I’m trying something new in this episode. I’m taking the month of April off from conducting any interviews so I can focus on my new book. So, here’s the story of what I did when faced with a mountain of information and self-doubt. Let me know what you think




Original Transcript

Welcome to the collaboration superpowers podcast. My name is Lisette and I’m interviewing people and companies doing great things remotely. Welcome to another episode, everyone. This week I’ve decided to try something different. As many people know, I am taking the month of April off from doing interviews and workshops and presentations and all the other things. And I’m going to focus only on writing the book and seeing how far I can get in a month of really just focusing on writing the book. So I’ve put the interviews on hold. And of course I still have a number of them that haven’t been published. And I’ll be publishing a couple of those in April. But I wanted to take this opportunity to try something a little bit different. And I thought maybe every other week, I could give everybody updates on how the book is going and what I’ve been learning through this process.

So coincidentally, tonight, I have a toastmaster’s meeting that I’m going to be going to. So I figured why not take the opportunity to do two things at once, and that is to prepare a talk for toastmasters and then to also share it with you on this podcast. So here we go. This is the first-draft, rough-cut version of my talk called When in Doubt, Reach Out. Are you struggling to finish a project? Have you ever felt stuck or lost, overwhelmed with too many directions to go and you don’t know how to move forward? Me too. And I want to tell you the story of my book project. A couple of years ago, I was working for a company that I really enjoyed and then it got sold. And I’ve been working for a couple of years to really establish myself as an online collaboration expert. And I’ve fallen completely in love with the topic. Given that I didn’t want to join the new company, I had to ask myself what am I going to do next. My boyfriend gave me the idea that I should start interviewing people and writing a book or just saying that I was going to write a book. And the idea was to have a reason to reach out to people and to network and to see if I could find a new project to join. I started interviewing some friends just to learn the ropes. And I actually started by interviewing people in person. I met my friend Martin at the Amsterdam library, and I met [Dirak Yun – 02:37] at a café in [inaudible]. And I recorded the conversations on my telephone and then later turned them into a blog post. The idea really took hold, and I discovered Google Hangouts and other online tools. I started really enjoying the conversations and learning a lot at the same time as well as meeting very interesting people. So here I am, two years later, with almost 50 interviews under my belt. And now it’s time to write the book. So I start at the beginning of the year by organizing all of my topics. I went through all the interviews and put all the topics on sticky notes. And I spent an entire week of putting sticky notes all over my boyfriend’s walls and rearranging them and taking things out and adding new thoughts. And eventually, I came up with a basic structure for the book and I was pretty happy with it. And then I started going through all the transcripts to pull the quotes and the mountain of information began to take shape. And it was huge. It was huge. And for a while, I kept going.

I’m no stranger to mountains. I’ve been climbing in the Swiss Alps for years, so I can climb mountains. And I’m pushing through and I’m pushing through and the dates are flying by, and I’m still pushing through. And suddenly, new problems appear. How do I distill this information down so that it’s useful? And how do I make it into a good story? And at what point do I start getting others involved like the editors and the designers? And then there’s the self-doubt that’s coming up, which is does anyone really want to know this information. And what if I put it all together and it’s not good enough?

So I talked to my business coach and friend and online collaborator, Gretchen Wegner. And she says, “Lisette, when in doubt, reach out.” Of course, of course, such a simple idea and such good advice. I mean I’m surrounded by networks of people who have lots of knowledge and lots of experience, and they want to help. I mean when people contact me asking for help with their remote office situations, I love jumping in. So of course, when in doubt, reach out. I start with my writer’s group, and I ask them for direction. I say this is what I’m struggling with. And anybody got any advice? And before the night was over, I had three referrals for developmental editors, people who are specifically experts in this kind of project and can guide me and help me when I’m stuck. So do you find yourself facing a huge mountain filled with doubt? Reach out. We’re here to help.

Thanks for listening, everyone. If you liked this little experiment, please let me know. And if you didn’t like it, you can also let me know. You can find everything at collaborationsuperpowers.com. Next week we’re back with the interviews where I’ll be speaking with Judy Reece who uses metaphors to create a common visual language on virtual teams, very interesting interview. A huge thanks to Nick, the podcast monster for keeping this podcast weekly. You can hire him to make you a star at podcastmonster.com.

All right, everybody, until next time, be powerful.

Podcast production by Podcast Monster

Graphic design by Alfred Boland

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