We make friends with people who have a lot in common with us. Lately, I’ve made a lot of friends with creative people. A few of us share favorite movies. A few of us share favorite blogs. But the one thing that all my creative friends have in common with me is a feeling of self-doubt.

Below are some words of encouragement to help kick your sense of self-doubt square in the face.

You didn’t choose to do the easy work. You didn’t choose to be told what to do, where to do it, and for whom to do it for. Not because you’re better than that. But because you know the challenge of doing better work will make you better.

You had the option of choosing the easy path. You chose the hard one.

You picked your poison and now it’s kicking in.

Will you drink the antidote? Will you keep doing your work despite the headaches and restless nights?

I hope so. Because I can’t wait to see what five years of you will look like.

Five years of you. Can you imagine that? Five years of your work, out there in the world for people to rave about?

In years, five is a small number. Five years makes up 6 3/10ths* of the average American life span.

But if we’re talking about work, five years is a long enough time to get a lot of it done.

The best way to stand out is to outlive the competition.

What would happen if you stuck with it for the next five years? What would happen if you made something every week until the year 2025?

You would have. . .

260 blog posts. 260 newsletters. 260 paintings. 260 poems.

Few poets write their 260th poem. A lot of writers quit after their 3rd week of writing a newsletter.

There’s a massive digital graveyard of abandoned projects tied to old dreams of becoming the next household name. Will you outlive the competition? I believe that the answer is a resounding yes. You’ve made it this far. Another week is just one foot in front of the other.

Keep reiterating. It’s fine if you haven’t found the perfect typeface. It’s alright if you haven’t found the perfect camera angle. And it’s okay if you aren’t satisfied with the name of your podcast. Reiteration breeds experience. On the other hand, a focus on small numbers (“why do I only have eight newsletter subscribers in the fourth week?”) breeds complacency and an urge to throw in the towel.

I’ll leave you with this.

In five years from now, you’re going to look back on today. You’re going to be glad you started these projects instead of writing an application for a job that wouldn’t suit you.

This is the work that suits you. And I’m glad you signed up for the job.

Like these posts? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter about creativity and community. New issues come out every Monday morning.

*correct me if I’m wrong.

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