Resistance is a natural response when you’re faced with a big challenge or project. It can be all too easy to simply shrug off the challenge and look elsewhere for something else to do. I have to admit, there have been a few days over the course of this year I did exactly that. Looking back, my reasons for resisting to step up to the challenge were varied.

Decisions

We make hundreds of decisions everyday, but when a decision is part of a long term commitment, it can be difficult to sometimes make that decision. What if I make the wrong choice? Can I change my mind at a later date?

The details of decisions cost me a lot of time this year. The decisions I was making were not huge decisions, they were simply decisions that would have a small effect on the outcome of a project.

I should have shrugged of the resistance to not making a decision and just committed to a choice, an outcome. If I made a mistake then it’s just time lost in finding the right decision. We can’t make good decisions all the time.

Confidence

Or should I put it as lack of confidence? Despite having worked on many software development projects over the years, my confidence isn’t 100% when faced with a challenge or a problem.

As a kid I would rarely put my hand up to answer a question in class for fear of getting it wrong and looking stupid. It’s weird because a couple of weeks ago at my oldest son’s parents night at school, the teacher told me that my son lacked confidence in answering questions in class. Bit of a family trait then.

Anyway, regardless of the size of the challenge or problem, I started to see that the way to build confidence when faced with a challenge is to do it a little bit at a time. Just a few small wins can do wonders for your confidence, and as long as you’re making significant progress, any bumps on the road will only knock your confidence slightly, which is easier to recover from.

Small steps

And that leads me onto steps, or small steps in this case. When faced with a challenge, it can be easy to view it as one challenge, one step, one action if you will.

One giant step can make most people think twice before committing to a challenge. However, breaking this giant step down into smaller steps can make it look more manageable than the action of one massive step. As I said previously about confidence, taking something and breaking it down into the smallest bits you can manage can make that giant step look much more easier to accomplish.

I resisted for so long on a couple of projects this year due to the above factors, but having worked through one of these projects, I was surprised to see that I could make it work. Overcoming those factors that contribute to resistance can all of a sudden make that death-march project look more appealing and doable.