Does this suck?

If you’re a creative or anyone that produces a project or a work product of some kind that you can take a step back and look at, at some point you may have asked “Does this suck?”

Let’s get this out of the way – I’m not talking about not having the confidence in what you do, nor am I talking about being a bit neurotic about things or second-guessing yourself or constantly needing to have someone else validate your stuff. I’m talking about the other kind of person – the person I assume you are: somebody who gets it. You’re the kind that thinks if you don’t give it your all when you do something… what’s the point?

So let’s assume you’re like me and you’re a person that gives it their all. It’s this giving your all to it that actually creates this moment sometimes.

Sometimes when you’re deep in the middle of giving your hypothetical 100% you stop and think, does this suck? Because you value your effort and you don’t want to put a tremendous amount of effort into something only to have a product that you’re not proud of, people don’t like, and you could’ve done better.

So the first step of this is recognizing that you do have these moments from time to time. You may have this moment every single time you work on a project. And I’m not talking about making course corrections as you work. I’m talking about the oh crap does this suck moment.

If you’re having this moment a lot it means you think your work is important, you possibly doubt your abilities and you’re not using your time machine. What I mean by the last thing is you can simply look back at the other stuff you’ve done. Does all that suck? No? Then why would this?

You have a few answers, you clever person you:

  • Each one is different
  • Some are more challenging than others
  • Sometimes I’m so deep into it that I don’t see the big picture.

It’s that last one that is the most valuable. It is universally valuable to be able to pull yourself out of a project, a conversation, a movement, a relationship and anything that you were deeply involved in to take a look from above and assess it as a whole. The “30,000 foot view” as they say.

I know this is valuable because I was once pursued to develop a product by the president of a development company. After meeting with him and hearing about his vision, I asked him why he didn’t just have his team of developers create the product for him?

His response was that though their development skills were on the whole equal to mine, none of them had the ability to look at the project from the 30,000 foot view. I had the ability to dig deep and also take a step back.

I think if you’re an independent creative, an entrepreneur or someone who is self-driven you have probably developed both skills in parallel:

( Dig Deep + 30,000 foot view )

And those two skills create the perfect environment to once in a while think, “Does it suck?”

So my advice to you is just these three things:

  1. If it sucks it doesn’t mean you suck. Non-sucky people sometimes make sucky things.  
  2. Understand that there’s some room between constantly doubting your work and assuming that everything is fantastic. You want to live in the middle there somewhere.
  3. Keep asking yourself if it sucks because that means you were making a good product and ultimately you are the judge of things. And you care.

Keep caring and take care.

PS – This podcast is also a youtube video. Check out the Alchemy for Life channel. Tell me what you think, feel free to connect on LinkedIn, and thanks for subscribing!