STOP WATCHING THE POT, AND START TRUSTING THE PROCESS.
Putting the wheels in motion and trusting the process is pivotal when growing something important.
“It’s a miracle anything ever gets made” is a saying I ruminate on a lot. If you’ve ever tried to make something: a business, write a book, make a movie, build a company, or start an organization, then you know how near-impossible a feat that is; that most people jump ship within the first 6 months of starting. So don’t feel bad if you’re trying to make something and it’s just not taking form as fast as you hoped; there’s a reason the opening line refers to something coming to fruition as a “miracle” Cause building things is extremely hard!
In Zambia, we have this colloquial saying: “You can cry!” This is one of my favorite Zambianisms cause of how relatable it is. And I bet my left buttcheek that as an artist, an entrepreneur, an inventor, or whatever type of creator you are, you’ve broken down and shed more than a bucket load of tears over the thing(s) you love. Not to get biblical or anything, just using this as a reference, but think about Jesus. He wept over his own creation when he saw the pain with which they were afflicted.
You’re probably looking to build something that offers a solution or simply adds value to people’s lives, right? Be it through your storytelling, your product, or your brand, the goal is to lessen pain and inconvinience through your contribution; while making a profit or gaining yourself some recognition in the process; so it’s hard not to invest yourself in what it is that you’re trying to build, or that you’ve already built.
That’s how business, art, and invention work; you identify something that’s missing, and you try to fill in the blank with your iteration or “unique” approach to it; so you put together a business plan, or whatever. And start taking the necessary action to build the thing; putting different parts together, or throwing things to the wall, hoping something sticks as you tinker away for days, weeks, months and even years…hoping to get that big payoff at the end. And this is where “trust the process” comes in. But we all know how difficult it is to trust the process. I mean what does “trust the process” even mean?
It’s hard to “trust the process” when the light at the end of the tunnel seems like nothing more than folklore, like a fallacy passed on to us by our ancestors around a fire, as we sing songs, and dance. But I’ll tell you this: trust the process. I can’t define the process for you. But I’ll need you to trust your process the same way I’m choosing each day to trust mine.
Whatever your intuition is telling you, listen to it, keep going, and refine along the way to curb the ever-present self-doubt and melancholy. Adapt to all the turbulence and demands that you meet along the way. It’s necessary (So is crying) if you’re gonna make it out alive.
One of my biggest lessons in the last couple of months has been learning to sit with things. To plant the seeds, and let them germinate. Don’t watch the pot as it boils, you’ll only stress yourself when things aren’t heating up as fast as you want them to. It’s important to understand the plateau of latent potential, (James Clear has a great chapter on this in his bestseller Atomic Habits.) Sit with your efforts and allow them to undergo the process.
It’s okay to come back to water and weed the garden in which you’ve sown; to stir the contents of your pot at different intervals. But by all means, do not sit and watch the pot as it boils, you’ll only discourage yourself. Perseverance and Patience are pivotal on any journey. And you’ve got to apply that to your thing and remind yourself that sometimes things take time. Sit with the work you’ve already done, be thankful for it, and don’t be too hasty or reckless in wanting to get to the next level that you forget to appreciate how far you’ve come. Make revisions (lots of em) along the way, and give yourself grace when you fail or stumble; you don’t always know everything, and you will never know everything, therefore you don’t have to have it all figured out; cause the truth is, nobody does. We’re all just winging it to the best of our abilities. So have faith in your thing and stop opening that lid every 5 seconds; a watched pot never boils.