That’s what I tell myself when I start something for the first time. When I was making my first record, I would often say to myself, “Don’t worry, this will be the worst record you’ll ever make.”

At first blush, it sounds defeatist and self-deprecating. But if you step back, you’ll see the optimistic edge on it. The Magic Eye version of that statement is, “Every record I make after this one will be better than the last.”

I’ve used it many times since. My first infographic? “This will be the worst infographic I’ll ever make. Let’s get it out of the way, so I can move on to a better one.” My first day at dance class? “I will never again be as bad as I am today. Bring it.”

quote attributed to George Santayana; print by Kavan & Co and available at Society6

quote attributed to George Santayana; print by Kavan & Co and available at Society6

EVERY TIME YOU START SOMETHING NEW, YOU WILL BE AT YOUR PERSONAL LOWEST LEVEL OF ACHIEVEMENT.

And that is a very good thing. The first time you try something, you’re on training wheels. And you’ve got to push through it, just to get to the next time. Embrace the fact that Future You will be miles ahead of where you are today. (Another great mantra: “If you’re not embarrassed three years later, you’re doing it wrong.”)

The trick, of course, is to not let it become a defeatist, self-deprecating statement. Instead, it needs to be a battle cry, a challenge, or a promise (whichever is most motivating to you).

And the number one rule is this: Do Not Let It Prevent You From Shipping.

The fact that years from now you’ll look back and cringe is not a reason to not put it out into the world now. That is, in fact, the only way to become that highly embarrassed but totally awesome person in the future.

Do you have a similar “growth mindset” mantra you use to get through the early phases of a project?

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