Have Doubts About Where Your Life or Work is Heading; Trusting the process
For novelists, bloggers, coders, innovators, and vloggers.
From God asking Moses whether he should destroy Israelites in the middle of the desert to a first-time broody hen sitting on its eggs, we all have that question.
It is constantly poking my unconscious mind hoping to get an answer, which never avails itself.
Do I trust the process? The activities I am doing, the steps I am taking, are they sufficient in helping me reach my destination?
Doesn’t matter whether it is spiritual ambitions, political aspirations, financial goals, or academic pursuits.
The question can come in many different forms, but the underlying inquiry remains the same.
All-day I can feel that question at the back of my head asking; “Where am I going with this?”
It is nerve-wracking, numbing, and paralyzing.
Makes me confused, and I feel lost EVERYTIME I try answering that question before quickly distracting myself.
Most of the time I give up on some things that I would have succeeded in, had I continued pursuing them.
What is it leading me to? Success or failure, joy or pain, beneficial or time wastage, fulfilling or life suffering?
Will, whatever I am doing take me to where I want to go?
Where is this taking me?
My blogging, coding, animation, and even vlogging, which direction are they taking me?
The one that prods my head enough to make my brain explode is; can they truly take me there?
My greatest fear being I don’t want all my life sacrifice to go to waste.
Everything I have given up, I want to look back and see that it counts.
Sincerely, who wants to be a monk who withers away at monastery while his prayers goes unanswered. No offense intended.
This brings me to the existential crisis of every creature in the universe; trusting the process.
Forget all the million-plus quotes that you have ever encountered talking about trusting the process.
Because it is quite different, whole a lot different.
This is a problem that has made the biggest innovation venture be abandoned, dreams tossed away and life stolen by deathless death of despair.
You see when I started writing on Medium about five years ago, it was still new platform, fewer writers, I might be one of the earliest writers.
After initially writing a couple of blogs, I quit, came back, started a new account, published a few stories, trashed it, and then started all over again. The cycle continued.
The same goes for my few abandoned YouTube channels, IG, Pinterest, Tiktok, and honestly, my life.
Start something, lose trust in the process, and quit.
Then five years down the line, I see people who followed my path, never gave up, had bad start than me, and eventually, got somewhere.
Have you seen some of those YouTube channels with more than 10 million views with less than 5 uploads?
You check when they last made a video and you realize it was 10 years ago.
The channel started slow, they gave up and forgot about it and moved on with their life not being able to trust the process. Even today they have no way to recover that account.
Somehow, others trusted the process and in turn, they got a million followers, hundred thousand subscribers, or made a career out of it.
The likes of Marques Brownlee, James Charles, Liza Koshy, and Lilly Singh.
You see my brother is a teacher and my sister is a nurse. Their path to their career goal is great for a few reasons. First, these are established paths, they get to know what to chase and what to expect.
They go to college, get a diploma/bachelor’s, and wait to be registered by the appropriate government department.
After they apply for jobs, salary, promotion or rank is way easier to climb up. They know what to do since at least a hundred million teachers or nurses have walked in the same footstep they are.
The hell breaks loose when you choose a non-traditional path. Expectations are vague and you can never be so certain about anything in your future.
Also, what to do is never clear. You have to figure it out. There is always a hazy idea and delayed execution.
I blog, code, write novels, and vlog.
I am never sure if what I am working on is going to work out in the future.
Every day whether I like it or not, it feels like I am forging a path in the thick bushes of Amazon Forest.
Varying Career Results
Despite how many bloggers, vloggers, data scientists, or novelists there are, no path is the same, career path differs from subtly to mind-blowing.
You can’t tell why one SWE gets paid 60K and have ten years of experience while an intern, barely three months in makes 400K.
How many newbie vloggers have made a couple of videos and overtaken industry veterans in less than 3 months?
Like a lot!
I once heard Neil Patel, talk about a woman who surpassed him in less than a year when he was almost 10 years in. Not only did the newbie take over quickly but did so with the most unpopular niche. Can’t quite remember but it had something to do with home chores. Like, think about it.
As one of the creatives, I can tell you we lack any conclusive evidence that whatever we are working on, will ever work at all, leave alone hit the next milestone.
