The 1st hurdle: Getting Started

If you’re not willing to look like a foolish beginner, you’ll never become a graceful master. credit: @jarrensmall

It’s difficult for me to begin creative projects, especially ideas that come from my heart. I will literally sit in my living room, draft out a plan, and even give myself a deadline. Then, motivated, I close my planner, shut off my computer, ready to begin the next day. The next day I say I’ll begin when I get home from work. The following day I say I’ll begin when I finish my dinner. By the end of the week I commit to beginning when my husband goes to sleep. Eventually days, weeks, months go by and my “bright idea” cycle starts all over again. Sound familiar?

My problem is two-fold. First, I get caught up in the idea that if I think I have something to share, it must be executed perfectly. In other words, if I create something it must be acceptable in the eyes of others (with no room for criticism). If I do something it must be objectively impressive. Second, my obsession with perfection causes me to procrastinate until I stumble across the illusory “enough time” — which ultimately subjects my idea to the inertia of my daily routine.

In times like these I turn to reading autobiographies. I especially love to listen to them when they are narrated by the writer, the actor, the political figure, the mind behind the influence. My goal isn’t to shame myself, but instead to understand what they did to prepare for the first step toward their success.

What I’ve learned from their stories (and am coming to accept) is that most of these individuals are just ordinary people that had big ideas at unexpected times. They all also came face-to-face with an “ah-ha” moment when they were forced to JUST BEGIN the project as amateurs. Regardless of the possibility of failure – and most of them did fail…at first. Regardless of how others felt about the “reason” for the project. Regardless if the end-result looked different than what they originally envisioned. They just started, built momentum from the joy of investing in something they believed in, and chose to make working on their project a part of their daily routine.

  • Former President Barack Obama started as a community organizer before going to law school or even thinking politics would be in his future.
  • Lilly Singh’s first YouTube video was meant to aid in recovering from depression before a YouTube empire was even in her sights.
  • Kevin Hart’s first comedy appearance was at his high school’s award ceremony.
  • Shonda Rhimes started in advertising and her first screenplay was never produced.

At the very least we should take courage that we don’t have to “make something of ourselves” before we share our ideas. Allow time to develop your craft and maybe one day it will gain traction. But until then enjoy the process and joy you gain from giving life to your ideas.