I get it – you have this brilliant idea. But you want to wait until you have a little more money, a little more knowledge, more experience, a bigger audience, more skills… I get it. You want to wait until you feel ready.
But here’s the thing: If you’re doing any kind of creative work, you’ll never feel like you’re “ready”, whatever that even means. So let’s talk about the art of starting before you feel ready.
There are two ways we can jump into things:
- The perfectionist mindset: “Either I show up perfectly or I’m not showing up at all” .
- The curious mindset: “Let’s just see what happens and how much I can learn from this”.
You guessed it – We’re trying to go for mindset #2. By going into things with a curious growth mindset, it makes you passionate about learning rather than hunger for approval. You accept that you’ll make mistakes, but don’t let that discourage you.
1. You don’t have to be perfect to start
I thought I had to have my whole life figured out to help dancers younger than me figuring out their journey and help them grow. I thought that not until the day I never feel insecure anymore and not until I have certain things on my resumé I can help others.
That is just not true. There’s so much strength in vulnerability. That’s what makes you relatable no matter what you do. Share what you do know and what you’ve learned so far. You really only have to be a little step further than others in order to help them.
2. You can only prepare so much
Preparation is important, but learning by doing is so valuable. We learn as we go, and we grow as we go.
- Did I know everything about blogging before I started my blog? Absolutely not, I’m figuring it out as I go.
- Do people know everything about kids before they have kids? Absolutely not, they’re learning as they go.
- Did I know what I was doing when I started teaching at 17?
Absolutely not. I know what I’m doing now, but I’m still learning from every single class I teach.
- Did I know everything about LA when I moved there from Europe?
Instead of waiting until you’re qualified, you gotta act yourself into getting qualified by having real life experiences. What’s the best way to learn how to stand on a stage? By standing on a stage. Go find one. I found a whole lot of stages in China, so I moved there.
3. You don’t want to be a procrastinator
When I was scared of taking a certain step towards what I really wanted, I made sure to pack my schedule with 1 million things that absolutely didn’t mattered, so I wouldn’t have time to take care of that green-eyed monster step that I was afraid of. It’s called procrastinating. And we don’t want to be procrastinators, do we.
I’m 100% sure that you can think of at least 3 things that you could go and do right now to get you closer to where you want to be.
4. Accept that you won’t be great
I love this quote:
“Your first podcast will be awful
Your first video will be awful
Your first article will be awful
Your first photo will be awful
Your first art will be awful
But you can’t make your 50th without making your first. There’s only one way and that is through.”
So now that we KNOW that it will be terrible – let’s say it’s a fact – we can stop trying to avoid failing. Because you will.
“Awful” and “horrific” don’t even describe how bad my first choreographies were. But I still don’t get embarrassed when I watch old videos, because I’m so proud of how I showed up back then.
5. Your skills and taste won’t match – but they will eventually
It’s stressful to create when you’re a newbie, because you have such good taste. You know what looks good. But when your skills don’t match your taste, it’s hard for the ego. You wanna draw flipping Mona Lisa, but your painting looks like a stick man on crack.
But the only way it will get there, is if you keep trying. You gotta keep showing up, sista.
6. You’re right – maybe you will suck at it
(PS. Maybe you would like this blog post about overthinking?)
Maybe your overthinking brain is right. Maybe you’ll suck at it. In fact, you could be the person in history that sucked the most at it.
Or maybe you won’t be. Maybe you’ll be really good at it, and you’ll wake up happy and excited every single day.
But one thing is for sure: If you never try, you’ll never know.
I try to look at my 20’s as 10 years of trying out as many different creative things as I possibly can. I try to go and live in other countries, tried out the dance industry in China, I looked at what it would be like to live in Paris, I started studying online for a second when I was dancing in Beijing (and dropped out after like one semester, R.I.P), moved to LA, I started a blog, I’m teaching, I’m working as a dancer, bought a camera and tried vlogging out for a second and I just started taking acting classes 6 months ago. Has everything been a great success? F*ck no. Absolutely not. But a lot of it has. And it’s been the most fun.
The fastest way to find out what your purpose on this planet is, the fastest way to find out what you’re really truly good at and the fastest way to see what you’re passionate about, is by trying out everything that sparks a little excitement in you.
Look at it like dating someone. You can’t not date someone because it might not work out. You gotta give it a try, right? If you don’t try to date any of these silly dudes, you’ll 100% eliminate your chances of experiencing that intense feeling of love. Right?
7. Decide that it’s worth the risk
If something has the potential to make you happy, it’s worth it. Yes, we might fail and we might get hella embarrassed, but who cares? As much as I’m the definition of the middle-child syndrome and like to think I’m the center of the solar system, it’s helpful to zoom out and realize that everything is not about you. I know, schocking, right?!
People are so busy with whats going on in their own little anthill, that they won’t care about what’s going on in yours for more than 5 minutes.
Instead of looking at the worst-case scenario, how about looking at the best-case scenario and decide that you would risk failing.
(Cue the story where I flew from Paris to LA for an audition and got cut after literally 5 minutes. That’s 27 hours of travel for 350 seconds. But was it worth it? Absolutely.)
8. You Build Confidence By Showing Up
We build confidence by consistenly showing up and proving to ourselves that we can handle what’s being thrown at us. Writing the first blog post is terrifying, writing blog post number 200 is less terrifying.
Same goes for auditions, presentations, business meetings and literally anything else.
I’m not saying you’ll never get nervous ever again, but you build some sort of trust with yourself when you keep showing up.
9. One more time: People don’t care
I think we would be slightly offended if we knew how little time people spend on thinking about us. People do not care. I swear. Meant in the absolute best way possible.
My roommates mantra is: “Who cares, we’re all gonna die”, it sounds dark, but there’s something liberating in knowing that you can do whatever the heck you want with your life.
Start where you are
No, you don’t have all the ressources, contacts, experience, money or knowledge yet, but trust that you’ll have all that one day when you keep showing up.
The first step you take today will most likely not change the world (unless you throw a chemical weapon somewhere or eat an undercooked Bat, and please don’t do that), but I’m pretty sure that your first step will change you.
You got this!