5 Things to Do When You Start Something New

Beginnings are hard. And messy. And scary.

Before 2016 ended, I told myself I’d launch my website and get a blog post up.

Then the thoughts began. What do I put in that first post? If it sucks, no one will even bother opening another post from me. And let’s say you do like it and want to read more. Will I have the discipline to keep writing more posts?

My record hasn’t been stellar. I used to have a blog. I used to have an e-mail list. And I let them both wither and die, like houseplants that I forgot to water for too long.

It feels lousy to admit that, but also a bit cathartic. I comfort myself by imagining there’s someone else out there who has also started something- a book, a relationship, a job- that didn’t turn out as expected.

Maybe even you.

If so, I can relate. I’ve been the queen of unfinished projects.

I’ve had so much experience with beginning things, that I’ve learned a few lessons along the way.

  1. Don’t give a fig about how others might react to whatever you’re thinking of starting. That is one sure way to stop anything from even beginning. Some people will hate you, some will love you, some won’t care either way, and the majority won’t even being paying attention. So do whatever YOU want.

  2. Don’t waste your time over thinking how to begin. Just start, however lousy, awkward, or ugly those first attempts turn out. The easiest thing is to think yourself out of taking action. There’s always just one more thing you need to learn how to do, one more person to consult, one more piece of information to read, so you can be sure to get it right. That’s usually the wrongest thing of all.

  3. Start honestly from exactly where you are. I had no idea what to write in this first post, and when I focused on that, the realization hit me. Write from that- the “not knowing/struggling” place. And yet, we often fail to recognize and name these first chaotic rumblings which are often THE source of the creative sparks. I’ve told my writer husband many times as he has struggled with some version of writer’s block to take his feelings and put them into the mouth of one of his characters and just see what happens. Something interesting always does. Starting at the very beginning is a very good place to start indeed!

  4. Dump the rules for how things should unfold. One of the things getting to me about writing a blog was all the collective wisdom-  that you must post every week, on the same day, or when the moon is full. I don’t know about you, but thinking about “the rules” leaves me dead certain that I can’t live up to them. So while I’d like nothing better than to have an ongoing conversation and relationship here with you- my dear fellow inner alchemists- I can’t and won’t promise how often you’ll hear from me. I also can’t promise  you’ll always like what I have to say or how I say it. If you need rules for how to go about something, create your own and be sure that they’re user friendly. There’s no one right way to tie your shoes or eat an Oreo cookie. (Oops, I’ve already offended those of you who are sure it’s cheating to twist the cooke open and eat the frosting first.)

  5. Enjoy the uniqueness of each new beginning. While starting something can be tough, staying the course is usually tougher. Buying a plant is pretty easy. Getting it to keep growing and flourishing is harder. Giving birth is no piece of cake, but raising kids is more challenging. Ask any parent who has spent sleepless nights with sick kids, or felt their hearts ache when their child’s was broken. It’s the same with most worthwhile things in life, be they jobs, relationships, whatever. The reality is that beginnings last a lot less time than the rest of the process you’re going to go through. So enjoy the uniqueness and freshness of each beginning. Allow yourself to not only be scared, but awestruck, curious, delighted, tickled pink, orange and blue by each new start. No matter how things turn out, love and appreciate yourself for having had the guts to leap into the unknown and begin. You’re already way ahead of most of the pack.

As 2016 draws to a close, I’m excited and curious to see what unfolds next.

What will 2017 bring?

What great resources and ideas will I stumble upon and just have to share with you?

What cool thoughts and ideas will you share with me?

How will you respond to this first blog post?

Will I hear from any of you?

Oh, the suspense of it all.

All of my love and blessings,

8 thoughts to “5 Things to Do When You Start Something New”

  1. Your suspense can now end….I have read your blog! And you have heard from me.

    But as to HOW I will respond and what further thoughts I will share…..sorry, I will keep you in suspense.

    Suspense is good.

    BTW – did you ever read your name backwards? Ha! I just noticed that….made me chuckle. Almost 60 yrs later, you’re still my same lil’ sistah. Smile.

    1. I’m so relieved! Even though you still plan on keeping me in suspense, you made me laugh too! Ah, that’s what older brothers are good for 🙂

  2. Great encouragement Tzippi….as encouragement flows from your heart naturally.
    It helps to know that I’m not a freak & that this is a shared delemia many experience!

  3. I read your blog and much of it rings true for me. I have started many more projects than I have finished, often because the new project was derailed by an even newer idea/project. Starting a new project has usually been the easiest part…until now. Now I find the biggest obstacle to starting a project is the fear that I won’t live long enough to finish it. (I’m still having some issues with my mortality after a stroke and heart attack.) I find myself asking the question,”If this turns out to be my last project, is it something I would want for my last hurrah?” Thoughts, anyone?

    1. Dear Neill, one of the gifts of dealing with mortality is that if you approach each project as if it could be your last, and offer it up as your gift to the world, imagine how much more you’ll put into it. And when you take that same approach with everything you do, and each person you meet, then your entire life becomes one great hurrah.

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