“One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.” ~James Russell Lowell
After reading Adam Savage’s book, Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life is What You Make It, and watching Werner Herzog’s Masterclass on filmmaking, I decided to buy a camera kit to start shooting and editing some short-form film. My topic for this project is joy (no surprise there if you know me AT ALL!) Essentially, what I want to do is film you showing me and talking to me about something, anything, that gives you a supreme amount of joy. In exchange, I’ll share the raw footage with you as well as the edit. And, with your permission, I’ll share the edit on Vimeo and YouTube with any kind of attribution you’d like. If you’d be willing to have me film you, let me know and I’ll share more about the project.
My year of yes is more than halfway done and I’ve got to say that saying yes to everything I possibly can has been both exhilarating and exhausting. It has led me down strange paths that I never would have explored, or would have explored eventually after spending many long hours of planning. In this year of yes, I’m just going for it, perfect or otherwise. (And it’s almost always otherwise.) But I’m also learning to let go of outcomes at breakneck speeds. I’m learning the power of staying present and doing what I can and want to do in the moment. It’s made me much more spontaneous. It’s making my curious brain and extroverted personality to try new things just for their own sake and value and not what they may lead to. And that has been a gift, albeit it a tiring one, that I’m very grateful to receive.
No matter what you want to do, there’s a real power to be found in just starting. You don’t have to know what you’re doing. You don’t need a grand plan. All you need is a little time and a desire to try. Just pick a place and start. You’ll learn as you go. You’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t. Experiment, have fun, and remember why you started. One step, one day at a time.
“Do not just slay your demons; dissect them and find out what they’ve been feeding on.” ~ The Man Frozen in Time
Even the most well-adjusted, confident, and kind people have occasional thoughts and feelings in which they feel less-than. I don’t need to look any further than my mirror to find someone who fits that bill. And while I can play the game of fake it ’til I make it with the best of them, the most effective treatment I’ve found is to really get at the root of my own negative self-talk. Hack away at that root, and there is so much more freedom and joy that gets unlocked.
For example, whenever I’m searching for a new job opportunity, I read the role description and if I don’t fit one bullet my first reaction is to move on. I’ve learned that this is a direct result of my inner perfectionist (which causes plenty of other challenges for me, but let’s just stick to this one for now.) If I can’t do something 99.9% perfectly, I’m obsessing about that 0.1%.
As an adult, I’ve learned to constantly put myself in the role of being a beginner to counter this. Along the way, I have grown my skill sets, met incredible people, traveled to stunning places, and dare I say it, become a recovering perfectionist. I don’t know that I’m ever going to completely get rid of that perfection instinct, but I do know that I control it now and it doesn’t control me. I’ve learned to congratulate myself for trying something new, even when it’s a complete disaster. I’ve learned to be my own best cheerleader and my own best company. I’ve learned to value my strengths and to no longer fear failure.
And as for those job applications, I send them off. I don’t take myself out of the running for anything that sounds interesting to me. My friend, Brooke, once told me years ago that we are all born knowing nothing. We all start at zero. We learn everything we need to learn just by going through life . And that process never stops, so why stop ourselves? Now that’s what I call slaying a demon and then eating its lunch.
No matter how excited we are about something new – a new relationship, a new city, a new home, a new job – there is some amount of anxiety that comes with the unknown. I felt that way Sunday night. I’m so excited about my new job and I was also a little nervous leading up to my first day. Rather than letting that nervousness consume me, I sat down, closed my eyes, and just focused on my breathing. Phineas crawled into my lap.
What was I so nervous about? A new routine, new people, new office? Was I afraid that I wouldn’t do a good job? Was I afraid all of that and then some? After a few minutes, I realized what was happening. I was afraid of waiting. I just wanted to begin, to roll up my sleeves and get down to making a difference. I have a hard time being patient, especially with myself. And this was good practice for me. I decided to calm down and enjoy getting to know this new job. I decided to enjoy the new, to enjoy the process of figuring it all out. Comfort will come soon enough. Now is the time to embrace being a beginner.