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  • Writer's pictureJacob Skorka

Just Get It Out There

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

Here, have a beer and let's talk about taking the first step.


I'm going to pretend to be wise. You should read this in the best motivational speaker voice you can muster up in your head. A combination of Eric Thomas and Oprah Winfrey on giveaway day, type voice.


There has been a theme in my thought processes lately. It is a theme that consumes me to the point that it has become the topic of conversations that I have with strangers, it's the majority of social media content curated for me - because the psychos at Instagram have bugs in my brain that read my thoughts and turn them into ads and suggested videos - and it is the books that I'm choosing to read. For the record, I have never been a fan of reading, but I recently started to read more because somebody at some point said, "leaders are readers." Clearly that person was a great leader because I definitely know his or her name and the context in which they said it.


The theme is this: you just have to start.


It sounds cliché, I know. Like the kid you went to high school with who is shoulder-deep in a pyramid scheme says on Facebook, YoU caNt GEt wHeRe yOu wanT tO gO if YoU DoN'T StArt. I'm not taking that approach. I'm taking the approach that suggests nothing else matters in this moment. There is not a single thing more important, right now, than starting.


Okay, turn off the Oprah voice. Now it's just me blabbering.


The irony is that I have always held a "you have to start somewhere" mindset when I feel inadequate. It has been a continual narrative throughout my life, and I have found a lot of confidence in it. It has been something that I thought I had figured out. However, recently it has felt different. It has felt more real.


This newly discovered theme of you just have to start feels more closely related to dreams that I'm re-discovering. There have been plenty of extraordinary circumstances in my life in the last few years that have led me to, what I believe is, thinking bigger. Dreaming, if you will, but actually seeing myself in the dream rather than somebody I know who may fit the dream better. Maybe I am realizing the truths of the world and finding ways to place myself in them, maybe I am different, and you should come to me for all your wisdom and advice needs, or maybe I am just a little boy trying to start out in a big, scary world.

I had a conversation with a friend recently, and he said something that stuck. This man is medical professional. Smart guy, real smart guy. He has never been good at writing, or so he says. If you were to ask me, I would say that he has long been too worried about the wrong things when he would write. That, and the fact that he has only written academically, and academic writing is a pain in the ass. I digress. He mentioned that he, "finally got to a place where papers didn't scare [him], and [he] would just use Grammarly to make it sound good. Which is incredible in itself. He continued with the part that hit me, ". . . just put it on paper and not worry about what it sounds like."


"Just put it on paper and not worry about what it sounds like."

How beautiful of a realization is this? Just put it out there. In the context of writing a paper, the illustration is so brilliantly clear that I can't unsee it. When you're looking at your computer and all you see is a blank white page there is nothing more important, in that moment, than starting. Who cares about what it sounds like, who cares where the commas go, who cares if you don't have a title because turning in a blank sheet of paper sounds a whole lot worse than turning in a paper with a few run-on sentences.


When I say that he has long been too worried about the wrong things, what I mean is that he has been fixated on perfect grammar and how his intelligence is perceived. This turned into a fear, and the fear corralled the thoughts and imagination of an extremely intelligent human being.


"Just put it on paper and not worry about what it sounds like."

Because the only time that you cannot go back and edit, refine, or make better is if there is nothing there to edit, refine, or make better.


This is the point that I have come to. I have been burned by dreams before. I have not met goals that seemed easily attainable. I have been let down. I have let myself down so many times that it is easy for me to stare at a blank sheet of paper with the idea, the dream, the goal, and be scared to put it out there because I don't know what it will sound like. Or, because I don't want to be perceived as dumb. Here Have A Beer is my example of you just have to start. I want to be a NY Times Best Seller one day. I have been sitting on my couch telling people that I am a writer for a very long time, and I always finish the sentence with something along the lines of, ". . . I mean, I don't ever write but I enjoy it and am good at it." I have never realized how stupid that sounds until I put it on paper. Now, when I think about being an author, I can think about things that I have actually written. The things that I have written may suck bad, but they're better than everything that hasn't been written.


- - Turn your motivational speaker voice back on - -


That is the start to anything great. Whether it be a blog, an essay for a class, or a plan to start a business. If you can just get it on paper and not worry about what it sounds like, then you'll have a base to stand on. The base may be shaky, but it is stronger than the base that you didn't have yesterday.


- - Okay turn it off - -


Now expand. Such is life, right? This whole concept is an approach to everything. Asking a girl on a date: you won't ever hear "yes" unless you get the words out of your mouth. You're probably going to sound like an idiot, but at least you're making sounds. When I asked Jos on our first date, I essentially insulted her without knowing it, and she said yes. Actually, she asked, "Yes?" in sort of a I-think-he's-asking-me-on-a-date-but-he-knows-I-would-never-date-him-and-he-just-told-me-that-I'm-stupid tone of voice, but now we're married. Win for the little guys! Further, it's being bold and seeking out job interviews. If you can just send the email, knock on a door, make a phone call. I recently landed a job because I walked into an office and interrupted a phone call that the owner of the company was on. Yes, the timing of it was Heaven sent, but the timing would not have worked for me if I only thought about walking in and never actually did. For my friend, on the surface, this looked like a career shift. At its core, it was him watching a dream slip out of his hands and not knowing what to do. Until he did it. And now he's done it. He can say that he got to a place where he was no longer afraid of what it would look like and he "just put it on paper". For context, he graduated college and moved to a different state with a one-track mind and his eyes set on a goal he had set a long time ago. A few years after moving he realized that his dream wasn't going to come true and he couldn't quite reach that goal, so he made a switch. A switch that involved going back to school and making a handful of other sacrifices. Now he loves what he does.


I'm learning that life is about progress. Deeper than a cliché about it being about the journey rather than the destination. More than not reaching a goal unless you start. I'm seeing that life is truly about progress. Progress looks different for me than it does for you. Progress looks different today than it did yesterday. Progress feels like a natural high, and progress feels like you're getting punched in the face. Progress looks like throwing up words onto a page and letting Grammarly make it sound good. Continue to put one foot in front of the other in the general direction that you would like to head. If you're not strong enough to put one foot in front of the other, then put one foot right next to the other, and shuffle forward.


So, cheers to progress. No matter what it looks like for you, today.

 

Eric Thomas is a motivational speaker who says things like this

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