The Emotional Journey of Creating Anything Great

You might find that this resonates a bit:

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Here are the steps (and experiences):

  1. This is the best idea ever!!
  2. This will be fun.
  3. This is harder than I thought.
  4. This is going to be a lot of work.
  5. This sucks and I have no idea what I’m doing.
  6. #%@}!!!!!!!
  7. Okay, but it still sucks.
  8. Quick, let’s call it a day and say we learned something.
  9. Hmm…
  10. Hey!
  11. Wow.
  12. This is one of the things I am most proud of.

Yes, it’s emotional. Yes, it’s inevitable. But this isn’t just about things that end up being “great”… I’d submit that this emotional journey is one that transcends goodness or greatness or even a so-called mediocre project; I’ve experienced this lifecycle for projects that ended up entirely sucking from end-to-end.

But the point is clearly the journey. Strangely, even though we know this journey to be tried and true, it’s still doesn’t give us much comfort and there’s very little we can actually do with this information.

In other words, our awareness of the journey ahead doesn’t manifest anything useful and doesn’t give us any advantages as we trudge along. We aren’t given any bonus points and we don’t get to skip.

We just need to continue to walk, one foot in front of the other, and make it all count. In the end, even the projects that end up in the trash bin can still provide amazing rewards. Again, speaking from experience, some of those (failed) projects are some of the things that I am personally most proud of.

Onward, upward, and beyond.


Also published on Medium.