3 Life Lessons I Learned From My Eagle Project

Tackling an Eagle Project is like climbing a tower: It is done one step at a time. This is an actual photo from a workday on my Eagle Project.

You may have noticed that I’ve been posting less than I usually do for the past week or so. This is because I’ve been super busy recently finishing up my Eagle Project. An Eagle Project is a Community Service Project that the Scout must plan, give leadership to, and document in order to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Scouting.

For my Eagle Project, I chose something very challenging (you can read more about it in this article). To date, I’ve been actively working on this project for around two years now, as a result I’m getting close now to my 18th birthday, which is the date a Scout must finish his project by or else he doesn’t get Eagle. So for me, things are really getting busy as I’m working for my Eagle Board of Review at the end of this month.

One of the benefits of choosing a really ambitions project is the lessons you can learn from it. The more difficulties there are to overcome, the more experience you will get, and the more beneficial the Eagle Project will be to you. I want to highlight in this post 3 big life lessons I’ve learned during the course of this Project.

1. Clear Communication Is Vital

This one is pretty self-explanatory. However, it can be quite difficult to put into practice. Whether the communication is by email, phone, or face-to-face, each method has its own challenges and rules for clear communication. So the first aspect of clear communication is to do it the way that is most effective for you.

If the people you need to communicate with check their email regularly, then send plenty of emails.  If you can’t think on your feet very well and tend to leave out important information when talking on the phone, then send emails. If some people don’t have email accounts, then call on the phone. There are an infinite number of circumstances and each one calls for a slightly different approach.

Whatever method you use to communicate, there are a few general rules to considers. The first is to not drag on and make it longer than necessary. Respect other people’s time. Be as short as possible while still covering all the important details. Secondly, be timely in your communication. Don’t hardly communicate at all for a long time and then shower people with phone calls or emails. Keep the communications regular; not to often to be annoying, and not so far apart that people forget.

2. Always Plan For 50% More Time

This is one lesson I wish that I had paid more attention to sooner in my project. When you plan any kind of event, it almost always will take you longer to complete it than you first estimated. Because of this, it is important to work this into your plan so that you’re not taken by surprise. There is nothing more frustrating than being delayed in your plans because a task took longer to complete than you estimated.

For instance, if you are planning to finish your project in two more workdays in order to make a certain deadline, you don’t want to discover too late that you should have planned three workdays instead of two. Maybe some people won’t show up; maybe you’ve forgotten some tools that you needed; or maybe the job is just a lot harder than you thought is was.

It is always important to be prepared with contingency plans so you don’t find yourself caught unprepared when facing an important deadline.

3. Strike while the iron is hot 

Sometimes the biggest danger is when things are going great. It’s tempting to slow down and take it easy. This is, however, failing to be prepared. Perhaps you think the hard part of your project is over and you can relax a little bit. Maybe you’re right; maybe it is all down hill from there. However, in my experience there is almost always something that comes up unexpectedly. It could just be something small, or it could be a major obstacle that you didn’t notice before.

Whatever the case, it is very important to strike while the iron is hot. When things are going well, don’t slow down; speed up! By doing so you are being prepared for any contingency that might arise in the future. This happened to me several times on a smaller scale earlier on in my project. I thought I was all clear to go, so I waited a few days before sending the follow-up email. I then found out about another obstacle, and it was too late to get it finished before my deadline. Don’t make the same mistake.

Conclusion

All-in-all, I’ve learned many very important life lessons while working on my Eagle Project. There are three, though, that really stick out to me:

  1. Be clear and timely in your communication.
  2. Always plan that something will take you longer than your first guess.
  3. Strike while the iron is hot.

I hope you will learn from some of the mistakes that I made so your own journey to Eagle is easier. If you have already earned your Eagle, do you have any tips or advice to share? I’d love to hear it! Just drop a comment in the box below.

In conclusion, the Eagle Project is especially valuable for preparing you for life. I’ve heard many older men say that the things I am learning and doing right now in my Eagle Project are what they are doing a lot in the workplace. The skills learned now in your Eagle Project will help you a lot much later in life.

Thanks for reading!

Scout on!

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