I posted a blog recently, quietly, with little attention. Few people read it, which fortunately isn’t why I write. A business associate, whom I have a lot of respect for, messaged me after reading it, encouraging me to be more visible. “You seem almost shy about it,” he wrote.
I do challenging physical skills almost daily. I think of myself as physically competent, resilient in many ways. However, the hardest thing I do on a regular basis is hit “publish.” I am never fully happy with anything I create. Whenever I re-read a blog or re-listen to a class I have crafted, I find myself critiquing my words. “I should have said it this way,” “it would have read better if I gave it more context,” “I should have used less words…”
If I waited until my work was perfect to share it, I wouldn’t share anything. And maybe that would be okay. The fitness industry is riddled with noise, people asserting their opinions about why specific exercises are “the best,” and what people should do to become more fit. I am just one more voice in the sea of “experts,” and I often find myself confused about where I fit. I believe in strength and mobility; I also believe in the mind/body connection and the power of breath. I read psychology and motor control textbooks, but appreciate a good paper on biomechanics and tendinopathy. Trauma fascinates me; so does the shoulder. I think the fitness industry doesn’t spend enough time teaching people how to fully be in their body, but many coaches have better progressions to more advanced exercises than I do.
So I write about these things and create content around these things, the ones that fascinate me and help me be a better teacher and coach. I write for me, so I can dive a little more heavily into the research; I hit “post” because I spend so much time thinking about things and trying to understand that I feel like others shouldn’t have to work so hard. If I help one person see something a little bit differently, I have saved him time and maybe made a small difference in his life. To me, this is valuable.
Steven Pressfield writes in “The War of Art,” A professional schools herself to stand apart from her performance, even as she gives herself to it heart and soul. The Bhagavad Gita tells us we have a right only to our labor, not to the fruits of our labor. All the warrior can give is his life; all the athlete can do is leave everything on the field.” When you create something, anything, you have a choice- either share it or keep it for yourself. My grandmother used to sketch, pencil drawings. When she died, I felt a sadness that her ability to perceive the world around her and interpret it on paper was kept hidden from all of us. She did not share her work, save for the occasional cartoon when we were children. Perhaps she was afraid it wasn’t good enough to share. But that’s the thing. It’s never good enough, and there will always be people that judge harshly.
If you are creating for someone else, you are destined to feel inadequate. You will never feel like you have a right to share your work. You will find yourself comparing your creations to others, paralyzed by their thoughts and judgments.
If you create for you, even though your work will never live up to your standards, it makes the opinions of others an afterthought. Rather than feel lesser because of a critique, if it’s a critique you haven’t already given yourself, you are less defensive and more open to how your work can be made better. Through practice and consistency, you will improve, but it will never be perfect. You don’t hit “post” because of the amount of likes you might get, but because you are sharing your imperfect creation. If your creation taught you something and made you better in some way, it is worth sharing.
And so I will continue to quietly hit post, knowing that if one person learns something from my words, it is enough.