How many times do you think about doing something, or starting something new, or even finishing something we already started and then you just lock it away and it never sees the light of day.
Why is that?
At its most simple level, I think we are afraid. We are afraid of failing. 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. We 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 crap. It’s not productive. Its not helping us. And in fact, it can possibly be making things worse. 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 really wanted to do, that’s fine. But if its something that you still want, 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’ve said before that 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 the first time. 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.
- You end up starting something that you discover that you aren’t really interested in/don’t like. 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 that skill at some point in the future. And you end up with another completed project.
- 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 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 it work. Otherwise shut up about it and move on.
In the time it takes to make an excuse, you could be making actual progress.
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. 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 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 ass going nowhere. So jump in people.