• Ithaka
  • Posts
  • What if this sucks?

What if this sucks?

Grab a big squeegee and wipe all those tiny bugs off your windshield.

In This Issue:

What if this sucks?

How to start before you’re ready

Tools and Talismans

  • Outgrow your fear

  • Speak like a leader

  • The Art of Self-Reflection

What if this sucks?

You’ve never done this before.

A million terrified neurons are screaming at you.

“I’m not ready.”

“I don’t know.”

“I need to practice more.”

“I need to study more.”

“I need better shoes.”

“This might not work.”

“What if this sucks?”

Special Forces GIF by Beverley Mitchell

Gif by beverleymitchell on Giphy


Please stop.

Just grab a big squeegee and wipe all those tiny bugs off your windshield.

Because guess what.

No, you’re not ready. But you’ll never be ready until you begin.

Of course you don’t know. But how will you ever know if you don’t start?

And maybe… (Ooh, this is giving me goosebumps just thinking about it) just maybe it will work after all.

Imagine what that would be like!

Or better yet, don’t imagine. Do it for real. Make it happen. How hard would that rock your world?

And what if it sucks?

Let me tell you a story about what sucks.

There was a time when Lionel Messi couldn’t walk. He crawled to a wall, leaned against it as he took his first tentative steps, barely keeping his balance—and he immediately fell down.

And so did you.

You sucked at walking. But you got up and did it again. You wouldn’t be standing here if you hadn’t leaned against that wall once upon a time.

Every figure skater, concert pianist, blackbelt and poet used to suck.

Zora Neale Hurston could barely hold a pencil in her pudgy baby finders.

Oprah had to learn to talk, and so did Tony Robbins and Mohandas K. Gandhi.

How did each of these A-level players and thousands of others just like them become titans, heroes, and icons?

Baby steps.

Now, the reason I’m telling you this is because I’m experiencing it firsthand.

Every time I send an issue of Ithaka, I hear that fearful little neuron asking, “What if this sucks?”

But for six months now, I haven’t missed a single week.

There’ve been plenty of times I wanted to. But I sent it out anyway, even when only 5 people opened it including my wife and my mom.

I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying this to point something out.

Maybe you’re thinking of writing a newsletter or launching a podcast.

Maybe there’s a book or a work of art inside of you screaming to get out.

Maybe you’re ready to change careers, start a business, go back to school or stat a family, but you’re afraid you’re not going to be good enough.

I can tell you from experience…

Just doing something beats “good enough” every time.

You’ll learn more from your mistakes than you’ll ever learn from a class or a book. But you can’t learn from your mistakes if you don’t make them first.

So here’s your homework.

Do something that makes you lean into your incompetence. You might learn that what you thought was a lack of competence was just a lack of confidence.

Or if not, then I guarantee you’ll learn something.

And that first baby step begins your journey to becoming an icon.

Tools and Talismans