As I make small steps towards my dream life, I never realized how much emotional intelligence is required to succeed in a project. When thinking of terms like success or endurance, I always defined it as pushing yourself to the limit, exerting yourself and your body, all-nighters, but it’s not true at all. There is a lot of patience involved, a lot of moments of nothing happening. The process requires you to be a lot calmer & calculated for you to do well.
One tip I heard that I really have been trying to implement is the concept of detaching yourself from your ideas. Meaning not defining yourself or your potential based on how well your project is going, whether the outcome is good or bad. As I practice this it’s helped me with two things.
1. Protect from the bad
2. Make room for the good
Protecting from the bad
For me, the hardest part of failing isn’t actually the fall itself, but the emotional part- the self-doubt, the spiral of thoughts of where I went wrong, if I’m good enough, if I’m going the right way. When you are attached to your ideas, you are defining yourself by your day to day work, by your progress, how much things you have going on. It is not stable to do that because the journey will never be linear. You cannot expect to handle the ups and downs of the journey if you think it is directly tied to you. It’s not. It’s apart of the process. Ups and downs are inevitable, no matter how talented you are. Ideas have their own lives.
Also, if you are focused on how long you were working for, or how much effort you put in (thinking you should be in a better place than where you are now) You could end up ending a project right before it succeeds because you were focused on how you were feeling, rather than the lifespan of the project itself. The reality is, the quality of the project doesn’t care about how tired you are, or how long you were in the same spot for. It’s completely independent from whatever is going on in your life.
I’m trying to combat this with watching how I see my failures. For example, instead of saying, “I worked on this project for 6 months and it didn’t work out” what if instead I said, “I worked on the first attempt for 6 months, didn’t work”? I would probably feel much more energized to try again. At the end of the day, even though it was 6 months, it was only one try. Framing is everything!
Making room for the good
Building on that, another important reason to detach myself from my ideas is that I’m not going to be able to correctly judge my work if I’m emotionally attached to it. And it’s natural, obviously if I am sacrificing a lot of time and effort, I can’t help but fantasize about how it is going to work out. It becomes harder to say “this might not be good enough, what should I tweak” I saw this quote that said, “Don’t cling to a mistake because you spent a long time making it” and I think that perfectly describes what happens when we become attached.
If I don’t have this skill, I won’t have the ability to weed out the bad ideas, to make room for the better ones. I have to be ruthless, to a certain degree, with my ideas to shut down the things that probably won’t work.
To be able to do this requires a lot of humbleness, removing ego. Being able to analyze yourself without hurting yourself or taking it as an attack on your talent is a huge skill. There is a lot of vulnerability and honest in that, that I’m trying to master.
All in all,
I’m currently realizing how much kinder and forgiving of myself I need to be for me to succeed. I am going to make a lot of mistakes, make a couple of wrong turns, but that’s okay. I’m going to get to where I’m meant to be, mistakes included.
And as I start these different projects I am trying to remember, as much as I want my dream life, I am not defined by my work. I am more than that. I have a family, I have friends, I’m apart of a community, I have responsibilities outside my career. Remembering that has kept me grounded, and less hurt when my projects don’t go my way. At the end of the day, we want these things so we could live a good life. It is important to remember our lives are good right now.