I often find the creative process difficult and this week has been especially hard. The process of working out what I want to say in the chapter, what I want to leave out, in what order and how has left me feeling frustrated, bewildered and confused. At times I have even thought about giving up: after all, what if can’t finish the chapter? What if I finish but nobody buys the book? What if… ? What if… ? What if I “fail”?
But then I remembered that in any role there will be challenges. Overcoming those challenges isn’t a barrier to the work, it is the work. If it was easy then you wouldn’t be needed: you and your work would already be a commodity.
Hamlet struggled with “To be or not to be?” But because he never made a decision and started, the only thing he guaranteed was that he would fail. The world moved on without him, until suddenly “I am dead Horatio.”
The issue isn’t whether or not we eventually ‘succeed’ or ‘fail’. The issue is whether or not we start to do the work that matters most to each of us. The only failure is not to begin, or not to know the work that is right for us.
For me, there is nothing I would rather be doing than writing this book. This is the right work for me now, and the challenges it brings are the challenges I have to face.
And then, at the end of this week, I managed to combine most of the key ideas and concepts I had been playing with into a single, coherent summary of what I want to say. Eureka! It’s not the end, but it is the beginning of the end, the light at the end of the tunnel.
And so this picture becomes appropriate too.
* The chapter “Choose to Grow” has since been renamed “Choose What’s Best for You“.
But I would never have finished it if I hadn’t started “Choose to Grow”.