New Medium writers can make thousands while some veterans would be lucky to get a 10-dollar earning.
In every creative work, the rules of the game are always shifting.
While it creates a loophole for some rise to the top quickly, it is disorienting for many not knowing the steps to take.
You have to forge your own path, and there comes the sad path, you will never know whether it will truly take you to your destination.
You can’t copy everything a certain Youtuber does, follow their path and hope it will lead you to where they are. You might meet a lot of disappointment along the way, but who knows?
In this game, there are no fixed rules.
I started watching Emma Chamberlain five years ago, as she grew her channel and she is the embodiment of trusting the process.
She used to lose trust in the process sometimes and you could see her content change to what she thought the audience wanted to see.
Later she would realize it’s not what she likes, doesn’t align with her captivating personality. After few videos she would realize it is not working, then she would go back to her process.
It took a lot of trust to stick to her own process. Eventually, it paid out.
Lack of trusting the process is the root cause of writer’s block, and coding burnout.
The fear of working ourselves tirelessly for something that will never work out is overwhelming, if not paralyzing.
It drives us to detach from our passionate work for days or even months, and some quits altogether.
The uncertainty alone is enough to keep us burning the midnight oil until all our energy is sapped out of our bodies.
Many just fade away from the industry never to be heard again.
Any artist would advise you it is not healthy to take a look at where those who quit end up.
But if you ever desire to know, go and take a look at drunkards lying on the floor of local bars, and graveyards of premature deaths.
Beside, simply down the street and you will meet them looking like zombies drifting where life takes them hoping God would end their misery.
The truth is life does not give us any sign of whether we have made the right decision or the wrong one.
We only come to know whether we followed the correct direction once we see the results, face the consequences or simply find where we have reached it is the end. No further.
You can never know until you get there. When Leonardo da Vinci drew Mona Lisa, he would never have imagined it would become the most expensive art piece in existence,
Just because you have less than 10 views doesn’t mean you won’t go viral tomorrow.
Also, just because you have a thousand views today doesn’t mean you will ever make it to one million.
What I mean is there is no definitive sign that something will ever payout in the end UNTIL YOU GET THERE.
It might look like it and then it turns out not to be. The opposite is true.
I remember my first video vlog was the worst edited, audio mismatched with the cut scenes and title urggh! It made about 5k views and surprisingly, it was the first upload in the channel.
I made another video, so good, well-edited, and optimized with title and description, it barely made a hundred views.
In my life, I always like to remind myself that no great thing was ever made out of certainty. Jeff Bezos came out of Wall Street well acquainted with the knowledge that the internet was going to be the future.
It would be surprising to many to know that Amazon founder had failed ventures (e.g., pets.com) long before he became a billionaire.
Steve Jobs never knew that at the time he met Steve Wozniak and asked him to help repair workplace computer electronics, that they would become co-founders of Apple.
Elon Musk would never have been certain he would become the richest man in the world, while he was sleeping on the floor of his office back when they made a website to act like an online version of yellow pages.
The truth is what looks so certain today was once uncertain; built on the trial-and-error method. Nobody knew it would ever work out or if they were on the right path.
Non-traditional paths are rocky, hell a lot difficult. lonely.
Expect people to walk away from you. A hundred if not a thousand doors will be closed to your face. You will face more rejections than those Lucifer could ever get.
There is no better place to look for motivation and encouragement than your past life.
Sometimes when I look at my past, I cry, I seriously don’t know how I overcame some obstacles I faced.
Yet I was so young.
Honestly, back then I thought my world was crumbling, looking back years later, I am not surviving, I am thriving.
What I thought was a nuclear weapon aimed at my life is now a wet brick that I can crush with one footstep.
Some things I wished I have; they are in my house.
Dear, you got to reflect if you want to know how strong you are.
Our past offers the best peek at what we can achieve if we are courageous, strong, resilient, and most importantly patient.
Don’t rush the process. You never knew you would make it at tortoise speed, but hurray, here you are.
This brings us to the importance of being grateful. What we have, we once desired it, kept us sleepless but today we take that for granted.
Gratitude can be very powerful in helping you recognize that you have come from nowhere and you have reached somewhere along the way.
