The concept of shipping comes from product manufacturing. Shipping is part of your brand. It the moment when the customer or reader gets to finally interact with you.
Getting your product out the door is hard. Whether it is a blog post, or a tchotchke, or a new car model, getting the prototype out of your head and out of your shop and into the hands of people who can evaluate it, this is the most valuable moment of your branding process.
There is a trick here. When to ship? It has to be good enough, and yet, we know that if we sit and polish more and more, we can make it better and better. This never ends. How do we decide when to stop polishing and ship?
Calling out deadlines in advance, setting goals that feel a little difficult to achieve, but not too difficult and shipping regardless of the state of the prototype on deadline is important.
A lot happens when we add a deadline. It creates pressure. It creates accountability. The drive of creating expectation and meeting it is strong. We have to meet the deadline and tell the story of why our prototype is not as polished as we want. We have to allow for the criticism that comes from people seeing our product as unfinished.
This is the reason to do something that has a daily deadline. Something that is a gift to the world. Something that is adding value to our humanity without a need for return. This is why I write this blog. I alluded to this in my post yesterday. I have set a goal to post a blog every day. I don’t always. But I try. It’s the first thing I do every day. I wake up and my goal is to come up with something fresh that is present in my life that I am processing and see a way forward and share that learning with you.
The second level of the blog that is a little less obvious is that I also create all of the graphics for the headers. This can sometimes be the most challenging as the writing itself is already hard, and creating a relatable visual quickly makes it feel more than difficult.
I try to go from concept to finished writing and graphic in less than an hour if I can. It usually goes a little long, but I get as close as I can.
The reason I am explaining all of this is so you might feel inspired to do the same. Maybe it’s a daily sketch on your instagram. Maybe it’s writing a blog about your relationship. Maybe it’s doing yoga everyday and posting the challenging pose you are working on. The point is, if you tell your audience that you are going to show up a certain way and you create an expectation of shipping, then you will be accountable to show up and ship.
This shipping creates a feedback loop for us. A reflection of what we are saying, what we are making. It gives our audience the opportunity to help us shape our practice and make it better with us. More importantly it allows us to see ourselves through their lens more easily. Even if they never give us direct feedback, we are automatically gaining more empathy through going through the process of ship, refine, ship, refine, ship, refine.
So, in summation, I hope that you are inspired to ship something today. Something with meaning and value that will make the world a better place. On top of that I hope that you reflect on what you ship and that you ship it again tomorrow, refined by your own reflection and the reflection of others.
Enjoy creating and shipping and if you are inspired, ship it to me!