Have you ever wanted to do something only to discover that actually starting seems impossible? You want to do XYZ, but before you can do that, you have to do LMN, but before you can do that, you must QRS, which really isn’t useful if you haven’t done XYZ. This can be a show-stopper even if you really, really want to do what you started out to do. Fortunately, there’s a way for the show to go on, after all.
Most people have a list of things we wish we could learn, do, or see. Wouldn’t it be great if it were as easy as flipping a switch to make these things accessible to us? In actuality, most things require a certain amount of time, education, and preparation. If it were as easy as flipping a switch, they would already be done, right?
These days I’m up to my eyeballs in the logistics of running a blog. As I stated in an earlier post, I went into this thinking what I needed was to have an idea, a keyboard, and access to the internet. While these are the three foundational elements of a blog, you need to be doing a great many things if your blog is going to reach more than your captive audience (in my case, my husband) and a few stray readers.
This week found me smack in the middle of that whole chicken-and-egg syndrome I described with all those letters in the first paragraph. Almost paralyzed by overwhelm, I turned to a blogging group on Facebook, hoping someone would tell me the Most Important Thing about running a blog.
No one told me the Most Important Thing about running a blog. Instead, the answer I got was a bigger Important Thing. It was a reminder of what you need to know when starting any new thing in life, and it is only two words long.
Just start. Try it. See what works. See what doesn’t work. Build on the things that do work, and learn what you can about the things that don’t work. (I don’t necessarily advocate this approach to something like welding or sky diving. In cases such as those, the starting point should definitely involve expert instruction.)
This Important Thing is one of those easy but not easy deals. The idea of it (just starting) is so simple it makes you say, “duh,” but the first step can be scary. In truth, it usually isn’t actually the first step that’s so bad, it’s the idea of the first step. Allowing yourself to get lost in all the details can put a halt to any progress toward your goals.
If you’re an overthinker like I am, your life is probably filled with “what if’s.” For example, “What if I write and no one cares?” or “Yeah, but what if I start painting and no one likes it?” As a bonus, I’m going to give you a secret, two-word answer to most any question that starts with “what if.” So what? You’ll never go anywhere if you don’t take a step. Yes, taking action is often messy at first, but if you don’t want to live life watching from the curb, you have to get off the curb and move! When you find yourself wrapped up in all the possibilities and potential repercussions, take a moment and actually think through your questions. Start your answer with, “So what,” and see where that leads.
What if I write and no one cares? So what? Someone might care later, and you care right now!
What if I start painting and no one likes it? SO WHAT? If you like it, it’s worthwhile. If you don’t like it, you get to choose if you want to try again or if it just isn’t your thing.
What if I start this welder and set the house on fire? See, this is the sort of question that helps you determine which of your ideas requires expert supervision when you are starting. “So what,” in this case, can be answered with, “The house could burn down and we would have nowhere to live.” That’s how important this question is. “So what” could save lives, people.
There will always be times in your life where you need to get out of where you are and move toward where you want to be. In order for this to happen, it’s critical to recognize the difference between making things work and making things perfect. You’ll never be good if you never start. Take the step. Perfection is a dream-killer anyway. Let your progress be messy. Let it be an experience.
As for me, I still don’t have a firm grasp on all the tools out there to find my ideal readership. I’ve got my husband, a few other people who know and love me, and a few stray readers. But this blog matters to me, and maybe someday it will matter on a larger scale. My Instagram grid isn’t a work of art, my tweets are sporadic, and the Facebook algorithm changes so often I’m not sure it’s possible to figure it out, but every day I’m taking steps.
In the words of Amelia Earhart, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
Brightest blessings, Sunny