The Suck (aka "The Taste Gap" and "Bird by Bird")
It might appear to be ill-advised to have my first post titled "The Suck," but there's a hidden meaning to this term that makes it an appropriate title for this (somewhat scary) first step forward into consulting and offering my services to educators and anyone else interested in mindfulness and self-care.
The Suck, which I read about in a post by Itty Biz founder Naomi Dunford, is a term that is cheeky and irreverent and spot-on. The premise of her post is that people who decide to start a small business have a vision of what they want the ideal, final version of their business to look like, termed by Dunford as "The End."
The problem is that you'll never get to this ideal of what the product/website/service will ultimately be, unless you can get through The Suck, the less-than-ideal version that you've got so far. You have to be willing to make peace with The Suck and put this work-in-progress out into the world, or you'll never get to The End.
This reminded me of a concept I read about called "The Taste Gap." In a post on the amazing site Brain Pickings, Ira Glass (host and producer of This American Life) is quoted about why so many people trying to create something often give up before achieving what they set out to do:
"...all of us who do creative work … we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there’s a gap, that for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good, OK? ...It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste — the thing that got you into the game — your taste is still killer, and your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you, you know what I mean? A lot of people never get past that phase. A lot of people at that point, they quit."
Before I go on, I want to make clear that I don't think my website/services/skills/etc. "suck," but I do have a vision of it all being even better. I plan to take the wise advice of Naomi Dunford and Ira Glass and let go of some of my perfectionistic tendencies as I put TeachingBalance.com out into the world as it is thus far, and I know that I have a lot of (rewarding) work ahead of me. As Glass attests:
"Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions. It takes a while, it’s gonna take you a while — it’s normal to take a while. And you just have to fight your way through that, okay?"
So I've been taking this all on "bird by bird," in the words of Anne Lamott, continuing to make progress and go forward. I know the road will be less lonely with some company, and I look forward to having you join me on this journey.