Every act of creating is a stroke of the blade that sharpens the tool of your passion. You might not know what that is yet, but every creative action will bring that much more clarity to what fulfills you.
Lately I feel listless, frustrated, and directionless. I always want to make the most of the days that I don’t have to be at my day job, but without a clear-cut goal I have no idea where to start. What am I doing with my life? I still can’t get myself to write blog posts. I don’t know what to say, so this listlessness must be rooted in a fear that my voice is meaningless. I think I’ve also put too much pressure on myself to be successful at something outside of work so that I can quit my job as soon as possible. Every morning I dread going to work. I go in just hoping to have enough energy by the end of my shift to come home and work on something I want to do, even if only for a brief period of time before my husband comes home. This is no way to gain momentum. But I guess I have to start somewhere. Just do anything, I keep telling myself. I feel like I’m wasting time.
I know I shouldn’t be checking my email before I do my daily write, but I got an email from a writer whose newsletter I recently subscribed to. “Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t overthink it. Just do the next right thing.” —Michael Hyatt. It’s about his most recent podcast episode, which is super relevant to what I’m feeling right now. It’s about regaining momentum when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
In this episode, you’ll discover:
• Why the big picture is the last thing you should focus on when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
• One of the fastest ways to develop momentum when you’re stuck—it’s simpler than you think.
• The difference between your areas of concern and influence—and why the distinction is critical to keeping your momentum.
• Why comparison can be a momentum killer.
• How to avoid the pitfalls of overthinking and underacting.
This is exactly where I’m at. I’m thinking big picture instead of just doing, and it’s psyching me out. Also, I’m holding myself up to others’ standards and trying to live up, which makes me feel like a failure and keeps me from trying. That’s ironic, since my last blog post was about just getting it out there instead of being paralyzed by the desire to be perfect. I tend to look down on people who don’t give 100%, but isn’t that still better than giving 0% because you’re afraid your efforts will only amount to 75? JUST DO. Any action you feel like doing will be a step in the right direction. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to get started. Do anything. Feel like doing a pastel on paper? Do it. Fell like making a Shrinky Dink? Do it. Feel like practicing your lettering? Do it. Feel like writing a haiku? DO. IT. Every act of creating is a stroke of the blade that sharpens the tool of your passion. You might not know what that is yet, but every creative action will bring that much more clarity to what fulfills you. The world’s shortest sentence gets the point across perfectly: Do.
When I’m at work wishing the day was over, I try to pay attention to what it is I’m itching to do as soon as I get home. It always seems to be something different, and I almost never end up doing it. Maybe I’ll start a habit of immediately writing down what it is I hope to do when I get home. This won’t be a “to-do” list, but rather a list from which I hope to discern a pattern over time. What is it that I consistently have a desire to do, even if I don’t make myself do it? If there’s a pattern, I need to follow through with action. No comparing myself to anyone else, no trying to fit it into the bigger picture, no overthinking. Just do it. Then do it again. Then keep doing it until you have so much momentum that you’re an unstoppable force, even if at first that thing seems mundane or meaningless in the moment. It doesn’t have to be meaningful now. If it’s something you enjoy and can keep doing consistently, that consistency is what’s going to prove worthwhile. Show up. Do. Ship it. Repeat.
Even the act of posting this, even though it’s very far from 100%, is building momentum. It may not be perfect; it may not even be good. But if it helps one person–even if that person is just me–then it’s a step in the right direction. Show up. Do. Ship it. Repeat.