“I don’t know what’s wrong with me, Kate. I just can’t do it.”
I didn’t panic. I’d heard this many times before. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve said it myself in the past. I knew what to do.
In my coaching work with creative high-performers, I have noticed this phenomenon happen time and again. And, in observing it in my clients, I have also recognized the pattern in myself, and in most people around me.
It’s a pattern of thoughts and behavior that gets in our way of pursuing a project. Of leaving it there on the table, gathering dust.
You know the drill. You have this great idea–it’s the perfect thing, and you cannot wait to get started. You plan everything about it, maybe even tell a few close friends about it, and then…you stop.
There are reasons, of course. EXTREMELY VALID ONES (you tell yourself)
This is where I call B.S. Because let’s be honest. We’re all adults here. It is never the right time. Life constantly throws things in our way. Sick kids, sick parents, sick ourselves. It’s a busy time with work, or it’s not a busy time with work, so you want to take a vacation. Any number of things can (and will, I promise) come up.
And no–it’s not quite the right thing…yet. That’s why we need to do it the first time, to the best of our ability. The 2nd time you’ll keep what worked, and tweak the rest. And the third time gets even better. You can’t improve on something that doesn’t exist.
And about that other “better” idea? Great! Isn’t it awesome to have multiple great ideas coming at you? But I’ve seen people get caught in this trap. Always chasing the shiny new object, but never getting anything off the ground. A year goes by and all they have are a bunch of dusty ideas sitting on the table in front of them. No cool project that they can add to their resume, no added income, and no opportunities given to the people they mean to be serving.
The hardest part is not getting started, and it’s not executing and implementing the work once it’s out there. The hardest part by far, is the act of pressing that proverbial “Go” button and letting the idea out from the comfort and safety of your own little private world, into the inbox of the first person to need to contact about it.
If I look at just the last 10 clients I’ve worked on projects with. The ideation? Easy. crafting the offer? I mean, rife with mental pitfalls, but it gets done, making it all nice and shiny, figuring out details, and loading it up into a perfectly written email? Sure, there are conversations about compelling copy, word choice, there’s some discussion about best length, etc. But overall, not a problem.
And when things have been put into motion, and they have their team, collaborators, students, or they’re in launch mode, having calls, enrolling people into their programs, or setting up concerts; Whatever the doing of their project requires, that part is all fine. But between that first well-crafted email and the project itself lies one seemingly impossible task.
Starting a new workout plan:
Buying new exercise gear—easy! fun!
Working out–feels great. We’re full of pride, endorphins are pumping
But getting yourself out the door and to the gym?—-utter anguish.
Making a big decision:
Laying options out on the table–exciting! inspiring!
Moving forward with your chosen idea–feeling focused, productive, and content
But deciding which one to go with? Absolute torture.
The beginning phase–the ideation phase is full of internal validation. We know it’s a good idea and that feels good. Imagining it all coming to light is exciting.
The end phase–the doing phase is full of external validation. When people sign up for the program, enroll in your festival, purchase tickets for your event, etc. We get that dopamine hit every time someone else says “Yes! I love it”
That all-important middle phase–the act of pressing “Go”, however, is full of question marks.
Like at the starting line of a race. There is no going back. Like playing the very first note of a performance. Once you make that first sound, you just keep going until the last.
We put so much pressure on what people will think. Worried that the internal validation we have given our idea won’t be matched by the big, bad, outside world.
Your idea is the most important thing in the world. If you don’t do it, humanity will never be as great as it could have been. The world needs you to do this.
And, at the same time…
Your idea is the least important thing in the world. If no one likes it, or wants it, no big deal, you’ll just move on to the next thing. No one will even remember your email an hour from now.
Important enough that you MUST send it. Unimportant enough that if they’re not interested, there will be zero repercussions to you, your reputation, or your life.
The 2nd solution is the one I use with my clients until they have mastered the first one. I literally (okay, virtually) sit there until they hit send.
And that’s what I did with my client the other day.
“I’m right here, at my desk, literally waiting for you to hit send. Voxer me when you’ve done it.”
A few seconds passed.
“DAMN YOU!” appeared in a text from my client.
And then, after a few minutes…
“OMG, DONE!!!!!!!!!” and so many emojis of happy faces, trophies, check marks, and tiaras.
And I smiled. Because their project is SO GOOD, and I knew the recipients of those emails were going to read it, and think the same thing. And I knew that in a matter of weeks, she would be deep into the “doing” of the project. Basking in the satisfaction of having pulled it together, and the awe that something this life-changing can come from just one tiny, seemingly harmless little idea.
Friends, what are you waiting on? What great things are sitting there gathering dust, waiting for you to muster the strength and fortitude to hit “Go!”?
Because I’m sitting here, waiting for you to hit “send”. Let me know when you’ve done it, or if you need a little boost.
P.S. If you need help pressing “Go” on your best ideas, or if you want some support and guidance on how to get those ideas out into the world, let’s chat. I offer a free, no-pressure 30-minute call to any of my readers. I love hearing about what you guys are up to, and I’m happy to give you any thoughts and guidance I can–whether or not that includes a future coaching partnership. Book a call by clicking here.