Have you ever started something that you decided later you didn't want to finish? Did you stick to it because you felt bad about dropping it? But secretly inside you kind of knew it would be a flop or that you just weren't into it?
How many of you always try to finish what you start? Is it because you think you're supposed to?
There's a growing epidemic among creatives, entrepreneurs, and people who are a little bit of both.
Or at least that’s what “they” want you to think.
You know – the people who say that it’s always a bad thing if you’re:
⇢ Not finishing
⇢ Not following through
⇢ Not being proactive
⇢ Not making a decision
⇢ Not focusing
But are those people right?
Is it wrong to trash something you've started?
I say no.
And that’s why today’s content creation post is going to be a little bit different…last week I shared with you the how it's possible to create a ton of great content.
I’m going to share with you another side of creation. You’ll learn:
• The reality + result of not finishing something
• How hesitation helps you find your reason for calling it quits
• And why your content creation strategy means nothing without this one ingredient
And – hopefully, when we’re done today – you’re going to realize why dropping that fluff is the best thing you can do to improve your business, your launches, your future.
What happens when you stop what you’re doing
It’s pretty simple really.
Don’t finish – and you have nothing to show.
Your idea is still in that amorphous, half-fleshed out stage.
The lack of completed action means no launch, no finished book, no new strategies or promotions to push your business forward.
So – good, bad, right, wrong. If you don’t finish – you don’t launch.
There’s a clear result or outcome.
As long as you know that – you can move on – expect a different outcome and you’ll be extremely disappointed.
Stop driving and you don’t get to your intended destination (but is that always bad?).
When hesitation calls pick up the phone
When you get that feeling that you should stop or drop a project, a blog post, a product, a launch, what do you do?
Even if you’re entrenched in something – have made announcements – people are “expecting” something, it’s actually better to stop if you’ve got doubts and regroup a little.
Just like a wedding that doesn’t feel right – you can stop – delay – change your mind.
You’re allowed. I don’t care how many people expect you to do – you get to change your mind.
Hesitation can give you:
• clarity on whether you’re really talking to the right people
• confidence that you are offering something valuable to those right people
• time to digest feedback that may have caused the hesitation in the first place
• a chance to change your approach, schedule, email, sales page
• ideas to product improvements
• permission to stop
Don’t deny that pause. Listen to it.
When you shouldn’t quit
Sure there are things that SHOULD be left undone.
Or things that have lost value in our lives.
Or that we’ve lost passion for…
Those things ⇢ make sense. Right?
But undone life, creations, passions we want and lose sleep over – the stuff we chase after for years but never reach…it’s those that really hurt when we suddenly stop doing them with no real thought or clear decision on.
Why is it happening?
Is it on purpose?
Are you purposely stopping yourself from living bigger, doing more, achieving great things, all that good stuff?
Is it one of these reasons? Fear of NOT finishing ….. or fear OF finishing?
Think about it and move on only when you’re certain and can answer.
A case for flaking
I have a tough time with words like flake, inconsistent, fickle… people who saw me have different jobs (all doing the same things for the record) somehow saw me as being this transient who could never settle.
Thank goodness for that I say.
What they didn’t see is me bringing projects to completion – everything from my spec script for a sitcom, my dramatic screenplay, the album I planned, wrote, and produced. Training and getting certified in less than 1 year to be a pilates instructor.
Yes – they are all over the map.
All those things happened because I wanted to do and finish them.
But in that same way – the times when someone saw my flaky side, they were seeing me decide not to do something.
Heck – even writing this series of content creation posts – I dropped my approach completely in order to share a deeper understanding of how to create content.
There is a time to drop it like its NOT hot.
– when it no longer excites you
– if you realize the idea was only marginal and boring
– when you weren’t speaking to any one person in particular
– when you realized that it seriously sucked!
– if you question whether you wrote the post already
So – if you suspect you’re over a post – rip the bandaid off – decide quickly and then get back to work.
Have you ever felt like not finishing a project, a blog post or even canning a product?
Tell me about it below in the comments!
There you go again, Anne…you are in my head, I swear!
Great post as always!
You wrote this about me, didn’t you Anne? LOL.
Seriously, I don’t have problems finishing blog posts, projects are another matter entirely! It’s usually about a project no longer being exciting or not having an idea be well thought out enough-which may be basically the same thing.
Felicity Fields says
Of course I’ve felt like not finishing something! And sometimes, I don’t. I put it off for a few days, which become a few weeks, and lo and behold – nothing terrible happens.
Funnilly enough, though I still have a really hard time doing this with books. I always read books cover to cover, even if I don’t like them. Luckily, these days, I seem to be picking up books that I like fairly often!
I used to feel bad NOT finishing, but now it’s part of my editing process. I started doing it with books and now I do it with actual projects that I start, but realize later aren’t necessarily a right fit for me! Thanks for stopping by Felicity!
I think it’s okay if we lose a little interest in projects we’re working on – it’s like we start off having a huge crush on the work and that will wane… the challenge is figuring out which to continue, keep doing the work – even if it’s not fireworks and flowers for you. I step back often now – this is part of my editing process. Sometimes I jump back in. I don’t just allow myself to say ‘oh well, I’m over this…moving on’. I always try to ask myself why.
Sarah – I know you girl! I love it when I get this kind of comment – because you know what? This whole content creation series actually changed because I started focusing on what YOU (the collective you) might be struggling with or something that would connect with you. LOVE it! xo
hillary rubin says
Perfect post! I will say I have put blog posts + projects to the side and it’s important to do this when it’s feeling heavy. Then when I came back I had fresh eyes and was able to complete it better with the space. There are so many beliefs out there and we are the only ones who have the final say if it’s good or not. I know if I did this on some projects it would of saved me time and perhaps put me in a direction that was healthier. Thanks Anne, great post!
Lara Dalch says
Yes, indeed. Happens to me every day, it seems. It’s such a fine line, isn’t it? Great post.
Tea Silvestre says
I’m usually a finisher. But there are times when I just can’t seem to get myself to work on a project I’ve committed to. I’ve learned that usually indicates there’s some other reason — it could be that the client wants to change direction (but hasn’t told me yet), or the event I’m planning on attending (to show off my thing) has been canceled. It happens like that 90% of the time. We need to listen to ourselves a lot more than we do. Thanks for writing this one.
Yep Lara – totally. What I love is realizing that I’m the one who gets to set or erase the finish line. When I do that – I get more work done that I’m happy I finished… and now I dont’ feel so bad when I flake!
I think we work the same with blog posts – I usually don’t scrap work – I just put it aside and know that I may come back to it at some point. I’ve learned to detach from my own personal need to finish something and what will truly benefit someone else. That’s why I do this – I always look for the sweet spot! xoAnne
I completely agree Tea! Thanks for sharing!
Nikole Gipps says
I just did this. I paused something I was going to release because something didn’t feel right and I needed to make adjustments. And it’s not like I canned it … I just wanted time to rethink and retool. And it works!
Yep – I think it’s the smartest thing anyone can do when they call themselves a “creator”. Do work – hesitate, step back, see what needs to be added or scrapped, and then jump back in. (or not!).
Mike Van Cleve says
I completely appreciate what you’re writing about and I really enjoyed the post. Sometimes I find that my hesitation to finish something is also about fear of how it’s going to be received. I have read where Seth Godin says sometimes you just have to “ship it” knowing its not perfect. What do you think the point is where you make the determination whether your hesitation is out of good judgement or something else?