One of the biggest blocks people encounter, myself included, is perfectionism. AKA fear of sucking. You want what you do to be good. Sometimes without even practicing. For me, this desire goes WAY back. I remember as a child only participating in activities that I could do well. Not just that, but do well WITHOUT LOOKING LIKE I WAS TRYING.
This last part was really important to me. I guess I wanted to be a child prodigy? Somehow I thought that would make me a better person- more interesting, exciting, valuable. In practice, though, it made me conservative in what I was willing to try for fear that I would try something that I wasn’t, in fact, good at.
Looking back, I am disappointed with all the missed opportunities that mindset caused. Even more than that, I am disappointed that I wasted so much time when I could have been pursuing interests, passions, and developing the ways I was able to better serve the world. (Note, just because it is your gift doesn’t mean that you are going to immediately be a pro at it. Even our strongest gifts require refining and especially practice- it is simply the magnitude of growth possible in that area that sets us apart from the others.)
The good news is that I became much more adventurous as I grew older. I travelled alone, I tried new activities, I started businesses, I followed my passions. However, even being an adventurous person at heart has not had the power to completely overpower my ego. I sometimes have to force myself to hit the publish button because I am not completely happy with the work I have done. At times I don’t even want to share it. The biggest challenge, though, has been the fear of starting because I know it is going to be hard for a while. Not just hard, but I am probably going to be sucky. I don’t mind the hard work, it’s the sucky part that gets me.
The more I study and observe the people I most admire, though, the more I realize that this is all a necessary part of the process. One of my favorites, Marie Forleo, published a video that talks about the importance of this process. She illuminates the reality of her first workshop with only 5 people (her parents, yoga teacher, and two of the yoga teacher’s groupies) and talks about how that was a necessary part of getting to where she is now- a super successful entrepreneur mixing circles with big names like Oprah and Richard Branson and inspiring transformation in those all around her.
Probably my favorite talk I have listened to on this topic, though, is from Ira Glass. (Have I mentioned that I love Ira Glass?) It discusses the gap between our great taste and the quality of work we are able to put out there right out of the gate. He is talking to writers, but his message applies to us all. His advice? Do a lot of work- it is only through doing this process over and over that we get to the good stuff. Have I mentioned that I love this guy?
The ultimate message from all of this? Get to work. Start small, start sucky, but start! It is the only way to develop the gifts you are given.
Not sure what your gift is- or even what you are passionate about? Begin. It is only through action that you can effectively explore the possibilities, practice your skills and polish your gifts.
What are your feelings about receiving the ‘ok’ to start small and sucky? Does this give you the permission to start a project you’ve been sitting on? I’d love to hear in the comments below!