Well, it looks like we have a theme emerging. Last week’s post was about re-starting and this week, we’ll be talking about stepping out and starting.
In early 2010 shortly after I quit my job to start my business, I made a lunch date with my tech friend Tom to talk about how I could start doing video interviews on my blog with people who left their jobs to start a business or people who had businesses that were super cool (things that you couldn’t imagine someone could make money doing). We’re both part of a community of artists and performers that lived life on their own terms so it wasn’t going to be that hard to find people to interview.
Immersed in Possibility
I left our lunch feeling really inspired and excited about pulling people together to interview. I started making a list of questions and thinking about the logistics of where and how I’d do the interviews.
Unfortunately at the time, I saw this somewhat as a vanity project. I wanted to do it to inspire those–who like myself–felt trapped in a job they didn’t care about, knowing they were meant for more, wondering if they’d ever be able to break out of the corporate prison.
It just seemed like a cool thing to do.
And if it could actually affect someone…wow.
I didn’t own a video camera and didn’t have the money to buy an expensive one so I thought about buying a flip camera. I found out you can only film for about an hour and I didn’t think that would work because I planned to go on location and do more than one interview in a day. I didn’t want to get half way through an interview and not be able to film the rest so cheapo Flip cam was out of the question.
Losing The Thread
I’d like to say that the next thing I did was shop around for another camera or try to borrow one. But I didn’t. I got very caught up with my business and trying to survive, so the thought of spending my valuable time on doing something for the pure joy of it was out of the question.
As time went on I thought about the project less and less. My time was completely occupied by the day to day tasks of trying to make a living.
By the end of 2010, my head was spinning from my first year of being an entrepreneur and doing a fun side project was a very distant memory.
Enter Jonathan Fields
A few months ago I saw a link on twitter to a Jonathan Fields interview with Brene Brown. I love them both so I sat down to watch. It turns out that Jonathan Fields has started a site called The Good Life Project where he interviews cool and interesting entrepreneurs. The content is great as are the production values–polished and beautiful. And he often goes on location to do the interviews.
My heart sank as I watched–remembering how excited I was to do video interviews and how I dropped the ball.
I thought, “Great! EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO DO…3 years ago.” And I’m thinking, I can’t believe this–these videos are gorgeous. What did he do, kidnap Oprah’s lighting people? Well, I don’t have any budget for a lighting person so mine will look horrible. Mine? What mine? I never did one! And why do I even need to do it now, mine will never be like his!
And then, a moment of grace: No, they won’t be like his, they’ll be like mine.
Which got me thinking about what my videos would have evolved into if I had started them in 2010.
But that thought was immediately replaced by deep regret for allowing myself to be stopped so early in the process and not even trying to get it done.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” – Martha Graham
At the time, for whatever reason the project felt too big and out of reach. And ultimately,
I was just too scared to get involved in something that might end up being a total waste of time.
And the big mistake was not asking for help.
“The only true failure is failure to start.” -Harold Blake Walker
There’s no shortage of people doing what you want to do bigger, better, and faster.
And anything can be a reason to not start and just stay in limbo, waiting for the right equipment, partner, money, moment …whatever.
But it’s never really about those things, it’s about allowing yourself to step into the unknown, to look bad, or to have your crappy video look like crap.
“When you stand in your own way, everything seems to be in the way.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Even as I write this, the thought that there are so many others who have written brilliant articles, manifestos and blog posts that have gone viral about taking imperfect action way more eloquently than I am threatens to shut me down.
But maybe you haven’t read those other things.
Or you just weren’t in the right frame of mind to take them in.
And maybe this found you today and it’s just what you needed to hear because maybe you have some project or something you want to pursue that’s been moved to the recesses of your mind where it’s dying a very slow death. Maybe you’re fear has lulled you into believing that doing that thing doesn’t really matter anyway.
But it does.
Because if you’re here reading this now and you’ve got that something you haven’t started and this article affected you, then it doesn’t matter who else wrote about it or how moving it was.
Because now, you’re reading this.
And when you let yourself be intimidated by what others are doing, when you think you can’t make a contribution, when you think you can’t say it as well or as eloquently as someone else, if you think because someone else said or did it then it’s done, then I am here to tell you-
Someone out there needs you today.
Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. - Denis Waitley
Whatever it is, start it NOW.
While I was writing this, the song “It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish” from the musical See Saw came roaring into my head. It’s something I’ve played for inspiration over the years.
There’s no video of the original number from 1973 but here’s the super talented Nick Cosgrove doing it justice. Tommy Tune would be so proud.
For those of you who are not fans of the Musical Theater–there is way more wisdom there than you know.
“Nobody starts a winner, give me a slow beginner.” – See Saw, Dorothy Fields & Cy Coleman
Feel free to leave a comment, about what you want to start or what you haven’t been able to get yourself to start.