At the Oasis we are musing about what it takes to stick with an idea, a project, a business. We’ve been talking about how more delightful it is to dream up new ideas. Oh, the zing of beginning! The flush of possibility is a powerful kind of drug. Of course, this can be just swell – you learned Chinese lacquering or how to waltz or wrote 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo. Now the next learning thrill beckons. Onward!
But there may well be times when leaving doesn’t serve you. You truly want to build the business, finish the essay and submit it for publication, make a living with your photography. You desire both the experience and the fruits of commitment, completion, and even mastery.
What do you do if you desire to dig in, stick around, go deep and long, but you aren’t sure exactly how? Relying on brute force doesn’t work, at least not for long. And what if you become bored and go after another bright shiny object? Does this mean you have to… choose? And…there is that specter called failure.
You may well fail and I’m proof you will live through it. That, and other hairy fears, all become much more manageable when you take your idea through a round or 10 of discernment. Stick-to-it-ness starts with knowing your idea has juice for you and who you want to serve.
Here then are 10 potent questions to chew on to help you pinpoint both.
Note: the ______ is where you fill in your project or idea. It doesn’t matter if your idea is vague.
- What brought me to ______ in the first place? Recall the flutter of conception. Take yourself back. Linger and recall something new.
- Given what I just remembered, what form might suit this idea best? Do you want to jump ship because the form you’ve been trying isn’t the right fit or needs a little tweaking?
- What will sticking with ______ give me? Warm rivers of cash, visibility, feedback on viability, collaboration with someone you admire, being in creative flow, great hair…
- What am I willing to give up to create _______? Consider what level of sacrifice you can work within. It need not be dramatic but there will be trade-offs.
- Someone just told me I can never ever do ________. How do I feel in my body? No right answer, just notice.
- How am I presently working or how did I last work on this? Am I creating clear, reasonable, measurable ways to move forward or am I expecting myself to have a different life and be a different person than I am? So often at the Oasis we discover that it isn’t what we are working on but how we are working that is causing our suffering.
- What kind of support would make this more fun? What kind of support are you getting now?
- I’m in a crowded cafe and I hear my name. Someone at the table behind me is describing what my ______ gave them. What does she say? How was he changed or helped or…?
- I am dying, surrounded by people I love. I am telling stories of the high points of my life. Do you mention this project? If something changed about its scope or direction, would you talk about it then?
- How many times have I said I want to do ______? What changed my mind last time?
We all have more ideas than we can bring to life. We all have ideas that aren’t worth the time, grit, and sacrifice. We all have ideas that we don’t have the bandwidth or resources to sustain – for now. So if you just discovered your project doesn’t do it for you, no worries! There are plenty more where that one came from. Trust the supply of creativity.
But if you did hear a resounding call to stick with ______, please, please heed it. The drain on your creative energy when you turn away from a moment of clarity is potentially toxic. Please don’t pretend _____ does not matter to you. Please don’t undermine your self-trust and creative agency by ignoring what you now know.
I don’t want you to wake up one day believing you can’t create anything because you ignored this call, didn’t go all in.
Because that, my dear, will never ever be true. You create. Trust that and devote yourself appropriately when called.