care . grow . strengthen
You know that feeling where an idea comes to your head and it's super clear, super achievable, and you think, "I got this!"
Then as you begin to dive into the details of what it takes, you start losing confidence, doubting that it's possible and doubting yourself altogether.
These are typical feelings when doing a DIY project, well honestly, they are typical feelings for any project. Even in my full-time job doing project management, the same feelings build and fall through the lifecycle of any endeavor.
Most of the time, the lows are outweighed by hard work, momentum, and a cheer at the end of a successful deliverable. Every now and then, however, even after hours of painstaking troubleshooting, fixes and adjustments, the end product just isn't what we hoped for and that ominous word, "failure", breaks through in a sentence filled with disappointment and a hefty, burdensome feeling of time wasted.
This recently happened to me in one of my DIY projects. If you've been following along on Instagram stories, you know over several weeks, I have been working on a PVC pipe, collapsible clothing rack for Little Foodie events.
The original design called for just a tall rectangle with a couple feet that were perpendicular at the base to make it stand. After round 1 of working with the PVC pipes, I realized it wasn't going to be sturdy enough so I went with 4 legs and more of a 3D rectangle to give it more structure and stability. It worked, it seemed mostly stable and ready for action.
Then I decided to paint the standard, marked up white pipes a copper finish to give the illusion of a copper pipe stand. Well I didn't take into account several things. 1) After painting the individual pieces, the joints didn't fit as tightly together so the holes that I had drilled "exactly" for the wood pieces didn't quite line up perfectly anymore. 2) The paint made it 10 times harder to take a part and left a bad residue on your hands every single time!
By the time we got this display up for it's first show, the paint had chipped in several places and although it looked great and gave us some good height at the booth, I also was worried about 85% of the time that any large gust of wind or slight bump from a customer was going to send the whole thing into full on TIIIMMBBERRR!
Here's the thing, although I have come to accept that this was a DIY fail, what I also have reflected on is all the good that came from it.
1) I learned how to cut PVC pipes (shout out to Tim at Home Depot for showing me the ropes)
2) I learned to always buy an extra can of spray paint.
3) I learned that PVC pipes don't join to the exact same place every time you take them apart and but them back together and even the smallest changes at each joint can greatly impact the rest of the structure.
3) I got the dent in my bumper fixed while at home depot by a serendipitous mobile repair shop in the parking lot.
4) I cleaned out the inventory/supplies closet and storage unit to make room for the new display.
5) I confirmed that the height for the Little Foodie events really helps our display and although this wasn't the long term solution it was a great prototype to show what would help make our display better.
6) I had fun sharing the process with everyone on Instagram stories and getting your feedback along the way.
7) I realized that over the course of the last year, I've done 15 DIY projects and this is my first "fail" so I'd say that it's pretty good odds.
It may not have been the blockbuster success of a DIY that I was hoping for, but it still brought many lessons and will give me knowledge and patience to be able to think through the next project.
So whether it's a project at work, at home, or a project in the community, remember, that problems will always arise. You will battle through some to victory and others will end with a less than hoped for outcome, but either way there is good to be taken away, lessons to be learned and growth to be had.
Most importantly, don't let the failure of one project stop you from pursuing others. No matter how many times you face failure, the biggest failure you can have is not trying again.
Do you have a project that didn't work out as planned? What did you learn from it? I'd love to hear in the comments what "failed" project you were able to turn into promising lessons learned for the future!
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