Put the Paint on the Canvas

“Put the paint on the canvas.” My sister-in-law told my wife that when my wife was learning that she could make paintings that people would consider to be art.

My wife and I are in the process of changing our backyard. She has big ideas and I have time to do some of the work. I am a teacher and it is summer vacation after all. My wife first thought that she wanted a “she-shed”. I had looked all over for plans and was almost ready to start building when she changed her mind. I was looking forward to building a shed, something I have never done before, but I took too long trying to find the perfect plans and directions. A few days ago she told me that she would like a pergola. She even sent me pictures of some of the ones she liked. This time I didn’t wait for the perfect storm of plans, directions and weather, I put the paint on the canvas.

I have never taken lumber and turned it into something. I have wanted to but have been too scared and worried that whatever I built wouldn’t turn out the way I wanted. I decided that the only way I would ever know if I could build something was to build something. There were many trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s, I didn’t know how to plan a materials list, because I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. I am sure that a professional pergola builder would not have taken as long as I did to build the pergola. I am also sure that a builder would have done almost everything differently. I don’t care about that because I am proud of the finished product. It isn’t perfect but I built it and it is great!

This project has fueled my risk taking tendencies. I started with a blank canvas and I put the paint on the canvas. If I never try anything new how will I grow and find out new areas I can be successful. As the new school year approaches, I will be thinking of things I have wanted to do with teachers and students but never tried. What is the worst that can happen? I will try something and it won’t work? That will give me a chance to try something else. I will never know if something will be successful if I don’t put the paint on the canvas.

What are you going to try this fall? Don’t wait until you are sure you will be successful. Seth Godin wrote, “I think the very best step is to take a step. Not to seek passion or the answer, but to step forward.” Put the paint on the canvas.