Stop criticizing. Keep showing up.

I’ve gotten a dozen emails in the last week from readers who each said something along the lines of:

I have this big idea, but I don’t think it’s good enough yet.

All I want to do is write, but everything I create is shit.

I have a project in mind, but I’m scared it has already been done before.

I get it. I feel your pain.

It took me five years to finally get the nerve to sit down and write the book I know I’m here to write.

Every time I’d start the writing process, I’d turn into my anxious, perfectionist evil twin, and the voices would start flooding in, “This isn’t good enough, no one will like it, so why even try?”

I’d slowly back away from the keyboard, and busy myself with something else. I busied myself with so many things that five years went by, and I still didn’t have anything to show for the book.

This begs the question: how do we move beyond our critic and create the things we know we’re here to make?

We keep showing up.

The Worry voice is not the problem. It will never really go away.

The more we challenge ourselves and move in the direction of what matters, the louder the critical voice can get.

See it as a signal of what’s important.

The challenge, then, is how we relate to that voice.

Do you shut down or stand up?

Walk away or keep going?

Play small or go big?

When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.

This I know: you have the power to persevere, and your best work depends on it. 

I know this because I’m experiencing it first-hand.

When I’m writing and every single word feels like garbage, I keep writing.

And writing.

And writing.

When my critical Worry voice starts chiming in and telling me to “quit before I embarrass myself,” I will literally say aloud, “No criticism today. I’m showing up.”

And I keep writing.

Some days my writing disappoints me. I don’t create as much as I’d like or I don’t uncover the storyline that I was hoping for.

And other days? I tap into a rawness, an aliveness, an expression that feels as if it’s coming through my soul. The words dance off my finger tips and onto the page.

(Kind of like right now.)

I live for days like today.

And the only way to access that place is to keep showing up.

Even when it’s terrible.

Even when it’s scary.

Even when the path ahead is uncertain.

The only way forward is through.

So, if you don’t think your big idea is good enough, keep showing up for it. You’re not here to judge the work. You’re here to be a vessel for it to come into the world.

Think everything you write is shit? Keep creating until you destroy that shit, and rise from the ashes. Keep writing—three pages daily—and measure your success by whether or not you show up, not by the quality of what you create.

Afraid what you want to create has already been done? Do it anyway. Your story and perspective is unique and no one else shares your point of view. Infuse all of you into what you do—and what you create will leave a mark that only you can make.

Keep showing up.

I believe in you.

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