I got the email on Monday. And I’m now part of the Start Experiment. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure exactly what that means. Some people in the motley crew I’m joining are risk-takers, and others are stand-on-the-shore types who are, for the first time, wanting to dive in to the deep to see how their lives might change. I’m a little excited. And a little terrified. Because I’m already facing my biggest fear.
And it’s not about the starting.
I remember standing on the edge of the pool at the Hacienda Hotel in Irving, Texas, when I was eight. It was another “business trip for my dad/hotel stay for my mom and me” trip (he called them “vacations” to take the edge off). My mom didn’t swim, and I didn’t either. But the water beckoned, and I was tired of splashing in the shallow end. So I did what any buck-toothed skinny blonde kid would do.
I stepped on the diving board. And I jumped.
The water was wonderful and cool. And deep. Very deep. I thrashed and splashed and somehow made it to the edge, asking myself why I jumped in the first place. Because I couldn’t swim well, I felt like a failure. I sat on the side of the pool, my tired legs dangling in the cool water. And cried like a baby.
No, it’s not about the starting. It’s about the urge to quit.
I’m not afraid to begin things. My fear is in the wanting to just give up. It’s in the stories sitting on my desktop, partially written. I’ve started each one – and then questioned the value of each. It’s in the starting a new business venture with friends – and then deciding I have nothing to really contribute of worth. It’s in the reaching out to care for someone – and then doubting my ability or my motives or my heart. It’s even in starting this blog – something that allows me to dive into calling and passion. There are so many days when I simply want to flip the switch. And go dark. Because I think, “it really doesn’t matter.”
It’s not about the starting. It’s about the enduring, the keeping on, the punching fear in the face when it says “worthless.” It’s about the rising again after a stumble. It’s about the long hot walk when refreshment is nowhere in sight.
On that summer day at the Hacienda Hotel, I cried like a baby because I couldn’t swim well. And then I got up, walked over to the diving board and jumped in again. And again. And again. I still don’t swim well. But I love to swim.
Maybe that buck-toothed skinny blonde kid needs to return.
So, how do you deal with fear? And what keeps you going once you’ve started something?
18 thoughts on “It’s Not About the Starting.”
I can totally relate to this. I’m killer at STARTING. Finishing, not so much. I’ve declared that 2013 will be the year of Finishing. If I start a project I must push through, work, sweat and bleed until it’s done. I’m right there with you.
To compliment Jon’s book I’d also recommend Seth Godin’s book “Linchpin” and Todd Henry’s book “The Accidental Creative”. Like Jon’s these books shed a lot of light on pushing through and persisting to build stronger creative muscles.
I do have “The Accidental Creative” but haven’t started it yet. Thanks for the nudge to read it!
That makes two of us. I have ideas running amuck in my head, but when it comes to fleshing them out, I have a moment of freak-out leading to nothing getting down. I like the title of this book. Looks like something I need to be reading. You can do this! Your courage will inspire others to move forward with momentum!
Get the book. And I’ll invite you to the Start Experiment in about 27 days…
Great post and so relatable! I usually have no problem starting…it’s the finishing. I tend to question my ability, motives too. So glad our paths crossed through this experiment!
Aimee, I’m game if you are to help each other with accountability!
Oh my goodness yes!!!! Glad I’m not alone in my inability to finish things! I’m pretty sure my “project” will be to finish one of the ones I started months or years ago… : )
Sounds like we’ll be on the same road!
well said! I was just standing in the shower thinking the same thing. I am actually really good at starting…it’s the finishing I struggle with.
I’m glad I’ve got a little posse to walk along side me on this journey! I do hope that you opted to finish your shower though – that could be a miserably cold experience after a while. 🙂
Recently at the tail end of February, I decided to get my health and weight under control. It was a scary endeavor. I could not keep my head above the water. I was exercising and feeling miserable because I was so out of shape.
Fast forward 4 months. I am 50+ pounds lighter. I run 5-6 days a week. I weightlift and do bodyweight training.
I realized that the pain of remaining the same has to outweigh your fear of change. You have to realize that a year from now you would wish you had started today.
Hello fellow starter.
…and there is nothing as disheartening as remaining the same. Let’s do this.
We have got this.
This resonated with me,too. The Start Experiment will be about finishing for me as well. Thank you for sharing and encouraging.
I feel like I’ve got family on this journey. This is good.
I’m a year late to this, but a year farther into the journey… a year more prepared to truly hear these words… and realize they are also my own.
Except for the swimming. I hate being in water. Ain’t gonna happen. But everything else… YES.
I can tread water like a boss. Anything beyond that and I’m a complete wimp.
Oh Ronne, just last night I enthusiastically wrote, got it ready to post, and this morning thought “how silly”. And there it sits quietly on my laptop.
You are important. You make a difference. Thank you for your words.