Discouragement. Feels like there’s a lot of it going around these days. Maybe it’s the time of the year, or maybe it’s some weird planetary alignment. But it feels very, very present right now.
I’m working on a new book. Have been for a couple of months, on-and-off. Part of the build-up to the launch (February 15! Mark your calendars!!) involved me doing a daily challenge, where I posted some kind of marketing tip every weekday during January to a select list of folks who had signed up for it.
It was hard. There were so many days when I didn’t want to do it. There were other days when I was wracked with discouragement and self-doubt over my new book: not because I didn’t have faith in my product (it’s gonna be awesome!), but because I didn’t have faith in my ability to market it. Ironically.
So. What do you do when you feel like you just can’t go on?
For me, one thing that helps is having someone to be accountable to outside of myself. I have a group I regularly meet with every two weeks, all of us solopreneurs, and we help to keep each other on track. I also have to constantly set deadlines for myself, or I’d never get anything done.
Secondly, making some progress, even if that progress is tiny, is a huge help. When I was feeling discouraged, I forced myself to take one small action: I emailed my designer and asked her about designing a cover for the book. I didn’t even really know what I wanted it to look like, and I told her that. But I sent the email. It was one tiny thing, but it propelled me ever-so-slightly forward.
When I was a kid, our family owned a cabin in Hollyburn mountain. In order to get there, you had to drive up the mountain, then leave your car in a parking lot, and hike the rest of the way. I’d get tired. I didn’t want to go on. But my dad would always say to me “one foot in front of the other.” Just one step, guys. Then one more. Don’t look at where you have to go. Do one little thing that will put you one step closer to where you need to get to. Then build on the success of that moment and do one more thing.
And remember this: most people have an idea for a new painting/book/website/app in their heads. In fact, almost every one does. But so many people never start. Seth Godin says, “ideas in secret die. They need light and air or they starve to death.”
One step at a time. Over and over again.