Success on your terms


When you start on a creative project or something that holds meaning for you, you must ask yourself first what will be your measure of success?  

What will measure to determine whether you should quit?

How much time are you willing to invest? Days, weeks, months?

When do you know when its time to give up?

Who gets to decide that?

I say start with these questions, because knowing the answers to them can determine your “success” or “failure”.

Hint:  We get to decide when we fail at something or succeed at something, not anything external in this world.  It is always what we make of it that determines our success.

We do creative things in this world because they give us meaning in our own lives, it make us feel something, more alive perhaps.  

And it’s only natural that we want to share that excitement with the world.  We hope that by sharing there will be more people that resonate with our ideas, visions, colors, words, ect. And then by sharing them we will feel more connected to one another.

But what happens when you are not validated in the way you hope to be?   What happens if you make the work, then put the work out there and no one even says a word?

Do you make it mean that your work is worthless?  Do you make it mean that you should stop doing your work?

In the beginning doing the work and pushing through is a lot about feeling those feelings, holding those questions and then continuing on, despite those questioning voices in your head.  

Because truth is EVERYONE has experienced that self doubt, imposter syndrome that you are experiencing now.  EVERYONE without exception that has ever started anything and then continued to put themselves out there over and over again has felt that.  

So how do we move through it?  How do we stay on that path despite our fear?  

Here are a few things that have worked for me:

  1. Change the rules of success:  Make a goal that is reachable and easy and then go up from there.  Your brain likes reward, if you start off winning you will encourage the critic to keep going.

  2. Make it all an experiment: For 30 days don’t censor yourself and post on social media.  Make a note of what worked and what didn’t work, still without censoring what you are doing.  

  3. Make a weekly check in list of what worked out, what you got positive feedback on, what didn’t work etc.  

  4. Find an accountability buddy who gets what you are doing, is hopefully also doing creative work, and at least see the feedback.

  5. Change scenery: When you get in the cycle of imposter syndrome, change what you are doing immediately.  Don’t force it.

It might take you longer to get where you want to go, it might not. but that is a factor that has to do with so many things outside of your control.  Finding a way through the uncomfortable parts that is both joyful and playful can lead to unexpected amazing outcomes you didn't know possible.