Let’s Chat: Making Progress


MAN has it been a while since I’ve done a Let’s Chat post. I’ve really missed creative writing, so what the hell, I’m bringing it back!

After all the new years reflections and resolution setting, I was feeling pretty good about The Crafted Life. I saw work in the archives that I haven’t for years and it left me wondering why I don’t feel that good on a day to day basis.

And I think it comes down to this– we’re over stimulated. Perhaps it’s just me, but the days often feel like endless scrolling through gorgeous feeds. And to be perfectly honest, it’s been leaving me with this empty feeling. The one where you put yourself down a bit because your life doesn’t measure up or feel as calculated. Somehow, it makes me lose sight of everything I’ve ever done and how far I’ve actually come. Woof.

But when I take a step back to look at my own work, I can see real progress. That I’m getting closer to that level of skill I sought out to learn. To illustrate, I found a few pictures of my old office makeovers that I’ve published here on this very blog:

Let's Chat: The State of Progress2014 | 2015 | 2016

Even though it makes me cringe to say now, when I hit publish on my 2014 office, I was proud. It was the first time I attempted a home makeover piece and I thought I put together a dope gallery wall. Now of course I know that rug was 1000000% not the right size and that the space wasn’t really functional, but again, hindsight. In the following year, I was able to make that space much better with just a few tweaks. I read up on interior design and tried to put what I learned to use. I made changes.

And my most recent desk in my new apartment is the best out of the three to me. It’s the most functional and feels like the most me, which honestly, isn’t that the goal with design? All of this is just to say, it took me two years to get to the space that I wanted. That sometimes, even though it may not seem like it, it doesn’t happen overnight or isn’t Pinterest perfect on the first try. 99% of the time what we are seeing when we scroll is someones middle or late in their career phase. Not their beginning, awkward learning phase.

To make progress, you have to make mistakes, take risks, and be okay with taking small steps. Because in a year or two, when you go to look back, boy oh boy will you see how far you’ve actually come.

When you lose sight of your growth, here are some tips to get you back on track:

1. Reflect. Go back through old work. Don’t dwell on the past, laugh at those mistakes and use it keep pushing yourself to move forward. Just that fact that you can indenfiy areas of improvement means that you’re progressing.

2. Make a list. A positive list of all the things you’re good at. Jot down any landmark achievements or friendly reminders that you’re making progress. Hang it in a place that you can see and add to it when you please.

3. Take a class. Instead of sulking or wish you were better at something, take the steps you need to get there. Wishing won’t get you anywhere.

4. Unfollow people. OMG YEAH I SAID IT. If someone is making you doubt yourself or your skills on a regular basis, unfollow them. It’s hard enough to be creative without dealing with that feeling that you’re not good enough.