How to be Terribly Imperfect and Get Started Anyway
“Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us.” Steven Pressfield
Is there something you want to do but you don’t feel ready yet? Maybe in a year? Maybe another class or degree will prepare you? If that’s your current thought process than Resistance has you in a headlock. I learned about the force of Resistance in a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Two friends gifted me this work of genius within a few months of each other, so I finally sat down and read it. After reading it a second time, I decided to buy it on Audible to listen whenever I lose my luster, which happens a few times a month.
Resistance kept me from writing for twenty years. The War of Art taught me that an enemy identified, can be overcome. If there is anything that you dream about bringing into the world than I suggest you buy this book today.
For years my coach, Jeff, told me to start a blog. “Not my thing”, I always responded. “Blogs are for millennials or vanity projects for bad writers with hidden fame agendas.” On my birthday this past January, Jeff set up a rough Word Press site to house my writing. I had taken a writing class in the Fall and was enjoying it again. Since no one knew the site was there, I viewed it as an online journal. Based on past experience, I knew that working in a closed loop with selective feedback was imperative. Random feedback early in a creative process is never useful, per my article from last week.
After starting the unofficial blog, I began to realize that I would never be ready and that training happens on the court as I handle the ball. Action awakens magic, which then creates better next steps than I could’ve ever premeditatedly plotted out. Action, however, does not silence the voice in my head for long. Many believe that the goal of meditation and mindfulness is to quiet that voice. Not getting sucked into what the voice says is critical, but if you succeed in silencing it for long stretches of time than you are way too comfortable. The more risks I take, the more my upstairs tenant yaps away.
When I officially launched the blog, every new post registered as an embarrassment. Until one day after hitting publish, the fear of what people thought of me didn’t enter my mind. I was finally bulletproof. In the War of Art Book 2, Steven calls this “turning pro”. Now, I not only embrace the value of doing something that makes me cringe, but I seek it out. Placing myself in situations that stretch me is Miracle-Gro.
Because I never had a clear intention to launch a blog, I didn’t research the blog world extensively until after I got started. Positive feedback from friends and family confirmed transmission of my Why and gave me the courage I needed to do research that could trigger “compare and despair.”
I was already making some critical errors. I was not writing in standard blog format or using titles that were favored in Google searches. All the tips and tricks to receive Google and social media love made my head spin. Posting selfies of me blending my morning coffee was not an option, but my scrappy side said that I could walk a line between my mission statement and selling my soul. I contemplated hiring Instagram and Blog marketing specialists; rigging results in this field are not hard if you pay up.
Book 3 of The War of Art, Beyond Resistance/The Higher Realm made the next step of my journey clear. Steven talks about the importance of knowing your territory and the difference between territorial and hierarchical living. I know that creating authentic value for my reader by sharing openly is my territory. I love giving away everything I learn in the form of articles. Tailoring my posts for short attention spans seeking instant gratification would get me worldly (hierarchical) results and maybe a temporary buzz but inauthenticity never leads to long-term fulfillment.
Once I staked out my territory, the concept of success became malleable. I never knew that I could create my own metric, I thought there was one set of standards, and according to those I win or lose. I decided that being the recipient of three emails a week from people who got value out of something I wrote would be my unit of measurement. Create your own definition for success and getting started won’t carry the weight it does in your head. Why are you borrowing a standard made up by someone else who may have entirely different values?
Since starting this blog I have gone through a few phases- excited, inspired, disgusted by the positivity I pass along. Many days I am a hostage of my perfectionism and judgment. Some days I feel like a fraud. After a fight with my daughter, it crosses my mind that there are areas of my life that are incongruent with what I write about, maybe I need to stop writing until I handle them. What I do in spite of all the internal and external feedback, is write. Writing no matter what is my only rule. I have the mission of the blog posted by the computer to stay on track because how I hold what I am doing changes daily with my mood and sleep patterns.
Getting started is about picking up all your broken parts, throwing them into a backpack and moving forward. Be terribly imperfect and start anyway.