Progress is not linear.
Should it be linear?
We expect it to be linear.
After all, the success stories we get told are all linear.
As creatives, we tie our self-worthiness in life and our self-understanding as designers to the outcome of what we can not predict.
Most times not even influence.
We tie ourselves to success. But even more so, we tie ourselves to the perception of others.
We are afraid to engage fully in our journey, and we are afraid to trade in what it takes. We are not scared because we might fail, but because others might watch us fail.
You need to change this.
Success is a journey about growth. And failure is part of it. Failure triggers growth.
If you can’t reach your goal, you are not tall enough, yet. You need to grow. And progress will get you there. Some day, you will be taller, and you will be better than today. You grow.
Still, progress is scary. It creates a mess. So many options, paths to choose from and decisions to take. We can not predict success. No one can. We don’t know which path to choose. No one does. But we, the creators, we want growth. We don’t want linearity, nor safety but growth.
Both for us and our ideas.
This is progress, the way of the creator.
So don’t worry about the mess, it will vanish. The perception of others will fade, too.
They won’t remember the detours you made. Or the wrong advice you listened too. They are busy on their journey.
Others will only see your success. Your product, flawless of mistakes. A product epic and beautiful. The results of your blood, your tears, your sweat.
No point in pointing out your past, your struggles, your insecurities and your rejections. No, others don’t see your sacrifices. They will assume that success always has been on your side.
But it hasn't.
Success is the result of progress. The result of many hours and endless discussions with our internal critique. Aka the voice in our head; predicting danger when pursuing the path untraveled. Taking risks while others take the safe route taking them where they always have been.
We have to pay for what we become. And it is scary that we have to trade in, all that is important to us. Time, attention and energy.
But only outcomes will define you as the artist, as the creator. Results reflect your progress as a designer and how you view the world.
Results define us.
It is personal. Deeply personal.
And it is scary. It makes us vulnerable. So, we stop. We procrastinate.
We fear progress, the uncertainty, and the mess.
The insight for you:
There is no way to predict the result of your next step. Only today's progress will define success in the future.
Today, I want you to define the step you avoid. The step into uncertainty that would create a mess, but holds the key to a brighter future. If it doesn’t scare you, keep looking.
Define that step. Define your goal. Break that step down into smaller steps. Steps you can do tomorrow. Small steps that build momentum, one small step at a time.
Then, tomorrow, I want you to take action. Make that call, ask for the business, ask for the raise. Don’t quit your job, yet. But get your progress started, allow it to be messy.
You will fail, you will doubt yourself, and yes, it will be messy. But once you start, you are already ahead. Others will look up, they will notice. And no one will see your uncertainty.
They will only see the gap.
p.s: The step I avoid is, it to accept my failure. Not recently, but it still hurts. It keeps me from growing, from fully engaging in my new reality, neglecting joy.
Tomorrow, I will start the progress, somehow. I will take a first small step. I will accept my failure.
And I will tell you about it, next week.
Go ahead define what you avoid, what you neglect and share it with me.
Seriously. What is the step you avoid? There always is one.
Comment, or send me an email. Even call me. I really want to know.
• • •
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