How many times do you think about doing something, or starting something new, or even finishing something you already started and then you just lock it away and it never sees the light of day?
Why is that?
At its most basic level, I think we are afraid. We are afraid of failure. Or we are afraid of not succeeding enough. We are afraid of looking stupid, or silly, or even just not doing well at whatever it is that we were thinking about doing. People even avoid finishing things because we are afraid they won’t be as good as they could/should/we want them to be.
And that is garbage. It’s not productive. Its not helping us.
In fact, it’s probably making things worse. Failure is always an option. But you are selling yourself short if you never start. You are depriving yourself of skills or knowledge or even enjoyment if you never actually start something that you wanted to do. Now if you decide that its not something that you actually wanted to do, that’s fine. But if its something that you still care about, don’t be afraid to start it. And don’t let yourself get bogged down trying to make it perfect. Just get it done. You can work on perfect later.
I think that failure is a good thing. It gives us the opportunity to learn and to grow and to better ourselves. We also have to embrace the adequate, the average, the passable and the “just OK”. All of those things are better outcomes than not finishing at all. Nothing is going to be perfect. Especially things that are important to us. The standards are too high. But you can’t let that stop you from starting and pushing through to the end. You never hear about the projects that someone started and then left unfinished.
So what’s the worst that can happen?
- You finish a project and its crappy. So what? You FINISHED it. Take the win and figure out how to do better next time. (If there is a next time)
- You end up starting something that you discover that you aren’t really interested in/don’t like it much. Ok. So grit your teeth, finish it, and move on. At the very least you have a better idea what you like and don’t like. And you never know if you may actually need those skills at some point in the future. And you end up with another completed project. (Another win)
- Your end result is average/boring/plain. Again, So what? If its something that is important to you, you now have a base to iterate from moving forward. You can NEVER get to version 2.0 if you don’t finish version 1.0
- You crashed and burned completely. Total failure. So? What did you learn from that failure? How can you apply it to the next project you work on?
- You are too busy to actually start/finish. Personally I think this one is BS. If its important to you then make time. If its not, then let it go and quit whining about it.
- Life changed and things are “different” now. Another excuse. Life is ALWAYS changing. If you want something then make time to make it work. Otherwise shut up about it, let it go, and move on to something better.
In the time it takes to make an excuse, you could be making actual progress.
Even when you completely fail, you are still learning and making progress. And ANY progress is good.
So my challenge to everyone that reads this is to make yourself a list of stuff to start/to do/to finish. Keep it small to start with. Give yourself options. Find something manageable that you can do THIS MONTH.
- Pick 3 things you really want to do/finish in the next month.
- For each item, list 2 reasons why its super important to you. (If you can’t figure these out, them it may not really be important to you.)
- Then list the 1 thing you need to do to get started.
Then just get started. Work ONE project until its finished. Take the win and then move on to the next item on your list. Building chains of small wins helps you to build momentum, and momentum is always better than sitting on your keister going nowhere.
So jump in people. Lets do stuff, make stuff, fail big, and learn as we go!