I had this week’s writing 95% done. I had gone through all of my usual steps.
- I had the subject written out for several days.
- I made notes around it.
- I gave myself the time to write.
I wrote 95% of it and then it stalled. All of the pieces were there, but they just weren’t lining up. It had promise, but I just couldn’t bring it home.
You might think that I’m talking about fear, and that I should have just pushed through the resistance.
You might tell me that I shouldn’t worry about the draft being perfect and that I should have just shipped, or that I was deceiving myself on an Icarian level.
You might even suggest that I should have just been Brave.
These aren’t the words you’re looking for.
There’s no doubt that there are a lot of things that hold us back, that hold me back. There are many times, that I have played it safe, needed to be brave, should have push through fear or slayed the dragon of resistance.
Today was not one of those days.
Simply put, today the words were not there. The point wasn’t being made. The story was not clear or helpful. And there it is. I knew it wasn’t helpful.
Trusting What You Know
As a person attempting to create something of value for others whether you are writing or delivering on a service promise, you know your work best. You know when what you are creating is useful and helpful and more importantly you know when it’s not.
When it is not, I dare say that the answer is not to ship. It is not to push through the resistance. It just might be time to start over.
Instinct and Insight
Fear is a cunning beast and it will trick you as sure as it will cripple you. But what if it’s not fear? What if it is instinct? Instinct lets you know when something’s not right, it’s that gnawing in your gut that we’ve all but forgotten how to trust.
What if it’s not resistance, but insight? Insight is instinct’s smart friend. It brings experience to the table. Lessons from failure and success, from learning and growing, from paying attention and listening. Insight is your reminder that you know your work best.
Knowing the Difference and Permission
I think you know the difference between fear and instinct, between resistance and insight. I think you know when something just isn’t working and instead of forcing your way through it, sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to start over not feel guilty about fear. It’s a different struggle to be sure. It’s not easy and sometimes takes even more work.
- Throwing away 800 words of writing only to have to write another 500 or so, is hard work.
- Not quitting on a goal because you missed two weeks of workouts is hard work.
- Restarting a conversation with a frustrated customer is hard work.
- Rebuilding a company because your business model was flawed is hard work.
I’m betting heavily that you’re not just a ball of fear, conditioned to be obedient. I’m betting you know your stuff and yourself. I’m betting that you know when something isn’t working and that if necessary, you’ll do the hard work of starting over to make it right.
What does it take?
Do you throw it all away or are there elements that can be saved? Do you go back to the beginning or do you just get back on the tracks? Yes. Yes, to all of it.
But instead of trying to summon the courage to fight some perceived beast, maybe your instincts are right and you should just…start over.
What do you think?
Rob Hatch posts here every Thursday. You can subscribe to his weekly newsletter “Love The Grind” here.
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