I was chatting with a friend the other day and she was telling me about an exciting creative project she’s working on. She told me she was under a deadline of sorts to have this project complete by a certain event, so she said she was aiming to get 50 pages of this thing done by Friday. Knowing how I start to feel when I give myself deadlines, I asked her: “Is there any reason it HAS to be 50 pages?” She paused. “No, I guess not.”
This conversation fresh in my head, I was experiencing my own version of “crunch time” as I looked at my massive to-do list for all the exciting changes I had planned for to reveal on August 1st. Suddenly I heard my voice again: “Is there any reason is HAS to be August?” “Um… no, I guess not.”
As driven, passionate creatives, we sometimes create these self-imposed deadlines and restrictions on ourselves, which can be extremely helpful in giving us a narrow vision to work towards. But, in my experience, sometimes we get so wrapped up in those helpful guidelines that we actually forget the most important thing about them: they’re self-imposed. If we can make the rules, then we can certainly break the rules.
So the next time you find yourself in a pressure cooker of your own making, try finishing this sentence: “What if it doesn’t HAVE to be _________”
What if it doesn’t have to be 50 pages. Or launched on August 1st. Or a money-making project. Or open to the public. What if it doesn’t have to be in an auditorium. What if it doesn’t have to be online. There are a million different ways to finish that sentence and they all end in you shattering some sort of barrier you’ve created and discovering an alternate route.