When I started practicing Aikido 12 years ago, every time I stepped onto the mat, I felt like a club-footed monkey after a lobotomy. I was bad. Very bad. Nothing went right. I didn’t know how to roll, fall, attack, turn, or simply keep my balance. My Kote Gaeshi looked more like Kote Wussie and Ikkyo was more Sicko.
Hardly anything done in Aikido is what a normal person would choose as a first option. Do you know how much practice it takes to make stepping into a punch or kick feel like the right thing to do? Do you know how much confidence it takes to realize just when your attackers think they have you where they want you, they just gave you a great opportunity to introduce them to the Earth… very suddenly.
Internet business is much the same. Your first product is probably going to be horrible. Let’s just be honest here. It will squeak and whine and you’ll say too little in some parts and too much in others. Your first sales page will most likely be the same. Benefits instead of features? Not likely in a first draft! Your first posts will be weak and your first articles probably won’t be all that and a bag of chips either. You’ll struggle for traffic and sales will be dismal.
But it’s important you do them AND you release them. When they’re released they generate feedback. It’s similar to the time I was performing a technique (poorly) and my partner thought I should have been doing it better. So she (all 5′ 90lbs of her) countered and introduced me to the mat, sharply. Embarrassing? Most definitely. Did I survive and learn my lesson? Yes. Have I had similar lessons since then? Of course, both in Aikido and in my online business. But I’ve improved both because of these lessons. And you will too.
Here are 3 reasons why being bad at something is good:
- For the ideas. Everything you have problems doing is a potential product/blog post/article – once you find an answer. Don’t understand what FTP is? There’s a blog post. Did you find a nifty combo of techniques for bringing traffic to your site? There’s an e-book. Can’t find a plugin to display a collapsible list of pages in WordPress – develop the software to do it. My suggestion: If you’re having problems with something – WRITE IT DOWN! Put it in a text document specifically for product ideas or write it in your personal journal. I personally keep a list of product ideas in a Writeboard in Basecamp.
- You get better at it. Everyone was once a beginner. Leonardo Da Vinci probably once drew in stick figures but he went on to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. You don’t get better at something by reading about it, you only get better by doing. My suggestion: Consider everything between now and when you consider yourself a master to be nothing more than practice. If it’s just practice, then there’s no pressure, right? Now get out there and practice.
- It’s fun. Maybe it’s just me, but I find learning to be fun. You can’t learn about things you’ve already mastered, so most of the things you need/want to learn about you’re going to do badly! And everyone is bad at something. My suggestion: Children find everything fascinating. Adopt an a child like attitude towards your tasks. Enjoying the learning process is probably why children learn so fast and innately (until the school system beats it out of them).
So get out there and be horrible at something. If you keep at it, in a couple of months/years, you’ll eventually be good at it. This is how the masters became masters of their art or profession