I listened to this about a week ago, and this bit kind of stuck with me, so I transcribed it… quote is by Tara Swiger in the Explore Your Enthusiasm podcast episode Navigating an art career, with Claudine Hellmuth:
I think that there’s this myth - and it’s a myth we tell ourselves so that we can keep working - “Okay, this thing is going to be done, or I’m going to be making this much in order to pay my bills, or I’m going to be able to quit my job, and then everything will be great.” And then, of course, immediately upon getting there, you’re actually already thinking of what’s ahead. So much so that I find a lot of people completely skip the celebration step.
And I think that that leads to the frustration of feeling like you’re kind of always turning your wheels, and always trying, striving. It can be exhausting.
I think that stopping and celebrating is good because it gives you a little break, and relief, but it also builds your confidence. So you recognize that “I’m the kind of person who can handle this. I have a new big goalpost ahead of me, but I did already do x, y, and z. So, I can trust that I’m gonna get through this.” And especially when times are hard, or you’re really stressed, or really up against a deadline, if you’ve taken the moment to celebrate, then you actually have a memory that you completed that goal, and you can look back and be like, “Okay, yes, I did that. I’m gonna be okay, I can keep going.”
So much truth here. I’ve been doing this leethal business thing for almost 10 years now and I still always have this kind of underlying feeling when I think about a big project I’m working on, that once this one big project is done I can relax a bit, or things will be less stressful/overwhelming.
But I am ALWAYS working on more than one project at once - getting started on the next thing while I’m still in the middle of the older thing, so by the time that one thing is done and over, I’m already in the middle of the huge new thing. Always. There is never a built-in break period between things.
So, I think a kind of forced celebration/rest is very necessary, for sanity, and I am usually pretty good at making sure that happens - taking a day or two off major work to rest my mind a bit, after finishing a big thing. And I love the point that thinking about the big project you’ve already successfully finished helps give you confidence to tackle the next one!
But yeah, it’s totally a myth that things will ever just automatically calm down once a project is done, or once a goal is accomplished. The subconscious’s way of coping with stress, I guess, making us feel like that might be true. This is not a terrible thing, just the reality of doing this type of work, so that’s why it’s important to take a minute (or a weekend, or a week, whatever) to decompress, and reflect, and feel proud of what you’ve done! Good podcast thoughts, Tara!