Recently, I spoke, with a client, who is struggling getting into a new venture she has begun. Although, she is enthusiastic about it, and has been working with it for a while, every time she hits a rough, patch, she puts the entire endeavor on the shelf, and goes on to do something she has no real passion for. When I asked her why she keeps doing that, she said, because it doesn't take any real energy to to do this other project, "...And I don't feel like an idiot". She feels comfortable, in other words, because it doesn't test or pull her away from her comfort zone doing what she already knows. But doing what you already know, isn't getting you where you want to go, I reminded her. She said, she knew, but didn't know what to do to feel differently about it.
I often refer people to Jack Canfield's book The Success Principles because he offers such good practical advice; it's one of my favorite reference sources when my friends, and family, or clients get stuck. Jack has a small passage in one of the chapters called Going Through The Awkward Stage. He quotes a consultant in this particular segment, Marshall Thurber who say's what we've probably hear a million times, that "...Anything work doing well is worth doing badly in the beginning."
The problem for my client isn't that she doesn't know this already, but that she doesn't know how to get past her own thoughts of inadequacies to get to the good stuff, her passions realized. So I told her, basically, what Jack says in this passage. Jack states that, "...As children, thoughts of inadequacies, although you may have had them, never got in the way of your learning how to ride a bike, or learning how to play a game, for example. You understood that you were going to fumble, and assumed awkwardness was part of what was required to learn that new skill.
As we grow older, we tend to think awkwardness in learning a new skill is suppose to wane, and that we should just know how to do a particular thing upon initiating it or maybe after the first time having done it. But to our surprise, we are as clumsy as we were when we were children. The difference is children give themselves permission to be clumsy, until adults come along and put limits on just how many mistakes it should take to get something right, and by the time we reach adulthood, we have whittled it down to just about zero mistakes allowed in getting something right.
There are very few things in life that are done perfectly, the first time. I won't go into how many dishes I have had to toss in the trash. And I still can't make the perfect souffle, but I'll keep trying. The point I wanted to get across to my client, is that, to gain a new skill or get better at anything you want to do, as Jack says, you have to be willing to keep on going in the face of looking foolish and feeling stupid for a time
All passions have that awkward stage you have to go through, to get to the ultimate thrill. So, for anyone who feels as my client does, learn to become a child during this phase, and just enjoy the experience along the way.