Hesitation when starting anything can be very common. I have realised that I have a few common hesitations that stop me from taking on creative projects. 1. I want all the facts before starting. 2. I feel like I don’t have enough time to do the project justice 3. I am afraid of failing or looking stupid.
Here are some tips I’ve found helpful for moving forward.
1. “I don’t have all the information.”
Thanks to Gretchen Rubins Habits quiz, out of her four character tendencies I have identified that I am a Questioner (rather than a Rebel, Upholder or Obliger). The four tendencies distinguish how people tend to respond to inner and outer exceptions. Outer expectations like a deadline at work and inner expectations like a New Year’s resolution or keeping a diary.
Your response to expectations may sound slightly obscure, but it turns out to be very, very important.
- Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
- Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
- Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
- Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
This was like a lightbulb for me. I realised before I commit to anything (a purchase, publishing a blog post) I want to make sure I’ve done my homework and checked out every single option. I pin to pinterest, make notes, read books, read blogs and gather all the information I can and then check all the information repeatedly. Often I then feel overwhelmed and put things off until later.
While doing my research can sound good in theory, exhausting every option takes an incredible amount of mental energy and time that could better be spent on learning and redirection once I’ve actually started.
My advice to myself is from Napoleon Hill. “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” You’ll never have all the information or all the right skills before you start. By starting earlier you’ll have more time to change your course and learn as you go. The freedom I’ve found from committing to decisions quicker has outweighed my sense of buyers remorse (which I used to get often).
2. “I don’t have time.”
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
Is what your considering going to take you months or even years to potentially finish? That’s ok. The past few months have been revealing to me about how much you can achieve when you have a very limited time frame and with limited resources.
Fitting all possible creativity and business planning during my babes naptimes has been a huge struggle. The consequence being that all the cooking, washing, cleaning and baby prep that you might normally do when the babe is napping has to be done with the babe ‘helping’.
Everyday, just when I start getting in the flow I am interrupted by the end of naptime but I’ve learned to appreciate that the small chunks of time will eventually add up into something big. It has taken me at least 4 months of nap times to build my website, create and get organised but I got here little by little.
Gretchin Rubin as part of her Happiness Project created a resolution to suffer for 15 minutes as a way to conquer a big overwhelming task a little bit at a time. She thinks we overestimate what we can do in a short amount of time but under estimate what we can achieve when we do a little bit everyday.
3. “I am afraid of failing or looking stupid.”
Having only a limited window of time to pursue my passions has also helped me to focus and push go on things even if I feel they aren’t quite perfect yet. I’ve adopted Marie Forleo’s phrase”progress not perfection” and have been using it like a mantra.
Brene Brown, a shame researcher said “there is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” To do anything truly spectacular or even difficult you can’t be cautious. Failure is an important part of learning where are our weaknesses lie and what we have to learn from a situation.
Watching my daughter learn to pull herself to stand and manoeuvre from different objects and falling repeatedly in the process reminds me that it’s ok to stumble on our way to achieving something great. We can’t possibly be on a steady, onwards success track (although it would be nice) at some point there will be set backs in our projects or someone won’t get what we are doing.
Someone might say something critical. I’ve been tempted to hide things from friends and family until I feel ready for criticism but I’ve never felt ready. On nearly every project I’ve worked on there has been someone who just didn’t get it (no matter how much I explained) until it was finished. I’ve learned to accept that not everyone will understand you or your work. That’s ok. You can’t please everybody. You should weigh criticism and advice and judge whether it feels right for you. Is what they’re saying relevant or valid? Can you use it to improve? If someone finds a typo or broken link on your website, it’s ok, it’s not personal. You can fix it.
You could look at the worst case scenario: By putting yourself out there someone might hate what you are doing BUT on the flip side someone might love it!
Lastly don’t let fear of failure about messing things up stop you from starting. Creativity is a messy process.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb