How to Sabotage Your Most Important Work

This is not an original thought.  I got it from Seth Godin’s blog today.  However, it so aptly and precisely applies to me, I had to write it up as a form of therapy.

You have a project in mind.  It could be a big project.  It could be a crucial project, in that if successful, it has the power to change everything, both for you and perhaps for the world in a wider sense.  You feel that the time is ripe for the project you have in mind.  You know, in your heart, that it’s important and that you are, for whatever reason, uniquely placed to bring the project into reality.  It could be big.  It could be significant.  It could cause a lot of changes.  That’s scary.

You get so scared of the importance of this work that you begin to doubt your ability to actually achieve it.  You wonder if you can do a job worthy of the significance of the project.  You worry about your stamina and skills, your equipment and tools and your right to be the one that brings it into the world.  You worry that, if you fail to do a good job in realising the work, that not only will you be judged, but you will have blown perhaps the only opportunity to bring this idea or work out into the consciousness of others.  You will have let the big idea itself down.  That’s a terrible burden and responsibility to shoulder.  Maybe it’s too worrisome to even start.

At this juncture, you have a good long talk to yourself.  You ask yourself who you’re kidding.  Nobody will care.  Nobody will watch or listen.  The idea will not even find an audience.  Even if it finds an audience, your own abilities are so meagre and this project so demanding of your skills, that it will be a travesty of what it ought to have been anyway.  You would need to stretch your abilities, leave your comfort zone and learn many new things, but hey, you haven’t got the time, the ability, the application, the intelligence or the energy to go the extra mile required.  Pretty soon, you have talked yourself into being precisely the wrong person to bring such an important and significant thing into the world.  It’s not for you.

Wait a second.  This project is important.  It’s really significant.  It has also been placed in your head.  You are its custodian.  Only you can bring this important and significant work into being.  You’re the chosen one.

Seth Godin says that the feeling that you get when you are about to do some really important work is nerve wracking and frightening.  That’s how you know it’s worth doing and that people need you to do it.  It’s your guts telling you this is special.  This is worthwhile.  This is worth going the extra distance to achieve.  This will be your very finest work, no matter how well or badly it turns out.

What you are feeling is a sign that you are doing precisely the right thing.  Rather than talking yourself into a spiral of self doubt and fear, you should recognise the sign for what it is.  It means you’ve been chosen to do this important work and nobody else.  It’s an honour.  It’s an opportunity to serve the idea, generously and selflessly.  It is the very best reason there could be to put in the effort, the hours and the sacrifices and try your best to get this work done.  You might not get another chance.

Instead of sabotaging your own self confidence, in order to deal with the magnitude and importance of your best work, feel the fear, realise that you know it to be important because of the fear you feel, understand that you alone can do it and put one foot in front of the other and keep on walking.  Take small steps.  You and only you can get there.  The momentum will build, the more you get into your important work.

Bring it into the world because it is worth bringing into the world and you’ve been chosen to put it there.


About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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