Building a website with fuzzy goals
Currently I’m in the process of building a website. My budget is very small so I have opted for a DIY approach using WordPress.
It’s conceptually simple, yet impossibly (screamingly, frustratingly) hard all at the same time.
I’m up to about version 57 of the home page and there are probably about 57 (at least) versions to go before I’ll be ready for the big unveiling.
Part of the difficulty in building a website comes from a mismatch between a vision of the mature websites we use everyday – and what we are actually ready for in terms of business maturity and direction. A huge breakthrough came with advice from a contact on Facebook that not every page has to be published in the beginning.
A huge chunk of self-induced pressure just rolled off and fell away with that simple piece of advice. Brilliant.
Of course it is a good idea to evolve the website – I’ll get it up live and running sooner (hopefully) and can start growing a community and establishing my presence. Yet the details of products and services can get added in as they develop with me.
What I started to see was each stage of building a site is really a building a series of prototypes. And so far I have about 57 home page prototypes.
This MindShift of seeing the project as a series of prototypes rather than as a staged series of defined events to a predetermined goal has really turned things around for me. It’s turned around the process of building a website and it’s also turned around the way I think about pursing goals and meeting challenges in all aspect of life.
Because when you approach a goal like building a website, letting go of working to a defined and clear vision means it’s OK to keep on going even if you don’t know where it’s going to end. It’s OK to let your goal go blurry, out of focus and fuzzy.
I first learned about fuzzy goals in coaching, and they puzzled me for a while. But the process of building a website has really shown me how working toward a fuzzy sort of goal where you know the general direction, but not the details, can bring you to a far superior and more satisfactory result.
When you have a fuzzy goal, as against a concrete and detailed goal, suddenly many more options open out in front you. Letting go of a fixed expectation keeps you open minded to opportunity and let’s you be creative with finding solutions.
I have found working with fuzzy goals to be a valuable learning and growth based approach. With each step there is always an opportunity to improve – each prototype contains ideas and improvements the previous version lacked. As you build each prototype of your website or solution you can start to see final goal getting clearer and more in focus over time.
This is also a very forgiving approach. Sometimes a prototype strays of course and your goal can seem further away and fuzzier than when you started.
But instead of despairing at going off track or calling yourself names (as sometimes happen) it’s easy and natural to accept this as a part of growth and development. It’s just a normal part of the development process that some stages don’t work. Thomas Edison knew that.
Did you know: In 1879, after testing more than 1600 materials for the right filament, including coconut fiber, fishing line, and even hairs from a friend’s beard, Edison and his workers finally figured out what to use for the filament–carbonized bamboo.
So here’s what I think the secret is – relax any preconceived ideas and embrace uncertainty. Let your goals become fuzzy and instead of controlling the outcome, use the energy instead on exploring your options and building more prototypes, knowing each prototype gets you closer to your goal.
Then the growth of your project or solution and of yourself happens in a more natural and organic way and you might end up with with a result you could never have imagined.
And as for me: somehow I think I’m going to end up with a very different, more creative and innovative website than if I rigidly stuck to my original plan. I can’t wait to see what it looks like.