You know, I find myself thinking more and more frequently that Nike has it right. The popular athletic gear corporation has stood by the same slogan for decades: Just do it.
I’ve always thought this just seems too simple, not to mention obvious. “Well, yeah. Do it. Okay.” But then I ponder for a bit, and I think it really is harder than people think.
What is standing in the way of you “just doing it?” “It” meaning the thing. The thing you need to do. Insert your own goal, project, chore, or task. I don’t need to tell you what “it” is. For me, “it” is often sending email applications for new gigs. This is such a point of difficulty for me that I have a whole day dedicated to the task every week so that I make myself take the time to send these emails.
Why is it so hard for me to send these emails? Usually it stems from the fact that I don’t feel like I’m ready. I am not sure my recordings are good enough, or I’m not sure if the timing is good relative to hiring season. If we really want to go deep, I’m sure there’s a significant part of me that knows that they can’t say no if I haven’t sent them anything. Some deep fear of rejection mess happening here, apparently.
But here’s the thing. You will probably never get to the point where you feel 100% ready. You may have some good spells there where you feel like you have your best work available to send, I really hope for that for you. But in the day-to-day, you will always feel like you could improve.
And you know what? Figuring this out has actually been super freeing for me. Now that I know that perfectionism has been keeping me from putting myself out there, it has no more power over me. I know that I will not be as good today as I will be tomorrow, but I know that who I am is better than who I was yesterday. So why shouldn’t I send off what I have? Why shouldn’t I present myself as I am today?
The other thing that keeps me from doing “the thing” is feeling like it is SO MUCH WORK. I have to pull together my recordings. I have to write a really long intro email. I have to make sure all of my materials are up to date before sending them.
However, you can counteract all of those excuses easily. Keep a file with only your current and acceptable audition recordings so you don’t have to listen through them all each time to figure out which one is appropriate. Keep your emails short and to the point (that’s better for communication anyway). Regularly update your materials so that they are already ready to go when it comes time to send them. BOOM, just like that, no more excuses.
I know I said I understand why it can be hard to just do it. But in reality, it’s not hard at all. After literal weeks of dragging my feet on certain emails, I’ll get so fed up with myself that I’ll sit down and just do it, blazing through three or four of these emails in under an hour. Then I’ll sit there after that frenzy of activity and think, “Why on earth did I drag my feet for so long when I got all that done so fast??”
The same thing can be applied to a workout, your least favorite chore, that errand you need to run. More often than not, it will be over before you know it – and even if it’s not, you will have made progress and that’s awesome.
Set a timer, count yourself down, whatever it takes, but you CAN do the thing. Just start.