Insecurity cripples us from doing our best creative work. We’ve all experienced the sudden jolt of uncertainty that leaves us feeling wary about what we’re making or doing.
Is your work good enough? Is this idea really as great as you originally thought it was? Does anyone care about what you’re doing — and more importantly, is it affecting them in a positive, meaningful way?
When you start questioning and doubting yourself, it’s like running downhill. Those little whispers of uncertainty, the stirrings of insecurity — they start coming faster and faster and with more urgency and negativity. And at the bottom of that hill is one very ugly thought indeed:
Why am I doing this? I’m not getting anywhere or achieving anything. I feel like giving up.
If you’re there now, let me be the first person to tell you that you absolutely cannot think about giving up. You must keep trying, keep going, keep doing.
Because you never know who you’re making an impact on.
You never know who needs to read the words you write. You never know who needs to hear what you have to say, or needs to see what you made and created. You never know who you will inspire, motivate, educate, or change for the better — and you never know when it will happen, either.
Tomorrow could be the day that someone comes up to you or sends you an email or connects with you on Twitter to say, “what you do matters. You make a real difference. You matter.”
But you’ll never hear that if you quit today.
So the next time you want to give up, remember that you can’t be so selfish and withhold your meaningful work from the rest of us. One of us needs what only you can provide. (And in fact, there’s a good chance there’s way more than just one of us who needs what you do.) Just because we haven’t explicitly expressed our appreciation yet doesn’t mean your work goes unnoticed.
Finding your own path takes time, and requires a lot of trial and error. Before giving up, remember that “it takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” If you’re not there yet, keep working and striving.
You never know who’s on the receiving end of what you produce — and who is changed for the better because of the work that you do.
Thank you to Derek Lawson for inspiring this post at #XYPN15, and for taking the time this week to tell me that my writing matters.
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