Their Show-Reel
vs.
Your Behind-the-Scenes

Why the work of others always seems perfect.


When was the last time you felt overwhelmed by something that was made by a fellow member of your industry? Did you marvel at its perfection? Did you admire how simple and logical it seemed to be?

You know, it was once – figuratively – a blank piece of paper. And let me tell you: Although it looks simple now, it certainly wasn’t easy to create. There were probably many dead ends in the process. There were setbacks and second, third, fourth … tries at getting it right.

„Of course“, you say. „We know, it’s damn hard to be creative. Spare me!“
I don’t limit this to creative work, though. Think about it. Here are some things others are doing that are probably worth your admiration:

  • Having a big mailing list or running a successful blog
  • Being able to use the Vim editor for coding (Seriously! I don’t care what Harry Roberts is saying!)
  • Being able to cook for 40 people at once
  • Composing entire pieces of music
  • Being great at creating Pivot Tables in Excel (Sorry if that sounds wrong, I don’t actually know what Pivot Tables are. They just sound like something that’s really hard to master.)

All these accomplishments, skills and routines have been non-existent at some point in the past. But people got up on their feet and did things over and over again until they were good enough for others to notice. You just never saw their messy process.

It’s crucial that we all understand how these things work. And it’s very important that we lose our reverence for the accomplishments of others. Respect these people infinitely, congratulate them honestly, talk to them seriously. But don’t think of them as untouchable heroes whose achievements are completely out of your reach.

„The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.“— Steve Furtick

Don’t waste your potential. It’s only fear of the (learning) process that is holding you back. So here’s me, giving you permission:

It’s okay if you’re not good at something right now.
You will be better soon.

It’s okay if you’re struggling to understand something.
You will understand eventually.

It’s okay to ask for help.
They won’t judge you.

I have to keep reminding myself, too, that the people I admire probably sit cross-legged on their beds sometimes, filling a blank piece of paper with their thoughts.

Note: This article has its beginnings in the great talk of Karen McGrane at DareConf 2013. Go watch it, it’s good for you.

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