Sometimes I need to make a point. And on occasion, I want to make that point quite clearly, because I see quite a few people making the same mistake I have made. This is one of those times. Now, there is nothing in this post that is likely to be new to you. Most of what you will read on this page has been said before, by people much wiser than me. But what I am saying here is important. It may be more important than anything you will read today, even though it is so obvious if you think about it. So thanks for paying attention.
My 2 cents
Anything you do, any activity that you engage in that is more focused on support, on tool optimization, on anything but what you are about is aimed at avoiding the confrontation with your worst fear: you becoming who you can be. You are afraid of that because you fear you may not be worthy. The point is: you are worthy. There is no one better to be you than you. So stop trying to be other people. Be you. As soon as possible.
So you want to be creative
You want to be creative. Everyone else seems to be creative nowadays, so why not you? You want to be Richard Branson, or Steve Jobs, or J. K. Rowling … But what you really want is the life style, and you want it by the shortest route possible.
But there are no shortcuts. There never were. You will never be Steve Jobs, nor Richard Branson. Those jobs are already taken. The only person you can ever be, and be best at, is you. And no one can be a better you than you. That is both liberating and very scary.
You are looking for excuses not to look at yourself
But who are you? What are you? Well, I don't know, that's for you to find out. But I know one thing: I know that right now, you are the problem. You are what is keeping you from truly becoming you. And I mean this not in a wishy washy, flowers in your ears kind of way, but in the hardest, most down to earth way possible.
You are what is standing between you now and what you are, fundamentally. Read these words and understand them. Profoundly. You are preventing yourself from being who you are, or can be … well, should be.
Let me clarify that a bit more before you think I’m off the deep end here … Any tool you use in an effective and efficient manner is a tool you have both learned how to use and honed for its purpose. The problem is that not only the tools needs to be optimised, the tool user needs to be focused and trained as well. We all tend to neglect that aspect.
A comparison: one of the reasons I don’t like working with word processors such as Microsoft Word is its feature bloat. It tries to be everything to everyone, and it ends up being a bit of everything, but really nothing. Compare that to the recent developments, especially on mobile platforms, of single purpose tools, such as text editors. Much more focused, much better to use in an efficient and effective manner.
So, you are the problem.
For one reason or another, you are looking for every available excuse for becoming you. At the end of the day, there is really only one reason and that is the really bad part: you scare you. And there is always an excuse, isn't there. “I don't feel right”, “I don't feel I have the inspiration”, “I don’t find my muze” “I don't have the right tools.” Really, there are websites specialising in offering people wonderful new tools which will keep them from doing what they should be doing.
But it is not about the tools. It is never, ever about the tools. It is not about the inspiration either. If you show up, it's likely the inspiration will also show up. And if you want to, you will capture it. Even if it is on a beer coaster.
Quick side note: the work I still am most proud of to date, the work that ended up becoming the 2003 risk management model I co-authored with J. Van Waesberghe, was first developed on a (couple of) beer coasters, in a small spaghetti restaurant, during a conversation with my wife. My wife is the most true mirror and critical thought challenger I have ever met.
Where do you start? Usually at a beginning, which you determine
Now, I believe you when you say that you don't know how to start. It does not matter. Just show up. Just start. Don't spend all of your time obsessing over planning tools, and ways to organise your work, and how you would be so much more productive if only ... if only what? What is the next excuse you will be hiding behind? Enough already. Stop being scared of what you can become. That’s as bad as being scared of you own shadow.
This is the place you must stand
Stand. Here and now. Do the work. Do not look for excuses, don’t run away. Just show up and do what you should be doing, which is being you. Create you. Not out of thin air, but by acknowledging that you are the best you there can possibly be. Not the fearful, hesitant you that is afraid of being judged and therefore hides away, or does not show up in the first place. The one who does not do the work because he or he is afraid of what the opinion of the others may be. That is avoidance. That is cowardice. Be who you are. Don’t be afraid of that. Because the one person you cannot ever avoid is the person who will be looking back at you from the other side of the mirror, every morning and every evening.
Your clock is ticking. It is not because you chose not to show up that your race has not yet begun. It started the day you were born, and there is only one competitor. It's that little voice in your head that tells you “You cannot do this. You are not good enough.”
Think about that for just a second: there is a little voice in your head that tells you you are not the best possible you. Well, to that little voice in your head you need to be very clear and very outspoken: “I am the only possible best me.” But be you. Don’t try to be someone else.
You have just one enemy standing between where you are now and where you should be. And you know who that enemy is.
Now be. Show up and do what you are supposed to be doing. Do the work.
Oh, you are wondering what are you supposed to be doing? What do I know. I’m not you. Ask yourself. And listen to the answer.