Today I want to talk about ideas, fear, and how to FINALLY start that thing you’ve been wanting to start. (Yep, you know the thing.)
Last week, Jason and I were working up in the office when he turned to me and said“I want to try something completely random for the month of February.” (These types of statements no longer surprise me.)
“Ummm… okay,” I said. “Like what?”
“I don’t know. Just like a challenge or a project. Maybe we could do something together.”
These days we’re both so focused on growing our individual businesses, but sometimes we both miss the days of collaborating on IWearYourShirt together, so we’ve been talking about doing some sort of project together for a while now.
What we came up with is this: a short, daily podcast exploring topics related to relationships and entrepreneurship.
I’ve had this fascination lately with the idea of couples who work together. Jason and I are friends with at least 10 couples that either work together or are self-employed and work from home together, and I think the effect it has on growing a relationship is really interesting, so I brought up the idea of making our mini-podcast center on this. (Plus, the idea of us spending 10 minutes every day focused on communicating about our relationship was an interesting experiment in itself.) It also seemed timed well with Valentine's Day being in February and what not.
Within minutes we had a name, a Google spreadsheet with potential topics, a plan for recording and we were crafting posts for Facebook asking for questions from our friends.
Surprisingly, not once in this process did I stop to think “Is this a good idea?” “Will this make me money?” “What will people think?” And while you know I’m a big believer in doing things intentionally, sometimes the intention can be to simply TRY something. As an experiment. For FUN. (What a novel concept, right?)
After our brainstorm, I went back to my work, but I couldn’t help but marvel at how quickly we had gone from a vague idea to an action plan.
Together we’ve been able to cultivate a knack for taking action and moving our ideas forward.
BUT, I was quickly reminded, this wasn’t always the case.
I spent TWO YEARS wanting to start my own personal blog before I finally hit publish on my first post back in 2011. I always wanted to have a job in a creative field, but it took THREE YEARS before I started working on my lettering and my design skills and opened my design business.
The truth is, taking action is hard.
We all have dreams and ideas and plans, but bringing them to life is the sticky part, isn’t it?
I have friends that have spent years (YEARS!) working on releasing their first e-course. I have friends who want to start a blog, but have yet to write a post. Friends that dream of launching a business, but can’t bring themselves to tell anyone. Websites waiting to be born. Books waiting to be written.
So, what is the one thing preventing all of these people (and probably some of you out there reading this) from taking action and moving forward with their ideas?
Fear, of course. Fear of failure. Fear of judgment. Fear of rejection. We've explored this many times.
But, what, then, is the secret to getting over the hump of fear? (Yes, I said “hump of fear.”)
Did I just wake up one day and suddenly not give a crap what anyone thought of me? (Dear lord, I wish. But definitely NO.) Did I suddenly not care about failing? Heck to the no.
The difference is that I started making things anyway. A LOT of things.
Writing tons of posts. Sharing my artwork on Instagram. Launching products. Finding clients. Tackling self-imposed challenges. Learning new skills.
Now, I know it sounds silly to say the secret to starting is starting, but bear with me.
Think of it this way (and try to roll with my weird, but hopefully applicable, analogy.)
If you only post ONE photo of yourself on Facebook every year, you’re probably going to feel a ton of pressure to make that one photo super amazing. You’ll pick your best day, the best backdrop, the perfect filter, the right lighting… and you’ll still be terrified when you post it. Why? Because in your mind you get that one shot to show people who you are.
But, now imagine if you took a photo of yourself and posted it every hour for the next year. (Note to my selfie-takers: this idea is for illustration purposes only.) You’d probably care a lot less about each photo. The pressure to make it perfect would be much lower because you would know the next one is just around the corner.
That’s how I like to think of making things and sharing them. I carry less fear with each thing I create because I know I can always create more things.
Making begets making. And the more stuff you make, the less you feel like any ONE THING defines the whole of who you are.
You know that people will come to see the more textured, nuanced version of you because they’ll be able to see you across your entire body of work.
That's it. That's my big secret to getting started - simply remind yourself that your identity does not hinge on any one single thing. Write more words and do more things and push yourself to take that next step to turn your ideas into reality. I promise you that once you get on a roll, it only becomes easier over time.
Your challenge this week? Think of that thing you've been meaning to start and take one big step forward to making it a reality.
Now, if you're feeling really spunky, take another step every day for the next week. Promise yourself to keep the momentum going. Buy the domain. Sign up for the class. Make the call. Take note of whether you feel it getting easier with each step that you take.
And then email me and let me know what idea you want to make happen. (One of the best ways to get started is to tell someone!)
That's it, friends.