I was doing mindless dishes while my spotify playlist filled the room in the background. In the zone, I kept scrubbing and rinsing and putting dishes on the rack, and then I stopped. Because I heard it. I heard the song I had always dreamed of writing, the one that was in my heart, but that I hadn’t yet found the words for. I heard it on the airwaves, and it became clear…someone else had beat me to it. Someone else had written it before i did. Someone with more success, more of a platform, a better voice, a better style.
I was scrolling my instagram feed on my lunch break as i munched on carrots and hummus and a turkey sandwich. Mindlessly scrolling, I was half-way thinking of the project I needed to finish for work, and then I stopped. Because i saw it. I saw the book I had always dreamed of writing, for sale and doing well on the market, and it became clear…someone else had beat me to it. Someone else had found the words before i did, and put them in a book, and published it with a perfect cover. Someone with more success, a bigger following, who had already published books, who had already made her mark.
I was typing up a storm on my keyboard as I poured out my heart into a blog post. This message needs to be heard! my heart screamed as I pounded the keys. When the last word had been typed, before I hit publish, I switched over to a new tab and did a search for similar pieces, and I stopped. Because I saw it. The blog post I had just written, give or take a few sentences, posted 3 and a half years ago, with 4K shares. And it became clear…someone else had beat me to it. Someone else’s heart had screamed “this message needs to be heard!” Someone with more success, more influence, and more forethought.
Is everything I want to do obsolete? Is everything I have to say just white noise?
Why even bother?
Other people with more success, bigger platforms, more followers, more talent, better style, more influence, and more forethought, have already done and said everything I could do or say.
Other people who have already made their mark, have swept the rug out from under me before I have a chance to make mine.
So I stop creating. I stop writing. I stop dreaming. I put everything on the shelf. And I let those other people with more this and more that, bigger this and bigger that – I let them do the creating, the writing, the dreaming. I let them continue to make their mark. I let them change the world.
Because they’ve already got it. and there’s not any room left at the table for my gifts, my message, my dreams. They’re far too similar and would probably be dubbed as stolen, or copied, or plagiarized.
I stop putting myself out there, because everyone else has beaten me to it. Why even bother? Maybe I can just do something else.
And then I stop again. Because I hear it:
Their success is not your failure.
Suddenly my thoughts take a radical turn:
What if there is room for my success?
What if there is a need for my voice?
What if there is room for what I bring to the table?
Even if everything I want to say has already been said.
Even if everything I want to do is already being done by a hundred other better, more qualified, more talented people.
I hear it…
Why hold back?
Put it out there. Anyway.
Put your art out there, write your words anyway. Make your music anyway. Create what you want to create anyway.
Even if you fear that it’s just going to be swept up by the noise of all the other people doing the same thing.
Even if you fear that it’s going to be lost in space.
Even if you fear your words aren’t meaningful because someone has probably already said them, and better than you anyway.
What if someone is impacted by what you create? What if someone’s heart is touched because of what you put out there? What if someone gets more hope because of your work? What if someone finds courage because of your boldness?
What if someone’s life is changed because of what you chose to give to the world – anyway?
Someone – one person.
Isn’t that worth it?
Don’t hold back.
Someone may be longing for what you have to give and do and say. And you’ll never know unless you put yourself out there – anyway.
That’s the thing about creativity – it’s extravagant and expansive and limitless. There is enough room for everyone at the table.
So there’s already enough writers and painters and makers and builders and musicians and artists and extremely, very talented people out there.
So someone else is already doing the work you dream of doing.
But they aren’t doing it like you can.
That’s the thing – it’s not the final product of your creativity that the world needs – it’s you.
It’s not the end result, it’s the person doing the making. It’s not the gift you give – it’s you, the one who is giving it.
That’s why you must create. You must keep being yourself and doing what you do best and doing it in the way that only you can. Not conforming to the way someone else is doing it.
Maybe not everyone will be touched by your work.
Maybe just a few people will. Or maybe just one person will.
Or maybe no one will.
Maybe no one will read your blog. Maybe no one will buy your album, or even listen to it. Maybe no one will buy your book. Maybe no one will care about what you have to say.
But what if you put something out there because you wanted to? What if you goal was not to get likes, shares, sales, success – but rather to let your own heart run free?
Is that worth it? Are you worth it?
But maybe something you do will impact the masses.
You’ll never know the potential that one work of art can have until you…put it out there anyway.
There have been blog posts I’ve written that I literally poured my heart and soul into, that I believed were some of my best work, that I thought would be hugely successful. And they would get maybe 6 views.
On the other hand, there have been blog posts I’ve written that I thought no one would read, that went viral. I’ll never understand it, but that’s not my job. My job is to be the messenger, the creator, the artist, and put my voice out there, and not worry about where it lands or what it does.
So put yourself out there anyway, and let your work do what it’s going to do. Put your voice out there, and leave it to make its mark.
Just keep making and dreaming and creating and living your life, and let what you create speak for itself.
You don’t have to babysit it. You don’t have to make sure it goes where it’s supposed to go, reaches the right ears, sends the right message. Just put it out there, and it will take care of itself.
Don’t let anyone silence your voice and keep you from making your mark.
You are what the world needs. So show up.