It is day 100.
100 days ago, I embarked on this ridiculously wonderful/ wonderfully ridiculous journey of writing on Medium every day.
Like many things, I don’t half go full in and I decided less than a week before we did our huge move to Liverpool to participate in the challenge. Day 1 was written in an airbnb on our second full day in Liverpool. We had a place to stay for fourteen nights and were winging the rest and crossing our pinkies that we’d find somewhere to rent and soon.
100 days later and I’m writing this from our wonderful apartment, a LOT has changed in my life and for the first time in a very very long time, I feel settled, and content.
And holy shit I can’t believe I made it.
So today I’m going to get as honest as ever about why I started this challenge in the first place and the lesson I’ve learned.
But before I begin, I have to give a ginormous shoutout to my fantastic friend Violeta Nedkova. We set out to complete this challenge together, and we did it. Sometimes you just meet the person you know you needed to meet just at the right time, and Violeta is that person for me. So three cheers for friendship!
Why I started the challenge
Before I began, I decided I was going to write a list of my Whys so I could return to them when the tough got going. And while it does feel vulnerable to share, I want to put everything out on the table and share my Whys with you:
- Reclaim the title of a writer
- Build my confidence
- I love writing so make the time for it
- Consistent work — get into the flow
- Makes life more enjoyable — makes me more present
- Expand my audience
- The feeling of looking on the body of work and being proud
- All the ideas it’s going to spark
For the large part, I think most of these shone through. I can honestly say I’m still grappling with calling myself a writer, and I haven’t massively grown my audience which I’m absolutely fine with and my confidence has struggled throughout the challenge but that’s natural with big life shifts.
Sometimes though, I think our biggest motivations can only be seen when you’ve actually done the thing.
If I were to write this list in hindsight though, it would be pretty different:
It would be more about the act of finishing the project instead of the process. I’m all about creative process, but now it’s over, I’m much less bothered about HOW it happened, and much more bothered by the fact that it DID happen.
Sometimes you can trip yourself up with focusing on the process, but sometimes shit just has to get done.
My list of whys now, would be:
- To prove I can do it
- Use it as a massive piece of evidence that even in difficult circumstances I have perseverance and grit
- To remind myself that I always have something to say (while there were times I was too exhausted to write, there was never a shortage of topics or soap boxes!)
- To remind myself that I can be the person I know I can be
- To really squash my self doubt gremlins and prove them wrong
So yeah, take that as a sucker punch, inner critic. (That reminds me, the film Sucker Punch is THE WORST film I’ve ever seen. Mini-rant over)
And if I was to write a thirty second soundbite of what I’ve learned, it would be:
Be flexible and change your goals if they don’t suit you — it’s not failure, it’s wise.
Energy affects everything. Whatever you’re feeling about yourself while you’re tired, it’s generally bullshit.
You always have more in you than you know. Trust that.
When I’m working with my lovely coaching clients, I like to ask them a question when they finish a project:
What do you believe about yourself now that you didn’t believe before?
And I think it’s a great time to turn that question around and really ask myself.
So here’s what I believe about myself that I didn’t believe before I started this project:
- I can do things, I can finish things and I have more grit and determination than I have ever given myself credit for
- I am stronger than I think and sometimes I do need to push myself because my comfort zone is a massive fucking liar
- I trust that my creativity will always flow. There will be ebbs as well, but I trust it is there, and it can be nurtured. And I trust myself to be able to nurture it
- I have a lot of stories to tell that are actually interesting/funny/weird and they need to be shared
- My self-doubt is excruciating at times and has the ability to overpower me. But I do have the belief in myself to get unstuck. I have the choice whether to be paralysed by it or not
- I really enjoy spending time in my brain
But really, there is only one thing I want you to take away from this post.
Above everything else, above the whys, the things I learned in hindsight, the lessons, the reflections, above everything.
It’s not even an ask, it’s not even a gentle push, it’s more of a plead.
And it’s this: please start your own project.
Bare with me. It doesn’t have to be 100 days. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to look anything like this. Set a tiny goal and achieve it and build the mountain of evidence that shows you that you really can fucking do it.
Because that evidence? That’s what’s going to keep you going when you don’t think you can do it. Not some fancy app, not a new pen, not another TED talk, not another plan.
The evidence comes from YOU.
Don’t live sleepwalking or believing that you’ll get around to it someday, or believe that certain things are for other people. Fuck that.
You can fucking do it.
And yes there are a lot of fucks here because a fuck load of fucks are given.
About your creative potential, about your ability to make a difference, about your ability to create a life that’s brighter than the one you’re living right now, about the fact that you have stories that you must tell — that only you can tell, that the world needs to hear — especially if you don’t feel like there are many stories like yours out there.
Self-doubt it one hell of a motherfucker, and it can have you building your own cage shorter than the time it takes to say the word TRY.
You are a universe within yourself. The fact that you’re here, right now, reading this, living life, is magic. And I don’t care how woo woo this sounds. So many things had to align for you to be you and for you to even be alive.
You have something to give.
You have something to share.
You have things to make.
So go do them already.
Cut whatever bullshit crap your brain is telling you about not being good enough, or needing more time. It’s all bullshit. ALL OF IT IS.
Tell your inner critic to go do one and start building your mountain already.
And holy shit and I excited to see what you build.
Thank you for being along on this ride with me, thank you for all your love and support, and thank you for allowing me to have a small space on the internet where on Day 3 I got to rant about the insanity that is putting crystals up your vagina.
New projects are to come and I’m excited to share them. Stay tuned.
And please get building your evidence.