I lost it.
Mainly, I lost time, but quite significantly I lost momentum in the project that had started to define my year. As a result, I painfully failed to deliver pretty much any of the support I’d offered my #100Connections as I became buried in the latter stages of 2014. I even failed to take up most of the kind offers of support that they had sent my way.
I’m happy to admit (and learn from failure). I can see where I went wrong.
#100Connections started as a happy accident after I became cross with a lack of conversation on social media. I love the idea of humanising the digital age in any way we can, so what began as a rant became an offer of support to my next 100 followers. The 100 turned up very quickly — I was unprepared and never really caught up from the start.
You can read my apologies as I struggled, but some good things came and I did take action. I witnessed these 100 strangers connecting with each other voluntarily — I saw the project gain a life of its own. It was beautiful — I just couldn’t give it enough to play my part properly. I became a passenger as the momentum stalled.
The main thing holding us back was me.
I started #100Connections just after I’d removed myself from all standard structures of work, in a project to understand ‘work’ better. There was a lull as I found my feet, but as my backup funds ran out, I started getting busier and busier — more busy than I’d ever been, trying to work out how to find a way to pay the bills without resorting to ‘a job’.
There came a point where I had so much to do, I just couldn’t get it all done and the things I loved doing, like finding out about the people behind #100Connections, providing them the support I’d promised, suffered worst. I started feeling stress, which turned to a small measure of anxiety around not making the most of #100Connections, but mostly around my failure to deliver promises.
The anxiety made me freeze even more and instead of doing anything positive or proactive around the project, I did nothing. When I started desperately searching for ideas to maybe turn this side project into part of my living, I should have been concentrating on what it really was — a beautiful, human project and an opportunity to meet amazing people.
Desperation is a funny thing and it’s interesting to reflect now on how my two projects — The Work Project and #100Connections have started to overlap, even when it’s not always been a positive thing.
Things progressed into November with me apologising for falling behind, but (as you’ll see if you look at the dates on the previous posts) I never recovered. On the odd day, where I got a second of time, I reached out to some, apologising profusely and from the responses, something struck me:
No one hated me. No one was disappointed. Everyone understood.
The crippling pressure of failure was my own creation. The idea for #100Connections remained as essential and important as it had been to start with. It’s still there to be done.
Admittedly, expecting to maintain contact via Twitter when Twitter had caused the communication frustration in the first place was misguided, but an attempt to move conversation into Slack.com failed to engage more than a handful of us for anything more than a moment. #100Connections is incidental to those involved, except me, so why would they make inconvenient journeys to connect on platforms with a guy who is so sporadic?
The thing is, with 100 people, there’s no such thing as consensus. The individuality of each member was (and remains) the power of the idea, but it also means we all have very different views. Those views need to be embraced equally, but in
How we connect remains a problem that I think the original 100 can solve — those who are still up for it. I have an idea that I’ll write up in January. There are other things I’d like to do with the project too, but first things first…
Despite what I’m kindly told, I feel I owe these people. I promised something — and I failed to deliver.
Sure I’m still short of time, but little and often is far better than very occasionally en masse. So that’s where I’m going to start. From January 5th, I’m going to reach out to 10 of the #100Connections each weekday, catch up, enjoy the human connection, provide the support I promised.
I’m determined that 2015 will be a positive year. #100Connections was one of the most positive things to happen to me in 2014, so with the amount of unfinished business it has, it seems the best place to start.
Everything else can happen in good time. Let’s just see how it evolves…
The most important thing is to have something to evolve.
By Andy Swann on December 31, 2014.
Exported from Medium on July 15, 2016.