For many, a passion project is less about doing what feeds your soul and more about the emotional baggage that sometimes comes with it: guilt.
You may experience guilt over not starting fast enough, over not spending enough time working on your project once you do get started, guilt over not being as good or successful as someone else, guilt over neglecting loved ones or other projects, guilt over walking away from your project altogether when it becomes a chore instead of something you look forward to…
Feeling guilty yet?
Be honest: How many times have you been so excited to start something, only to wake up the next week (or maybe even the very next morning) and talk yourself out of it? Are you letting guilt and comparison rule your passions and the ways in which you kindle them? Stop right there.
Below are 5 ways to not only jumpstart that project you’ve been thinking of, but also stick with it!
1. Pick ONE Project
Ask anyone what sort of project they’d like to start and they’ll probably start counting off a laundry list of ideas. It’s no wonder that passion projects so frequently gather dust in the back of closets or offices. Too many ideas on your plate sounds like a good thing, but it’s truly a recipe for stagnation.
Think realistically and jot down 3 things that you would like to do. Sit with these 3 ideas for a couple of days and decide. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by going into overdrive and attempting to do everything all at once so, don’t.
Choose one and you’ll be surprised just how much more manageable it is when you have a focal point to direct your time and energy into.
2. Talk to someone
Chances are that whatever you want to do has been done before, but don’t let that discourage you from doing it! Many have come before you, many will come after, but no one will do it quite like you do.
Talk to a friend, acquaintance, or colleague who you can get advice and encouragement from.
Brainstorming sessions with someone who is on the same wavelength as you may inspire you or even lead to an epiphany or two.
Bonus points if you can find a mentor who is already doing what you want to do!
3. Set a deadline
No, this isn’t an ‘accomplish by’ deadline, but rather a ‘get started’ deadline. Give yourself time to narrow down the specifics of your projects (no more than a week), pick a ‘Start’ date, and get moving once that date comes.
One of the hardest things to manage when starting a project is time. Things will come up that may try to get you off track, but don’t let them.
Follow through is not only ideal, but key.
4. Get Inspired
We tend to think of the Internet as a supermassive black hole that can easily suck us into a time warp because- well, it can- but the Internet is also a place where you will find loads of inspiration.
You may be thinking that it’s not a good idea to research other people’s work for fear of being a ‘copycat’ but the reality is that checking out what other people have done (or are doing) will help you.
You’ll learn from others’ mistakes, get a better idea of what it is you want to accomplish, and actually avoid copying someone else’s ideas.
5. Get Out of Your Head
Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to take a well-deserved break (until your deadline that is!)
Go for a walk, draw, read a book, call up a friend, play with your cat – do anything but ruminate over your project.
It is in these moments of obsession that you may start comparing yourself, convince yourself that you don’t have enough time or talent, and end up scratching the project all together.
It’s a trap that unfortunately many fall into, but don’t let it happen to you! You are more than capable and the world is waiting to see just what you are made of.
To be successful at a project comes down to a few things, and luck is rarely one of them. Those who wait for luck are usually left on the sidelines as others who have put in work zoom right past.
Just remember this: “Success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Good luck preparing for your opportunity to meet you!