I have been totally immersed in the book The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin. It is both inspirational and filled with practical insights.
The idea I’m hooked on right now is committing to the practice (the process) of your creative work without focusing on the product (the end result).
I have to admit this is a concept I struggle with. I have always been extremely goal-oriented, needing to reach one goal after another. The end result was the most important thing to me and the steps it took me to get there were nothing more than obstacles I had to overcome as quickly as possible.
I certainly didn’t take the time to enjoy the process or journey towards my destination. I felt if I wasn’t achieving my goal in a timely manner, it was a useless pursuit – or if I didn’t reach the goal I set, I was a complete failure.
I didn’t take the time to celebrate my small successes or achievements and I felt discouraged with every mistake I made. I certainly didn’t appreciate the practice and all I learned along the way. I was too obsessed with reaching my goal and moving onto the next.
Returning to my dance training after such a long period of time was challenging. I knew I had to begin at the beginning. I was so out of shape and feeling way past my prime. All I knew was I needed to be dancing again.
So I set my schedule and began my training. I did set some small incremental goals, but had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my dancing – what my purpose was. Did I want to perform again? Coach?
I didn’t have any “big picture” in mind (insert scared sh**tless here). But as Seth says in his book, “It’s juggling. Throw and throw and one day the catching will take care of itself.” I took this as not only will I develop my skills, but also that my purpose will become clear to me as long as I continue to commit to the practice.
Another nugget of wisdom from Seth’s book is committing to the practice regardless of how you feel. To practice even if you don’t “feel it”. You know “inspired”, “in the flow” or as Seth puts it, “to show up when the muse isn’t there”.
And so I did and I am.
I am committed to the practice, not the product of the day’s training. I’m committed to the practice whether I feel like it or not. I’m committed to the practice even when it’s a crappy practice (and there have been many crappy practices). I am committed to the practice even though I have no idea what the hell I’m going to do with it.
I have to admit, this is freaky territory for me. Giving in and trusting the process without having an end goal in mind is totally new to me. But it’s also been very freeing and I have enjoyed and am more in tune with my training and dancing than I have ever been (insert joy here).
Once finished, I know this is a book I will return to. I think the ideas Seth Godin puts forth are timeless and applicable with every step of my journey.
I truly recommend this book if you are on a creative journey!