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Real artists ship

Steve Jobs reportedly said this to some programmers who were reluctant to stop working on their code and allow the product that included their code to ship to Apple’s customers. Seth Godin focuses on this in one of the chapters of his recent book, Linchpin. Says Godin, “The purpose of starting is to finish.”

Real artists ship. And determined people change.

Anytime we set out to make a significant change in our  lives, we need to make sure we know when to ship, that is, when we need stop analyzing what we will do and actually do it. I have found that people (including myself) can put an amazing amount of thought and energy into planning and talking about what they are going to do to improve their lives or start a new venture. But they never ship. They never set a goal together with a timeline and actually start. And if there is no pressure to ship your product, there’s also no urgency to change. It’s just an intellectual exercise.

So learning how to ship is vital, both for individuals and for companies. We can all learn how to set a goal, make a plan and set milestones and deadlines for evaluating our progress. And if you are having trouble shipping, it can be very helpful to get a partner and share with them your plan and timeline so that they can help you stay on course.

And remember that there is no such thing as change in the future. Change only occurs in the now.

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