Starting badly

A friend told me about her frog the other day. Not an actual frog that sits in a pond. The kind that sits on your to-do list.

That unattractive task you keep putting off.

We’d had the conversation about eating a frog for breakfast before, and last time we found that it was actually not her frog. This time it was.

“It’s not that it’s a hard thing to do. In fact I know I could spend 10 minutes and get it done – but it wouldn’t be brilliant. I wouldn’t be happy with it. I know I can do so much better than this.”

Do you ever get that? Where you know you can do so much better, so you end up doing nothing at all? 

“What I need – and what I usually get – with a project like this is a burst of inspiration. A bright idea that’s just perfect, then I can get on and make it happen. But with this one, I’m still waiting for that thing, that idea. And in the meantime, I know I’m letting my client down by not doing anything at all.”

We talked around what’s stopping her, how clear she was about what needed to be done, how she could give her creative muse a boost, but in the end, it boiled down to this:

Sometimes you just have to start badly.

It’s great to be inspired, to have a brilliant vision. But if that’s not happening, sometimes you just have to do something to get the cogs whirring.

It’s what I often do with writing, when my muse is playing hard to get. Start writing anyway, and let my muse catch up with me.

So I challenged her to do the 10 minute job that would get it done to the basic ‘acceptable but not great’ level. Then give herself a deadline until the end of the week to deliver whatever she had to her client.

With any luck, this will give her creative genius the kick it needs to show up. But if not, at least she will have shipped something. The client would have a basic, working version, and she could always come back with a dazzling upgrade later.

I’m looking forward to seeing how she gets on. In the meantime, what about you?

What are you stuck on – or not even started – because your high standards of perfection are getting in the way?

What if you decided to start that ‘badly’ this week? What would that look like?

Leave me a comment and let me know – I’d love to hear from you!

Pin It on Pinterest