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Stretching

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Back in the summer of 2008, I was asked by a large national retailer to create a couple of Flash-based Facebook applications, for their Back-to-School Campaign.

They were throwing a boatload of money at me, to furnish a ton of working code, in an unreasonable – and inflexible – amount of time.

At the time, I had many Facebook applications already under my belt, and had a good reputation in the space – which was why they chose me to begin with.

But I had never written a single line of Flash. Like, at all.

So, naturally, I accepted.

Now, not for the first time – or even close to the last time – I accepted a project without knowing precisely how every component worked beforehand; or, even how I was going to get it all done on time.

But it was by no means an uncalculated risk for me to agree to deliver a professional grade product, using an unfamiliar toolset, under an aggressive deadline. Through experience, I knew how to acquire new language skills and attain mastery, through a process I knew worked for me.

That process consisted of me digging in and working my tail off.

The first step, however, was me, stretching, and taking on something beyond what I had currently mastered; accepting manageable risk, and trusting in my ability to grow into what the project needed.

Ultimately, I delivered both applications, on time and on budget. The customer was happy. And I had a nice payday for my efforts.

Admittedly, not everyone is built to work this way. Nor should they even try to.

And yet – fortune favors the bold. And the bold stretch beyond what is comfortable, reasonable, and safe.

Go, and be you.

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