Deadlines are Lifelines
Nobody likes deadlines. Pressure! Stress! Anxiety! But we've all
dealt with them. If you've ever written a term paper the night
before it is due, raise your hand. (Mine is raised.) If you've
ever "crammed" for an exam the night before it was given, raise
your hand. (Mine is raised.)
It has been said that 75% of all modern technology was perfected
within 48 hours of a trade show. Why? The trade show is a
perfect example of a deadline; products simply must be ready
because the stakes are high.
Even though they tend to be unpleasant, they can be turned to
your advantage. How? By using them to motivate yourself to get
things accomplished! Here are some examples of how I have
purposely set deadlines for myself in order to insure that I get
As I learned about the speaking business, it became apparent
that it was critical that I write articles such as this one.
They can be used in a number of ways to further my career, but I
knew that they would never get written unless I had deadlines.
When John Patrick approached me to write this column in the
Alpenhorn, I was thrilled; not only because I would have the
opportunity to be printed in his paper, but because I knew that
the deadlines would get me to actually write these articles!
I offer several different speaking programs, one of which is "10
Simple Things You Can Do Right Now to Screw-up Your Small
Business". Before the program was even developed, I made a
commitment to give it at a Chamber of Commerce off the mountain.
They scheduled a date, sent out notices, arranged a special
luncheon, etc. Do you think I was ready when the time came? You
bet I was! Do you think I would have developed that program
without the deadline? Probably not! Now I have a program that I
can offer; a product that was created by forcing myself into a
Do you have an idea for a product or service that you'd like to
develop? Are you waiting for "just the right time" to get it off
the ground? Do you think you'll really do it? Set a deadline for
yourself. Make a commitment to someone other than yourself; a
commitment that, if missed, will cause you great embarrassment
or loss of credibility. You'll be amazed at how motivated you
Somebody once asked me, "Why don't you just set your own
My answer is this: for me, that isn't a great enough motivator.
If I just post a note on my computer that I have to do
thus-and-such by a certain date, I don't really take it
seriously. It doesn't work, but that's just me. If it works for
you, great! Do it! I need to make a commitment to someone else
to make this concept work for me. And I do. And it does.
Find out what works for you, and then do it. You'll be amazed at
what you can accomplish.