SG Wants to Know: What Are You Afraid to Ship?

SG Wants to Know: What Are You Afraid to Ship?

No, we're not talking FedEx
picture of pile of boxes

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Mar 22 2018 | 3 min read

Sometimes you can’t be sure if you like something ’til you try it.

SG wants to know

{Great reminder from appropriately-named Etsy shop Today Sunshine}

If you show up nice and prompt at 8am to style girlfriend DOT COM, there’s a good chance you might spot a few things that seem…off.

A sentence that ends abruptly with no object following the verb. Capital letter nonsense words like TK and RE.

That’s because I’ve gotten in the (bad) habit of doing my last check of a piece only after a story’s gone live.

Probably not super-efficient or professional, right? In my defense, there’s something to be said for looking at a product fresh, after it’s shipped. Through your eyes. In the world. Ya feel me?

Usually once I see a piece live, I notice things I don’t like—an awkwardly phrased sentence, formatting that’s totally off—that I quickly change and update. A quick punch of the “refresh” button and (practically) no one’s the wiser.

Sometimes the changes are a little more…ahh, pressing.

Why? Well, I’ve been known to put off figuring an idea out for myself until there’s a sense of urgency. As in, “Okay, other people are looking at this now, so I’ve really gotta fix [whatever gaping hole the story still has] (if you’re curious, TK means that copy is to come, while RE is my own personal shorthand for “reword this garbage sentence, Megan”).

By the time we’re tweeting about that day’s story, or throwing it up on Instagram Stories, everything’s fixed and looking hunky dory.

Well, I hope, anyway.

I adopted this strategy not because I’m lazy, or sloppy—though sure, sometimes I’m both of those things—but because I don’t want the idea of perfection to hold me up from shipping.

The notion of “shipping” (and subsequent fear of doing just that) comes from author/entrepreneur/digital person Seth Godin. To publish, turn in a report, or throw out an idea in a meeting—they’re all different forms of shipping.

Godin talks about how the resistance to shipping comes from inside yourself and is the work of your “lizard brain,” the prehistoric part of your brain stem that’s eternally vigilant for enemies. It’s still living in prehistoric times, when enemies wanted to kill you, so that brain part wants you to go unnoticed.

It hates creativity, and it hates failure, because both make people notice you.

The lizard brain plays devil’s advocate, suggesting that whatever you come up with, people will hate, so why don’t you just keep it to yourself?

The lizard brain means well, but it’s 2018, and you don’t need to go unnoticed to stay alive anymore.

Improving your personal style—from the clothes you wear to the meals you cook—can be similarly stunted by shipping fears, too. Sometimes you don’t know if layering that shirt under that sweater under that blazer looks good ’til you walk out the door and start getting some feedback. You see it in the daylight, you walk by store windows where you get a good glance.

And you get feedback from others, too. Whether that’s vocalized (“Hey champ, looking good today”), or an intriguingly raised eyebrow from a usually catty co-worker.*

*Yeah, that’s right, in this example, you look good in both situations…it’s my site; I can say what I want.

Similarly, you don’t know how far you can run until you start running. You don’t know if you can make a whole meal until you follow the recipe and start sautéeing. You don’t know if you wrote an article people will like ’til you put it up on your website.

From there, you can tweak your “product” (whatever that may be) for better results…pretty much right away. That way, the next time you’re pretty much assured you’ll get even better results. After all, you can’t get worse, right?

For me, it’s a worthwhile reminder that you ought not to expect perfection on the first swing out of the gate. Like that questionable sports metaphor, which I’ll probably fix…shortly.

Tell me:

What are you afraid to ship? What can you do to get past that fear?

I started Style Girlfriend to help guys look, feel, and act their best.