Here we are at the start of a new school year, and I love this sense of a new start, a new moment, a new time to create! I’ve noticed, however, that not everyone does. Some find beginnings daunting. Others hate the middle of a creation, where all the details get worked out, and some folks can’t stand an ending. Then again, others love them. Admittedly, I have a dubious relationship with the middle parts of things, and I’m not so great with the endings of things. Hence, I dislike endings so much that I do one of two things. Either I avoid them altogether by hanging on too long or denying that it’s over, as in relationships. Or I am so uncomfortable/bored/antsy that I just have to end it quickly. Like saying good-bye to 50 people at the end of a retreat or even ending this blog.
(Wouldn’t it be funny if I just ended it here? — No? Okay, read on…)
The 3 Stages of Creation
When it comes to creating, whether it’s your life, your relationships or a project, do you have more ease with the beginnings, middles or ends? Let’s explore these stages of creation to see where you’re at with your projects. You might have things un-started, or started and un-finished. Come with me as we dive into the mysteries, the challenges and the gifts of these 3 phases. Once I learned what I’m about to share with you , I stopped making myself wrong for what I thought was “quitting” or “failure.”
In the Beginning
Like me, if you’re a lover of new beginnings, you might get excited by just imagining a brand new day, a new relationship, the first day of school, a new outfit, moving into a new place, or your first dance lesson! The beginning is the open canvas of infinite possibilities! Nothing is written, nothing is formed. What lies before you is an empty dance floor waiting to be explored. For me, the sense that I could create anything that’s never been created before exhilarates me like nothing else!
And….it scares me too! Sometimes meeting that empty dance floor, like when I used to teach dance, was downright frightening. Due to the pressure I put on myself to create choreography, I made it almost impossible to start, yet I did, because I also enjoyed it. Throwing caution to the wind, I was willing to meet those uncomfortable places. Similarly, I’ve also been too scared to paint, not wanting to make a “mistake” that might wreck the canvas. As a result, I’ve decided it’s better not to begin, unless I know exactly what I’m going to create. Can you relate?
If you find it challenging to begin . . . here’s why.
The 3 top reasons for not beginning something are usually time, money and health. And with those 3 it’s usually having “not enough” of them. My experience is that any of those 3 reasons to not begin is that you can find a way around them if you truly choose not to be stopped by them.
So for purposes of this blog, I’ll be talking about the fourth reason not to begin and that is “significance,” and fear of making a mistake. For example, back in 1990, it took me almost a year to muster up the courage to make a phone call to the local University. Just to see if it was possible for my credits to transfer so I could start the undergrad degree I never finished 10 years prior. Making that initial phone call was more difficult than achieving my degree over the next 3 years!
Why is beginning something new scary for some and exciting for others?
So, what’s the difference of when a beginning is exciting and fun and when it’s scary? Significance. The same blank slate or empty dance floor can be the rush that feels like a kid at Christmas with a new set of lego, OR it can be like an insurmountable climb to the top of Mount Everest in front of you. If you make anything you’re creating significant in any way, the rigor mortis of perfection seeps in. It literally stops creation to the point where you believe you can’t do it! But if you have no need of how it turns out, starting something new can be fun and exciting! Then starting is the next natural step to get this going so much faster!
Three powerful questions to ask when beginning something is frightening to the point of paralyzing you:
- If I weren’t attached to how this turns out, how soon could I begin and how much fun could I have?
- Am I scared or am I excited? Lots of times you’re really excited but think you’re scared. And you use fear to stop you. Asking “Am I really scared or am I also excited?” helps you realize that when you start something from that excited happy feeling, that’s when beginnings can be the most fun. Remember Nike’s saying? Just do it!
- “If I don’t start, will this project ever come into existence in the unique way that only I could create it?” And if the “no” blisters under your bottom, begin.
Now that I’ve got you started, join me next week when we look at the middle parts of creation, and what it takes to move through that building process with greater ease!