That there is no limit placed on you. No length you can’t climb, no deep you can’t swim.
If Thomas Edison made the bulb work out of a thousand tries, then you have to know the trick is to show up whether you like it or not.
Do the necessary once you show up.
The baby does not learn to walk or run through reading manuals or watching courses on how to use legs. It is just a step after step. No biggie.
After writing on Medium for a couple of months consistently, my writing has improved, speed and accuracy are at the top. I can say I am proud of myself.
I have reached a mastery that I never thought I could.
All it took was to pick up a laptop no matter no bored felt, write the worst sentences ever written, then edit them until I got psyched up and got down to serious business.
Do you remember the old times when people used to push a vehicle down the slope just to get it moving?
Sometimes the brain needs that.
Life equals uncertainty
Life is full of uncertainty and for a good reason. If everything was certain, why try, why live?
The fact that life is uncertain, means our future is not yet defined, determined or written down. We get to choose.
Uncertainty means we have a shot at changing the future to match the way we choose to.
The past is already written. What we can be certain about is the present; an opportunity to change, improve on or discard off.
The present moment is the only key to the padlocks of the future.
There is one thing I know I can do, write this blog after another until a door opens in the future.
As long as I am blogging, coding or vlogging, I know I am trying the keys.
Trying to see whether it will open. I can quit but if I do that, then it is certain the door will never open.
As long as I am trying it means I still got a chance the door will open.
If the Supreme Being created us to follow a well-known path based on a set of instructions, I am sure he would have picked robots who are a much better option at following instructions than humans.
Process-oriented not result-oriented
My friend Caleb back in school talked about two men on a journey to a certain destination.
One focused on making it to the destination while the other walked along as he picked the flowers, made friends, and helped those on the way.
Upon reaching the destiny, called heaven, they were told that the journey was the destination, that all will be weighed by the impact they made along the way.
What kind of a person are you, result-oriented or process-oriented?
Once you reach your desired milestone, our goals shift and we start chasing now what we don’t have. We quickly take for granted what we have achieved.
It is a loop, so strong that it chains us till the grim reaper takes us away.
Please, don’t be the kind that is always chasing the next thing in their life. When does it stop?
If you are process-oriented make the process count.
I may never get my book published or earn the designation of a top writer, top YouTuber, top producer, or hired at MAANG companies.
One thing I am sure about is that I will continue making friends along the way.
Forging new connections, helping, and reaching out to those who need me.
Learning new stuff and traveling to new places.
Will the process be worth it?
Well, it depends whether I got other benefits other than hitting the goal itself.
History remind us of a sailor, known as Ferdinand Magellan, who and his crew of 270 decided to travel around Earth to prove it was a round (sphere).
He never made it and only 18 members of his original crew completed the voyage around the world.
What benefit did he reap except the connection he made with his crew and coastal people he encountered along the way.
When your goal becomes the process, you never fail, not absolutely and not wholesome.
Most non-traditional work especially those which involve creativity, innovation, artistry, coding, or blogging, lacks clarity at the end of the tunnel.
You know where to start but don’t know where you will end up.
So, track your progress.
I get easily demotivated since development can stagnate.
Most if not all the time, there are no visual cues that I am heading somewhere.
Tracking your progress shows your brain that the process you are in is worthwhile.
A trick up your sleeve would be to set parameters and metrics, that are process-oriented.
Measure your progress to gauge how well you are doing on your journey. Not how fast are you achieving your target goals.
Process-oriented objectives can give you insights on making better decisions particularly on how to improve, remove lean waste and increase your productivity.
Share your progress with the world
Back in my days, you never knew how many people were moving besides you at night until you switched on your lights.
Then there was a hi.
It doesn’t have to be so lonely. There is someone somewhere moving along the same path as you.
So, whether you are writing a novel, continuing your blog journey, developing software, making music, or making something innovative, I urge you to share your progress.
We would never have had One Direction if those kids never met each other along the way.
Let us walk along with you in your creative process.
In life, you have to pick a direction, whichever, and the universe will guide you the rest of the journey until you reach your destination.
Take a leap of faith, don’t let fear paralyze you, pick one path, stick to it, and trust the process. You will be rewarded.