Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

What Really Happens When You Start Over

Nobody likes starting over. At least, I don’t know anyone who does. But sometimes life forces you to reboot, whether you want to or not.

What Really Happens When You Start Over

Photo Credit: cindy47452 via Compfight cc

Sure, there are those rare, crazy ones who love the thrill of a new venture. But if you’ve spent any time building anything, you know that uneasy feeling in your stomach when you have to begin again. It’s hard.

This is why so many people stay in jobs they hate or keep going back to the same old, unhealthy addictions that leave them broken. It’s easier that way.

But there’s something beautiful about starting over, something liberating about beginning again. And I’d like to encourage you consider a fresh start in something this week.

Back to zero?

I just had a conversation with someone who is having to start something over. She’s worried that it means going back to zero. Not true.

When you start something new, you’re not really beginning completely fresh. Your past experiences, failures, and successes have all taught you something. More than you realize. And knowing what you know now means you aren’t starting over. You’re just beginning again.

That’s what I learned with this blog, which was the result of quitting another blog I had been writing on for four and a half years. I wasn’t quitting and going back to the drawing board. Instead, I was building on a foundation.

I had spent years writing online with few people paying attention. When I started over, I feared I might be wasting my time. But I was wrong.

All those years, I was practicing. Preparing. Waiting for my big moment. Maybe you are, too.

Do something new, now

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Do you remember what it felt like? It was probably a little fun, possibly even thrilling. I bet it required some hard work, too.

Maybe it’s time to do that again. To take a risk. To break a rule. To start.

If you don’t know where to begin, you should read Seth Godin’s book Poke the Box, which is one of the best books I’ve read on the subject of starting things.

And if you’re wanting to do this with a blog, read this post: Starting from Scratch.

Maybe you’re in a season in which you feel like what you’re doing is all for naught, that you’re doing all this work and nobody’s paying attention. But maybe that’s not the whole story.

Maybe you’re being prepared for a season that hasn’t come yet. If that’s the case, may I encourage you to do one thing?

Show up

Even when the fruit isn’t there… show up.

Even when the critics tell you to quit… show up.

Even when you’re tired and tempted to throw in the towel… show up.

If this is a time of preparation for you (and not a time to start), do the work. Show up. Because what you are doing is sowing — that’s planting seeds, for you non-farmer folk — and though you may not reap them for some time, the work you’re doing is not pointless.

Stay the course, be brave, and your season will come.

What’s the hardest part for you about starting over? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.

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