I have a client– let’s call her Angela– who’s leaving her longtime corporate job for a more creative position with a non-profit. She just completed a test project for this new position. Her work was well-received and appreciated, but nothing like she’d imagined. Angela envisioned phones ringing off the hook, donations coming in, praise raining down on her. And when none of that happened, she felt a little deflated.
I get that. By design, any worthwhile fantasy usually is bigger and bolder than reality. And when those fantasies help you transform inspiration into action, that’s awesome. You get to see where you actually land. From there, you can work to make tweaks and improvements, which is exactly what Angela is doing now.
Look, I’m not worried about Angela. She has my support and she’s firmly headed in the direction of her dreams. I am concerned about those of us who let our big, beautiful fantasies scare us right back into our hiding place where we don’t try at all. Or maybe we try a little, it gets hard and we give up. Or we get distracted, or tell ourselves we don’t want what we really want.
Don’t believe the lies. They’re coming from the scared part of ourselves that wants to keep us safe and small.
Here’s what’s underneath that: everyone wants to be great. But when great feels too scary (or hard), it can help to remember that greatness exists on a continuum. Before greatness, there’s okay, good, and very good. And usually we need to move through all of these to get where we want to be.
Of course there are exceptions and quantum leaps. But it’s magical thinking to believe that when you try something once, you’ll be brilliant.
And if you’re in the scaredy-camp, don’t be afraid to lower the bar a bit. Good is better than perfect. And okay gets you in the game. It’s a starting point.
Rather than spend our time comparing and/or despairing, here’s what I propose for all of us: let’s roll up our sleeves and start creating — one breath, one day, and one tiny step at a time. That’s how momentum starts. That’s how we move through the continuum.
That’s how we grow.