It’s Buddhist philosophy, right? That saying about the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but the second best time is now?
As we might say in my ancestral homeland, New Jersey:
Plant the damn tree already.
I’ve run into it a number of times this week—people (myself including) lamenting action that we should have taken long ago. But at least we’ve taken now.
There’s my friend the networking expert Robbie Samuels:
“I still remember how stressed I was just a few years ago about writing a single blog post – after getting feedback from several people and deliberating for weeks I finally posted it. I then asked Dorie [Clark] what to do next. She said write another blog post. Ha!”
Now, with many blog posts—and even his own podcast—under his belt, Robbie is getting ready to launch his very first book into the world at the end of this month.
A book! From a guy who had to deliberate “for weeks” about one measly blog post. I mean, I’m sure it was a valuable blog post—but it’s a tiny percentage of the words he’s put out into the world since then.
Then there’s one of my own writers. She’s never had a problem producing work, and she’s shared many pieces for discussion in class and in our writers’ group. But she was 20 full weeks into her studies with me before she read her work out loud in class. Like most things we dread, it turned out to be much more rewarding and much less stressful than she’d feared.
I need that Buddhist philosophy myself
I’m not immune to this fear-crastination. (I couldn’t decide which was more appropriate—”fear” or “procrastination—so I’m going with both.) I could have planted a grove the size of the Amazon rainforest by now.
Take my email list. And it wasn’t even writing the emails: I was completely terrified of even choosing a list management service. Why? Not a freaking clue. But I researched that decision like I was choosing a neurosurgeon.
If you’re stuck in that place, I offer this loving advice:
Plant the damn tree already.
What’s the worst thing that can happen if you jump into action?
People don’t like what you have to say?
No one laughs at the funny parts?
I end up paying too much for my email service? Or too little?
Plant the damn tree. Yeah, you might not dig the hole at the exact right depth. The sapling may lean a little too far to the left despite your best efforts to straighten it.
Your 20th blog post is always going to be way better than your first. And because Robbie finally planted that tree, he now gets to kill a bunch of them to publish his book. (But save a tree and read the e-book instead.)
I started collecting emails about 14 months ago and—hey!—they multiplied like rabbits. I’ll be moving them to a bigger digital hutch soon. And this time, I’m not sweating the decision.
I’m just gonna keep planting trees.
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