When it’s unclear how something will turn out, it’s easy to stop doing it.
We do this just in case it doesn’t work out right. Because we are afraid of failing.
But what if we keep going, to see how it actually turns out?
To be truly sure of an outcome, we need to see things through to the end.
When I first started illustrating thank you cards, I threw countless half-finished attempts away. Sometimes because ‘this petal’ was smaller than the others. Sometimes because ‘that line’ was too skew.
Then one day I decided to keep going, despite these mishaps, just to see how the piece would actually turn out in the end. To see whether these little errors would actually matter. Whether they would ruin the overall effect.
What I found was this…
The designs looked even better in the end, than I could ever have imagined.
The same still happens now. I often get to a point where I think, “Oh, I’ve ruined it.”
But if that happens, I now stop, take a breath, and then carry on working until it’s done. And the majority of the time, I’m happy with the outcome. And the small imperfections add to the overall character of the illustration, or go completely unseen by the recipient.
So next time …
Instead of throwing your idea / draft / design / framework / pattern / presentation etc. into the trashcan of abandonment, why not keep going a bit longer? Why not take it to the end to see how it turns out?
And if you have to throw it away, don’t give up and walk away. You can keep going by starting again and taking the next iteration a bit further. Until it becomes what you’re hoping for. And along the way you get better at what you’re doing.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit.”
If you just abandon things when the outcome is unclear, then you don’t get to finish what you start. Don’t be that guy! Wouldn’t you rather find out what happens next?
Finish up. Follow through.
It’s a practice worth developing in every aspect of life.
Cheers, Mich :-)