Do you ever pressure yourself to be GOOD at stuff right out of the gate?
I know I do.
I mean, the only way to improve on something, to actually GET GOOD at it, is by actually starting.
Or maybe just starting over. I’ve been doing a lot of starting over this month, and I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been extremely MESSY. I started to work out again after taking 4 months off to heal my lower back. I felt awkward, clunky, and weak.
I’m starting to focus on my writing again after taking a summer-long break from productivity. Again, awkward, clunky, and out of practice.
I found myself frustrated, because I’d put these high expectations on myself to dive back in to all the things all at once, AND perform at my usual levels. I have a blog that needs resurrected, a website that needs updated, a book proposal that needs edited, meal plans that need to be made, a morning routine that needs implemented, and it all just started to feel a bit overwhelming.
Re-Entry is hard.
If vacation/rest is anything like floating peacefully in outer space, then re-entry into the atmosphere of regular life & work is like that harsh thud when gravity hits. Eventually you’ll get there, but it’s probably going to get a little bumpy first.
I should know this by now, because I’ve learned it the hard way about a hundred times, but for some reason I still have to the urge to stack up all my expectations into one giant hurdle for myself.
Last week I stacked my expectations a little *too* high and wound up with some bumps and bruises, mostly to my confidence and joy. I sat down to edit my book proposal, a project I’ve been working on for basically EVER and was flooded with thoughts of, “Who do I think I am to try to write a book? Who am I kidding? I’ll never do this thing.”
So then I tried to update my website but as someone who’s understanding of technology is equal to Hansel & Derek in Zoolander (The files are IN the computer?!), I immediately got caught in a loop of, “I’ll never figure out this out. I might as well get one of those flip phones with the giant buttons and give up on technology all together.”
After 5 days of struggling through my workouts and modifying the moves to the point that it felt like I wasn’t even accomplishing anything, I was tempted to check out and watch Netflix instead.
Guys, the minute we set our minds to do something challenging or new, resistance WILL rear it’s ugly head and we’ll have to decide if we’re going to push through the hard part or if we’re going to spiral into self doubt, impostor syndrome, or apathy.
But what if there’s another, less forceful option?
What if we gave ourselves permission to just go ahead and be a beginner? To embrace our amateurism, make mistakes, and be messy? To go ahead and do the thing badly for a while? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
Investing in our goals is hard and deeply personal work. Whether it’s our health and fitness, our creative passions, our relationships, or our day-to-day operations, leveling up is not going to come easy. But the only way to get where we want to go is by actually moving towards it, one awkward, unsure step at a time.
You can’t steer a parked car, sister, and neither can I. We can spend forever checking our road-map, fueling up, and obsessing over the path ahead, but unless we start the engine and DRIVE, none of that stuff matters much.
Maybe you’re waiting on starting something too, like a tough conversation, a workout program, or a daunting new project. Or maybe you’re starting over like me, and find yourself stalling until you feel qualified, ready, or for someone to give you “permission” you to do the dang thing.
What if we stopped waiting for an ideal set of circumstances that may not exist and just started doing it?
What if we embraced our amateurism and let go of perfection in favor of forward motion?
We would never shame our kids or our friends for their awkward attempts at starting something new, so let’s offer ourselves the same kindness. Here’s to messy first (and 50th) drafts, modified workouts, awkward starts, and choosing Done instead of Perfect.