Building Things: A Method to Life Coach Yourself
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now.” — Goethe
I have a confession. For many years I secretly harbored jealousy towards artisans, builders and tinkerers. You know them — the creative dreamers who casually recount: “As a kid I used to dismantle the [insert anything here] and rebuild it. My parents didn’t like it.”
For whatever reason, I didn’t do that. I was a bit of a taciturn, cerebral kid; more prone to drawing or creating imaginary mental worlds to inhabit than dissecting a toaster.
As I evolved through my 20s and came to relish learning and problem solving, I realized the tinkering, building attitude and make-it-happen-ness I’ve always wanted is a mindset that can be cultivated.
But where to start?
You guessed it. Building something you don’t know much about.
Instead of staying conceptual through reading, learning or dreaming a brilliant idea, the pure physicality of seeing, touching, and interacting with something you has a weightiness that feels self-reinforcing. A visual reminder you and DID!
Building stall bars, though totally tangential and utterly unrelated to quitting my job and foraying out on an adventure in self-employment are actually oddly linked, and the lessons learned translate well.
- Research. Who else has done something similar? Find giants on whose shoulders you can stand. It’s efficient and inspirational, not lazy.
- Ask for help. Woodworking is not my forte by a long shot. I asked for guidance from an expert friend. You better believe I’ve been asking for help as I start my business.
- Not everything has an immediate payoff. The finished product and installation took longer than I thought, and required seemingly “dead end” information gathering trips to lumber yards. Dead ends? Or necessary learning steps? Be ok with productively “wasting time” (Netflix benders don’t count 😉). As long as you’re somewhat headed towards the goal, be inexorable and take setbacks in stride.
- Risk. Turns out the wall I needed to drill into is solid concrete. The danger of drilling into electrical conduits and incurring untold costly damage to my apartment felt very real. Ultimately that fear was unfounded. Identify the level of risk you’re willing to take, familiarize yourself with that boundary and tread the line.
All said and done, when those bars were finally in the wall after several woodworking days, a few trips around the city and dilly-dallying as I debated the danger of drilling, I had this realization… “What else could I build?”
Eventually the answer came in the form of my venture into the unknown.
Life coach yourself and ask the following:
- What problems do you want to solve?
- Why are those problems important to you personally?
- What could you build?
Take a cue from Goethe. Begin it now.
Originally published at https://themiddlewei.com on October 21, 2020.