The Emotional Journey of Creating Anything Great [Infographic]

Are you working on something now and feeling the pain of the creation process? Today’s infographic shares the emotional journey that most people go through when trying to create something great:

The Emotional Journey of Creating Anything Great [Infographic]

(Click image for larger version (Source unknown))

Here are the phases of this journey:

  1. This is the best idea ever!! — When you just concocted an idea and you’re excited by this new goal
  2. This will be fun — As you get started
  3. This is harder than I thought — When you start to really take the first few steps
  4. This is going to be a lot of work — As you get into the thick of things…
  5. This sucks I have no idea what I’m doing — When you realize that this is actually harder than you thought
  6. #%@}!!!!!!!!!!! — When you hit the point where you’ve invested way too much time/energy into this, and things aren’t turning out the way you want
  7. Ok but it still sucks — When you start to see some kind of result from your work so far…
  8. Quick, let’s call it a day and say we learned something — As you fluctuate between wanting to push through and being drained by past efforts
  9. Hmm… 
  10. Hey!
  11. Wow — #9 to #11: the creation process
  12. This is one of the things I am most proud of — Reaching the finishing line

As someone who has completed several book projects before, and am in fact in the middle of one right now, I can relate to this.

The contrast between phases #1 and #5 is especially normal as most people severely underestimate the work needed for a goal. The higher the expectations they have of the goal, the wider the perception gap. (This is also why I dislike many online “gurus” and coaches who overhype their results and gloss over the work involved in creating an online business; they basically cause people to run around in circles.)

#6 marks the crucial turning point of the project, what I call development hell. You have to really push through to get past this stage. This is also where you decide whether you want this enough to continue.

There are two mentions of “Family+Humour,” and these are the supporting factors to get you through the dark stages — having the support of loved ones, and some humour. Being able to laugh when goes go south, take things lightly, wipe the dust, and move on is a very important skill!

As you can see, most people start off optimistic about their goals but face huge obstacles along the way where they sink into depression, experience self-doubt, or even think about giving up. I have gone through this myself, especially in book writing. This is normal, so don’t think you’re alone!

Here are my tips to push through from #1 to #12:

  1. Have a grounded view of things. Don’t expect your goal to propel you to instant success with just a little work, and at the same time don’t let realism pull you down. 
  2. Always set grand visions while preparing for the worst. Things can always go wrong, and you want to be ready to deal with them when they happen.
  3. Understand that the effort to create anything awesome (an app, a book, a software, a meaningful business, a plugin, an artwork, etc.) is often 100X, even 1000X of what people think. In the case of creating a successful online business or startup, the number is closer to 10,000X because you’re dealing with huge competition and constantly changing market conditions.
  4. Push through. Don’t give up!
  5. Get help if you can. You don’t have to do this alone! At the very least, get emotional support from your friends and family.
  6. Develop a plan and get a big picture view from time to time. It’s easy to get sucked into the micro-details when you don’t have a big picture.
  7. Don’t forget self-care and self-love. These usually go out of the window when we’re working on something, but you need to love and care for yourself to get anywhere far.

If something doesn’t seem to be working, review and change your approach, i.e. change your plan. Understand what’s going wrong and tackle that.

Hang in there! We’re all in this together! Hug smiley

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Note: I didn’t create this infographic and couldn’t find the source, so if you happen to know the original creator, let me know.