For the past couple months, I’ve been working on creating my first online program. It’s taught me more than about how to actually create an online program, and it’s taught me more than what it contains as content. It’s taught me that sometimes, as driven as we are, things happen on their own time.
My website is in a system called WordPress. If you don’t use it, let’s just say it’s a little more complicated than some of the free web site tools around today. But it’s more flexible. Before I became a Mind-body Wellness Consultant, I worked in technology. In fact, I have a Computer Science degree. So while technology changes a lot, I still know my way around more than some people. When I decided to offer this program online, I thought it best to integrate with my existing web site.
I found two LMS (Learning Management System) tools that work with WordPress. The first one was free. Which is always great! Since I had some content already developed, I tried putting it into the first tool. I found it to be clumsy and buggy. Things not only didn’t work the way I expected them to, but weird things kept happening that I couldn’t reason out. “You get what you pay for!” I reasoned, and paid the small sum to get and transition to the other tool.
Initially this was great. Things seemed to work. And then I hit a wall. A major wall.
Pretend you were editing a document and saved your changes, and then you went away. When you came back, your changes were gone. No matter how many times you “verified” that you had in fact saved (let’s say you closed the document and reopened it, and still saw your changes), inevitably when you came back, they were gone. Now imagine this happened with 15+ little files. It was maddening to say the least!
I was going in circles. I contacted tech support, because hey, I was a paying customer. But I couldn’t help them help me, because I didn’t seem to be doing anything that would cause this to happen. After 2–3 weeks of banging my head against this wall, I gave up. I was no longer excited about my content — mostly because I couldn’t even GET to work on the content. I spent all my time fighting with this LMS tool. I finally told accountability partner that I was done for now.
Although I had told her I was committing to complete a certain number of lessons weeks ago, it just wasn’t happening. And, I had a few talks coming up that I needed to prepare for. So I put the online program aside.
I finally did this because I remembered something my business coach had said to me. Essentially, it was something like, “if it doesn’t feel light, stop it.” It took me a long time to realize that my mounting frustration wasn’t “light” — but eventually I realized it.
The week of giving my talks was also the week that I noticed that the “30-day money-back guarantee” for the LMS tool was coming up. Sigh. But time had passed, so I thought, “well, I’ll at least go back and see where I’m at, see if I want to complain and get the refund.”
When I went back, I happened upon the particular sequence of clicks that “reset” the work I’d done! I couldn’t believe it. Although that didn’t help tech support resolve the problem, it DID teach me what to avoid. Fortunately, there was another way to do what I needed to do (essentially, order the topics in each lesson). It was slightly more tedious, but not nearly as tedious as losing my work!
Then, I decided that I had too many topics in each lesson — it would be better to combine some. When I did that, the program felt better, tighter. And it had a side effect: I had fewer files to deal with. Suddenly, I was able to add more content and then develop more content. The course had momentum again! In other words, it felt like something I wanted to work on. It felt light!
Things don’t always happen exactly when we want them to.
When I set the course aside, a part of me thought I would just never finish it.
It’s not done yet, and I expect that it will have some say in when it gets finished.
Goal setting is important. Working toward one’s goals is important. And, sometimes the wise choice is to notice when goals get heavy, and our willpower-based efforts toward achieving them get in our way rather than help us.
Sometimes all that’s needed is some time and some distance.
What do you need some distance from?