The other day I was driving and about to make a left hand turn onto a street I had gone down my entire life. I’d made this turn hundreds of times so I was only half paying attention to driving and half paying attention to an audio book.
I nearly drove right into a sign that said “Road Closed.” This wasn’t a tiny sign like the kind your wife gives you when she drops hints about where she wants to go out to eat for your anniversary. It was a giant roadblock, like the kind your wife gives you when you try to check your fantasy football team during your anniversary dinner.
Thankfully, I noticed the sign just in time to swerve into the makeshift lane that was created to allow traffic to pass. From there I turned off the audio book, wiped the sweat off my forehead, grabbed the wheel with two hands and kept on driving.
When we are driving, it is important to look for roadblocks. Not spotting them can take a chunk out of your bumper and your wallet.
In other aspects of our life though, looking for roadblocks may actually be harmful. Let me explain…
I am currently working on my forth children’s book (more about that to come soon). Every time I work on a new book I follow the same pattern. I find an idea that I like. Then I start to outline a book. Next, I stop everything I am doing. Then I spend months convincing myself that this is a terrible idea. I brainstorm dozens of reasons why no one will read the book.
The topic is too boring. The story is overdone. No one wants to read all those puns. And the list goes on and on.
Before I even get started, my writing is crippled by the roadblocks I have created for myself. This would be like never moving my car from my garage because I know that one left hand turn contains a roadblock and will reduce my progress to one lane.
I would never do that while driving. I would take the roadblocks as they come and find a way to get to my destination. Even if I nearly crash, I will wipe my forehead and keep going.
Yet, in writing, I am often stalled because I am too busy looking for roadblocks. Does any of this sound familiar in your life? This isn’t just limited to writing. We do the same in dating, finances and pretty much everything else.
Before we let an idea get off the ground we try to find roadblocks. What makes a person successful is the ability to see past the roadblocks just enough to get started.
Once we get started we are going to come across roadblocks. Maybe my book isn’t going to be exciting enough for some people. Perhaps some readers will not like the 371st pun.
Not everyone is going to like our ides. But rather than have those limitations prevent us from going anywhere it is better to take those roadblocks as they come. Yes they may reduce our progress. Yes they may take a chunk out of our confidence. But no matter what they do, they can’t hurt us more than they will if they prevent us from ever getting started.