Ooh, exciting. First new post on Life In Limbo. And very apt, too, since this post is about starting new things.
First, allow me to define “starting”. If you read Seth Godin, you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t read Seth Godin – what is wrong with you? Just kidding, but seriously get over there right now. And buy this book (Poke the Box). And read it.
Basically, the book can be summed up thusly (not that this does the book justice):
Start start start! Do it now! Feel the fear and don’t give a damn about it! Just do it!
“Starting” is, put simply, starting something. A project. A blog. A book. A website. A newspaper. It means putting into action that idea that’s been ruminating in your brain for months. It means stop thinking, start doing.
(For a considerably more succinct rendition of the above statements, turn to Seth – he is much more eloquent than I.)
why starting sucks
- It’s scary. Who wants to put themselves out there, go out on a limb, be susceptible to criticism or ridicule? Nobody does. We are tuned to shy away from those feelings, to blend in, to conform with the crowd. Starting a new project of any kind requires cojones + courage.
- People will disappoint you. People you expect to be excited for you may not be. Some people you wish would support you won’t. Some people won’t congratulate you on your endeavor at all. There are countless reasons for this: maybe they’re jealous, maybe they feel ashamed that they’re not starting anything, maybe they’re disinterested, or maybe they don’t understand why your project is so important for you (and don’t care enough to find out).
- It might fail. Your project might very well belly-flop. But I guarantee that in the long-term, you’ll be happier with a series of learning experiences (flops) that lead to your ultimate success than a whole lot of nothing to show for “all your wonderful ideas”. Failure shows character. It shows initiative.
- It takes time + commitment. You’re busy. You have work to do, errands to run, and people to see. You can’t devote yourself to the project you’re most passionate about. Wrong. Commit, and watch yourself make time. Watch the unimportant commitments fall away, watch your fire come out.
why you should do it anyway
- It pays off. The only way to get results is to try something new. Sitting on top of your genius ideas might protect you from potential fallout, but it also protects you from potential success. Even while I was crippled with self-doubt the night before the launch of this site, I was also $15 richer than I’d been six days previously – money earned by not doing anything except putting myself out there.
- You’ll never feel ready.You can’t wait until everything “feels just right”. That moment will never come. You’ll always feel shaky and unsure when starting something new. Leap and the net appears.
- Support will come out of the woodwork. People will amaze you – people with bigger hearts than you ever imagined. Your twitter followers might retweet your new website with nothing but good intentions + love. People will offer to write you testimonials. They’ll use way too many exclamation points. They’ll want to pop champagne for you. People you never expected to support you, will.
- It’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It probably means you’re doing something provocative, or scary, or new, or exciting, or important. The pieces I feel the most uncomfortable posting are usually the ones that get the most response, start the most dialogue, inspire or influence people. In short, the posts that make me the most uncomfortable are the most important. The same is true for your big ideas. The trick is to learn to embrace the uneasy feelings, to accept that it’s hard to do new things.
- It’s invigorating. Doing something you’ve heretofore only talked about is a high like no other. It’s a boost to your self esteem + self efficacy: empowering, exciting and cause for celebration. Any start, however small, is substantial.
- Practice makes perfect. Maybe your first start (or your second, or your fifth) won’t be a success. But along the way, you’ll get better at feeling uncomfortable. You’ll get better at biting the bullet, at feeling the fear, and at starting anyway. Learning how to start is more important than the project itself.
So, ask yourself. “What is dying to be born? What is holding me back? What am I waiting for?”
Go start something.
Then come back here and let me know about it. I’ll post a link + details in this post about your project. I’ll be the support coming out of the woodwork. I promise.
Start #1: My good friend Jenn has just restarted her blog! Check it out here: Smashed Potatoes.
Start #2: One of my best friends Isabelle has created a beautiful blog collage – a Tumblog! Take a look: Girl With a Flute.
All my fiery love,