Last updated on July 17th, 2023 at 12:16 pm
Most of us try to put our best face forward and focus on our accomplishments, but this can be difficult when you are first working on your big dream.
We want to be really good at something right away. But there is an inherent lesson in learning. We strengthen our confidence through struggle. When you’re just beginning a process, bad is good.
Because “bad” means you’re showing up. It means you’re trying. It means you are practicing.
My Photoshop skills today are at an expert level. I’ve taught many people how to use the software. But when I first started learning, Photoshop was really challenging for me.
I spent months doing every exercise in over a dozen Photoshop books. It was akin to bashing my head against a brick wall. But I kept pushing. Every exercise, every page, I focused on the task at hand. I wanted to make Photoshop something I was good at. I knew I couldn’t skip the actual work to get where I wanted to go.
Today, my expert Photoshop skills are my happy place.
It’s mindful and mindless at the same time. We tend to forget that even the hardest task becomes easier with practice. It took me about three months to feel like I knew my way around the software, six months to feel proficient, and a year to feel painless using Photoshop.
The same approach can be applied to weight loss. And dating. And parenthood. And launching your big dream. At some point, when you show up every day, the difficult becomes easy. Bad gets better. Better becomes good. Good morphs into exceptional.
And then success.
I’ve recently started making use of my extensive craft supplies. Now that I have a retail store and the space for a workshop, it’s pretty exciting. I’ve been making word collages in Photoshop for years. But I wanted to make something physical. However, I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t trust my art skills in a new medium.
These are my first two efforts.
And while they are cute and pleasing to the eye, I wanted to add another level of depth. I’ve always admired hand lettering.
I hand-lettered a vintage poster years ago, but it was a huge trial, and I’ve shied away from it since.
Lately, I’ve been itching to use my hands to make real three-dimensional art.
And I gazed longingly at some hand-lettered art. I haven’t taught myself a new skill in some time and almost turned my back on this, thinking, “I can’t possibly learn to do this well. I don’t have time. Maybe I don’t have the skill. Either way, it will never work.”
But then I remembered that a stronger sense of self comes with the struggle of learning something new. Satisfaction builds you up when you replace ignorance with knowledge.
Every struggling step forward builds your confidence because you’re trying.
I started with a quote I’d recently seen. “Life is short. Eat dessert first.” I knew I wanted a cupcake in the middle. And though I’m uncomfortable with watercolor, I decided to try.
I’ve been studying hand lettering. I’ve been trying. I’ve done several unsatisfactory sketches, but I keep trying.
If the only way you start is to trace to copy, do it. But keep your dream eye on tweaking your process so that eventually, you’re making it your own. This process works for losing weight as well. If you want to start, talk to someone who has lost the weight you want to lose and find a plan that mirrors your comfort level.
Always seek to make the process yours. We do this with parenting all the time. We consult with parents with more experience (our own parents or a sibling or friend with older children), which helps us to jump-start a plan.
Pretty soon, you’ll look up from your work and wonder why you didn’t start earlier.
Being bad at something can be good food for your soul. Being bad means, at some point, you’ll be better.
And then you’ll become the best.
And that’s where big dreams come true.
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, ImanWoods[dot]com.
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