While I’m celebrating a self help milestone this morning, I want to post this image from NYT Sketch Guy and wealth manager Carl Richards for posterity. He explained it like this a few months ago:
Five or six years ago, when I first started writing the weekly Sketch Guy column, I would have pieces I was certain would go viral. I said to myself, “I nailed it, everyone’s going to love it, a million people are going to share it!” And then, I would hear nothing. For some reason, it just didn’t get the play — no comments, no feedback, nothing.
Then there were times when I was completely surprised in the opposite way. I’d be running late for a deadline, have something I wasn’t sure of or that excited about, but it was all I had. So, I would send it in expecting some sort of reprimand. And next thing I knew, it had made the sitewide most-emailed list.
I had this experience enough times to realize that I was simply terrible at judging whether my work was good or not. And guess what? So are you. You’re just too close to it.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to matter, as your job now officially has nothing to do with deciding if the work is good. Your job is to do the work, put it out there and let the world decide.
He goes on to say describe why this approach is scary and why you need to do it anyway. I’ve appreciated how Carl has simplified many concepts over the years, but this one is becoming gospel to me because I agonize over everything I write and all the work I do.
This is helpful for me to remember that I just need to do the work and keep moving.
–Free Yourself Of Your Harshest Critic And Plow Ahead (NYT)