This is a list of my favorite four ways to ensure that my very best work is never realized. Each of them seem simple to overcome (because in truth they are), but I struggle with them over and over again, so you’re not alone if they trip you up.
Think too much
Every project needs to be planned, but it’s easy to fall so in love with the thinking stage that you fail to move into the doing stage. Why think about something if you’re not going to do it?
Thinking serves doing. Start.
Wait for “perfect”
It’s important to recognize the difference between stalling a project as you pursue an unrealistic level of perfection and stalling a project because it isn’t any good. It’s likely you’ll need to tweak the settings on your BS meter so you can discern between the two.
There is no such thing as “perfect.” Start.
Worry about failure
Don’t be concerned with failure, because failure is inevitable. When you become comfortable with the fact that YOU WILL FAIL, you can start digging deeper into your very best work because there is no very best work without failure. Seth Godin believes his propensity for having good ideas is the result of his willingness to have more bad ideas than anyone else. Accept failure as a critical building block of success and learn to start projects with the words “this might not work,” like Seth does.
You will fail. Start.
Compare your great to their great
Comparison is one sinister SOB. When you’re in the midst of doing your very best work, you might find that you pause to reflect on how you stack up against others in your field. This is a trap! It’s such a waste of everything that is great about you to worry about what makes others great. Enjoy their work, applaud it even, and be great in the ways you’re great while allowing others to do the same without needless comparison. In short: please don’t suck at being you.
Comparison is a dead end. Start.
These methods of self-sabotage are built on the the F-word: fear. The fear of failure, the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of not measuring up, the fear of things not working the way you hope they will. Only a very few of the amazing and successful people I admire operate above the fear. Instead, they operate through the fear and mitigate their self-destructive tendencies by being disciplined about starting.
Will you give in to the fear? Or will you start?