I’ve recently found myself in a position where I’m requesting subject matter experts to write blog posts. They are so full of knowledge. Knowledge that could affect great change in anyone who reads it. But I see them struggling to begin writing.
“I’ve got such great notes but I am struggling to write an article”
“I have an idea about x topic and here is how I would conceptualize it, but I don’t know what to write”
“I just need to find a narrative and structure, then I’ll start writing”
In my experience, these are all symptoms of Resistance (the capital R is not an error.) Steven Pressfield talks about it in beautiful detail in his book The War of Art.
Outcomes v/s Intentions
When we are about to create something, we have a tendency to become really cerebral. We are outcome-oriented, and imagining the outcome starts the incubation process of expectations about what our work ‘should’ look like.
To begin something, all you need is an intention, and often, the people I see struggling with writing have a lot more than that going for them. They already have the most beautiful intentions and they are full of beautiful wisdom and thoughts and ideas to share.
Here’s the secret: you don’t have to have your story, narrative, or structure figured out before you begin writing. You don’t have to have a clear picture of what your finished product will look like. All you have to do is begin writing with intention.
You don’t even have to start at the beginning.
Do, then Learn
I recently came across a video which gave me what was perhaps one of the most useful reminders I’ve had lately. It had a simple message: Do, then learn.
The creator of the video talks about how most people often think that they need to learn everything before they can start doing something. When we are outcome oriented, there are a hundred steps between our present self and the outcome. We get caught up in charting out step 2 to step 100, and we forget to actually begin acting on step 1. We feel as though we need to have it all figured out.
But guess what? You cannot predict how your article will turn out. You write it word by word, and it unfolds as it needs to, perhaps more expansive and beautiful than what you originally had in mind, and you will learn even more from the process of writing.
Do, then learn.
The Future of Coaching
This month’s theme for The Coach Guardian is The Future of Coaching, and I am connecting the dots here – we will create the future by walking the path, by living our values, and refining our intentions in the present.
20 years ago, very few people had a cellphone. 10 years ago, most people thought of coaches as people who train athletes. Since March 2020, video calls have been the backbone of many industries, including coaching. The world is changing quickly and there are many unpredictable opportunities and challenges that will unfold with time.
Lao Tzu famously said “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
While sometimes the future looms like an expansive and beautiful horizon at sunrise, I have a higher proclivity to feel anxious when I think about it. Lao Tzu was definitely speaking for/to me. I’d like to feel more at peace, and all I can do is practice living in the present and doing what I can here, right now, and trust that I will learn, pivot, and adapt along the way.