Letting go of passion projects that turn into monsters

Did you ever start something that was exciting at first, something you thought ‘well this is it’? That something, that project, then started eating away at your time. Or, you just downright avoid it because you’ve inadvertently fed it with expectations that turned it into an obese monster that foams at the mouth for more.

That is what I have been experiencing lately. I avoided writing on this blog because everything had to be perfect. The stars needed to align and inspiration? Well….when the stars align inspiration comes by default. In another post I wrote about how overrated inspiration is vs. being consistent. Raise your hand if you find it hard to take your own advice.

Let go

Letting go of the monstrous expectations we have of ourselves and the “projects” we dream up is akin to losing a great friendship that no longer serves its purpose. In the long term, you later realize that it was the best decision you ever made.

A friend recently posted something on Facebook about giving yourself permission to walk away from things that creep you out. Walking away seems simple enough, the challenge is walking away from the things you started. The ideas you breathed in to. Those are near impossible to let go of, but we should.

Be the villain

In Batman, we know who the hero is and the villain is the guy who reeks havoc on Gotham City. Bane, my favourite character in The Dark Knight Rises, is not Batman and in the end you want the hero to win.

What if the hero and the villain are both the same person? What happens when you have to cut ties with that small community project down the road, which helps cute little kids when your fledgling business suffers because of the time you spend there? The roles have suddenly changed, Bane is no longer someone external. It’s your turn to be Batman and save the day, but that might mean you may soon be unable to make a living.

Slay your monsters and get to work

Instead of my writing being the fun pastime it once was, it became a painstaking chore that had to be perfect every time. The more things compete for limited time, the less likely we are to do the ones we are not passionate about.

In ‘Do The Work’, Steven Pressfield talks about the resistance and refers to it as all the things we experience which prevent us from producing our art. That resistance for me was perfecting every post, it’s not putting something out there ‘til everything is perfect. That was my monster and I’m going out to slay it every single day going forward.

Do The Work is a book that shows you what resistance is and how to overcome it. Read a quick review here and go slay those dragons.

What are your monsters? What resistance are you grappling with and how are you dealing with it to keep your passion projects alive? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Overcome Resistance: Do The Work

Do The Work – by Steven Pressfield – is short enough to finish in 2 sittings, so relevant that it gets you off your butt immediately. It is practical in a way that it changes the view of how you hold yourself back from starting. And finishing.

It is by far the most important 112 pages I’ve read in the longest time. Arguably, ever.

You will stop doing research, stop listening to your mind’s endless chattering and your family’s well-meaning distractions. You will simplify how you work, this is not a book you read and put down. Unless you are comfortable with where you are.

Yes, we all know we hold ourselves back. We know we are meant to work, but don’t. We have plans that are larger than life but procrastinate. We postpone these noble causes. That is resistance and it stops here.

This is not a book you read and go back to the proverbial “business as usual”. The resistance, also mentioned in Seth Godin’s Linchpin, will lose its hold on you. More importantly, you’ll know it for the force it truly is. One that aims to keep you chasing after mediocrity.

Speaking of Seth Godin, when a book starts with him saying “this is the author of the most important book you’ve never read”. Well….. you realize a tectonic shift occurred in the universe ‘as you know it’, the moment you made this purchase.

Steven Pressfield draws clear battle lines between where you were, and who you’ll be after your realize the  pitfalls you didn’t even know you allowed to hold you back.