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"Winning is easy. Success is a process."- DJ Khaled. 

Hey  <<First Name>>, 

Does your Career Breakthrough Project pass your Personal Endurance Test?

Some projects get off the ground quickly, while others take years to complete, and may take even more before their impact can be seen or measured.  In order to choose your career breakthrough project wisely, you need to think not only in terms of difficulty, but endurance. 

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • What are the desired project outcomes?
  • How will you know when the project is finished?
  • Can you stay with a project for a long period of time without feedback or an external reward, or do you need quick wins along the way?

You can get a sense of this from your patterns in school and work. Do or did you like working on projects that took the whole semester or would you wait until the last week or two of the term to start them? Did you find weekly homework tedious but term papers and final projects more engaging? There’s nothing wrong with either of these approaches. They just tell you that you either prefer process or results.

Is your project process-driven or results-driven?

Your project is process-driven if: 

  • The means of distribution or profitability aren’t immediately known
  • It requires several steps before any portions of it can be considered ready for consumption
  • Starting out, you don’t know what it will look like when it’s “done” 

Examples of process-driven projects are: Writing a novel, building an online platform, painting a mural or producing a documentary feature. All of these pursuits can take months if not years to complete or produce a measurable impact. 

Your project is results-driven if: 

  • You can distribute all or a portion of it pretty quickly (in minutes to a couple of weeks)
  • It requires only a few steps, or several steps that could be stand-alone projects themselves
  • You know what it will look like when it’s done before you start it

Examples of results-driven projects include: Writing a series of guest blog posts, filming a one-time event and posting it online, recording a podcast episode, or a web-based photo series. Note that any of these projects could take more than a few weeks, but the end result is clear and can be quickly attained. 

Often a process-driven project is one that is made up of several results-driven projects.

If you’re just starting out, I would suggest focusing on either a results-driven project, or a results-driven step that will help you build momentum. If you’re recording your first mix-tape, get a single out as soon as you can. Painting for a solo show? Make a time-lapse video of yourself painting and put it online to generate buzz from your audience. Even if you are more process-driven, result-driven steps will help you get feedback about your project, and develop the audience you need to ensure your success.

Next week: More tips on how to recognize and tackle your Creative Breakthrough Project

In Case You Missed It: 

Are you working on a passion project that may be your Career Breakthrough Project? Reply to this message and tell me about.

Your Partner in the Process,
Chakka AKA Snark Morrision

Highwater Weekly Picks  

  • Matt McCue wrote an awesome summary of the five different kinds of personal projects that could become your Career Breakthrough Project. (99u)
  • DUE ON MONDAY (3/28)! National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC)'s 360 Open Call is devised to help launch multi-part, non-fiction broadcast projects, non-fiction and scripted web serial content, as well as interactive or “trans-media” projects, about the Black experience. Select projects receive between $50,000 and $150,000 to produce their pilots Deadline is March 28th. Apply here. 
  • Minnesota-based Dancers: The Knight Foundation has a grant to support your work. Deadline is April 6. Apply here. 
  • DC-Born, Brooklyn-raised rapper and producer Oddisee put out a FREE album this week on his Bandcamp page. Check it out. 
  • The Art of Organized Noize (2016) is a new doc on Netflix about the Atlanta-based production crew who created a sound that represents what 90% of music is trying to sound like now. No one has been able to match their level of soul and instrumentation though, which is why Organized Noize and their doc deserve way more attention. Watch here
  • Hip-hop lost the legendary Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest this week. Any rapper worth his weight in one-liners owes a debt of gratitude to the five-foot assassin. The doc Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (2011) is on the online streaming service Crackle for free until April 1st. Watch here
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