My friend texted me a picture of her room the other day. It was a catastrophic mess. She had just moved all her stuff into a new room and it looked like someone planted a bomb in her laundry basket.
She said,”I don’t even know where to start.”
It reminded me of a story one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, tells about her little brother growing up. He had a writing project on birds due the next day for class and he had no idea where to start. He was overwhelmed and frustrated. Then Anne’s father, who was also a writer, sat down, turned to her little brother, putting his arm around him, and simply said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
With that story in mind, I texted back to my friend: “Just start. That’s all that matters.”
Oftentimes we are the little boy. We are my friend, staring into the messy abyss of our rooms. We don’t know what to do or where to begin. Overwhelmed by the weight of options, plans, possibilities, expectations, (fill in the blank), etc., we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
Stop worrying about the possibility of whatever it is you’re doing being a total disaster. Stop ruminating over the thousands of different ways you could fail. Your fear is only paralyzing you. Just start already.
When you hike a mountain, you don’t just sit there and stare at the peak, then eventually end up at the summit. You can’t wish yourself there. Instead, after staring for a little while, you get down to business and start hiking. One foot after the other, step-by-step.
It’s more about the journey than the destination.
I’ll be honest: I don’t know what my blog page/website is about. I read and researched extensively on what makes a blog successful and the overwhelming majority, in unison, all stated that you need a niche, a central theme, something that makes your blog unique. I racked my brain a million times over and still could not seem to muster up a decent answer. I still don’t know what my niche is (if you figure it out, let me know).
But I had been in this position before with so many other things in my life. I can’t tell you how many ideas or projects that have popped up in my head, that I’ve elaborately sketched out in my mind, with an intense ferocity and passion to carry out, only to watch them fade to black and never think about again.
This is because I always overthink how it might fail or the massive overload of work it might bring or how deeply under-qualified I might be for the task.
But I started anyway. I told myself that if I could just start, I could worry about the rest later. If I can just put one foot in front of the other, step by step, I can be better. I can grow. Maybe I’ll even find out what my blog is about one day. But I’m not worried about that right now. All I have is this moment. And that’s all you have to.
I don’t know what it is you’re not starting today because you’re afraid or overwhelmed by the amount work or possibility of failure in the future, but I’m here to tell you one thing: Just start.
Don’t know where to begin?
Bird by bird, buddy.
Just take it bird by bird.