The only thing harder than starting is finishing. We'll talk about finishing another day but for right now let's discuss how difficult it is to start. To begin. To try and become... anything.
I used to be a standup comedian and I hadn't been on stage in a few years. One night I was at a club called Fubar’s and I was scheduled to do a guest set of about 10 minutes or so. I got on stage and suddenly I couldn't see past about three feet. Everything beyond that was hazy and dull and muffled . I felt like I was deaf and my tongue didn't work. I was dying on stage. Dying. Keep in mind, I had done this many many times before! I thought, “This is crazy I know how to do this! Why is this so hard now?”
I think it was hard because I felt like I was beginning again. Somehow, starting from scratch once more. Trying to become someone funny in that exact moment.
But it’s more than that. I think the biggest hurdle has always been this; when you begin something you admit that it is important. And the second something becomes important there is a sense of risk and fear. As long as we can judge ourselves solely by our intentions we're safe. We don't have to worry about what we're doing when we stay focused on what we might do! Maybe when I got on stage that night it was more important than it had been before. Maybe beginnings, all of them, are hard. Maybe they should be. Maybe we wouldn’t know it mattered if it didn’t cut close to the bone.
So much of my life is categorized not by what I have done but by what I hope to do. I often feel my value lies not in my past accomplishments but in the achievements of goals I have yet to even begin. And that's what makes beginning so important. That tiny silent brave admission that your hopeful future is possible, deeply possible. If only in this moment.
So for, beginning actors
beginning letter writers
beginning to cook
beginning to be on time
beginning to ask questions
beginning to tell the truth
beginning to trust
beginning to exercise
beginning to try and really listen
beginning to let your guard down.... begin and continue