A reader wrote in and let me know that this was his or her biggest issue:
My biggest issue is perseverance. If I do not see immediate results, I assume there is no interest, it isn’t a good idea, etc.
I totally get that. Given that mastery and focus are big values of mine, I neither like to not be good at something nor to do something that isn’t “getting me anywhere.”
The challenge, of course, is that personal growth is a more important value to me. You don’t continue to grow without trying new things, which means you’ve got to embrace not being good at those new things or them not paying off immediately.
A way I’ve gotten around this and coached other people to do the same is by implementing a new project cocoon. The cocoon is for both you and the project. It’s for you so that you give yourself a safe place to not be good at something, and it’s for the project so that it doesn’t get killed before it’s had a chance to bloom.
For instance, when we started The Productive Flourishing Podcast, I made the commitment to publishing 50 episodes no matter how much I didn’t like it in the beginning or if we didn’t see listener growth or excitement in the beginning. Of course, I knew around the 40th episode or so that we’d keep doing it, but it would’ve been easy to stop earlier on. Similarly, when we started publishing two episodes per week, I wanted to make sure we did it for a bit to get used to it before evaluating it too much. We ultimately decided that publishing two episodes a week displaced too much that mattered more, but we waited to see what happened first.
I’ve done the same thing with workout schedules, productivity experiments, and other social projects like Periscope, Anchor, daily blogging, and so on.
Here’s the deal: if it’s worth doing and worth doing well, it’s worth doing badly at the beginning. (Tweet this.)
Expecting to be good at things from the beginning keeps us from being masterful in the end. That said, this is not an invitation to bail at things you’re good at, either, just for the sake of self-development masochism.
Thank you so much, Charlie, for such a wonderful post.
I have set myself a goal to post 100+ posts in my website at http://www.SathyaWrites.com. But, I got caught in the trap of perfectionism ever since. I was even afraid to produce for the fear of social ridicule and criticism. I used this as an excuse to not to work and put in the effort.
Your post just gave me the necessary josh to move forward.
I am currently at 89 posts. And I’m sure I will reach 100+ posts by end of the year.
Jess Sommers says
Hi Sathya, we’re so glad to have inspired you! Good luck on hitting your 100 posts – you got this!