Saturday, May 12, 2012

Do a Terrible Job

So I am studying with my teacher, Martha Beck, to be a master life coach. 
It is a rigorous and prestigious program that I am thrilled to be a part of.  
Our first assignment was to write a self help article to post on a forum for the other students and teachers to critique.  
Then we were critiqued by Martha.  
She's a very famous author of extremely popular self help books and two best selling memoirs. 
And she has a monthly column in Oprah's magazine.  
Martha was going to read what I wrote and then she was going to tell me what was wrong with it. 
A while ago, this would have struck terror in me...I would have been frozen with fear and had stories galore about what a terrible writer I am, and how awful this experience was going to be.  
But something strange happened- I decided that I was willing to totally suck at my assignment. 
That decision freed me.
I decided that I am a student, so it is my job to attempt and fail, and then attempt again.  
I am not a great writer, and I truly never really aspired to be a published author.  
Several of my classmates dream of publishing memoirs or having their own self help column in a magazine. 
Not me.  
At some point it would be nice to write a book, but it's not dying to erupt from my loins.  
Martha is a world class writer, and that's what she always wanted to be.  
Why would I compare my own writing to hers? 
Why would I despair at the fear that she is going to say my writing is shit, and I need to give up for good?  
What's funny is, she actually told our class that we are all excellent writers already.  
Martha gave us constructive criticism about how to make our articles better- and without fail, I thought her ideas were completely on target. 
I am honored to learn from a master! 
It doesn't mean I have to be a master writer, ever.
It means I have to put my ego to the side, open my ears, listen to the feedback and continue to write from an earnest place.  
It means I have to be willing to do a terrible job, then learn from my mistakes, and drop the idea of being perfect.  
Because of that, I am becoming a better writer.
What are you willing to suck at? 
Where are you willing to put your ego to the side?  
What are you afraid to try because you don't know what the hell you're doing?  
Challenge yourself to start anyway.  
Attempt and fail.  
Take stock, and attempt again. 
It's the only way to grow.