Take a moment to think back to the last time you learned a new skill, put together a presentation or created something from scratch. Did the desired result come out perfect on the first attempt? My guess is most likely not.
Whether you’re embarking on a creative task or mastering a new interest, odds are you will encounter multiple challenges and it will take numerous drafts to get the result just right. All too often though, we find ourselves getting frustrated when things don’t work out as we first envisioned they would. This blog post alone took 5 revisions and several hours of sifting through my thoughts before I landed on what felt like the desired message I wanted to convey.
The greatest artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders did not achieve their success in one swoop. That being said, our imaginations and the media like to portray the accomplishments of such individuals as instantaneous. It’s exciting and inspiring to believe people can rise to the top in the blink of an eye. But we all know that reality doesn't play out that way.
Before the Beatles ever enjoyed the fame and fortune of being the most esteemed rock band in history, they spent long hours and many months playing in a small German club. The four aspiring musician’s tenacity to play until their fingers were raw and their voices were hoarse is what helped hone their musical ability and showmanship. It would take almost two years before they started to see the fruits of their labor pay off on the world stage.
Another example is the critically acclaimed author, J.K. Rowling. Early in her writing career, she experienced every reason to give up on her vision. Her mother passed away when Rowling was only 25 and her marriage ended after a little over a year. She was left to raise her newborn daughter single-handedly with no job to support them. It wasn’t until waiting for a delayed train from Manchester to London that she dreamed up the plot for the first Harry Potter novel. She would find time to write in cafès across Edinburgh, Scotland while also managing single-parent responsibilities. Once she finished the book, it took another year to tweak and find a publisher that would accept her work. The events and obstacles that were encountered during that time would have made any person question their efforts. But she remained driven towards her goal.
There is no shortage of distractions, voices, and signs telling you to give up throughout life, no matter what task you’ve set out to complete. The truth is if you want to create something inspirational, you have to be willing to ignore those disturbances. You have to get comfortable living in a world of constant refinement.
That is a lot easier said than done of course. So where do you start?
The first step to overcoming discouragement when things don’t manifest themselves into the desired end goal is to know exactly what your vision and values are. By understanding specifically what it is you are trying to accomplish, you can better guard yourself against diversions that might cause you to waver.
If the Beatles hadn’t been set on becoming inspirational performers, then their grueling time in Hamburg would have been a lost cause.
If J.K. Rowling didn’t see the value realized from creative writing then Harry Potter would never have influenced thousands of kids.
Narrowing your focus on what matters most is the best way to combat the constant struggles that pop up in front of us. As we continue to move forward, remember to not get discouraged when things don’t work out perfectly the first time around. Stay the course and always look for ways to progress your skills and advance your purpose.