wisdom of crowds. If no one else has committed to this thing, why the hell should I? And conversely, if so many people have committed to this, I want to be a part of it too. I want to help get it over the edge. I want to be part of something.
Day by day. Inch by inch. Goal by goal.
It’s easy to get support for what you’re doing when you’ve shown some success; and to be successful, you first have to start, unceremoniously. In the beginning it’s mostly your commitment – your blood, sweat and passionate tears that gets you to some percentage of completion. Before you can hit the highway, the gas tank needs to be full, that long overdue oil change needs to be taken care of, those brakes need to be retooled, and snacks should be on board. That commitment needs to be made first.
In the beginning, it’s not fundraising, it’s friendraising. Breaking down your goal into manageable bites allows people to support you and gives you a chance to be part of someone else’s dream; to be part of something outside of yourself. Take the collective inspiration that groups provide and merge that with the personal accountability that each of us need to succeed at any task and you have a recipe for a journey worth traveling.
Bassam built Colipera as a system for collective inspiration and personal accountability. You can check it out at Colipera.com.